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Oh, I am so procrastinating right now.  And isn’t that *totally* the best time to blog, when it feels like a sneaky indulgent privilege to be able to write about all this stuff?  Hurray!  Southeast asian art, Foucault, and russian neoromantics be damned, all of them (at least for the time it takes me to write this, and then it’s back to dandelion tea and the books.  which isn’t so bad, nah….)
I didn’t plan the colour scheme at all, but there it is.  Orange is a lovely colour to eat, cheery and usually sweet.  I may have mentioned the acquisition of my very first copy of Vegetarian Times in a past post – well, I made more than donuts.  The edamame and sweet potato collard wraps jumped WAY out at me when I saw them, basically ’cause I don’t think I’d ever put those ingredients together in quite that way before.  There’s even firm-soft tofu in here, and the only spice is cayenne.  In the end… they were good.  I enjoyed them a lot.  There was something odd about the texture I wondered about, but I think I was just getting used to edamame, which are way richer than frozen peas.  (I was an edamame virgin before this recipe you see – another reason to try them out!).  Ultimately I recommend it, although I liked the filling best of all over crunchy romaine leaves for added texture.  It froze really well, too.
Then I saw Smitten Kitchen’s recent cornbread salad and deeply swooned over the concept of it all.  I think I saw it early in the afternoon and was eating it a few hours later for dinner, I was so jazzed about the thought.  So amazing this was!!  The tangy dressing soaks into some of the cornbread bites to make UbertasterBomsOfWow, and the rest stay crunchy and toasty and awesomely contrasty.  
Can we pause a moment to lament the atrocious photograph that I took of this salad?  
** moment of silence , snicker snicker **
delicious though.

I am a bit of urban harvester.  Just a bit, just here and there.  Kind of like Benjamin Bunny, and I spotted a green tomato peaking out from a trendy bar’s front garden one Friday night while I was walking home and slightly drunk and I didn’t figure it so bad to pop it off and dream of frying it up for dinner.  I see it as being a natural part of the city’s ecology, you know.  And I plant things around.  Anyway, I fried it southern style and it was delicious!  Tangy and juicy and zestier than a red one.  Really good with egg salad beside it, too (ppk recipe, of course.  probably with extra mustard, if I was being myself that day).

Also from the Isa salad files, a very loose translation of the Prospect Park potato salad from the Vcon.  Loose, as in I had about 10 baby red potatoes and no desire to do any specific divisions of a recipe, so I just looked at the ingredients list and threw all of those things into the same bowl until it tasted good.  It tasted good!

These tasted okay.  I mean, the chocolate filling was the most intensely luscious sticky fudge sauce in the whole world and I was scraping it out of the pot like crazy to get the last smidge – THAT was amazing.  The cookies were only mehn, though.  Not so surprisingly, since they’re just really fatty shortbreads that I didn’t veganize well enough I guess, but anyway – Gale Gand’s Orange Sandwich Cookies from Butter Sugar Flour Eggs if anyone’s curious.  (Make that filling sauce, omg.).  And they sure are pretty looking.

And I tried to recreate one of the super hippy chunky crunchy veggie restaurant style cookie recipes.  You know the ones that are full of flax oil and/or spelt chunks and/or seeds and yet somehow are just incredible?  I kind of succeeded, kind of… okay, not really.  But I learned a lot about baking soda versus powder, and I have the beginnings of a fantastic sesame seed crust in my freezer right now… ha.   If anyone knows of a recipe that makes a big crunchy, browned around the edges cookie that tastes like a cross between a sesame snap and and oatmeal chocolate chip, do DO let me know.  I’ll send Peppermint Ritter Sports, I promise.  :P

Mmm… it’s one of those mornings I grab a sweater and a coffee and just start working on stuff, in this case blogging.  To me that’s so evocative of autumn, which has begun to be noticed in the air.  I’m supposed to be selling postcards at an outdoor craft show/sidewalk sale today and the sky is a dark dark grey, with a snappy chill and a risk of rain… So I’m enjoying the indoor lamplight while I can, and getting the most out of every second I can hang out in my plushy pajama pants.  (pajama pants being the best invention ever, probably).
It seems appropriate to blog about the last of the summer meals, in this case.  Cold refreshing food I might not be as interested in in just a few days… zarusoba being an iconic example.  Despite owning a package of soba noodles the size of my head, I only just recently made up the appropriate dipping sauce to go with it so I could eat it summer style, cold with nori shavings on top.  If it’s still warm where you are, I recommend it so much!  And I insist that you slurp it, sucking up air in a perfect satisfying hoover as you eat, because it really does improve the flavour about 50% – I think it has to do with almost smelling it as you eat.
Perfect technique, so demure, and yet loads of delicious delicious air in every bite!  Now I kinda want fat soft udon, yumm……

