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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.
It’s kind of torturous, living precisely between the two most famous bagel shops in Canada, the smell just doughy, sweet, redolent down the avenues whenever I go shopping… I grew up on these things, fresh montreal-style bagels (chewier than most) hot out of paper bags at a moment’s whim.  They’re cheap and carby and never need much more than a bit of buttery spread or cream cheese to achieve bread nirvana and OH how I’ve missed them.  So… I thought it about time to take matters into my own hands and just make some!  I guess I figured it would be difficult, but this is actually one of the easiest bread recipes I’ve made in some time.  I also couldn’t leave well enough alone in the creative noodling department (of course!) and made 9 individual flavours, kneading in little special things into each little dough blob.  I ran out of blobs before I ran out of ideas, but these were so easy to make that when I’m not sick of bagels anymore I can make some again super quick. ;)  

I also found it pretty necessary to make some sort of cream cheese to go with them — it’s almost half the deal, at least for my own nostalgia.  The slightly sour tang and creaminess on sweet and seedy bread…. zomg.  Thankfully I remembered about Bryanna Clark Grogan’s Boursin-style spread, because it hit the spot really perfectly, AND it didn’t call for nutritional yeast at all which I think would have messed with what should be a mild-flavoured thing.  It’s just cashews and EB and miso rocking this out, and soooooo yummy.  


haha, oh CURRY BAGEL.  You were variant no. 2 and I was still such a novice at the “rise & boil” method that I forgot to oil the baking sheet you rose on!  Sooooo wonky looking and the crumb was kinda off since I had to scrap you all out of symmetrical wack, BUT still really good.  Curry powder and cumin seeds in this one.

Sunflower seed and golden B.C. syrup (to kind of take the place of honey).  Expectedly so crisp and fluffy inside, I ate it with loads of Boursin and extra syrup.  Oh, and I packed it for lunch to eat after a 2-hour lecture class and it was still crunchy-fresh even by then!


Garlic, olive oil, herbs.  Too much salt, but still pretty nice.  Oh!  And I should take a moment to mention that I boiled these in water with a bit of sugar to approximate the honey water that the real bagelries use.  I stopped doing that to the last few because I found it too sweet… but it’s worth experimenting with, as a method.

Green chile chopped up inside, on a sandwich with VeganDad’s lunch slices (A++ on this flavour).  Subtle fruity heat!

Onion, with herbs on top, on another sandwich because I pretty much died and went to lunch heaven with the first one and had to repeat it.

Another A++ flavour — Sundried tomato and red chile flakes!  Here you can see it bathing in (sugar-free) water this time.
And I’m impatient, I really am.  If I were different I may have waited until I actually baked the last two flavours to make this post.  But I figured that Isa’s Brunch Book bagels would be taking the blogs by storm pretty soon and I should post now while I can!  Plus, seeing them in fossil-form is pretty important to the whole process.  I didn’t mention, but I froze them just after the second rise, right before they were to be boiled.  Then all I had to do was pull one out 45 minutes before I wanted to make it, let it defrost and puff a bit, then boil and bake and eat!  I’m glad my oven is so small or I’d feel bad about gas, but it really is small, and I’d have no idea what to do with more than one at a time, really.  Anyway… It’s also really nice to know I have a few stored away.  I saved the weirdest one and the best one for last — 1 goji matcha, and 1 cinnamon raisin, and I’m gonna have that cinnamon raisin drowned in EB and it will be glorious, I just know it, with hot hot hot tea on the side and a crossword if I can get my hands on it and one more long-time craving finally sated at the hands of homemade how-to-do. :)

Seriously. !!

(some thoughts for later: chocolate chunk, lavender, zaa’tar spiced, mixed olive, walnut and spice, annatto-yellow, green peppercorn, corn & coriander, cranberry & pepper, flax!)

I can’t even feign surprise or indignation over this. Instead of hitting the last vestiges of humanity untouched by fast food culture with bibles or giant stickers that say “Democracy!”, why not give them a burger? RIGHT???

