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Then for a while I was all in love with med-firm tofu and it’s magical ability to become some luxurious (yet low guilt) salad dressing at a moment’s notice. I played around with a few varieties – I tried the Vegan World Fusion Caesar (yum!), I made a kind of ranch, and my favourite was a curried apricot dressing that was very inspired by something from the Millenium cookbook, although I changed it entirely… I even found the notepad file I wrote the recipe on! So here it is —-
1/4 lb. med-firm tofu
1-2 dried apricots, soaked well and chopped
1 tsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/8 tsp cardamom
pinch of cayenne
1 tsp almond butter
1 tsp canola oil
enough water to thin
I usually feel funny posting about salads, since it’s like, well, vegetables. With oil and salt and things. But this one was like a bomb of happy went off in my mouth, so here it is. I think there was berries, daikon, carrot, goji, ume vinegar and mirin involved, maybe some tamari. Good stuff!! I think this is when I began to taste spring, a little bit.
And if I wasn’t careful, Satchmo was gonna taste my peanut butter banana oat muffins!! These are soooo perfect if you don’t want anything even remotely evil in a baked good, and I really didn’t at the time. It’s just every ingredient listed in the title, plus some baking powder, cinnamon, and raisins for sweetness and that’s it. I mean, admittedly I added some salt and allspice, but that’s still earnest. And they made perfect desserts for anything, since I made them mini I could celebrate putting my clothes in the dryer with a muffin if I wanted. Oh yeah! And gluten free, too! Like the loaf, completely subconscious on my part, but neat. Oh, and recipe is from aTxVegan!
And I ought to open Vegan Fire & Spice WAY more often, because it’s just crammed full of launching-pads for creative dinners. I was way too lazy to cook up brown rice one night, so I riffed off the Persian Orange Rice with Pistachios, using couscous and walnuts instead. Really good!!! Totally orangey and warmly spiced and great with zataar-spiced vegetables to mix into it (especially zucchinis!)
Gorgeous! Floating rice in big white space! It’s the hunan fried rice from Vegan Fire & Spice, which is actually pretty fantastic. It actually has flavour, and I especially love how the tofu pellets explode with sherry goodness. I switched up the vegetables completely and can see myself pulling out this basic recipe to accomodate any old veg & rice, cause it’s really yum and takes like 2 minutes to bash up.
Equally fast and furious – the snobby joes from the Veganomicon on spaghetti squash with baked paprika yam fries from Extraveganza. I’m so officially hooked on spaghetti squash right now, it’s like noodles except refreshing. It had been so long since I’d had it that I forgot you could actually slurp the stuff, and that became so much the deciding factor in my new love for it. Veg! You can slurp! Everyone wins. :)
Persimmon blondies!! As luscious as they sound and look, they’re a tester recipe for Hannah‘s upcoming book. I am super lucky that things like this freeze well, or I’d have polished off the pan already. :p
And I picked up a cool looking bag of assorted herbs in chinatown the other day. It was only 70 cents and I kind of saw it as a taster pack of a bunch of exotic ingredients I might never get around to trying all in one spot. Like… lotus seeds, dioscorea, dried lily bulb, fox nuts, dried longan and polygonatum. And a big pouch of barley!
I assumed it was for boiling with chicken for to make extra-healthified chicken soup (at least according to my book on asian cooking) so I just skipped the chicken part and boiled it for 45 minutes or so. The funny thing is that I went for a quick grocery run in the middle – yes I am that bad and I leave the stove on while I’m gone sometimes ^^; – and when I came back the apartment smelled so nutty and sweet and… quite like chicken soup. Strange! But not bad. I strained it out because the solids were tasteless, added some tamari, green onion and tofu cube and it was strangely very satisfying. Not a taste sensation or anything, but it felt good going down the throat and I could see myself picking up a pack the next time I get a cold.
