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It all started… with an ill-conceived attempt at a tofu loafy roulade thingy, with squash inside. I mean, it was pretty damn edible, except that it was u.g.l.y., it didn’t taste a lot like bird, and the wax paper I used to roll it up stuck like glue to the bottom and really did turn the whole first layer into an exercise in chewing crayons.

Much better cookie luck, I made freestyle coffee-chocolate chip oatmeal cookies and P made cakey ginger clouds. But enough of this playing…

Girls gotta bake. Girls gotta prep cook. (okay, I prep-cooked, P went to work)

I made almond-sesame nutty crackers from Extraveganza, with added sesame oil.

Fluffy lemony cupcakes with maple cranberries from More Great Good Desserts, with a lemon-cinnamon drizzle on top.

Caramel popcorn! Spicy-brown sugar pumpkin seeds! Oh, it’s those crackers again!

Pumpkin pie, the quality of which was indeed assured by the Satchmo-cat. I wonder if I make another pumpkin pie if I get a free tattoo or something? And I still keep loving them, making them… hiding the leftovers from everyone. Hee.

Allright, and then P’s folks showed up so we went to the Jean-talon market on the most crispest yet warm of gently-sunned fall days. Picked up some rambunctiously coloured food, asparagus by the bucket, beans, mushrooms, apples (real/perfect/nectar-of-the-heavens-sweet quebec apples), a bunch more of other wonderful things.

They had two among them who couldn’t do gluten, which was a fun challenge, even if I wish I had known sooner… I would have made more that they could eat… but anyway, did you know that brown rice bread is actually delicious and tastes like bread?

Then my posse popped up, with the usual pancake-breakfast request (this is an understanding that I think benefits all of us nicely). Maple syrup was off limits as an ingredient, so I boiled up a quick apple syrup that almost got drank up by my sister, and at least got the pancakes called “the best syrup delivery devices you’ve ever made”. Bro asked for the recipe. (Bro is becoming quite the little burdgeoning foodie – and you better believe I’m supporting that tendency! :P)

And then, and then! After finishing breakfast I was kitchen-maven all day with my sister, then we passed the invisible baton to P and her sister, and between us all we created this glittering harvest spread.

Amidst the hubub and wine-drinking and guitar-jamming and all the fake russian accents, my camera was only found halfway through the meal, hence the half-eaten shot – but I think it still looks great. Clockwise from the bottom is mushroom gravy, nutty crackers, broccoli rabe and carrots with pine nuts and herbs, brown rice pasta salad with peppers and heirloom tomatoes, fresh market beans, hungarian rye stuffing with apples, cranberries and walnuts, cranberry sauce, apple-sage seitan sausages, curry carrot dip, squash stuffed with wild and brown rice mushroom-almond-raisin stuffing, dragonfruit, smoky maple tempeh, and loads of garlicky mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes.

phew.

Nom. Shall I say nom? And nom, and wow. I think we did okay?

And then there was too much dessert, and oh yeah, did I mention I made cookies too? Oh man… I mean, I know it wasn’t “turkey dinner” or something… but maybe made up for it in sheer tapestry-tasting complexity and connection to what is actually being harvested right now? I mean, I’ve been to thanksgivings where the vegetables are given the saddest passing effort, and aren’t they really the point? Ha ha, anyway… and next year you’re all invited to my tiny tiny place. For some reason it didn’t burst, and it kinda grew to fit us all (18+ at one point??). And you can help us with the leftover apple crisp!!!!

Wowee, I actually splurged and got myself a new repository of recipeeeez, hurray. I decided on Jae Steele‘s book, Get It Ripe, mostly because of how healthy and easy it all looked, and it seemed perfect now that school’s started to keep my time in the kitchen to a relaxed minimum.
(also, she’s a local gal who runs between montreal and toronto a lot, and also – Aux Vivres restaurant recipes, like the Millet & Mushroom Tortiere? Yes, please!)

First up, and so far my fave – Baked Barbecue Tofu with mushrooms and green peppers. SO more-ish (spicy, tomato-y, nutty!), and it takes all of 3 minutes to throw together. And excellent cold the next day.

The lentil dhal was also a winner! It should be with red lentils, for the record – I only had brown. But still very very delicious. (I added a bit of EB, for that ghee kinda taste, and slathered it on rice cakes for the next few days – amazing!)

I had slightly less luck with the baked goods… the gingerbread had a wonderful flavour, but was so delicate, I had to handle it with surgeon’s care to get every pillow-soft crumb into my mouth!

And the infamous flax-maple cookies were less like shortbread and more like biscuits, but once I wrapped my head around their less-sweet character, I realized they really were a lovely after-school teatime snack. And SO simple to throw together, I probably stood in front of a bowl for a minute and half, threw the pretty coins in the oven for another few minutes and cookie-baking time was over. So really, perfect for september! And also – very healthy! Win-win.

There’s also a million awesome pages of baking tips, health information, cooking charts and personable advice, so there’s that going for it, too. Oh, and beautiful pictures. It’s a really cute book! And I definitely know where I’ll be going for dinner ideas when I’m in a rush. :)

I had no idea I could make this something this good. Holy wow! I was having trouble taking the pictures ’cause my nose had to be right up in them and they smell SO FREAKING GOOD. I adapted the recipe from here, and with some judicious tinkering made them probably better, ha!

Orange & Gingerbread Scones

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 cup oats
1/3 cup brown sugar

1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp cloves

1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/3 cup margarine
zest of 1 orange (reserving 2 tsps)

1/3 cup dried cranberries

1/3 cup non-dairy milk
3 tbsp orange juice

3 tbsp molasses
1 tsp vanilla extract

Orange Glaze :
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 1/2 tbsp orange juice
2 tsps orange zest

raw coarse sugar (for sprinkling)

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F
2. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl, then cut in the margarine with a pastry cutter or some knives until it looks like (yep you guessed it) coarse cornmeal. Stir in the orange zest and cranberries.
3. Whisk together the wet ingredients, then pour them onto the dry and mix til it just comes together.
4. Move the dough to a floured surface and shape it into an 8″ disc (or so), then cut that disc in half and cut wedges from each half. Transfer to a greased baking sheet and bake em for 20 minutes, or when a toothpick comes out clean.
5. Mix up the glaze and when the scones are cool, brush them allll over (to make them extra orangey awesome) and then sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Serve em with tea. or apricot beer. or just serve em. you know you want to!

EDIT: I did serve them, to a couple people, and each time the reaction was…… eyes widen and mouth goes “woah!”. So I’m happy. This is my first invented baked good. :)

well, it’s the official first post. woo, and here’s some Gingerbread Cupcakes with Lemony Frosting, care of the ppk, and I’m too tired to link the recipe right now, sooooooo…..


well, I hope this works. I’ll come back when I’ve had more sleep. (that is to say, any sleep at all)

EDIT: all linked up!

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