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It all started… with an ill-conceived attempt at a tofu loafy roulade thingy, with squash inside. I mean, it was pretty damn edible, except that it was u.g.l.y., it didn’t taste a lot like bird, and the wax paper I used to roll it up stuck like glue to the bottom and really did turn the whole first layer into an exercise in chewing crayons.

Much better cookie luck, I made freestyle coffee-chocolate chip oatmeal cookies and P made cakey ginger clouds. But enough of this playing…

Girls gotta bake. Girls gotta prep cook. (okay, I prep-cooked, P went to work)

I made almond-sesame nutty crackers from Extraveganza, with added sesame oil.

Fluffy lemony cupcakes with maple cranberries from More Great Good Desserts, with a lemon-cinnamon drizzle on top.

Caramel popcorn! Spicy-brown sugar pumpkin seeds! Oh, it’s those crackers again!

Pumpkin pie, the quality of which was indeed assured by the Satchmo-cat. I wonder if I make another pumpkin pie if I get a free tattoo or something? And I still keep loving them, making them… hiding the leftovers from everyone. Hee.

Allright, and then P’s folks showed up so we went to the Jean-talon market on the most crispest yet warm of gently-sunned fall days. Picked up some rambunctiously coloured food, asparagus by the bucket, beans, mushrooms, apples (real/perfect/nectar-of-the-heavens-sweet quebec apples), a bunch more of other wonderful things.

They had two among them who couldn’t do gluten, which was a fun challenge, even if I wish I had known sooner… I would have made more that they could eat… but anyway, did you know that brown rice bread is actually delicious and tastes like bread?

Then my posse popped up, with the usual pancake-breakfast request (this is an understanding that I think benefits all of us nicely). Maple syrup was off limits as an ingredient, so I boiled up a quick apple syrup that almost got drank up by my sister, and at least got the pancakes called “the best syrup delivery devices you’ve ever made”. Bro asked for the recipe. (Bro is becoming quite the little burdgeoning foodie – and you better believe I’m supporting that tendency! :P)

And then, and then! After finishing breakfast I was kitchen-maven all day with my sister, then we passed the invisible baton to P and her sister, and between us all we created this glittering harvest spread.

Amidst the hubub and wine-drinking and guitar-jamming and all the fake russian accents, my camera was only found halfway through the meal, hence the half-eaten shot – but I think it still looks great. Clockwise from the bottom is mushroom gravy, nutty crackers, broccoli rabe and carrots with pine nuts and herbs, brown rice pasta salad with peppers and heirloom tomatoes, fresh market beans, hungarian rye stuffing with apples, cranberries and walnuts, cranberry sauce, apple-sage seitan sausages, curry carrot dip, squash stuffed with wild and brown rice mushroom-almond-raisin stuffing, dragonfruit, smoky maple tempeh, and loads of garlicky mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes.

phew.

Nom. Shall I say nom? And nom, and wow. I think we did okay?

And then there was too much dessert, and oh yeah, did I mention I made cookies too? Oh man… I mean, I know it wasn’t “turkey dinner” or something… but maybe made up for it in sheer tapestry-tasting complexity and connection to what is actually being harvested right now? I mean, I’ve been to thanksgivings where the vegetables are given the saddest passing effort, and aren’t they really the point? Ha ha, anyway… and next year you’re all invited to my tiny tiny place. For some reason it didn’t burst, and it kinda grew to fit us all (18+ at one point??). And you can help us with the leftover apple crisp!!!!

It is so officially fall around here — I’m wearing my deedly-bop Value Village hoodie sweater with the studious vibe and the cool knit pattern; I’ve got visions of stuffed squash and apple votive candles everywhere; perhaps there might be a day-trip to the Laurentians to enjoy the leaves even (ha! like a grown-up or something).

But the end of summer was great! I managed to get a good day in at the Jean Talon market right here in the city on the most gorgeous of Labour Days ever. Had a monkey of a time trying to find anything resembling a decent vegan lunch, however… so I had to make do with a matcha and banana popsicle, and that was actually hella good, and surprisingly filling, so that was okay. (behind it is my mum’s strawberry pop)

Buying produce there is mad incredible. I got the most gigantic and bi-coloured cabbage ever for $1. Which is soooo okay by me! I’m still working on it, actually… mmmmm I love cabbage. And all cruciferous vegetables, actually. Like those amazing brussels sprouts up there.

The next sunny day that was milked for every joyous drop of heat-strokey lazy time was a looong stroll down to the Bouchee de Pain for a cookie. I’d heard there was a vegan bakery in the city, so I figured I’d check it out, and it’s soooooooo cute. I mean, anything with a creaky barn door, brazilian knick knacks for sale, gluten free stuff, about 6 feet of floor space and a wide selection of vegan cookiescones is great by me! I chose a watermelon knick knack and an almond & lemon cookie – the cookie being as big as my head, but worth every crumb. You wouldn’t want it smaller, they’re that good! Generously almondy, not too sweet, a good chew, and brilliant with coffee, I am SO going back when the leaves turn flamey to try their mexican chili chocolate kind with some apple cider to dunk in… miammmmm.

Geeyap watermelon! There’s gonna be a clearer picture of this plastic guy I found behind my bed later in the post – perhaps someone knows who he is? He’s been getting into the cupboards. ~.~

Somewhere in the temperateness that was between the seasons, P made the most tenderest, most nuttiest good chocolate chip scones with like, a bunch of different flours in them (w.w. pastry, oat, and amaranth). It’s a beautiful mixture for this kind of thing, the amaranth being especially interesting in it’s ability to make things very melt-in-your-mouth, and I ate way more than was necessary, and would do it again, I would!