This is a vegetable curry Pomme and I made using a lot of inspiration from this book, a seafood curry to be exact.  So it was a mix of turmeric, basil, mint, cayenne, paprika, pepper and lemon, which I thought was really novel (and very delicious).  Eaten with wheat berries for carbohydrates (defrosted from the freezer because you can do that), and a cucumber salad I made with chunks of ruby red cactus pear.  The seeds of cactus pears are hard like little BBs, but the melon taste and beautiful colour is worth it, like a poor man’s watermelon maybe.
Of those occasional small-batch cookies I make sometimes after meal, these mint chocolate brownie bites were knee-meltingly good!!  I wish I’d written things down, but there’s ground almonds in there, plus vanilla, mint, pockets of chocolate chips, and the texture was like 2-bite brownies, amazing.  Biting into them was a world-stopping experience, which probably means I added enough cocoa powder to the mix. ;P
Sometimes hash, just straight up hash is perfect.  Smoky sausages, in season tomatoes, little baby basil leaves, and enough salt and pepper to tie it together = wish I had more sausages so I could make this for lunch right now!
Finally, I’d had a tomato tart on the brain all summer.  Every week went by and I wondered when I would do it, if I would remember, if all the ambrosial blushing tomatoes would disappear from the markets en masse before I got the chance to make that pie.  But I did remember!  Luck would have it that I came upon a huge package of gorgeous organic tomatoes for a steal, and I hopped on the chance to bake them oh-so briefly in hardly more than their own juices.

I used a cornmeal pizza crust recipe from here, replaced most of the cornmeal with masa harina, spread the bottom with grainy mustard, thyme leaves, and drizzled it with olive oil before baking.  
And while I folded up the edges to make it more like a tart, I quickly found out that hand-to-mouth was the ideal method of eating this – it was a pizza at heart, and a robust and juicy one, too.  I still can’t think of any way I’d rather eat tomatoes right now!

Oh right!  That wasn’t the last thing, this is ^  Celine’s peanut butter granola!  oooooooooooh!
I replaced the PB with a Peanut-hazelnut blend, used hazelnut oil instead of canola, and left out the chocolate and it’s absolutely fantastic.  I hardly need to rave about how it melts away on the tongue and is just kissed with sweet and is full of toasty flax and is easy to make… because most of you have made this I’m sure, or at least if you haven’t you should and you can have a batch of oven-fresh granola in less time than it takes to run out and buy some.  
Kind of makes me wish I had some milk or yogurt around ever, but a jar of this in the fridge will disappear from nibbling fingers soon enough anyway, I assure you. ;)
Next post: an adventure in ninja-vegan waffle cones!


I’m almost done my raw week.  It’s been easy in a lot of ways (the food is just as delicious as any “normal” food), and in other ways a bit of a challenge (detox symptoms, having to throw out lots of food that spoiled unexpectedly fast, the whole nut soaking thing, the whole raw food extremism thing)…

It’s actually going to be bittersweet easing back into regular food, I think.  I don’t feel any huge inclination towards it at the moment, even though I know that someone as flighty and spacey as me really does flourish better on the standard vegan fare.  But that said… I should get onto the food of this week, more or less a meal by meal replay of all the lego-bright dishes I got to have the time of my life constructing.

