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This is one of those I can’t beLIEVE I didn’t write down what was inside these, mostly because I want to share it, not because I can’t probably make them again because I can, but they won’t be exactly the same and gosh knows I can’t recall the exact spices but I think there was cloves in there kind of dishes.  Yummy little nubbins!

Probably…
+ leftover rice
+ tahini
+ tamari
+ chopped apricots
+ ground almonds
+ ras el hanout
+ tomato paste
+ bread crumbs to roll in
but beyond that I haven’t a clue, oh well.  The sauce they’re sitting in is required, too, in this imaginary recipe, but thankfully is probably just your favourite blended roasted yellow pepper sauce with a lot of cracked toasted coriander added into it.
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I have to mention this specially. I can’t not mention it. It’s a service to tongues everywhere to spread the word that Jamaican Stew is where it’s at!! I didn’t really plan it but it came together so magically, and I’m really happy at how my first “giant pot of something that should ideally feed me through the week” turned out. I even did up the last handful of my jasmine rice in celebration.

Incidentally I’m running out of pantry supplies like there’s no tomorrow and I’m only replacing the basics because I want to buy paintbrushes and hang out with a certain valentine. And that’s okay! I’m still cooking, it’s just adding a different spin on it.

Anyway, seriously seriously make this, it is really comforting yet sprightly (and delicious!)

Pseudo-Jamaican Stew

1 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, diced
1 turnip (baseball-sized), peeled and diced
1 large carrot, sliced
2 cups cauliflower florets
1 bell pepper, diced (I used yellow)
2 whole red dried chiles (or fresh scotch bonnet if you have it!)
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp ground allspice
loads of fresh ground black pepper
1/2 – 1 tsp salt (check and add more if needed)
2 cups water (or broth)
1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes
1 16 oz. can red kidney beans
3 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
a few generous shots of tabasco

jasmine rice (for under!)
green onions (for over!)

1. Soften the onion and garlic in a large pot over medium heat (with the oil of course), until they’re translucent and aromatic.
2. Add the turnip, carrot and cauliflower and cook until things look slightly tanned.
3. Add the bell pepper, all the spices, and cook another minute.
4. Add the water and canned things. Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer, partially covered for at least half an hour, or until the turnip basically is cooked through and the liquid looks broth-like.
5. Stir in the vinegar, tabasco. Check for salt and pepper. Serve over rice with lots of finely chopped green onion on top.

(I’ll be licking the tupperware when that moment comes!)

I came home to this sight the other day. It was kind of funny, actually – I’d just trudged home through a blizzard with visions of hot stew in my head and what do I find but the storm decided to join me in my kitchen!

Ha, it was okay. I managed not to step in any of the puddles and was very very thankful for the crockpot stew I had put on the night before. Yeah, I actually used my crockpot! *shock* my mom would be proud. I had actually been so busy that I acted the great cliche and took it down off the highest shelf I have to put some veganomicon cholent-style ingredients together the night before.

I’m actually not sure if I’m sold on the tarragon + caraway thing… but it was warm and hearty and perfect at the time. (ie: full of potatoes). I added tabasco and corn, too.

Earlier than that (or later? oh I don’t remember. sometime!) I made vcon lemon & pea risotto with roasted red peppers.

I don’t know why people complain about leftover risotto! I actually thought this was tastiest cold out of the fridge, slurped up like cold lemony pudding. I’m weird, yes. I tried Risotto al Salto too, to try it (basically fried up like a fritter), which was fine. But nothing on the ice-cold stuff!

I posted about hoecakes before, so there isn’t much to say about the big yellow thing on the plate – except maybe to amend my recipe to stress than fine cornmeal should be used in a hoecake. This one was coarse which did NOT work anywhere near as well, but ah you learn. The interesting bit, at least to me, is that grayish dip-like blob in the corner. It was very tasty! It’s black bean & orange dip from ED&BV, and it’s a little sweeter than a regular b.bean dip and really great on wraps and things.

In the midst of being busy I made some muffins to take to school. I wonder why I decided to make jammy muffins to put in my bag? Ha ha, anyway, they’re hearty jam-dot muffins from Fran Costigan’s second book. They’re okay… I like that there’s lots of toasted oats and sesame in them, and my mom’s homemade plum jelly. A wee bit heavy, but I subbed some stuff so it could have been my bad.

Over christmas my dad bought me some veggie burgers for christmas eve Burger Night (woohoo!), which happened to be Amy’s California Burgers. They’re soooooo good! They don’t taste a blessed thing like fakey meatstuff, but they DO taste like toasted bulger and mushrooms and loads of other great all-natural things. I had some on buns, and some on salad with tahini dressing and both ways were awesome. I had the last one today though, and I don’t know what to do because I never buy pre-packaged food for myself but I think I’ve fallen in love!

