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I’m inspired again!! It happened very suddenly, I think a warm breeze passed through my kitchen and the walls turned sunny-orange in a way I hadn’t seen in months, prompting a small whirlwind of culinary tinkering, and I haven’t stopped since. I made raviolis, even, which I’ve always wanted to do! They’re roasted beet with rosemary and toasted walnuts, made with wonton skins, so they’re not pasta exactly, but I prefer the chewy dumplingness of the skins, actually. Because that way I’m allowed to eat them with my hands. They also coincided with a small disaster that resulted in something wonderful …….
— my fridge has sucked for years. It’s been replaced 3 or 4 times since I’ve lived here, and each one has been more small, old, fragile and smelly than the last. Have you ever seen a fridge where the freezer was INSIDE the box, and there was only one door? That was mine, until last week when it started to leak freon and smell rather horrifyingly chemical. I tried eating an apple from the crisper and my mouth started to tingle… I didn’t repeat that. O_o
The building quickly replaced it, as usual, except that this time – it’s a real fridge, white and sizeable, with a real freezer door! It makes a very satisfying sound, and my smoothies taste like ice cream now because the ice is so cold. Amazing! Anyway, the reason I bring this up is because while I rescuing things from the old icebox I pulled out a huge bag of peas and was like, “uh… I should eat these somehow”, which led to a most delicious puree to go with my raviolis. I just threw the peas in a blender with some garlic, basil, mint, balsamic, oil, tamari and pepper and it was shmancy-perfect-face-stuffingly-delicious. woo!
I also made some sandwich bread last week, to celebrate the white flour purchase. I’d never made sandwich bread before! It’s so useful, and tasty. This one was whole wheat rye, made with a bit of molasses and caraway and I had no trouble eating it up, especially shmeared with spicy homemade apple butter, yum! It inspired me to make a real salad. And it inspired me to have reubens for lunch all last week – holy batman that’s a good sammich!
For the ‘meat’ part I made lentil patties with pickle juice and gluten flour, breaded them in breadcrumbs and baked for 30 minutes, flipping once. Then loaded on the sauerkraut and homemade 1000-island and munched happily away!
Finally – to celebrate the spring equinox, and in anticipation of finding good things in life, I baked a lemon poppy seed bread yesterday, studded with little treasures. Rings, crystals, little coins, it was so much fun to bring this to a potluck, cover it with fresh berries, and slice off little hunks with surprises inside! The bread itself is moist and more-ish, too – super citrusy, with a sparkly sugary crust, and soaked in a lemon syrup = win!
Springtime Lemon Poppyseed Bread
1 tablespoon lemon zest
juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons poppy seeds
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water (could use milk)
2 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
3 tablespoons raw sugar (for sprinkling on top)
optional: little metal trinkets
1. Preheat oven to 375 and grease a loaf pan.
2. Combine the wet ingredients in a large bowl, lemon zest through water.
3. Sift together the dry ingredients, then add that to the wet and stir just until combined.
4. Pour half the batter in the pan, dot the batter with metal trinkets (if using), then add the rest of the batter, sprinkle the top with raw sugar and bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a skewer comes out clean. Don’t take it out of the pan yet though! While it’s still warm, make….
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
1. Mix lemon juice and sugar together in a bowl, microwave on high for about 45 seconds, stir to dissolve into a syrup.
2. Poke a bunch of holes in your lemon bread with a skewer or a toothpick, then pour the syrup over top and let it soak in for about 20 minutes. Then take it out of the pan and let it cool. Slice, warn people not to break their teeth on anything, and bask in the party game + dessert combined. :)
I’m sorry, I’ll make a real post tomorrow (pink soup!), but for now this is the awesomest thing ever:
I’m so bad… I have been all but absent from the blogging world for a long time, I know… art has been taking up a lot of my creative attention these days. It’s been oatmeal/miso/salad forever (and I don’t mind, it’s just not worthy of post). I will try, though – I took down my Veganmofo banner thinking I wouldn’t have the time… but you know what? I’m gonna *make* time. I will even get around to all of your blogs, because I know you’ve been doing incredible things that I will be sorely tempted to make but won’t have time for… but isn’t that the way of inspiring food? :D
So yeah… there were actually two dinners of total note in the past few weeks. We made the most perfect chili dinner EVER, I mean, it was off the hook. The chili was spicy chipotle-chocolate with shrooms, corn, peppers, tvp and 4 kinds of beans and it did that… um… chili-thing, where the texture is kinda like… kinda thick and sticky. In the best way!
(there was even red rice and super garlicky sour cream, meaning that Liz swirled her whole plate together like one giant steaming burrito and proceeded to cry little pearly tears of “OMG vegans eat SO WELL!”).
All right, dinner number two… pagan thanksgiving! Or autumn equinox if you prefer. It’s the time when the day and night are the exact same length, on September 22, and some like to celebrate with wine and apple desserts, and stories and tarot readings. (hint: we are those people)
Pomme cornbread of another flavour, this time with peppers and zucchini, because cornbread is basically the best accompaniment to everything. Including ice cream! …. okay, okay….. maybe not. But yummy with ratatouille, which we did have.
There it is! From Aux Vivres, actually, so basically super fatty and tasting kinda like gold. Along with couscous, steamed chard and veggies, and the most amazing sagey roasted veggies, it was easy pants to put together this dinner after work and still covered every “festive” base, I think.
And having an ugly apple pie for dessert doesn’t hurt that cause, either. Ugly and the best thing that ever happened to apples, that is.