Okay, so this is technically a pre-raw warm-up (haha, warm up, is that a pun?).  I made a carrot/tomato/miso soup to see how I’d feel about it all, thick with pumpkin seeds and bowl-licking good, and so….
I jumped in headfirst.  Would you look at that?  It looks like a deep-sea fish it’s so pretty.  A lot of green, but worth it.  The sprouted chickpea hummous in those wraps kept me going for snack times for the first few days, and the minty cucumber dressing from Vegan World Fusion doubled as a salad topper and a soup, before spoiling way too fast as these enzymic dishes are wont to do.  Alas, alas!
Avocado was also a life-saver, as I never felt warmer or more satisfied than after a meal that incorporated it.  I mashed this one up with rice vinegar, soy sauce and ginger, and made showy crunchy (astoundingly good) sushi rolls.  And a fruit salad with loquat and date syrup beside it.
Breakfast of day 2: the incarnation of my oatmeal habit!
Raw oats ground up in a spice grinder, with a heavy pinch of ground flaxseed, half a mashed banana, berries and lots of salt and cinnamon, left to soak overnight.  I’m keeping this one!  I’d been getting tired of regular oatmeal and this is perfect for summer and very laid back.  You have to choose fairly soft fruit for best results, but again – peaches, berries, tropical things – all available right now!  It’s very nutty and satisfying to have for breakfast.
Lunch day 2: Zucchini bites with spicy hummous, a salad of shredded carrot, red pepper, soaked walnuts and red wine vinegar (yum!!), and broccoli tossed with cucumber dressing.
Dinner that night was my first green smoothie.  I will admit I thought it the concept very strange at first, at least before I took my first sip.  Is it totally an unabashedly weird that I love the taste of green things in my smoothie now?  It adds a neat texture and a resonant kind of garden note that makes it more of a meal to me.  Especially wonderful with banana and pomegranate juice, I might add.
I’m skipping breakfast reports because they’re all variations on the raw oat groat thing, but…
Lunch day 3: A curried miso carrot dressing on spinach with avocado chunks and dried pineapple pieces – ZOMG.  Genius.  And some cucumber dressing in a bowl trying to be soup as I attempt to slurp it all up before it goes bad.  
Dinner 3: My attempt at flatbread without a dehydrator resulted in (of course) a lot of prematurely fuzzy food, but there was a small grace period where it was semi-firm enough to eat as bread and I made little sandwiches with homemade sumac tahini cheese, and some green beans tossed with organic stone-ground mustard and lemon.
Dinner day 4: pizza!
(lunch seems to be missing from the record)
The pizza is topped with sage-y sundried tomato marinara, green pepper, onions, pineapple, almond cheese, and artichoke hearts.
Lunch day 5: Possibly in the top 5 sandwiches I’ve ever eaten, is this Haiku Wrap from Juliano’s contribution to The Complete Book of Raw Food.  It has avocado mashed with garlic, ginger and lemon topped with wakame, mustard, pickle, burdock, bell pepper, onion, corn and shoyu – and it’s a magical, magical combination.  (carrot slaw with sprouted peanuts keeping the sammiches upright on either side).
Dinner 5: Another one of those raw standbys I never understood (like the green smoothie), was the zucchini pasta thing, but you know what?  It’s pasta-like, and not salad-like as I thought it would be!  Really good, actually, enough to repeat it later.  And the things that look like eggs are crunchy turnip slices topped with nut cheese.
Lunch 6: Cabbage burrito-wraps with cumin and chili sunflower pate inside (along with corn and tomatoes and green onions and things).  With a side of Pringle lookalikes (but really it’s delicious turnip) and nut cheese again for my new favourite take on nachos.  Soaking the slices in cold water gives them the perfect chip shape and makes them sweeter, too!
And that’s not to say there were no sweets!  I made some tahini-geranium cookies, that I could upload but they look pretty much like little brown discs.  The brownies are gorgeous, though!  I ground up some sprouted and dried buckwheat into flour and combined it with dates, ground almonds, walnuts, carob powder, salt and vanilla and proceeded to nom NOM NOM them up because they were so amazing!!  I highly recommend the buckwheat flour thing, I have a container of the sprouts in my freezer right now and it gives things a more cake-like texture than the usual wodgy raw dessert texture.
And here’s a plate full of desserts I took to a raw potluck last night.  Clockwise from the top left are salty sunflower seed cookies, then those buckwheat brownies with a banana-fudge frosting, then coconut-cashew-agave crusted pear tarts with gojis on top, and finally like orange & clove oatmeal raisin cookies!  So much fun, and so easy to just make a few servings of anything, and experiment all over the place!  I definitely got into the habit of whizzing up just a single cookie for after lunch sometimes when I needed something for my sweet tooth.
Potluck food itself was possibly the BEST vegan thing any non-vegan has ever made for when I came to dinner.  It was a sundried tomato-cashew romesco sauce over marinated eggplant and it was mindblowingly good.  I think it was from a book by the same people who did Raw Food/Real World, if you wanted to try it, and you might want to add extra orange juice like my friend did and eat every indulgence-soaked aubergine triangle with additional gusto for having done so.  :)
Day 7….
….   it’s day 7?  It’s the end of the week?
Do you realize I didn’t realize that until about halfway through writing this post and counting up the dates?  Oh my goodness, I suppose that means I’m done and I should ground myself now.  Part of me wants to keep going, and in fact… *goes off to buy bananas for a few minutes*
* a few minutes later *
Well… on the way down the stairs to the market, oh what do I smell but buttery wafts of rice and faint hints of curry? and whoa-p, there goes MY 100% raw convinction!  That, and charred hot dogs on the street as I walked… and I’d like to feel like myself again, I think. :D
A few things I noticed, though, to sum up the week…
* it doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive at all to eat raw.  I stuck mostly to almonds and sunflower seeds for nut protein, which can be relatively cheap.  And I didn’t indulge in the condiments like nama shoyu and special apple cider vinegar or anything.  If anything it might have been cheaper due to me not buying coffee all the time.  OH YEAH I QUIT COFFEE FOR A WEEK.  !  Craziness.
* nut soaking liquid is super mucilagous and gross, and I’ll probably soak most things now if I think of it beforehand.
* white wine was okay to drink, as was whiskey (although I’m pretty used to whiskey).  Red wine on the other hand, made me terribly achey for a whole day after drinking it, and then the ache turned into a kinda “detox ache” that I’ve still got in my calves when I bend over too far.  
* a couple drying racks set in front of a sunny window was my dehydrator, and it worked pretty well for cookies and buckwheat sprouts.  Terrible for bread though, and I wouldn’t even try crackers.  Oh yeah, and sun tea!  Tasty stuff!  And not even that long to make, maybe a few hours in the sun for amber-steeped liquid.
* I caved once, for a bunch of artichokes I got for free, but wouldn’t you?  All succulent and dipped in lime & olive oil???  I’d never tried artichokes before and it was my chance right there, so I don’t feel bad.  And they are, by the way, not nearly as hard to make and eat as advertised and mysteriously sweet and I ate the stems too, YUM.
* Guess that’s it!  And I’m so making pizza, man, like, soon.