And finally… we call this an economic birthday, or a belated one, or whatever. It’s a full moon tonight and though it’s neither of these boys’ birthdays (although it’s close), it’s definitely always a good time for a chocolate jalapeno cake with ganache topping and strawberries inside. Yeah, I know!! It’s another Extraveganza cake recipe and holy schlamoli, it’s SO tender and delicious and soft peppery perfect, I tried a whole bunch of it that stuck to the cake tin. ^_^;

Word to the wise: the recipe mentions nothing about de-panning this cake, and in fact implies that it shouldn‘t be, I think, at least when you read the icing recipe along with it. I did anyway and it was a total headache cause it was so fluffy and sticky (and criminally delicious. did I mention that?), but I think it came through the operation 97% intact. Minus the chunks I ate. (I’m starting to think that being able to fix cake disasters is as useful as baking one that tastes good… :P)

Anyone else notice how the stuff on top kinda looks like a crab? Not planned! But I like it.

A post-holiday fridge is usually a riot of leftovers, and this thanksgiving was no exception, and yet — what do I have left here? Hmm… chickpeas, loads of peppers that are going wrinkly, red wine, a bag full of cut onions, mushrooms, and 1/2 eggplant. Shazam, that means ratatouille! Regardless of the amount of wild rice stuffing there is still left to eat. I’m firing up the oven now!

So I roasted the whole deal with a head of garlic and added a whole bunch of thyme, rosemary, basil and tarragon, some tomatoes, stirred stirred and THEN – oh my, like magic, it was wine-y and oven-roasted sweet and slurpily good. Go french stews. I’ll be having these leftovers over hoecakes for lunch today!

Small surprise to see corn up there in the first photo again, huh? I have this thing about blogging about food in true chronological order, though. And this week of legume-happy kicked off with the Vcon Creole Stuffed Peppers which were really nice, by the way. We had them with the Messy Rice and some steamed kale with liquid smoke slashed on for fun, and it was nom nom nom.

See, we’ve been eating like this because P is taking a break from soy and sugar, so it’s been a lot of soaking beans from the pretty little jars that line the counter. And about time! It’s been bugging me lately that we haven‘t been eating beans, cause they’re pretty much my favourite food ever – like, “what’s for dinner?” …. duh duh duh….. “Beans!”

So we made the Vcon Jamaican Yuca Shepherd’s Pie. ZOMG. You need to try this! It’s so so good, familiar and yet not, really wonderful.

And we had it with a pureed mango-lime dressing, cause I’ve been experimenting with “pureed-stuff-on-salad” (it’s been going well). Note the gimpy radish rosette, as I was apparently channelling some fifties housewife during the 10 free minutes that the casserole needed to cook.

Oh yeah, and I take back everything I said about posting in order, because mentioning pureed dressings reminded me of what I had for *lunch* that day – SusanV’s tofu omelette, which was spooky spot-on, and possibly even better than an egg omelette since it had that beautiful savoury-mousse kind of thing going on. And I got to use tabasco and tarragon in an omelette, which takes me back a few years, I can say that. Anyway… it was full of onions, mushrooms, zucchini and tomato and it was the lunchiest lunch I’d lunched on in forever – HIGHLY recommended.

And it came with salad. Weird salad! But weird-good. There were all these carrot tops in the crisper, so I pureed up a carrot with some ginger and soy sauce as per this recipe (minus the mustard), because why not, right? It didn’t make a dressing so much as a piquante veggie condiment, but it did the job, I liked it.

Then the next day for dinner I headed to the kitchen with the intention of opening myself a tin of tomato soup – tres gourmet, je sais – mais! Somehow between thawing out peas and shuffling through jars of cumin seeds I skipped right over the soup idea and made a freestyle aloo gobi that was so spot on, I am seriously proud of this one. Especially cos I don’t think I’ve even had aloo gobi before, but I double checked on a few recipes, and mine was virtually identical to the authentic-looking ones. Wee! Also served with that plum chutney I made a while ago, which mellowed and turned pretty wonderful in the fridge. I could get to like this curry + chutney business! It’s like an excuse to eat spicy jam with dinner.

Leftover kidney beans? Meet new life as kidney cutlets with oats and worcestershire and a heckuva lot of green peppercorns. I had these on a chapati wrap with mango and lettuce and red pepper and chipotle mayo and it was SO good, reminded me of childhood/meatloaf. Except better.

