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Hey guys, check it out – ancient cookbook envelopes!  You know the kind of cookbook that has the index with the illustrated alfalfa leaf and the recipes for brown rice pudding with apricot and kale and buckwheat egg-mash?  Yeah, the kind that wouldn’t suffer much from being folded into something beautiful and useful, I think.  

I’ve been really into making envelopes the past day or two, it’s pretty easy – just take an envelope you like, unfold it flat, trace the outline onto another paper and glue it up the same way – brilliant!  I’m going to use these for my Etsy orders from now on.  

Hmm, yes, speaking of crafts, I may have mentioned an art show I had a table at last weekend?  It went pretty well for a first time at active capitalism – I made 5$ (after table cost), got some buttons, met great people, and probably most importantly of all – got A LOT of insider information on how to make laser cutters, business cards, japanese sculpture-cards, postcards, felted fabric, etc.  That and………… a custom cookie portrait on a vegan cookie no less!  Yumm-me!  haha.  The woman next to me was also friends with Jae Steele and we went on about Get it Ripe and co-ops for a while and I got to try her awesome spelted blueberry muffins and banana-chocolate breads!
Yum, corn salad!  I have no idea what made this one so special, but it’s what I brought for lunch with me to the sale.  I remember it was very acidic, with fresh dill, mayonnaise, perfect tomatoes, a bit of sugar (shhh don’t tell), cayenne, cumin maybe?…  whatever, it was creamy and really good when the ubiquitous wasps weren’t attracted by the sweet smell of it.  
I also brought these, and I can’t even tell you how much of a wasp-attractor they were, but omg were they worth it in every way.  Donuts!  Like I hadn’t tasted in years!  The chocolate-y ones I was especially pining for, and Lolo’s donuts (via Vegetarian Times) are just the texture and richness I remember.  So fudgey, so so so very good.  The apple ones had about 3 different dimensions of apple in them, too, spicy and perfect for fall!  
It was good to have a box like this to pass around to fellow crafters when the rain started coming down. 

smile and the cashew cucumber dip will smile with you ;)
In other news, my mom and brother came up for a few days last week, and we had a really lovely time, during which it became obvious to me where I learned to sup and savour food like a real hedonist.  My family gets it!  
I’d had some cabbage rolls stuffed with cinnamon-tomato-lemon-millet left over from a previous lunch, so I decided to expand on that Greek-style and with my bro’s help it was really fast and easy.  We ended up with the tomato & zucchini tofu fritters from Veganomicon, with the accompanying cashew cucumber dip, as well as some lime-broiled green beans, some artichokes, and olives.  We briefly bemoaned the lack of good thick greek pita to eat with all this, but then remembered there was a bottle of Riesling to be had (a good dry German one, haha) and anyway, that’s all *I* needed.
Hi mom!  This is my second favourite park, but my #1 choice for picnics.
In the morning with a sleepy brother!  I couldn’t really leave well enough alone when he said he wanted oatmeal.  If he really wanted oatmeal I would have made some afterwards, but I was so geared for brunch.  (I didn’t hear any complaints in the end).  Just enough food for three people, it was Isa’s basic fluffy pancakes, potato & sausage fry, steamed broccoli with cheesy sauce, and um… because I’m me, a firecracker-hot thai cucumber salad that I ended up just eating myself. I’m probably weird (no, I’m definitely weird), but I think eating a whole thai chili along with breakfast is a pretty good idea.  Kinda like coffee, but more burninating. 

Yummmmmm.  Those pancakes are so perfect.  Need I say more?

Oh, okay, just one more thing.  A quick bottomless apple pie made with the crust from Fran Costigan’s More Great Good Desserts.  Amazing!  It’s made with frozen oil and it’s the flakiest darned thing I’ve ever managed to top a pie with!  Really easy, too, and stood up to my adaptations (mostly spelt flour, some whiskey added).  Makes me think I might master pies someday.  I’m still no expert, but this one was getting close… the apples were just kissed with 5-spice powder, ooh.  We drizzled it with coconut cream and it was very good.  