red white and umami all over

Happy July 1rst, that is to say – Canada Day!  It’s the nation’s birthday and I’m celebrating in Quebec, which means a certain amount of gusto is required to make any noise at all, what with everyone tired from St Jean Baptiste Day just about a week before.  It’s not quite the party that it is in Ontario, but by golly if I can’t make my lunch about as patriotic as a waving flag, at least in colour scheme anyway (and association to good old BBQ food… yes I SO do love the taste of char).
For lady Canuck’s 142nd, I dived into the sausage section of Vegan Brunch and couldn’t even approach deciding one recipe over another, so I made 2 batches at once – the Italian Feast and the Cherry Sage, done up into smaller links so they were hot dog sized.  And after discovering that the grocery store had no (NO) hot dog buns (and even if they did, they would probably be terrible because they usually are), I just had to make a little batch of my own.  Which I TOTALLY recommend, it makes a huge world of difference.  So much so that I’m gonna post the recipeeeee, taken from this blog, taken from King Arthur flour……
Hot Dog Buns
(chewy, wheaty, soft, dense in a good way, stands up to condiments – ie; perfect)
(makes 8)
1 tbsp sugar
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup warm milk
2 tsp vegetable oil
2 tsp salt
3 – 3 1/2 cups flour (I used 50% whole wheat, still came out fluffy and soft)

Directions:
– In a large bowl, combine water and sugar and let it sit for 5 minutes so the yeast gets foamy.
– Mix in the milk, oil, and salt, then add 3 cups of the flour and knead until it comes together into a dough ball.
– Turn onto a floured surface and knead for 6-8 minutes, until it becomes a bit like plasticine.  The dough isn’t as soft as in some recipes, and it shouldn’t be sticky (add up to 1/2 cup more flour as needed).  Move to an oiled bowl, cover and let it rise in a warm spot for 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in size.
I’m just building anticipation for chewy perfect grilled bun-bite here :)

