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These are the best scones in existence.  Or they were, at least, while they still existed.  Seriously, mega delicate fairy eats, full of spices and almond, not sweet but buttery.  I used strawberries and plums and lemon juice instead of blackberries and orange and it was perfection, Emilie is a total genius with this kind of stuff, which I hardly need to say, but it’s true.

I curled up with them listening to Joanna Newsom on vinyl.  My roommate is so smart, she set up her record player behind the fridge, so we can listen to crackling guitars and also 80’s everything while we work!  I like nestling myself against the oven waiting for the timer to go off, and now it’s even better cause I can sing along to Bowie.

That’s her making pizza.  I love this photo. :)

apple sprout!
Every so often (in fact, very often), on those days I have left my apartment with a slog in my step or even just no specific inspiration for the day to come except possibly another coffee and another ride on the bus… I will check my little metal mailbox and see personal mail inside.  And instantly I’m five and it’s my birthday and I’m grinning cheekily and cracking open a pretty envelope and the day is, so to speak, saved.  Needless to say I was happy to see my copy of Swell Vegan’s cookzine last week!  It’s beautiful, first of all – the covers are home-silkscreened in a burnished gold on creamy green card – and inside are 15 absolutely enticing recipes.  I’ve already tested a spare few (the Maple Mustard Chili Tofu, Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers, and OH the Sweet Potato-Cranberry Scones with that gooey maple glaze!) and been really impressed each time.  The recipes are easy and vibrant, definitely on the healthy side and did I mention delicious?  The only thing I’ve made since getting my copy is Sarah’s Savory Baked Tofu, but of course that was perfect too, even when I just eyeballed the measurements to make a 1/3 recipe.  I actually really like the way A-K’s food tastes, there’s something really great about it.  
some past swell food…

Sweet Potato-Cranberry Scones – as WannabeVegan mentioned, these are worth the price of admission, I’m 100% serious about this.  Consider the price of a huge batch of the best scones you’ve ever eaten, then factor in being able to make them again and again each fall (or anytime), plus a few tempeh recipes and that just makes sense, doesn’t it?

Maple-Mustard-Chili Tofu – this recipe keeps wanting to be made and then I remember I don’t have maple syrup and then I am sad, because the maple flavour is vital and really delicious.  The salad underneath it was weird (artichokes and grapes, huh past self?  WEIRD!!) but that tofu was addictive.

And the first thing I tested were the Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers, which are a combination of some of my favourite things ever (almond butter, leeks, millet and sweet patats), in a more-ish kind of spicy burger.  You gotta eat these fresh, they crumble in the freezer (unless the recipe has changed, and A-K you can correct me if I’m steering anyone wrong here?), but they then turn into taco salad crumbles.  So not bad!

The latest dish!  Sarah’s Baked Tofu on some rice & millet, steamed vegetables, and a lemon-y sesame-thai dressing from the Millenium Cookbook that livened up broccoli like crazy. (It’s the dressing from the Chilled Soba Salad if anyone’s wondering).  Straightforward looking, but take a bite from this and it’s got zingy depth.  Serve it to omnis.  Mention whole grains and steamed veg and lean protein and then let them try it and giggle when they go all “ohhhh.  Wait, this is good!”  At least, that’s my secret plan.  Swell will be my secret recipe weapon, I’ve got the Mole Roasted Cauliflower on the mind to make next. 

Oh, and I made the Lemon Zucchini Bread and the batter was great and then the most disastrous thing happened ever.  My oven had the audacity that afternoon to turn into a dehydrator, resulting in the most depressing baked thing I’ve ever had the misfortune of creating.  It turned this beautiful lemony-sweet cake batter into a block of chewy (albeit tasty) crust with raw lukewarm uncooked battergoo inside.  I weep tears.  No, actually, I threw it out.  And I NEVER do that.  So um… word to the wise, before risking a lemon zucchini bread make sure your oven works, or else microwave yourself an end piece and put enough Earth Balance on it so you don’t notice you’re eating liquid cake… errr. yeah.
That’s a horrible way to end a supportive post!  But it happened.  It’s my funny story.  :)
PS: A-K you rock!

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! :)

Best breakfast ever? Why yes!

Mmmm…. I’m actually still licking my fingers from these right now (my computer is getting filthier with each passing day, but it’s all from baking so I really don’t mind). I used the Vcon maple brown sugar pinwheels recipe as a base, but realized I didn’t have maple OR ground cardamom on hand so I turned them into your basic cinnamon-pecan-raisin sticky buns. With the orange left in though, of course. I think I’m adoring everything orange these days. Personally I think I overbaked them a little and it could have used more fat to cut the sweet, but everyone else was going crazy and offering to kiss the ground I walk on (for what? kneading a bit of dough? oh silly), which is a testament to the power of cinnamon buns. Maybe we should just bake cinnamon buns to solve all conflicts. Or some other pat answer to life’s confuzzlements. At the very least we could make kitchens smell nicer all over the world. Righto.

And hoboy… out of the two iced baked things I’ve made recently these are soooooo my favourite. As in, I would actually make them again (and again and again). It’s the Swell Vegan sweet potato tester scones! The scones alone are perfect – just sweet enough to savour slowly with tea, but the optional caramel glaze is pretty much THE caramel goop recipe I’ve been looking for! Sent these to another level. A level of mouthgasm. (and almost virtuous! Because scones are healthier than cookies! Because I say so!)

(that is, unless you use lots of Earth Balance, which is really quite nice. :)

I had no idea I could make this something this good. Holy wow! I was having trouble taking the pictures ’cause my nose had to be right up in them and they smell SO FREAKING GOOD. I adapted the recipe from here, and with some judicious tinkering made them probably better, ha!

Orange & Gingerbread Scones

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 cup oats
1/3 cup brown sugar

1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp cloves

1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/3 cup margarine
zest of 1 orange (reserving 2 tsps)

1/3 cup dried cranberries

1/3 cup non-dairy milk
3 tbsp orange juice

3 tbsp molasses
1 tsp vanilla extract

Orange Glaze :
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 1/2 tbsp orange juice
2 tsps orange zest

raw coarse sugar (for sprinkling)

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F
2. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl, then cut in the margarine with a pastry cutter or some knives until it looks like (yep you guessed it) coarse cornmeal. Stir in the orange zest and cranberries.
3. Whisk together the wet ingredients, then pour them onto the dry and mix til it just comes together.
4. Move the dough to a floured surface and shape it into an 8″ disc (or so), then cut that disc in half and cut wedges from each half. Transfer to a greased baking sheet and bake em for 20 minutes, or when a toothpick comes out clean.
5. Mix up the glaze and when the scones are cool, brush them allll over (to make them extra orangey awesome) and then sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Serve em with tea. or apricot beer. or just serve em. you know you want to!

EDIT: I did serve them, to a couple people, and each time the reaction was…… eyes widen and mouth goes “woah!”. So I’m happy. This is my first invented baked good. :)