You’re also gonna think I’m weird, maybe, but this salad was a great accompaniment to barley broth. I didn’t know that endive, pear and pecan (in my case walnut) was such a classic salad! This is the veganomicon version, but I’m pretty interested in playing around with the components, maybe adding some fermented tofu as a blue cheese element, or tossing in some roasted beets like Emilie did. It’s also so pleasingly in season, I love that. So far, winter hasn’t been half bad!
So I’m writing this from the comfy green rocking recliner in my mother’s living room, covered in flour and crossing recipes off of the veganomicon index faster than I can decide on the next thing I want to make, and that is to say – life (or at least my pseudo-vacation before school starts full throttle again in september) is good.
I even got to make a pie – a birthday peach and blueberry pie at my mother’s request, using the vcon pastry instead of my usual. It’s definitely easier to use, like those pie crusts you see on television that people just sort of toss into the pan… but I think next time I’ll stick with my madness-inducing-yet-extraordinarily-tender crust I usually use. Because personally I’d rather my pie disintegrate into buttery flakes at the touch of a fork than look pretty and pert, but that’s just me…. and I’m just a pie-obsesso who so rarely gets to make them… :p
Mmm… and I’m mentioning here that in an awesome and unplanned way, there is a tomato in just about everything in this post. Which makes sense! It being the season and all. But I’m mentioning it so you can play along and find them. Like in the vcon midsummer corn chowder, which is SOOO good, you have to make it! With rosemary focaccia it was perfect, and there was a big paprika’d mountain of hummus on the table, too.
Went out for dinner at Corners on Bank. Not much to say… I mean, it was crazy delicious, but it was just a Boca burger. I guess to people who never ever eat those things it’s a special treat, though. And they very happily let me pick my own toppings off of the menu options, so I got chipotle salsa, caramelized onions and guacamole, and the calabrese bun was teeth-sinking yeasty and notably fresh, so really, who’s complaining at all?
Okay me, for forgetting to ask for my salad sans dressing. :p
1 cup cornmeal
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup almond milk
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp chopped pickled jalapenos
1/4 cup sauteed onions
pinch of sugar
Fry them up, eat with salsa, say yum yum yum and think why didn’t I make DOUBLE that amount because now I have to give my lunch to my sister who just came in the door with hoecake longing in her eyes. Alas, alas…..
….at least I got the vcon mexican millet all to myself! It wasn’t gonna happen like that – I was making it for everybody, but everybody went to bed, and then a forkful of it went in my mouth and any plans to eat anything else went ~poof~ and I had half the pot all for me, and it was so good. I love millet! Especially when it’s buttery and nutty and crisp/creamy, and eaten out of a dainty little rice bowl.
And then vcon blintzes, with dill-tahini sauce, applesauce and pickled red cabbage. A lot of work for something that tasted pretty perogi-like, but delicious nonetheless. Especially when all the toppings glooped together to form SUPER GLOOP of the potato-y sauce-y goodness.
And lunch today – vcon creamy tomato soup (+ broccoli) with celine’s cheezy crackers (YUM!) and vcon mushroom-walnut pate with more lentils and less walnuts because that’s what I had.
(in conclusion: I love tomatoes! <——- ze obvious) :D
Yum! Amazing! Could I gush more? I should! I was fortunate enough to be a tester for the very talented A-K of the Swell Vegan blog, and I’ve just fallen in love with her Sweet Potato & Black Bean Burgers with Millet and Leeks! They’re so delicious, with a sweet note of almond butter, some spicy mexi-kick, a nice meaty bite and very easy to make. I usually douse my burgers in nayo and ketchup, but not this time! Condiments like that t’would be sacrilege in this case, as they’re plenty flavourful enough on their own (though her suggestion of guacamole would be verrrrry nice, I’m thinking). They firm up nice, too!
And yesterday I wanted lentil soup but also not to work very hard, so I made the vcon Ancho Lentil Soup. Which was good, but I kinda wish it were spicier, or the ancho flavour more pronounced (and I used a huge one). Or even had vegetables in it of any kind? The pineapples were a fun touch, though.
