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Unrelated to photo above, but that’s what scrolling is for ———— the beautiful red and white salad next to it all was from the Tropical Vegan Kitchen and ab-solutely scrumptious. I’m going to post the recipe, too, because I just saw a great video concerning appropriation and culture (and breakbeats) and I figured heck why not, share the love, share the coconut dressing —
Thai-Style Romaine Salad with Creamy Coconut Tamari Dressing
My tastes have been running along very childlike lines these days. Probably midterm stress coupled with the sudden news that Pomme – ie: the best, most esoteric, kitchen-wizardy, art-star, witty, gentle amazing roommate ever in existence – is moving back to Toronto in a few days… ;____;
(serious weepage. but I’m being stoic)
So I’m eating mac and cheese. Because, well… yay. Slurpy noodles. Susan V-style. Comforting yes… although next time I will leave the vegetables out of my comfort food, no matter how much I seem to have been in a “red & green cube” kinda mood that day (check out the tomato, cuke and basil salad behind the pasta – like eating christmas-y legos!)
Then I scratched this itch I had for loads of sweet beans and ZOMG I ACTUALLY BUY A FAKE MEATS. See hot dog? Delicious. Specially with V-con cheater baked beans, sauteed smoky mystery greens I found in the fridge, and scrambled tofu from Aux Vivres. (btw, it tasted more like egg than any scramble I’ve ever had, but I couldn’t really finish it… I’ve been spoiled on Vwav scramble I think).
And that up there is a gorgeous slice of procrastination. Essay-writing, smehn – Vcon apple peanut butter caramel bars instead! I used oat flake cereal instead of graham crackers, cause the crackers I thought I had in the pantry smelled intensely of 20-year-old warehouse, gross. But crushed cereal plus a bit of sugar worked great! I kinda wish they were apple-yer. But nonetheless they are coated in peanut butter caramel, and that stuff could make rocks taste good, sooo…… I now have a pan full of PB-love to pick at while I attempt to stuff 10 hours of meticulous drawing into… exactly 10 hours until class. WEE. I <3 LIFE. :)
Curiously enough, I have a habit when drinking to RUN NOT WALK to the kitchen and see if I can’t whip up something edible with blurry vision. And I usually can! Maybe it’s the challenge… and it’s certainly better than singing off-key, I should think.
My most classic preparation is some sort of seitan barfood after stumbling home. I guess 3 am and soused isn’t the best time to attempt to recreate a vegan hotdog, but I tried! It wasn’t hotdogg-y, but it was delicious, even if J was passed out like a rock by the time I set down a warm fresh chapati with a seitan-dog and all the fixins in front of him. (It made a perfect breakfast the next day, though!)
A week or two later some crepes were made, and turned out more perfectly than any sobre pancake I’ve ever attempted. The Vcon recipe is lightning-fast, delicious, and got rave vegetarian reviews (“these are even better than the kind with eggs! more flavourful and chewy!”). I did add a bit of extra oat flour, too, which gave them a nice homey touch.
And then last night (we all get off work on wednesday. we call it “fake saturday”), some whiskey prompted a mini-muffin adventure. What kind? Uhhhh…. banana! With blueberries! (we are also blueberry fiends, oh my yes). Use a recipe? Bah! That takes time and reading. Better to just throw some whole wheat pastry flour in a bowl with some ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, soymilk, brown rice syrup, oil and vanilla. And they TOTALLY turned out. Not too sweet, loaded with berries and banana, and perfect for munching on while playing with plastic dinosaurs and discussing 37 ways the world is an unfathomably weird place. Rarr brontasaurus rex!
Smashed Vegan’s Warning: please please please do not attempt to drink and bake at home, unless you’re of legal age and are prepared to find a huge mess waiting for you in the morning. I don’t want to be a bad influence… :o
It’s interesting these sayings one hears and doesn’t think about, like “cheap as dirt”. Yes, apparently dirt is very very cheap! Shows me. I picked up a ginormous bag yesterday and lovingly transferred my slightly cramped tomato plants to their rightful places in separate pots. They’re so beautiful, and not even so stunted for a few mishaps along the way (icy cold nights with the window accidentally open, and Satchmo deciding to munch on a few of them, ack). I’ve never grown things before, but I hope I get tomatoes by the end of the season. At the very least they make the apartment look great!