This video is adorable and it makes me queasy. I really wanted to scream at them “Don’t do it! You’ll get hooked on the salt and the strange meat! You’ll eventually start craving cheap white bread instead of whatever delicious real food you were serving to those deluded BK-advocates! Put the sandwich down!!!”

Bonus points for everyone who poked it like it was a malformed sea creature. :/

Gah.

Thank you everybody, for the commiseration about dumb boy things… it actually made me feel so much better! Thankfully it all worked out and I could quickly get back to business making cookies *constantly* with Pomme as we get closer and closer to perfecting the art of the invented cookie. And also we can make a batch in about 3 minutes. And also, they are all delicious (okay, some were dog biscuits, but most had chocolate and were… delicious).

These were actually from a recipe… the infamous Crispy Peanut Butter cookies from VwaV that have legendary crumbling abilities (oooweeeeoooooo). They actually held together pretty nicely once you let them cool. And so toasty-sweet melt in your mouth-y!

And that kinda necessitated a small batch of Extraveganza Crispy Peanut Butter cookies for comparison (the page of which I had actually bookmarked that morning… the great minds of Pomme and I thinking alike once again!). They called for oat flake cereal – yummy! – and were so so so close to the first PB cookies I used to make as a kid. The dense and chewy kind, my favourite.

These are only one of many a muffin Pomme’s made recently. All without recipes, most perfectly addictive and warming, and so muffiny it kinda isn’t even fair to the vegetables in the fridge that definitely don’t get eaten when she pulls a fresh batch out of the oven. These apple cinnamon ones were just mouthfuls of autumn.

I made some bread at some point… loosely based on the Struan bread from the Freshloaf, except with amaranth instead of oat bran, brown rice syrup instead of honey, some added flax seeds, less yeast, way more whole wheat flour, and some leftover cooked amaranth too, to use it up. Perfect toast bread! Really nummy. Like a party at the grain cupboard and my fig jam was invited.

We also had to give it a spin as BLTs! Tofu bacon might be my new favouritest tofu.

Prickly pear innards look like this, and they taste quite melony.
(this was entirely inspired by the vegan 100 – I can cross one more off the list now!)

More cookies! On the bottom left, invented pistachio-date-cornmeal cookies with cardamom. The bottom rights are cardamom-oatmeal-almond (we were in a mood it seems). And on the top are probably our mascot cookie – perfect rough ‘n tumble mounds of oatmeal chocolate chip bliss. No experimentation required there, just grabbing the Earth Balance from the fridge and trying not to forget the vanilla.

And would you believe that we are neither of us fat? This is only a fraction of our output, too.
Oh, willpower. And hungry friends. One can never have too much of either. :)

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…

Banana bread is friendly. It shall redeem me. (yum)

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 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!)

They also came with an awesome rectangle plate that I fell in LURVE with and had to buy (so frivolous, and SO matching my grey spiral plate, it had to be done! :P)

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.
/sarcasm.

I’m thinking of making bread with sprouted wheat berries soon!

Curiously enough, I have a habit when drinking to RUN NOT WALK to the kitchen and see if I can’t whip up something edible with blurry vision. And I usually can! Maybe it’s the challenge… and it’s certainly better than singing off-key, I should think.

My most classic preparation is some sort of seitan barfood after stumbling home. I guess 3 am and soused isn’t the best time to attempt to recreate a vegan hotdog, but I tried! It wasn’t hotdogg-y, but it was delicious, even if J was passed out like a rock by the time I set down a warm fresh chapati with a seitan-dog and all the fixins in front of him. (It made a perfect breakfast the next day, though!)

A week or two later some crepes were made, and turned out more perfectly than any sobre pancake I’ve ever attempted. The Vcon recipe is lightning-fast, delicious, and got rave vegetarian reviews (“these are even better than the kind with eggs! more flavourful and chewy!”). I did add a bit of extra oat flour, too, which gave them a nice homey touch.

