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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.
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.
This is just the shot of the leftovers – stuff put into tupperware doesn’t win any beauty points. But the point of this lunch was that it was a bento-ish kind of meal that randomly came together after I poo-pooed the idea of a peanut butter sandwich and started to boil potatoes. Which I never do, and made me feel festive enough to remember the wasabi tube I had in the fridge, thus wasabi mashed potatoes. So obviously then I had to try those panko & daikon stuffed mushrooms from the Veganomicon. Except… I didn’t feel like firing up the oven for 6 mushrooms so I made them raw and used bulgur wheat instead of bread crumbs, and added some sweet peppers and Sambal Olek for fun.
There is nothing quite like chili fries. I wish I’d had some sort of cheese-like stuff to melt all over this and really do up the indulgence (not that this is really that indulgent, actually semi-healthy), but an extra splash of olive oil while making the fries pushed this to another level anyway. Plus lots of nooch and peppers for a perfect after school nosh.
(is this the reincarnation of a half-filled tin of tomato sauce sitting in my fridge? I say nothing.
Okay yes, it is. :D)
I *heart* V-con sooo much. I’ve made the saffron garlic rice before, it’s my favourite (especially when you brown the bottom just a bit to get the most tantalizing crispy garlic-y crust… *droooools*), and the chickpeas romesco might be the best pantry-staple thing I’ve ever made. SO good. And even better about both these Spanish-y dishes is that they’re free of lemon and sherry vinegar so I can go to town on the side vegetables and the whole plate tastes amazing.
Now I kinda want creamy tomato soup. Go figure. :P
So when Isa says smother, smother I do. There’s not much else I wanted to eat after making the VwaV punkrock chickpea gravy, except anything with loads of this on top. Potatoes are totally good for you, right? Like, they’re vegetable matter! I ate so much potato last week.
Yes, and cabbage. If you think this is stereotypically peasant-fare so far, just wait until you see my third primary vegetable of late. But anyway, cabbage in everything, and when a lunch needs to be made in the time it takes for coffee to brew, a nice apple & clove braised cabbage isn’t bad at all, and can be slurped like noodles actually.
Third in the poor food trinity? Carrots! Good thing I almost consider them dessert. My favorite way to eat them these days is shredded with daikon radish, peppers and sprouts on top, with toasted sesames, tamari and rice vinegar. Sometimes sriracha, and sometimes… wakame seaweed! No, not hydrated, just crunchy and awesome right out of the bag. Better than chips sometimes.
One can see why I took the opportunity to hop home this weekend and eat out of someone else’s fridge for a while? Too bad Ottawa produce is expensive and wilty, ah well. Increases appreciation for the bounty of home, definitely (I complain but it’s really not that bad in Montreal). And at least there are fair trade vegan chocolates everywhere. This Zazubean bar was sweetened with cane juice and had damiana leaf, maca root and horny goat weed, whatever that is. Had to try it. Flirtacious, no? The cherries were the best part and there were tons.
The real reason I went to Ottawa was to hit the annual Fall Fair Flea Market at the First Unitarian church, which is basically a place to find vintage treasures and loads of fabulous high-quality literature for utter pennies. I found Godel, Escher, Bach for $1, and at that I rest my case. No wait! I also found The Man Who Ate Everything for $1, which is a fairly entertaining read. Almost precisely like reading a top notch food blog in book form. Plus I got a zillion classics, artbooks, and philosophy for a smile & a song and a twenty dollar bill, y’all, Liz is in happy book land!!!!!
Perhaps more importantly, I discovered that the church offers sanctuary to a number of people. Most recently a Nepali human rights activist (Shree Kumar Rai on the right), and for ten years a Bangladeshi family who were abused years ago here in Ottawa, and threatened back at home for speaking out about it. So now they both have apartments in the building, and cook amazing amazing food (mostly vegan!!) to pay for expenses and things. And they need people to watch for government officials all the time, which is crazy, but I’m proud of my old church for having the balls to be this immensely awesome. That’s the mediterranean plate they put together for me up there, with a requested cauliflower pakora in the middle, yum.
(More information about UU sanctuary here).
Not to mention I was lucky enough to try Mr. Samsa’s vegetarian wrap and holy crap, it was actually the best deep-fried falafal-ish thing I’ve EVER had. No kidding. The bread was yielding like butter (absolutely homemade), and the innards were spiced like the chorus of your favourite song. I wish I could get these all the time!
They even had sushi! Basic veggie style, but it was real and fresh and delicious as sushi usually is. Go International Cafe! I just wish I could have tried some of the onion bhaji or samosa, which were flying out of the kitchen and looking phenomenal, but next year I guess.
So that was the trip and now I am home, and since I couldn’t for life of me decide what I wanted for dinner tonight I mixed it all together with some kind of gluten-free pasta (rice, I think), fresh basil, chard, garlic, sundried tomatoes and chickpeas I made this morning with balsamic grilled fennel and that was pretty good for a girl who makes noodles maybe ten times a year. Pretty good delicious, that is!