So that was the living part. The LEARNING part is hoboy, I should listen when a cookbook author describes something as a warming defense against winter weather, and possibly not make that on a gorgeous sunny evening. I mean, it used up all these mysterious odds and ends of things I had, and I tallied the total cost of this meal to be pennies (so really nothing lost), but I just wasn’t in the mood for braised seitan with chicory and brussel sprouts. The broccoli polenta was awesome, though. Thank goodness for freezers, maybe there’ll be a cold night later on.
Banana chocolate chip bread pudding! Oh yes, oh yes yes yes. Feel the mapley cinnamony soft deliciousness through the computer screen? I hope so, I would devise a device to do so if I could, forget wonka bars through the television, I wanna make bread pudding for everybody.
And I actually ate something besides oatmeal for breakfast the other day! I love how sleeping in means I have to budget my time which means pancakes, ooh, life is hard. These weren’t perfect (oatmeal chocolate chip, for the record), but maybe I’ll fix the liquid ratio and put them in the zine someday. Chocolate for breakfast, though… it’s great.
This was another one I was thinking of putting in the zine, but then I was like, “uh, no. Everybody has a banana bread recipe and I actually suspect I got this from the ppk years ago, before I even knew what the ppk was.” Tasty, but I mostly just made it to see if I could still make banana bread, ha. (quartering a recipe and making it in a tiny pan turns it into banana bars, though, which is pretty cool!)
Yummy black bean and wheat berry salad, with corn, red onion, radish, carrot, cilantro, lime, cumin and cinnamon. It could use bell peppers and/or tomato, but not bad at all for an empty fridge kinda thing!
And banhi mi, banhi mi!! Okay, “vietnamese seitan sandwich with savoury broth dip” (from what else but Vcon). I was too excited to eat it to take a decent photo at all, but you can probably see that I deviated from the recipe and tried to make it more authentic, I suppose. So there’s cucumber sticks, sweet pickled carrot, green onion, radish, jalapeno, tomato, mayo, cilantro and delicious satan. I mean seitan. I’d never dipped a sandwich before, it was lovely, mushy spicy and bready.
Another cleaning out the fridge deal, this time minestrone, with the expected vegetable guests, but also corn because I really really like corn. And macaroni noodles. And I even resisted making it spicy. Oh, and I added ground up toasted almonds to approximate parmesan and this was a good decision, it totally made it right.
Yep, those are jackfruit carnitas taco-deliverers of spicy delish! This is all part of my grand master plan to celebrate all and every holiday that means I get to eat party food on a monday night. And thank you Melisser for the recipe!
Oh, and it really is cause for celebration, since I got these wonderful things in the mail a few days ago – JCD’s More Than Twigs & Berries zine, which is full of recipes I can’t wait to try out, like soup with homemade noodles, nanaimo bars and peanut butter banana muffins! And my first postcard in the ppk mail-art swap came! (thanks Pixel!)
I love getting things in the mail… in fact so much that my local postage-guy (who curiously works every single day, all day) seems more than a little amused every time I walk up to the counter with yet more mysterious and brightly-stickered/doodled packages and letters… postage is like a treasure system, really.
(oh, and the zine is crinkled like that cause I’ve already cooked with it :)
I could so get into the habit of making bread more often… I always dismiss the idea, thinking that chapatis are more of a single girl kind of food. But sometimes it’s just healing to the soul, you know? Something about snarfing fresh baked bread with a bit of Earth Balance is such a treat. Better than cake. I’m so serious.
I used the rustic bread recipe from the Freshloaf site, except with more whole wheat flour and gluten flour, and ooooh, was it good! I think I’m still partial to this recipe, but the freshloaf one was easier to work with and made twice as much, so thar ya go.
My oven is really stupid and it jumps all over the dial during the simplest of baking procedures, so the initial rise could have been a bit better. But they still rose like crazy. And smelled like heaven!
I’m not always suzie simpleton, though. And remember the 3 bricks of tofu? Well, the first one was seaweed flavoured, which I’d never tried before, so I mushed up a batch of asian-style tofu salad that turned out tasting exactly like tunafish! So weird, yet so nostalgically delish.
And brick number two was medium-firm, so I figured I’d give Susan’s crustless tofu quiches a go (seeing as everyone vegan with a muffin tin has tried them and professed their awesomeness from rooftops and stuff). They are wonderful! Much like the tofufish, they’re shockingly quiche-y in flavour. I had some issues getting them to stay intact (and it turns out I’m not the only one), but I’m pretty sure it was an oven issue, cause the ones that got good time under the parts of the coil that actually work were perfect. I think I can stop looking for a go-to quiche recipe, actually. I’m gonna throw this stuff in a crust next time I go home and seriously please some omnis!