Drunken baking……………….. upside down black sesame plum cake, and oat/banana/chocolate loaf. Both made without refined sugar. And to my tongue…… the less said about them the better, eek. :p

And bean-week ends with the easiest most bestest use for beans ever – load up a humungous salad on top of leftover legumes and munch away on pure goodness. Topping it with fresh mint, dates, toasted almonds and avocado doesn’t hurt a salad either. I had this again today for lunch, actually, could be my new favourite food. Anyway…

That’s the week! We’re making pasta tonight, I have no idea what kind, but that’s kind of cool since we don’t make it very often. Oh yeah, and I opened the abalone-flavoured wheat gluten – it tastes like cat food and comes dripping in oil – YUCKKKKKK. So yeah, experiment fail, but still interesting. Til next post! (my 100th, actually)

Oh, and I almost forgot! I tried a chinese saucer peach last week, too! I was like “oh, it’s a gimmick, it must be – a peach that won’t roll off the counter, of course.” But you know what? It tastes like honey and flowers and is very very nice and completely different from a regular peach. Experiment success!

I’m experimenting with a bigger font size, because I agree with you guys – I found my blog hard to read, too!

My first attempt at vegan pizza (actually from a week or so ago, but I forgot to post about it). 2/3 of it was italian-styled, with garlic marinara, Tofurkey sausage, caramelized onions, sundried tomatoes, roasted red pepper, eggplant and herbs; the other 1/3 was mexican, with homemade salsa, onions, more sausage, jalapeno, cubanelle pepper and hot sauce. Oh, and a half recipe of Bryanna’s Melty Pizza Cheese courtesy of Kittee’s pizza page that I wish wish wish I hadn’t halved because of how severely delicious it was. What’s particularly amazing about this is that it was made on New Year’s Day with hardly any veggie in the fridge and no grocery stores open, and yet it was still veggieful and fantastic!

Back home, yesterday’s breakfast (ha ha). I think I’m starting to get good at this stir fry business, which is one of those skills I would call “invaluable”. Note the Yellow Pepper of Greatness making it’s last yummy appearance.

And cause I’m really not a rice person but for some reason I make some for the stir fry, I had a bunch left over and I made my favourite rice vehicle ever – salad! I’m gonna post the fake recipe because I also consider this one of those invaluable kitchen throw-together methods…

………………………………………..
Meal-In-A-Bowl

2 cups of cooked grains (rice, millet, quinoa, etc)
2 cups crunchy vegetables, diced small
any leftover legumes you have around
1/4 – 1/3 cup of leftover salad dressing (in this case, Cumin-Cinnamon Vinaigrette)
salt and pepper

1. Mix, let it sit for at least an hour (many hours would be better), eat with chopsticks because everything tastes better with chopsticks. :D
………………………………………..

In other news, I tossed the compost in the rubbish because there really wasn’t a responsible place to put it, but I’m going to research into worm composting and see if I can’t get one set up. It WAS kind of interesting to confirm my suspicions that a full half of the garbage I put out is food waste. Makes me feel a little better (sort of) about my footprint, even if it’s still going to a landfill for the time being…

This, my friends, is a $2 yellow pepper. I didn’t plan it like that – I was just doing my usual fridge restocking after getting home (lazy stuff, baba ganouj, pita, carrots, etc) when I saw it looking all taut and beautiful next to some green ones on sale. I figured, “hey, why not?”, but they tricked me with their misleading sale arrangements – it was so expensive! Not that I wasn’t going to appreciate it…

And in light of a grocery faux pas, I made another one! I pass this at the dollar store ALL the TIME and it’s always tempted me with it’s non-food prepackaged glory (yes, it’s vegan!). So I finally bought it for some reason, for $1.

First result, an absolute scrumpfest of a roasted veggie sandwich – eggplant, red onion, baba ganouj, garlic, lemon, regular roasted onion and loads of kalamata olives – sooooo goood. And the yellow pepper was 100% the star here, and I had enough for 2 sammies and a half-pepper left over besides! Lovely.

Result #2: After 3 minutes in the microwave and some ingenious plastic draining action, I had myself a little tray of insta-food. I wish I could say it sucked, guys, I really do. But oh my god, I never eat food like this cause it’s completely nutritionally awful, but this was some tasty MSG-ed tvp. Generously spicy, the noodles were chewy, the oil/flavour packet combo was zesty in a kind of Doritos way. Anyway… I probably won’t buy this again. But that’s only because I could feel my body going “nooooo!” while my tastebuds went “yesssss!!!”, and that’s not a good habit to get into.

Oh, and I found a video that pretty neatly explains all the hard work involved in making this noodle-crack —-

Well, now I know what a coulis is (a veg/fruit pureed sauce), and eating a soup with multiple layers and swirling options is always a good thing in my book. It’s from VeganYumYum so there’s no going wrong, really, and this a definite make-again recipe. 40 minutes from grocery bag to dinner table, I think? And shmancy/not-too-shmancy enough to make for a drop-in guest (all you need is roasted red pepper and broccoli). I feel nourished like a queen. :D

I also found out you can roast chestnuts in the microwave! I was all transfixed by the shells steaming open and the steamy/nutty/sweet meats that came out of the nuker-box. Even the burnt one tasted good!

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