Whatever, whatever… yellow zucchini fritters, but the interesting bit is my first balsamic reduction (tee hee), that looks way more like carnage at the pen factory than a beautifully plated dish, but it was delicious, so inksplottedness is forgiven, I think.

Some marinated eggplant with capers and mint, as per the smitten kitchen. (I think her recipes must turn out photogenically by law!)

And my amazon order came!!!!!!

There’s Vegan Fire & Spice, Vegan Fusion World Cuisine, Extraveganza, and More Great Good Dairy Free Desserts, I am soooo excited! I’ve been in a cooking rut, but no more!

And that Culinaria Southeast Asia, I actually got at Costco for $10 and it’s like, the best book on southeast asian cuisine ever. It has recipes, but also culture, geography, history, festivals, art, ecology, everything else that’s interesting about people! Separated into Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, it’s really compulsive reading… I NEVER thought I would know so much about the manufacturing of soy, hehe.

Although one can’t really ever discount the old faithfuls of the cookbook shelf – after waking up a teeny tad hungover and NOT able to stomach the thought of oatmeal sitting heavy in my gut, I decided to make a protein-y breakfast of champions in the hour I had before school. Breakfast chorizo from Vwav, and tofu scramble, and tortillas… perfect. (not pictured: coffee, black. and plenty of it).

And later that evening I brought out the bevy of treasurebooks (and by that I mean cookbooks, of course) to show to P and J and that immediately brought out the “kid with a christmas catalogue” instinct in the lot of us. We could NOT decide what to make for dinner. We almost ordered out for vegan pizza. But lo – finally P made a salad of purple peppers and baby greens, J made his oh-so famous guac, and I made 3 of the simplest concoctions I could find out of Extraveganza – the Quick Noodles with Miso Lemon Tahini Sauce + Lemon Sesame Kale + Red Cabbage with Basil and Balsamic Vinegar. Amazing. I realized halfway through dinner that the way to do it was to toss everything together in one very fun-to-eat pasta dish, with all the components bursting with flavour in their own distinct way.

I mean, wow, I made a dinner with components and I didn’t even realize it. Gorsh.

(I like this book, I like this book, I SO like this book… I was even saying to P it might be my new love affair after the V-con. Seriously.)

And I mentioned fall, I know I did… this pie must close the post because it’s just so seasonally crisp-cool in the air right now, and I’m feeling in that sort of mood. But I must admit that I actually made this pie a few days ago with a pumpkin I bought at the market, and I might have to make another one soon, because we’re almost out and the thought of not having pumpkin pie in the fridge for one moment makes me sad.

Even Nameless Plastic Guy the Boy Wonder Hero seems to like the sticky roasted maple cayenne seeds I made out of the pumpkin’s innards. It must be done again! :)

I had the most relaxing christmas, at least in terms of cooking. It was pretty blissful, and that’s not to say I didn’t make anything (oh, I did), but I didn’t have to make my own holiday dinner and that was the best present. The best present excluding all my new cooking supplies, that is. I got a spurdle!!!! (to be blogged about later — my oatmeal’s so fluffy now!)

These were my favourite – Crimson Velveteen Cupcakes with Mint Chocolate Chips and Peppermint Icing. They went over so well at my dad’s house, even with his entourage of pretty timid (and omnivorous) palates. Such a good combination, and just the perfect bite size for ending a meal of quesadillas – inside of which I had tofurkey slices! They bought me fake turkey and sausage besides for the morning after – I felt so lucky.

Then later back to mom’s house, where I find her beaming ear to ear and brandishing these beauties — aren’t they the coolest things ever? They’re not vegan, but I just had to post them. I’m also thinking the fiddly-funwork approach to food may be genetic… yep. :D

These thin mints are straight from 101 Cookbooks and I’m urging you, go make them right now! They’re like biting into a tender cocoa explosion, super easy to make, gorgeous on a plate, and my sister can fit 4 in her mouth at one time. (by the way, can you tell I’m a nut for chocolate and mint? I am!)

For christmas dinner itself I only had two things to do myself, and here’s my five minutes of work to make vegan stuffing. My mom had even baked bread with onions, sage, walnuts and cranberries in it to cut down on time/up the flavour quotient.

The spread! mashers, stuffing, cranberry sauce, coleslaw, yams, squash, sprouts, broccoli, and home-canned pickled beets from the pantry, all covered in portobello & red wine gravy that was already made for me when I got home! It was simple but exactly what I wanted, and I ate to bursting anyway. Who needs a turkey-like element, really? I had sausage for breakfast! :)

I was also in charge of pumpkin pie (lest there be none at the table at all!). No ginger due to allergies, but a hazelnut crust to make up for it, and though the filling was less good than the one I made for thanksgiving that hasn’t stopped me from eating the leftovers with a spoon right off the plate. Tee! And the tofu cream I threw together to go with it put all my previous soy-whip attempts to shame, it was damntastic.

Aaaaaaand a shot of cutie Thelma-cat, hiding in a bag full of donation clothes and sterile bandages (we’re real linear in our organization around here). Go cat pictures! Happy It’s-Cold-So-Let’s-Eat Day! I hope everyone felt connected to those they love and at peace with themselves and got funky socks and all that jazz. :PP

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