Once it’s risen, turn onto a lightly floured surface and cut into 8 equal pieces.  To shape a bun, make a piece into a rectangle, then starting at the end closest to you, roll it up tightly like you would roll a cigarette, folding in the ends on each side as you go.  Pinch the seam when you finish, then place it seam side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Repeat with the rest, then cover with a piece of plastic wrap sprayed with nonstick spray and let them rise for 30 minutes. 
– Preheat the oven to 400F
– Bake for 20 minutes, then move to a rack to cool

INNARDS !!!!

Unrelated to photo above, but that’s what scrolling is for ———— the beautiful red and white salad next to it all was from the Tropical Vegan Kitchen and ab-solutely scrumptious.  I’m going to post the recipe, too, because I just saw a great video concerning appropriation and culture (and breakbeats) and I figured heck why not, share the love, share the coconut dressing —

Thai-Style Romaine Salad with Creamy Coconut Tamari Dressing

(serves 4)
10 oz. of romaine leaves
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced and soaked in cold water for 10 minutes, drained well
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
2 tbsp basil, rolled up and thinly sliced
Coconut Tamari Dressing:

6 tbsp coconut milk (full fat works best here)
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tbsp tamari
2 large cloves of garlic, minced fine
2 tsp palm sugar, or brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp red thai chile, seeded and minced superfine
Directions:

– Whisk, let it sit for at least 10 minutes.
– Toss 1/2 the dressing with the salad components, arrange prettily onto plates, then drizzle with the remaining dressing.  
So patriotic!  (if a little Thai ;)
It’s taken me enough time, but I think I might pursue some serious explorations into raw food this summer.  It’s probably because of this festival in the woods that my friends organize each year… this year I’m a part of the kitchen crew, and that means providing raw options on top of the fully vegan menu.  Which I’m actually pretty excited about!  The way it’s set up we each get about one full day of leading the kitchen, and I have no clue what I’m going to make… but I am collecting ideas, and I figure I should start practicing my skills now.
I took out a book from the library – Nettie Cronish’s New Vegetarian Basics – and figured I would actually cook something from it instead of just flip pages.  Well… it’s a mint and tahini sauce up there and it seems like it would be great on paper (and I’m not exactly sure how one messes up tahini sauce!) but there was like, no flavour in it whatsoever, so I had to double the tahini and add some ume vinegar and then it was pretty good.  (I should mention that I like how she uses a lot of pumpkin seeds and seaweeds in creative ways in her book, though!)
To ease into Rawville I approached my blender with a lot of vigor and an open mind (and about 3 open recipe books!).  I think I did okay for a try… I would never ever EVER call those thin bits of celery “pasta”, but the tomato sauce was a sort of marinara and actually quite delicious!  I used both red wine and balsamic vinegar with some fresh basil and it definitely wasn’t salad-y, in fact surprisingly sweet and piquant and actually went pretty well with crispy celery.  The soup was hella fun!!  It involved…. (I wrote this down)….. 

a full stalk of broccoli

3″ of zucchini

1/2 cup of corn

1 kale leaf —- THE CULPRIT!!

knob of ginger

3 cloves garlic

lemon juice

apple c vinegar

olive oil

flax oil

juice of 2 grapes

tamari

regular soy sauce

sunflower seeds

1/2 a green apple

cumin, coriander, cayenne, paprika, salt, pepper

whole corn niblets

Good and good for you… but I read only afterwards that adding leafy greens to raw soups make them characteristically bitter, and this definitely needed those two grapes to balance things out.  I felt really energized afterwards, but next time I think I’ll keep my kale on the side.  I do love making food like this, though – I feel like a scientist, cutting off bits and bobs of things to create a harmonious liquid whole. 