My sister, meanwhile, is at Burning Man.  :O
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(ps. sorry about the font in some parts of this post.  not sure why it went so wonky)

So if my blog tags are any indication at all (and amusingly, they often are), I’m more than a little mad for blueberries.  Dunno why exactly… it could be the bursting qualities… or the way they’re so purple and freeze perfectly and are also called starberries?  And when you stick them in things people go “oooooooh” without fail, it’s kind of funny!

When I saw this recipe for pea pancakes with blueberry basil dressing I knew knew KNEW I had to try it, it sounded the thing little fresh-showered elves would eat over tea and the latest forest news.  Lo and behold, it even looks like that sort of food, too!  Call me bowled over with technicolour, batman.  I wanna cook chromatically so much now!
Here’s the veganization of it all.  The pea pancakes are almost perfect (I’d consider leaving out the cornstarch to keep the flavour brighter perhaps?).  The blueberry dressing is also pretty good, but I could do better probably and another kind of vinegar would probably work nicer, I just haven’t figured out which one.  Still really good though!  (If you wanted lemon I’d never stop you, I just wanted to see if I could use something besides citrus.  Balsamic would probably be nice, too, come to think of it).  
Blueberry Basil Sauce

2/3 cup blueberries

1/4 cup water + 1 tbsp

1/2 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cornstarch

1 tsp vegetable oil

1 tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar

1 tbsp fresh minced basil

cracked black pepper

– In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tbsp of water with the cornstarch, set aside.
– In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the blueberries, 1/4 cup of water, sugar and salt to a low boil until the berries start to pop and bleed their juice.  Remove from heat and stir in the cornstarch mixture, oil, vinegar, basil, and pepper.  Taste for salt and cover to keep warm.
Green Pea Pancakes (serves 2-3 as a snack or side)

4 oz. snap peas, strings removed

1/2 cup green peas

1/2 cup milk or cream

1 tsp melted buttery spread

1/2 tsp cornstarch

1/4 cup flour

1/4 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

– Bring a pot of lightly salted water to boil.  Blanche the snap peas for 30 seconds, then rinse in cold water.  Do the same with the green peas, until they’re tender (2-3 minutes maybe).

– In a blender, combine the cooled peas with the milk, butter, and cornstarch, and blend until pretty smooth.  Move to a mixing bowl.

– Sift in the dry ingredients and gently fold until totally incorporated (shouldn’t take much effort)

– Melt a bit of buttery spread in a nonstick and fry thin little 2″ pancakes until golden brown on both sides.  Serve warm with a bit of blueberry sauce and some basil leaves on top.

Right.  And.
AND.
It was Pomme’s birthday time this weekend, and that meant I was required to out-do myself again, inspired by love to fling culinary handrail-holding out the window and concoct some sort of artistic masterpiece that’ll never have a recipe written down (but I’ll always remember how to do).  In this case – a 2-layer Morrocan Mint cake with generous inches of Blueberry Mousse and a Pomegranate Glaze, topped with sugared pine nuts and mint leaves.  !!!!  For the record, I did a billion new things in the kitchen for this (well okay, I played with agar), and it turned out like some patisserie’s jazzed star, in shades of aubergine, gold and lavender, and I *wish* I had a slice shot, but it was enjoyed by candlelight in the company of lots of vegan restaurant coworkers, so I’ll just have to make another layer cake soon to make up for that! :p
Officially, the entire thing doesn’t have a recipe, but I’ll post the adaption I made to the matcha cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes because it made a damned fine joconde and the vegan world can always use another attempt at that, I think.  Pretty simple, actually… (it was the simple part)
Vegan Morrocan Mint Joconde

1/2 cup soygurt

2/3 cup strongly brewed green tea with 10-12 fresh mint leaves in it (strained, of course)

1/4 tsp vanilla

1/3 cup canola oil

1/2 tsp almond extract

3/4 cup flour

1/2 cup ground almonds

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

3 tsp matcha soymilk powder

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup sugar

– Preheat oven to 350 and line an 8″ cake tin with nonstick spray and parchment paper.