(a mix of cortland, granny smith, macintosh and yellow delicous)
Oh right! And I almost forgot to mention! THAT is my harvest! My weeny teeny tomato harvest. Yep. And it was alllllll worth it. For serious, for true – being able to look outside of my 4th story window to a fire escape full of fragrant vines was the real benefit to this whole endeavour. They’re just really cute, tart, perky symbols of urban defiance, woohoo!
Well, I’m back! I’ve scrubbed the dirt out of all my crevices, uploaded a billion gorgeous pictures of natural beauty and human wackiness, rubbed my belly after meal upon meal of delicious vegan forest food, and now I’m finally ready to get back to city life… and update my blog!
So this is the humble kitchen, rather unassuming by day (though inviting), and positively radiant by tiki torch at night. There was always fresh fruit and whole grain breads around, and a steaming gigantic decanter of yerba mate for the lacking-in-energy camper to drink copious amounts of (4 mugs a day, anyone?)
One afternoon Star and I even discovered sushi being made! Forest sushi! It took all of 3 seconds for her to jump into the kitch and start showing off her fantastic rolling skills. There was even apparently onigiri with pickled plum being made later, which I unfortunately missed, but still… that’s damn cool.
And here’s the bounty of fresh herbs and vegetation at the right of the kitchen, which gave the food this wonderful vitality. (note to self: donate something that is green and growing in a pot next year)
The tea tent! It was this dear little spot, glowing white and smelling of herbs/the always-lit iron stove that kept the kettle boiling outside. There were teas for everything — lung cleansing, ephedra-energizing if you wanted it, lucid dreaming, even getting in a sexy mood! With agave nectar, fresh citrus to cut, ginger, books on herbs, and just a great atmosphere all around.
Okay, onto the plates. (every attempt I made to take night photos got thwarted, so none of the dinners got photographed, but rest assured they were pretty involved and distinctive and delicious, even moreso than the first two meals of the day. ah well.)
This was my first breakfast – note the conservative portions, before I realized I could totally take my fill from the table – morning quinoa with hempseeds, soaked/raw whole wheat granola, and spicy applesauce.
Oops – this is the one standout meal that sucked for me. 1 out of 21 ain’t too shabby at all, though! Another split pea dhal with much much less flavour, and saltless dry millet. Still – totally healthy.
Most colourfullest breakfast EVER, and it tasted even better than it looked! Tahini-dressed salad, quinoa with star anise and clove, apple chutney, pickled carrots, fruit salad with papaya, pineapple, watermelon, pear, orange and honeydew, and one of those awesome E-Balls.
And the last brekky – creamy rice pudding with apricots and sunflower seeds, sugarless (yet sweet) cocoa apple crumble/granola, a citrus-y salad, and a slice of dense rye with apple butter. Plus a view to totally die for…
More often than not, I skipped the smoky campfire scene and hiked a few minutes away to a secluded sunny rock with my meal to listen to mild ripples and rustling trees instead. You could have given me a half-eaten Boca burger in that setting and I would have been in foodie bliss anyway… but really, in conclusion, I got totally inspired by the spices and innovation that I saw at Om, and the dedication that the kitchen organizers had to keeping 500+ people fed and nourished all day, every day, for a whole week! For one – I’m gonna start respecting the “mere” salad a heck of a lot more, play with grains and seeds more, put tahini in more stuff (because tahini = AWESOME), and basically just focus on health and colour instead of rigidly following silly things like recipes all the time. I’ve even put it into practice at home, but that’ll have to wait for the next post. ;)
( Oh, and I wish I could have taken a picture of the meal that I helped prepare, it was my favourite of all the dinners (maybe I’m biased, but it WAS amazing). Just imagine saffron-coconut apple soup, fried bananas, truly spicy aloo gobi, and cardamom-almond rice. OMG. I weep for the lack of picture! :O )
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 :)
Just a quick ‘fu-centric update — pictured here is the marinade for v-con spicy tempeh and broccoli rabe pasta. Tempeh around here is about as precious as gold (I’ve tasted the stuff, oh, maybe once), so I stood in tofu instead. Worked really well, and I’m a sucker for fennel and spice, so I’ll probably be using this marinade for other stuff, too.
(I should also mention that the spirally nature of the pasta is oh-so mandatory for getting crumbly bits of fried goodness into every nook and cranny of every bite. OH SO mandatory! :p)
Hot cross buns! I used Carla’s recipe from But Did They Eat It?, except I used raisins, apricots, currants and candied ginger (instead of raisins, blueberries and cranberries). So much fun to make! I used to adore these things, even more than easter chocolate. You can get chocolate any time, right? But spicy fruited buns were special, even the storebrand kind that we got. I also found out that they’re suitably pagan!! The cross was originally a Saxon thing, and it represented the four phases of the moon, so I felt gloriously faithful to my hippie-dippy roots and munched warm buns with my buddies who weren’t expecting sunday baked goods at all! (unexpected baked goods are SO the best kind).
And the second half of tofu brick got lovingly transformed into v-con tofu florentine, which made a fantastic Eostre/Easter brunch. I was especially taken with the broiled tofu – I think I’ve been under-doing my tofu all this time! Granted, I usually like it creamier (rawer?) than super firm, but it was cool to cut it into steaky little pieces for a change. And cheeze + spinach + tomatoes + taters = loooooove.
In other news….
I stumbled onto tofu on sale today and now I’m the proud owner of 3 (!!?) bricks. Oh dear…. ^_^;