Last and the sweetest!  Mocha chia pudding, as per Swell Vegan’s recipe, made with some probably unraw ingredients (cocoa, instant coffee certainly isn’t), but in principle sure.  Really quite good!  Like tapioca pudding with the texture of strawberry seeds and the flavour of chocolate, and intriguingly… gloopy.  In a good way!  Like you can stir it up and much as you like and it will reconstitute back together immediately, which I think is a huge bonus, not liking runny pudding all that much.  Plus this fills you up, so I hear, being hydroscopic and thus able to soak up all your drinking water… so it’s the dessert that could save your life in a desert, aha!  
Testing for Terry’s latin cookbook has been loads of fun so far!  Everything is so much in line with what I like to eat anyway – whole foods, simple but interesting preparation, loads of lime and cilantro, and all the recipes mix and match very well, so every meal is a new surprise. 

Yellow Rice with Garlic ~ Columbian Style Red Beans
I had this for lunch today and it’s probably my favourite thing so far!  They both take the exact same amount of time to cook, the prep is maybe 10 minutes, and ohhhhhhhhh it’s good.  There’s annatto and plantain in it and it manages to taste light and warm and sweet and earthy all at once.
Pickled Red Onions

These take possibly no time at all to make and they are delicious on sammies!  And burritos, tacos, the end of your fork, eaten right out of the jar, draped across the side of a heavier bean-y or fried dish… ultimately, they are good, and a welcome addition to the pickle collection my fridge has got going.  They are without doubt the prettiest member at the moment, too.
Mango Jicama Chopped Salad
I’m pretty sure that jicama is my new favourite vegetable, and this salad may be my favourite way to eat it… loads of lime, sweet mango, fresh herbage… mmmmm yes.  
So Good, So Green Dipping Sauce
See, I told you jicama was my new favourite vegetable!  I broke out my mandolin to do it up right.  I’ll spill that there’s lettuce in this sauce (among a myriad of other wonderful things), so it’s kind of funny to think that this lettuce is dressed with itself but it works.  Oh, it works.  This sauce is pretty magical: zesty, creamy, spicy, cooling, and obviously an incredible shade of emerald.
Cilantro Lime Rice ~ Tofu Chicharrones ~ So Good, So Green Dipping Sauce
Ultra-fried smoky chewy chunks of porky tofu?  YES.  YES IT IS.  And you waaaaaant it.  Also, that rice has addictive properties.  All the rices so far have been hard to stop eating, actually.

Simple Sofrito

The basis for a few other dishes, it’s super slow-cooked sweet browned onions + other things, and I am so glad I know the secret of this sofrito thing now.  It made a quick after-school meal taste like it had been cooked by experts all afternoon, just by me scooping some of this out of the container in the fridge and adding it to the pot.  Instant awesome!  Neat trick.

Next up I’ll be trying some Pumpkin Soup and maybe the Mashed Potato Pancakes with Peanut Sauce (!)

You know what? I like when muffins sink in the middle. It kinda makes you want to lean your head in right up to the pan and wonder… is it berry? Is it chocolate? Some other wondrous dark goo from the deep of the muffin? Okay, in this case I’ll fess that it’s blueberry, and I think you can even see the lavender flowers under it’s chewy crust. I totally bombed making these muffins correctly; they had sunken middles, gooey middles, “over-done” edges, and the aforementioned mysterious depths – BUT I called them blondies and just let the yummy work itself out. Actually these are fantastic, my baking skills notwithstanding. (lemon blueberry lavender muffins from Extraveganza, for the record)

I’ve also been greatly enjoying an open can of coconut milk. Why didn’t anyone tell me coconut milk was made of bliss? Man… it made teaching my little brother how to make tofu very very easy. And honestly, I think he may be better at it than I am! Those tofus in that thai coconut curry are succulent tofus – properly breaded and evenly browned. And I know that I’m not alone in considering the ability to make bean curd taste awesome is a necessary life skill to anyone, vegan or otherwise. I kinda felt like I had the ‘good sister’ hat firmly on.

Sorry I have to interrupt with an entry into the Liz Holding Food gallery.

MUFFIN VISION! SEE THROUGH!

I am horribly amused. :)

Entry number #2 in the gallery: Vietnamese spring rolls, which I’ve decided to live off of from now on.

Mostly because I can’t imagine anything that sits better in my stomach. I haven’t figured out why a handful of lettuce and noodles is so gosh darned filling, but there you go. It also could be that they’re a thinly veiled excuse to eat loads of peanut sauce, which might be indeed why they are so filling. But seriously… favourite food ever? Rolls are close.