– In a large mixing bowl combine the soygurt, tea, extracts, and oil

– Sift together the dry ingredients, then slowly add it to the wet bowl in installments, gently folding with a whisk until it’s smooth.

– Pour into cake pan and bake for 35-42 minutes (my oven is really slow, so take these times as approximations).  A toothpick should come out clean, and the top should be glossy and flat.

– Let it cool almost completely before turning it onto a parchment lined cooling rack.  Once cool, cut it carefully into 2 layers, and soak each layer (as you construct your moussey cake) with Mint Syrup.


Mint Syrup


2/3 cups strong Morrocan mint tea (made the same as before)

1/3 cup sugar

some extra mint leaves if you want


– Bring everything to a boil in a tiny saucepan over medium heat and let it bubble until it’s reduced slightly and thicked.  Cool completely before spooning over your cake layers.


(it all tastes of exotic and meltaway sweet sand and herbs….. very very very – needless to say – delicious)

Summertime and some are slacking!  That is to say — oh oh I’m sorry I dropped off the face of the blog-Earth!  I’ve been pretty busy, writing papers, painting spiders and lettuce leaves, taking t’ai chi, dating someone (yey), still cooking up a storm, and just not really feeling like there’s been a good time to blog about it.  But really, it’s getting ridiculous… I’ve lost count of how many photos I have.  Stacks.  And they’re getting outdated, I’m forgetting if I used olives or capers in these stuffed tofus for example… at any rate I used Kittee’s Method of the Stars to stuff them full of olive-oily spinach, red peppers, and raisins (I think).  Other good things, then breaded them in cornflakes, baked, and ate most of them all chewy-cold out of the fridge – like moment’s notice hunger-killers, basically.
Sushi!  But with black rice this time, which is really more of a purple, and taste-wise isn’t quite sushi bliss… but it sure is pretty.  I kinda feel like this is sushi with a silk tie on, or something.

And speaking of oceanic treats, my sister and I discovered some fantastic package of salty fried nori in her cupboards.  This stuff is gooooood.  For my money, beats the pants off of potato chips.

Sis thinks so too!

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

Blend!  Blend like yo salad depends on it!  
My favourite part of tofu dressings is putting on so much that you can eat the extra at the bottom with a spoon. :)
Isa’s perfect chocolate chip cookies are, by the way, and if you hadn’t heard – perfect.  Utterly perfect.  Me and this cookie had a bit of a moment… time stopped outside my window, cars drove softly past and I felt like all the sweet chewy vanill-y mass was just going straight into my heart (forget stomachs).  Good times.  Oh!  And this is only from batch number two.  I made them before, maybe not creaming quite enough so they spread a bit, but obviously still amazing enough to convince me to try again.

Not having ever tried a Madhur Jaffrey recipe I figured I would give it a go, finally.  Her dhal intrigued me in how it has a whole lemon sliced right into it, and it really works!  Totally makes it a different sort of creature than your regular lentil-mash.  I ate it up with — oh oh oh oh!!  guess what!!!  I got a food processor!  Or at least, an attachment for my new stick blender that my mom got me (love moms!).  I turned veggies into confetti in like, 10 seconds, wow.  Anyway, yeah, I stuffed said veggies (sauted with garlic, mustard seeds, cider vinegar, bit of braggs, maybe a bit of tahini? possibly caraway seeds, too) into a paratha, and then ate the mountain of leftovers too, because it was pretty delicious stuff.  

I also think I’m finally getting the hang of cakes.  Getting the right ratio of textures, flavours, sizes, richnesses, bursts of things, etc.  This was so well-balanced, one of my favourites in recent memory!  It’s a chocolate mint cake with minty vanilla buttercream sandwiched between, whipped ganache on top, and loads of little violets, to celebrate spring or some such twee sentiment that surprised me in actually tasting good as well as looking way pretty.  I ended up dipping the extra violet stems in the leftover ganache!  And the cake… was this joyous kind of refreshing melt-in-your-mouth confection that I had (Mwahahaha!) MOSTLY to myself.  Usually I’m the one giving away desserts too soon, but this one was totally mine.  Yum!

*ackdroolzzz*  don’t you wish there was taste-o-vision?

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