Aaaaand, I promised myself a bar of Terra Nostra Rice Milk Chocolate on Zombie Jesus Day but got sidetracked by florentine’d tofu and other foods that AREN’T CHOCOLATE (insane, I know). So I fixed that and bought a bar, and woah! This is some special milky-mouth-melt action! I think dark is still my absolute favourite, but it’s an utter treat to reach into the chocolate drawer (yes, I have one of those – usually 2 or 3 bars open at any given time… for emergencies!) and pull out milk chocolate. *grin*
So here it is! I went a little all-out, but I had two leisurely days to do it, so it was actually a great lesson in NOT stressing over food. From right to left, there’s Aloo Paratha (spicy potato-filled flatbread – kind of my specialty, I might post the recipe later), Tamarind Lentils, Gajar salad (carrots with lemon and toasted mustard seeds), 5-Minute Mango Chutney, lime-pickled cucumber, Matar Tofu (tofu marinated in this), more Aloo Paratha because it’s basically the best bread-type food in the world, and v-con Masala Roasted Vegetables (brussels sprouts, carrots, parnsip and onion). And it was all gone in 10 minutes. I give flying colours to everything!
I ran to the kitchen to get a good shot of everything. Soooooo gooood. I’m especially in love with the mango chutney and the matar tofu – Indira’s recipe is so fresh-tasting and comes together like magic in a few minutes if you have everything prepped.
V-con Coconut Lemon Bundt Cake! OMG make this cake! It’s so moist, and so good. Everything that everyone’s been saying about the crispy outside is bang on, and the inside is all zingy and coconutty and kinda melts in the mouth. I’m having more for lunch. With vanilla pudding on top, I think. And I broke the top because de-panning cakes is hard when you’re impatient, but icing sugar (and a little bit of careful surgery) is a girl’s best friend, I’m discovering.
(the sound of the dinner table, btw ~~~ “mmmmiammm munch munch sigh SO GOOD mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm snarf snarf pass the chutney zomg mmmmm”) :D
There’s bad news, though. See… I think I have two enemies in the kitchen. Or at least, two things are making themselves apparent as factors I need to watch out for. The first of these is vegetable stock cubes/overly salty broth, which just seems to stomp all over any delicate flavour in it’s path (I sincerely don’t know why I even have that box in my cupboard!!). And the second is impatience.
Two cases in point: I come home last night to see my innocent little crock of very recently born sourdough starter just LAVA-ing all over the top of the coffee maker. How very exciting, I figured – it was ready! At the very least it was about 3 times the size it used to be and smelling really nice and making a respectable yeasty mess of my kitchen, so I threw together a sponge for rye bread and went to bed. Then this morning I made the rye bread, which rose not at all and came out of the oven as dense as a log (despite smelling great). Completely inedible. I had a piece and I felt like I ate a rock! I hate wasting food so I’m going to have a supply of caraway breadcrumbs pretty soon, but I’ve never had bread turn out so badly! *sniff*
(note to self: sourdough starter is ready when a white foam shows up. no sooner, silly girl!)
My other enemy, salty broth, reared it’s ugly head for what I thought would be a lovely counterpart to fresh caraway-rye bread – the Tomato Dill Lentil soup from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan. First off I threw in more broth than the recipe called for, to use it up. Then I had to substitute a bunch of stuff – dried dill for the dill seeds, brown sugar for molasses, dijon mustard for mustard powder, etc – and maybe after all that I was silly to expect perfection, but it came out really heavy. I had to water it down a TON, and the flavour was good, it just didn’t have a fresh tomato and dill kind of thing going on, so that was sad.
On the plus side, I made fajita-y type things the other night with refrieds, peppers, onions and sour tofu cream that were really excellent, and I’m closing with that so I don’t feel like a total complain-y susan. Yay mexican! At least I know there’s no such thing as too much hot sauce. :D