Oh yeah. And 100% potato/cabbage/carrot free, and for that we sing a wee song of yay and happy-chew. :)
Yep, it’s happened here before, and t’will happen here again. Pretty much any time I get an incredulous gasp when I mention samosa pizza, I just have to change some minds, hehe.
Oh, and I was dared to make crust. I’m a Daring Baker now!
It involves making some yummy spicy curry potatoes. I used red and fingerlings, which are adorable, I just have to mention. Lots of mustard seeds, cumin seeds, coriander, turmeric, red chile, lime juice and garam masala and coconut oil. More spices. Oh, make it spicier.
And then puree up some fresh pineapple and reduce it a little bit over heat with a splash of red wine vinegar.
But my pizza? It’s pretty magically delicious. The dough is a little sweeter than I usually like, but hands down the stretchiest blob of dough I’ve ever had the pleasure of spinning on my knuckles. I like the part about letting it rest on the counter! Anyway, you’ll want to serve this one with beer, or a big salad to make up for the lack of vegetation. And chutney couldn’t hurt.
I swear it’s not even close to as weird as it sounds. :)
I lost my camera cord! And I lost the internet due to crazy summer storms and their ease at destroying routers! So I’m sitting on a lot of pictures… will you bear with me? I have forgotten which are worthy of blogation, but I assure you, most 94% of it was delicious. Highly chewable. Well… I guess you can’t chew jam. But doesn’t it look pretty? Lame peaches became perfect ice cream topping, even though I pouted and danced all the while my mom made this, because I wanted to eat them raw. But I’m an annoying daughter like that. Yep. :D
And I invented a pizza! Which I would bet anything has actually been done before, but if you get the chance, you MUST try making a batch of samosa potatoes and laying it over pizza on a bed of pureed pineapple. It’s my new absolute favourite.
Oh, and speaking of pizza, I’ve been introduced to Ottawa’s gourmet pizzeria, Pavarazzi’s. It sounds so much like paparazzi!! Paparpizza? They have good taste in vegetarian toppings, though. No lame soggy mushrooms/green pepper combos. Sesames and roasted red peppers, artichokes and olives are the standard. Good show!
**note: I avoided the cheese bits encroaching on my nice side like the absolute plague, and am I the only vegan who takes pleasure in an increasing dislike for the smell/accidental taste of animal products? Cause cheese kind of tastes like fermented fluuuuuuuid to me now. *cough*
Appetizing! You can keep your squishy olives, sis!
Speaking of good taste (haha) and vegetarian accommodations, mum and me broke out this cast-iron grill pan that magically appeared in the pantry sometime between this visit and my last to grill up everything in sight, and some fennel besides. I also get to take the pan home! (vcon grilled tempeh tacos, here we come!). Simple dinner, yes, but I was raised on the good art of arranging a sandwich spread, and forgive me for my stereotypical tastes, but I SO do love a grilled vegetable. I think I ate 3 dinners worth of food here. It was worth it for the rosemary bread. The rosemary bread that was made of olive oil. Droolular.
Bit o’ baking. Ever tried a flapjack? I um…. hadn’t. But I was mad curious, I mean – golden syrup, margarine and oats, plus major associations to my UK heritage, I had to at least try. I succeeded at making floppy oat chews? The fat content alone is scaring me away from attempting this again… but if anyone else wants to try, I CAN highly recommend adding some lemon or lime juice to the mix, cause it makes it all lip-smacking more-ish. Too bad about the melty texture, though…
As will peach right side-up cupcakes with toasted candied almond slivers on top (I should think). Which are perfect from the fridge, cold… teeth sinking through the cold fruity layer to moist almond-y crumbs…. acklejackarggggg…. s’good. I got the coveted “vegan baked goods are soooo much better than normal baked goods” comment from not one, but three separate eaters of cake. Suke-sess!
To make thine own, take one pineapple rightside-up cupcakes recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, replace fruit with appropriate fruit, add almond extract, and enjoooyyyyy. With joy! Man, I love that book, it should be renamed the Little Vegan Cake-Creation Sourcebook.
More to come in part 2!
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
So it’s been 10 days, and I was all going to post this picture and be like, “well, dinners like this are pretty much the reason I haven’t had anything blogworthy to mention all week. Simple and summery and involving a lot of corn, nothing terribly new.” But then I realized I was sitting on a whole bunch of pretty photos! (It’s funny, I also swear I’ve been living off of miso soup, but it’s so perfect for end-of-term eating – quick and cheap and energy-giving for late-night drawing sessions).
Okay, okay… so at the beginning of last week I thought I’d recreate that magically fermenting sesame slaw I made before, to much success. And I managed to get a photo of it before all the colours bled and muted out, too! (and like my new bowls? I so do!)
