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Hey guys, check it out – ancient cookbook envelopes!  You know the kind of cookbook that has the index with the illustrated alfalfa leaf and the recipes for brown rice pudding with apricot and kale and buckwheat egg-mash?  Yeah, the kind that wouldn’t suffer much from being folded into something beautiful and useful, I think.  

I’ve been really into making envelopes the past day or two, it’s pretty easy – just take an envelope you like, unfold it flat, trace the outline onto another paper and glue it up the same way – brilliant!  I’m going to use these for my Etsy orders from now on.  

Hmm, yes, speaking of crafts, I may have mentioned an art show I had a table at last weekend?  It went pretty well for a first time at active capitalism – I made 5$ (after table cost), got some buttons, met great people, and probably most importantly of all – got A LOT of insider information on how to make laser cutters, business cards, japanese sculpture-cards, postcards, felted fabric, etc.  That and………… a custom cookie portrait on a vegan cookie no less!  Yumm-me!  haha.  The woman next to me was also friends with Jae Steele and we went on about Get it Ripe and co-ops for a while and I got to try her awesome spelted blueberry muffins and banana-chocolate breads!
Yum, corn salad!  I have no idea what made this one so special, but it’s what I brought for lunch with me to the sale.  I remember it was very acidic, with fresh dill, mayonnaise, perfect tomatoes, a bit of sugar (shhh don’t tell), cayenne, cumin maybe?…  whatever, it was creamy and really good when the ubiquitous wasps weren’t attracted by the sweet smell of it.  
I also brought these, and I can’t even tell you how much of a wasp-attractor they were, but omg were they worth it in every way.  Donuts!  Like I hadn’t tasted in years!  The chocolate-y ones I was especially pining for, and Lolo’s donuts (via Vegetarian Times) are just the texture and richness I remember.  So fudgey, so so so very good.  The apple ones had about 3 different dimensions of apple in them, too, spicy and perfect for fall!  
It was good to have a box like this to pass around to fellow crafters when the rain started coming down. 

smile and the cashew cucumber dip will smile with you ;)
In other news, my mom and brother came up for a few days last week, and we had a really lovely time, during which it became obvious to me where I learned to sup and savour food like a real hedonist.  My family gets it!  
I’d had some cabbage rolls stuffed with cinnamon-tomato-lemon-millet left over from a previous lunch, so I decided to expand on that Greek-style and with my bro’s help it was really fast and easy.  We ended up with the tomato & zucchini tofu fritters from Veganomicon, with the accompanying cashew cucumber dip, as well as some lime-broiled green beans, some artichokes, and olives.  We briefly bemoaned the lack of good thick greek pita to eat with all this, but then remembered there was a bottle of Riesling to be had (a good dry German one, haha) and anyway, that’s all *I* needed.
Hi mom!  This is my second favourite park, but my #1 choice for picnics.
In the morning with a sleepy brother!  I couldn’t really leave well enough alone when he said he wanted oatmeal.  If he really wanted oatmeal I would have made some afterwards, but I was so geared for brunch.  (I didn’t hear any complaints in the end).  Just enough food for three people, it was Isa’s basic fluffy pancakes, potato & sausage fry, steamed broccoli with cheesy sauce, and um… because I’m me, a firecracker-hot thai cucumber salad that I ended up just eating myself. I’m probably weird (no, I’m definitely weird), but I think eating a whole thai chili along with breakfast is a pretty good idea.  Kinda like coffee, but more burninating. 

Yummmmmm.  Those pancakes are so perfect.  Need I say more?

Oh, okay, just one more thing.  A quick bottomless apple pie made with the crust from Fran Costigan’s More Great Good Desserts.  Amazing!  It’s made with frozen oil and it’s the flakiest darned thing I’ve ever managed to top a pie with!  Really easy, too, and stood up to my adaptations (mostly spelt flour, some whiskey added).  Makes me think I might master pies someday.  I’m still no expert, but this one was getting close… the apples were just kissed with 5-spice powder, ooh.  We drizzled it with coconut cream and it was very good.  

My sister, meanwhile, is at Burning Man.  :O
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My room-mate’s birthday came up unexpectedly!  I had to innovate… it helped that I could peek into her side of the pantry and note the favoured ingredients… and remember that she has a yen for spicy food and japanese (similar taste much!)

I essentially made her the cake I secretly hoped someone would make for me someday (but shh, it works here, too).

I made a half recipe of a cake I found online here, sliced it into 4 rectangles and sandwiched them with a full recipe of the Vegan Cupcakes take over the World chocolate mousse recipe, but with a bunch of wasabi and ginger added, yes!

Top it with some pretty kiwis and champagne grapes and white pearls and call it an ideal job.  Just about exactly what I was aiming for – it’s elegant and spicy and rich.  If I did it again I might add some cashew cream layers, or some strawberry jam, but really it’s perfect just the way it is right here.  Roomie even professed to get a wasabi high off the mousse!  Ha ha, couldn’t ask for more.

Black Sesame Cake

(from Alice Medrich’s Pure Dessert (veganized), via Dessert First)

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup soy yogurt

3 tsp toasted sesame oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup canola oil*

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup soymilk

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup toasted black sesame seeds

– Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease a cake tin and dust flour inside it.  Set aside.

– Add the vinegar to the soymilk and set aside to curdle.

– Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  

– In a large bowl, beat together the soygurt, sesame oil, vanilla, canola oil, and sugar until it’s smooth and caramell-y, about 2-3 minutes with a whisk.

– Add 1/3 of the flour to the liquid ingredients and stir to combine.  Add half the curdled soymilk and stir.  Add another 1/3 of the flour (stir), then the rest of the milk (stir), then the last of the flour (stir).  Make sure not to overwork the batter, but it should be smooth and pourable.

– Pour into the greased cake tin and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the top is glossy, firm and golden, and a toothpick/knife inserted comes out clean.  Let it cool for about 10 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack, then let it cool completely before frosting.

* the original recipe called for butter, and you would probably get spectacular results with Earth Balance, I just didn’t have enough this time.  Follow the recipe the same, but cream the margarine with the sugar with an electric mixer until it’s really white and fluffy, before adding the other liquid ingredients.


Wasabi Ginger Chocolate Mousse

(adapted from Vegan Cupcakes take over the World)

12 oz. package of medium firm tofu, drained

1/4 cup soy milk

2 tbsp maple syrup (optional)

1 tbsp wasabi paste (or more ;)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp ginger powder

8 oz. chocolate chips (or higher quality chocolate if you’d like)

pinch of salt

– Bring a pot of water to a boil, then gently add your tofu, lower the heat and let it simmer for about 4-5 minutes.  Drain carefully and let it cool.

– Once cooled, put the tofu, syrup, wasabi, vanilla and ginger in a blender and blend it until it’s completely smooth.

– Melt the chocolate carefully in the microwave then add it to the blender and whip everything together.  Add salt if you like salt (I do), then stash it in the fridge for at least an hour to become firm enough to work with.  Ice your cake!

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