Yum jam! Strawberry, blueberry, merlot, sour cherry, plus caramel sauce, cinnamon and fresh peaches.

And then last night (we all get off work on wednesday. we call it “fake saturday”), some whiskey prompted a mini-muffin adventure. What kind? Uhhhh…. banana! With blueberries! (we are also blueberry fiends, oh my yes). Use a recipe? Bah! That takes time and reading. Better to just throw some whole wheat pastry flour in a bowl with some ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, soymilk, brown rice syrup, oil and vanilla. And they TOTALLY turned out. Not too sweet, loaded with berries and banana, and perfect for munching on while playing with plastic dinosaurs and discussing 37 ways the world is an unfathomably weird place. Rarr brontasaurus rex!

There were even 3 (oops, I ate one – 2) left over the next day!

Smashed Vegan’s Warning: please please please do not attempt to drink and bake at home, unless you’re of legal age and are prepared to find a huge mess waiting for you in the morning. I don’t want to be a bad influence… :o

Blub blub! Miso soup with real kombu (finally) required some sort of infantile time-wasting awesomeness, hence carrot-fish. I swear it made it more delicious!

And I actually ate something besides oatmeal for breakfast the other day! I love how sleeping in means I have to budget my time which means pancakes, ooh, life is hard. These weren’t perfect (oatmeal chocolate chip, for the record), but maybe I’ll fix the liquid ratio and put them in the zine someday. Chocolate for breakfast, though… it’s great.

This was another one I was thinking of putting in the zine, but then I was like, “uh, no. Everybody has a banana bread recipe and I actually suspect I got this from the ppk years ago, before I even knew what the ppk was.” Tasty, but I mostly just made it to see if I could still make banana bread, ha. (quartering a recipe and making it in a tiny pan turns it into banana bars, though, which is pretty cool!)

Yummy black bean and wheat berry salad, with corn, red onion, radish, carrot, cilantro, lime, cumin and cinnamon. It could use bell peppers and/or tomato, but not bad at all for an empty fridge kinda thing!

And banhi mi, banhi mi!! Okay, “vietnamese seitan sandwich with savoury broth dip” (from what else but Vcon). I was too excited to eat it to take a decent photo at all, but you can probably see that I deviated from the recipe and tried to make it more authentic, I suppose. So there’s cucumber sticks, sweet pickled carrot, green onion, radish, jalapeno, tomato, mayo, cilantro and delicious satan. I mean seitan. I’d never dipped a sandwich before, it was lovely, mushy spicy and bready.

Another cleaning out the fridge deal, this time minestrone, with the expected vegetable guests, but also corn because I really really like corn. And macaroni noodles. And I even resisted making it spicy. Oh, and I added ground up toasted almonds to approximate parmesan and this was a good decision, it totally made it right.

So very nourishing!

There’s this elusive flavour I can never seem to get from recipes. Simple and rustic – maybe old-school hippy if you want to call it that – but utterly delicious in it’s own way, the food of the flaky potlucks I went to in my formative food years. (with roasted veg and homemade bread and vinaigrettes and lasagnas and OMG a trampoline in the backyard???)

Anyway, this pie is so it. Maybe all I had to do was not use a recipe and just try to make lunch, ha! It has millet and leeks and swiss chard and tomato and next time I’ll put walnuts in the crust for nuttiness, but it was really light-yet-satisfying anyway.

And yes, those are garlic-stuffed olives. I am also a fan.

Pictured here are probably the worst (looking) cookies I’ve ever made, but for future reference it’s good to know I can whip up a batch in less than 20 minutes. I halved the sparkled ginger cookies from VwaV, didn’t have molasses, didn’t wait for them to cool, and ran to a picnic, but they were awesome anyway (3 of us wolfed these down in an hour, which should be telling). I think it was the cloves that really wooed me.