And Pomme surprised me with freaking spring rolls! It was in thanks for her birthday dinner, and they’re pretty much my favourite food ever, I ated so many of these it’s a wonder I didn’t roll around myself afterwards, but they were sooooo good, with mango and red pepper inside and peanut dipping sauce, egads. I even bought a thing of brown rice vermicelli to make them even healthier the next time I make them (and thus even more like a perfect food).
I love summer and farmers’ markets! A big basket of random sumptuous berry-things! Plus ground cherries, teeny grapes, figs, flowers and tart little red dots-on-the-vine, all for $5. I made the oatmeal of kings from this basket.
I also made pretty awesome vanilla-vanilla cupcakes for my drawing group, ’cause waking up early on saturday to go downtown and muck around with pencils is just that much more enjoyable with frosting. :)
I love how R on the left spontaneously drew a garden, with a mole in it and everything, and a Mr. Potato head! He couldn’t remember what radish leaves looked like, and I so knew exactly, having just eaten a salad of them the night before… so houray for the new kids knowing about their foodstuffs (there were discussions on the relative frumpiness of potato leaves and how appropriate that is to their taste, hehe).
And uh… I ran out of li hing mui yesterday, so I went to chinatown and picked some up for 85 cents….. and then totally couldn’t resist buying a wack more goodies, cause that place is pretty much like my idea of culinary disneyland. This was all under $20, too! Clockwise from the left is some wakame, black rice, abalone flavoured wheat gluten in a can (can’t wait to try that one!), yuba/dried tofu skin, cornstarch, brown rice vermicelli, regular rice vermicelli, mangoes, a mysterious package of some sort of pickled vegetable for 10 cents, wonton wrappers, assorted sesame/peanut/cashew brittles, sweet pickled radish, really cheap tofu, bean sprouts, and (of course!) the li hing mui that started this whole debacle.
I had to HAD TO experiment with that yuba, so stir fry it was, and WOW is all I can say – I love this stuff! It’s so chewy and soaks up sauce like a chewy soyfood of long-pantry life and pure awesome! And for the record… pickled turnips are delicious but pretty much 92% salt, so serve with caution (or at least a lot of water).
And is this related? Oh, I dunno. Girls and bugs living in symbiotic vegan harmony sounds okay to mention! And plus one-shot zines are super cute and everyone should try their hand at making one, be it full of manifestos, sketches, goth poetry, bread recipes, or like… everything in your apartment listed alphabetically.
That, plus walking around across the city and back all day today made me totally and completely go into SANDWICH MODE. Gallery-hopping is fun but hunger-inducing, and I even took some extra detours to get the perfect soft baguette-bread to make the Vcon cornmeal-crusted tofu Po’boy and it was SO worth it. What a perfect damn sandwich, I mean seriously. Dude. DUUUUUUDE. Anything involving chipotle mayo has to be good, but this was a major synthesis of happy components making perfect lunch science in my mouth. Making this again! With even more mayo! Bwahahahahaha. So evil, yet so delicious…
I also hope next week is similarly uneventful so I’ll have nothing to post about again.
I’m thinking of making bread with sprouted wheat berries soon!
Just a quick update, a couple photos that have been on the computer for a few days…
And I’m really not exaggerating when I say this is my favourite tofu marinade yet – it’s a Swell Vegan tester recipe for maple-mustard-chili tofu, and it’s awesome. The salad paled in comparison, and the second half of the batch got eaten straight up, with glee, much like a plate of chicken nuggets of yore or something. Total make-again recipe!
And more pizza! I’m pizza-obsessed! J says I’m also crust-bubble obsessed, but he’s quite allowed to say that because… I am. This is only my favourite crust-bubble, and there were many, each with a photo… I am a nerd. :D
And J is still staying with us, and my new roommate is a kitchen-goddess in her own right and works at the best vegan restaurant in the city, so we’ve been collaborating on dinners! Her own component of a brown rice macro bowl was so delicious there wasn’t a speck of leftovers to take a photo of the next day (imagine perfectly cooked rice, confetti-bright vegetables and toasted sesames everywhere), but there was a little bit of my curry around for lunch the next day, so here it is. Aloo paratha, gajar salad, lentil sprouts and a really nice katirikka rasavangi (south indian eggplant curry). I think I might explore this south indian thing a bit more, I’m adoring the heat and the coconut.
And woo! Blackberry-lemon verbena sorbet success! I don’t have an ice cream maker, so I had to nurse this stuff over the course of a few days, stirring it constantly and waiting for my wonky freezer to make it scoopable (I also had to add a bunch of water to help with the freezing, but I was really happy to do that, it was a little sweet in the beginning). Anyway, I’m totally hooked on this sorbet thing! It’s so refreshing, and the herbal bit was transcendant. I’m thinking of trying vegan addict’s Black Hole Sorbet next – it looks sooo decadent. yum!