I do have other cookbooks, I swear I do… but somehow I just keep coming back to the Vcon. It’s like this personal challenge thing to finish it, and it narrows my weekly grocery ideas down to a manageable level, definitely. Plus it tastes fantastic, like 98% of the time, can’t go wrong. :)
The prettiest salad award goes to the black bean, mango and quinoa salad, and also the “makeable in ohhh 5 minutes” award. I rank both factors pretty high, I’ll be making variations on this for years to come, I think. (and each subsequent salad will rock more than this one, because I was using up iffy mango and tasteless red peppers in it. and it was still great!)
I don’t know why I torture myself with risotto-making plans on my off-days. Maybe because on the other side of all that stirring I feel like I’ve climbed a mountain. A mountain made of patience! And about 1 more cup of water than the recipe called for. So yeah…. this is one tasty concoction. I’ve never even had regular risotto, but this one (the asparagus and lemongrass risotto) was worth every moment of glazed-over-eyes and stirring, stirring, stirring………. seriously! Something really nice and exotic about it (and yet comforting like only a big ol bowl of creamy rice can be). It was even good the next day.
And what does one do when the fridge is down to carrots, celery and peas? Make pot-pie of course! This was kinda iffy for me, actually, but I’m not much of a ‘beef-style’ person normally, and I think the toughness of the crust was my fault since I followed normal crust procedure and not what was written in the book (I added water, chilled, and rolled. Instead of adding water, rolling and chilling). I mean, it was good, but not my usual bag, you know? I’m actually kinda curious what recipes will be left for me to force myself through when I get near the end of the Vcon – I counted today and I’m 1/5th through the book!!! Whew! (and what happens when the cookie and brunch book come out? Liz explodes, basically. XDDD)
EDIT: The crust wasn’t tough it just wasn’t browned enough! And I dropped a bit of water in the filling before I made the second one, to up the gravy factor, and went mad with the pepper. MUCH better this time. Extremely yum. And oh lordy did I feel like June Cleaver while making this, did I mention that? The novelty of that alone will probably get me to potpie it up sometime again in the future, maybe chicken-style next time though, cause those are the freezer-burnt memories of my childhood. White sauce-y, nutritionally void, gooey crusted toasty gems… zomg I’m getting nostalgia-drool all over! haha, anyway….
Spring’s coming, I just know it! It might just be the feeling of health increasing with every passing morning, but today there was real sun, and slush, and I chose to take a long walk, for the first time since maybe december. It was *glorious*. And I felt like celebrating, so I knew dinner had to be spicy and full of fruit!
Before that, though….
Nothing says spring to me like nurturing small things like yeasty-beasts to life. Totally inspired by Ashasarala’s beautiful whole wheat sourdough bread, I decided to mix together my own sourdough starter. It already smells so very alive! I also started some sprouts yesterday, but I forgot to take a picture (and it’s pretty much just lentils in a jar at this point).
My first foray into boiling seitan – I was soooooo tempted to change up the spices (recipe’s from the V-con of course), but I left well enough alone in the name of seitanic science and I am yes yes very glad I did! Strangely, the simple flavouring is full and nice enough just as it is, and I even love the texture! It’s softer and more chicken-y, and perfect for what I wanted to make next —-
Okay, it’s just the mis-en-place for what I made next – Naughty Curry’s Pineapple Couscous Curry (and I was led to the wonderful NC site through the FatFree Vegan Kitchen, thank you so much!). Can we say fun to make? Fiery cauldron action, popcorn-loud mustard dances, chile-fire bubblin’ brilliant colours, yum yum yum!
And sooooo worth it, flavour-wise. I wish I’d had the full 1 1/2 cups of pineapple juice, I can definitely see where an extra bit of juiciness would push this over the edge, but certainly it was festive enough to actually make me turn off my ever-present music blaring and let the flavours riot on their own. This is the kind of thing excellent dinner parties are made of. Orange food! Anyway… I’m still holding strong on my vow not to buy any groceries for one full week and you know what? It is way way more fun to cook like that. Necessity and invention and all that.
(I can still buy oranges and catfood, though. Some things you don’t mess with. ;)