Oh, and I lucked out the other day and picked up a whole bunch of super cheap cookbooks at chapters, including Moby’s Teany book, which is impossibly cute and has recipes like matcha-chocolate pudding and plum french toast I really want to try (hurray for cleverly disguised vegan pseudo-cookbooks – it doesn’t say vegan anywhere on it, but I knew. Oh, I knew). The first thing I made was the tvp chicken salad, cause like… sandwich-y crumbly fillings are the best. It needed a lot more mayo and I added basil and bell peppers, but it’s a pretty good base and tasted great on the last of my homemade bread (yay freezers).

And Indira has done it again – I think what I adore most of all about her recipes (besides how easy and downright delicious they always are) is how clean they taste. I didn’t even realize this was her take on Hoppin’ John until I was halfway through making this, but it’s oh-so south indian and SO ADDICTIVE. Like, “please hide the spoon from me” addictive. I love how all of the heat is from black pepper, too, it’s neat. (and it has bok choy instead of mustard greens, so um… that’s three points of the globe coming together for a pottage of homey happy rice? excellent)

I had the worst day yesterday — looks like I’m stuck paying for a course on ancient Aegean culture and whatnot, even if I drop it. They said it was art history, the trolls! It’s about freaking architecture. Well, I *did* learn what a ‘lentil’ is… (not the food kind, but the kind that holds up treasuries and apollonian temples). I’m going to drop it and go to the lectures anyway because it’s interesting but I have an average to think about.

So yeah, that brought on a severe chocolate cake craving. And not one of those shrink-wrapped Skinni Mini vegan squishy fudgey squares they sell at the grocery store check-outs EVERYWHERE here, no I wanted a wedge, a slice, a piece of cake.

Luckily I find fractioning recipes therapeutic in the extreme.

I also recently made some cashew & agar cheese, or at least attempted to achieve that grate-able holy grail of yeasty goodness.

Not so pretty, and alas…

…not so firm.

Absolutely, 100% scrumptious though – maybe even better than that aged cheddar crock-cheese my mom used to eat while I wrinkled my nose. This also marks my first vegan melty-cheese experience and it did bring on giddy stupid munching, I will not lie. I had a griller with tomatoes and pickles just like I used to survive off of, glee!!

EDIT: due to popular interest, more talk about cheese! I adapted a recipe from this site here.

What I ended up doing:

3/4 cup water
2 1/2 tbsp agar flakes
1/4 cup raw cashew pieces
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp tahini
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt

“Place the water and agar-agar flakes in a small
saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and
simmer for 5 minutes, stirring often. Place in a
blender with the remaining ingredients, and process
until completely smooth.

Pour immediately into a lightly oiled, 3-cup [1 cup, really]
rectangular mold, loaf or other rectangular container.
Cover and chill for several hours or overnight. To
serve, turn out of the mold and slice. Store leftovers
in the refrigerator.”

Next time I’ll probably make a full recipe (I went through this block fast!) and add another tablespoon or 2 of agar flakes. Also, I would suspect that the moistness of the tomatoes played a crucial role in the meltyness.

And speaking of lunchables, I must tip my hat to Amy of a A Stranger in the Alps for her cardamom-vanilla-pear muffin recipe. If a muffin were a person, this one would wear cotton gloves and ride a skinny black bicycle through moors and stuff (okay, I’ve been reading Virginia Woolf’s Orlando and I’ve got immortal british elegance on the brain, but THEY WERE SO AWESOME). The carrot soup was good, but a victim of my blended soup kitchen-sink philosophy and a bit too much curry powder. Anyway…

I also feasted last week on crispy crunchy stuffed tofu (from Cake Maker to the Stars), and sweet & sour green beans (from the More Than Twigs & Berries zine), and holy novelty tofu batman! I think I was channeling kitchen genius fairies cause I don’t know why down-home sweet potato tofu chews got made with chinese-ish beans, but they went together like a dream, like sweet and gooey with crunchy and nutty… yeah. Quite good.

So in conclusion I am bad at memorizing dates and couldn’t tell a Kore from a Kouros if you paid me, but hey, I can make up for those things. With tofu. Rarrr!