Reality though? This is what I eat every day. Practically these days. Hummus and salad, basically. And can you even believe I’d never made tabouli before, ever? I’m a VEGAN, I’m not sure how that’s at all possible, but I managed to make it taste right, or better than right, because I put raisins and toasted walnuts on top and bulgur > couscous in my mind.

All right. I am obviously scattered today! I could blame the light food! I could blame Valentine’s day! I might be in love. But that’s another story! :D

Happy new year everyone! Did you get kissed last night? I got a hug! :)

Maybe it was due to eating those lucky black eyed peas everyone goes on about. I’ve got no problem with an excuse to them, though, being all mushy and sweet and darned adorable with that little black spot. I found out later that the collards they’re traditionally eaten with in the south symbolize paper money, so I missed out on that part, but do you see those basil leaves? Looks leafy and green to me! I even ate this all on lettuce, I’m probably set on the symbolic moolah front. Oh, and the beans themselves were a vegan version of Jukut Murab – a Balinese salad with coconut, tamarind, chile and lime and very very delicious – it’s going into bean salad rotation and will definitely be gracing the table of a potluck sometime in the future. It’s exotic and wonderful on the tongue and easy and healthy and cheap = win!

And speaking of inconceivably delicious food being actually very healthy – stuffed zucchini globes, Isa-style definitely qualify. How had I not made these yet? The millet here is basically a delivery device for tomato-y, olive-y, caper-y superflavour, which doesn’t get any further up my alley. I ate the leftover millet rolled up in steamed red cabbage with a squish of lemon, which forgive me, may have been even tastier than the squash, and um… I even put this stuff on crackers. Recommended!

Oh Extraveganza, shall you be in all my posts and will I never mind? Yes. :)
Especially when you offer recipes like pear and cardamom pudding, zomg. I doubled the cardamom and I shouldn’t have done that, because it became somewhat impossible to NOT have perfumed vanilla sweetness for dinner two night in a row. I am considering making more…

Finally, eek, I made saucy asian takeout style food! I can see why people do this now… It’s kind of a Gyudon (japanese beef and rice bowl) made with eggplant, as per Vegan Ronin‘s excellent adaptation, and somewhere between adding a splash of requisite sriracha and licking my bowl clean this was dreamy good eating. Even the rice happened to be purple in aubergine agreement! Goodness, I think now I’m gonna have to make General Tao’s tofu and cross that dish off my lifetime list now that I’m all hooked on sweet thickened sauces. YUM!

Bonus picture >>>>>>>>>>>>>
My favourite salad these days involves green apple and crushed up organic Wheat Thins, which was inspired by fatoush, if you can believe it. The crackers are sweeter than the apples, and with a noochy citrus dressing it’s a perfect snack.

(can you believe I got organic crackers at the dollar store? madness! I’m not complaining though)

This was the result of a hankering for an old-fashioned face-stuffy burger, and did it ever deliver on that. I made some crusty kaiser rolls, some straightforward black bean burgers (with rye flour and tortilla chips instead of white flour and breadcrumbs), put a bit of mayo and pepper on it and it was absolute perfection.

Oh yeah, and pomegranate salsa is like salsa with pink jewels in among the spiciness, and it really really works.

I also tried soygurt for the first time last week (in order to make that harissa yogurt swirl for the fava soup) and I loooooooove it. I didn’t eat cheese as an omni, I ate YOGURT, and loads of it, so I don’t know why it took me this long to grab the blue tub and add it to everything. This almond butter-lime dressing was so easy and yummy!

And speaking of soy… the other day a half block of firm tofu practically jumped into my blender and went “eeeeeeh! add sugar and lemon to meeeee!”. And who was I to argue? I baked this one, and added a pinch of nutritional yeast which sounds weird but gives it depth (just a pinch). The texture was perfect too… it sliced off into tart little “wodges” which in my odd mind is the exact word for an ideal slice of cheesecake. I wish I could live off of this stuff!
(oh and it was about 4″ across. I love mini tins!)

Finally I made Juineve’s creamy eggplant and roasted pepper soup with zaatar crackers. I doctored it a bit, roasting the vegetables and added tomatoes and a splash of sherry, and wished I had made more, it was so luscious. Thumbs up!

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!