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Once upon a time there was an more innocent time in my life where I had no ethical qualms about eating as much Habitant pea soup as my little tummy desired. It was creamy, and dreamy, and came in gigantic tins and sometimes I ate it cold right out of the fridge, sometimes heated up to make it extra silky, and usually with loads of black pepper. It was pretty good stuff, even though it didn’t take me long to scan the ingredients list once becoming vegan and there the shocking news was that even the “vegetarian” version had a whole bunch of lard in it! Super gross!! But I love that stuff, so I’ve been trying here and there to recreate it. The trick is to think simple and this is the closest I’ve come so far, this may have even been better! :O
(Oh, and it’s certainly that time of the season. I’m not the only one to sing the peas praises!)
On the soup front we’ve still been raring to go this week. After split pea came that rich, gravy-like black bean soup from the Veganomicon that I love so much. Pretty much made identically as before, but with a bit of red pepper added this time. That veg gets itself invited to anything that needs some ruby sparkle and a bite of sweet! Definitely a welcome addition here, and it’s cheap and healthy yet luxurious soups like this that make me feel like a queen that should have made a double batch because aaaaaaaaaah it’s soooooo goooooooooooooood.
For Hallowe’en this year I could not sleep on the eve of the Hallow’s Eve, so I made pudding at three in the morning. Have I mentioned that I adore the excuse to cook at all hours of the night when I have the place to myself? Lovely fun to make a big recipe of extra almondy pudding with a layer of toasted oats and almond crust surprise hiding at the bottom! I don’t think I’ll go the “crust” route with my pudding again, somehow gritty isn’t something I enjoyed on the tongue, but if you eat the creamy first and then the almost macaroon-like cookie bottom, well, that was pretty nice. We conveniently forgot to mention to the guys that there were seven of these in the fridge, and have been diving into pud at our leisure.
I’m not totally greedy, though, and ended up releasing 11 of 12 of these VwaV perfect pumpkin muffins out into the wild to get devoured by costumed friends. It was almost funny how the conversation went every time, though:
Me: here, do want a pumpkin muffin?
Them: ehhhh. nah, is okay.
Me: they are like cake!
Them: all right then (*pause for chewing*) WOW THESE ARE GOOD.
hahaha. fools that they do not know the wonder of gourd cake! Oh, yeah, and actually I made them with a Calabaza squash, which was remarkably smooth and sweet, and just a bit floral – worked beautifully here.
Finally, I am back onto my mission to finish the Vcon. One needs a past-time challenge, right? Eased back into the crusade with a quicky little baby bok shoy with crispy shallots recipe (read: onions, we is poor), enjoyed with my new obsession, black forbidden sticky rice, pineapple pieces and some goji berries for that painterly touch on the dinner plate. Delicious!
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!)
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.
I’m thinking of making bread with sprouted wheat berries soon!
This stuff is weird city, but I’ve pretty much fallen in love with “wet bean curd” now. I thought it was going to be spicy tofu in a jar, and for $1 I had to give it a try, but I got it home and it’s not tofu… exactly. It smells like briney blue cheese and the cubes inside are almost like… melted brie in consistency. So it’s kind of like cheese, but also a heck of a lot saltier and pungent-ier and I had absolutely no idea what to do with it (besides get kinda hooked on eating small bits of it with a spoon).
oil for frying
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp minced garlic
1 bunch of ong choy/chinese water spinach, rinsed and cut into long sticks (separate the leaves and stems)
2-3 cubes fermented tofu
* Heat the oil in a heavy skillet or a wok on high heat. Add the ginger/garlic and cook for about a minute.
* Add the spinach stems and cook for maybe 2-3 minutes, then add the leaves, and cook until they’re just barely wilted.
* Make a bare spot in the middle of the pan and mash in the bean cubes, then toss to coat everything. Serve whilst hot and juicy!
And if it’s just you… well then eat the whole pan with chopsticks and a big grin, and then have peanut-brittly-rice-caked-bottom-y candy things for dessert and revel in the not having to impress dinner guests and/or represent all major food groups in one sitting. woo!
Oh my gosh, it’s been a few days, hasn’t it? I have been cooking! Notably I made a turtle cake for my friend’s 24th. A turtle turtle cake, if you will. He’s so cute… swimming in generous puddles of buttery caramel sauce. It was almost a shame to cut into him to get at the deep chocolate innards. Almost.
I started with the Vcon deep chocolate bundt cake, mostly in the interest of conquering the book – in all honesty I don’t think the coffee really meshed with the rest of the cake components, but I also oopsed and used my regular crappy brand instead of brewing up my stash of GOOD coffee that I keep around just for cakes. I am d’oh.
Luckily toasted pecans and caramel sauce (ohhhhh that sauce!) go an incredibly long way towards nummifying everything they come into contact with. Generous layer and then onto…
My FAVOURITE icing in the whole world. I got it off vegweb, but I’ve seen identical versions over the internet, and holy all that is holy, it is good. Think rich, choco-fudgey, creamy, not too sweet. Also low in fat, and not like eating a bowl of shortening (*ahem* buttercream I’m looking at you). Add an extra shake of salt and it’s pure heaven.
The finished product? Gooey, addictive, got pretty much destroyed by three people, if that says anything. Also, it had wings and is thus a Koopa Cake for extra nerd points. :)
The other day I found these chayote squashes for 25 cents, can you believe it? And at a mega-supermarket no less (I was making excuses to walk really far ’cause the sun was sooooo beautiful that day, and hey, they have a good selection of extracts in the baking aisle).
Anyway, I had no idea what they were, but I did a brief search-up and they’re totally a mexican thing, so I made probably the least-brainer I could have, just tossing them with coarse salt, lime juice, chili powder, cumin and red chile flakes. Lovely refreshing, actually. They taste a little bit like a bland cucumber-melon and I don’t think I’d go nuts trying to find them again, but hey, one less mystery on the list.
And more Vcon recipes cause I’m predictable like that. They are both to die for, because the Vcon is predictable like that. This is the pineapple cashew quinoa stirfry, mega yum. If pineapple-y grain-based stir fries had a bare knuckle fight in that square foot of free space in my kitchen I’d probably leave my bets with the pineapple couscous curry I made a while back, but that’s not to say they both wouldn’t both fight valiantly with their ways of deliciousness and copious use of sweet sweet juice. I’d also even say this tastes better out of the microwave the next day, but I might just be weird like that.
I’m not one for adult food, really. I made the Vcon tomato couscous with capers and rustic white beans and at first didn’t really… know what to do with it? But then something happened, something wise in me turned off my computer, headed to the fire escape with a glass of leftover white wine and a trashy novel and all of a sudden I was “some single woman shooing her cat away from the subtle flavas of leek”, instead of “some kid blogging, rocking, reading AND playing video games while shovelling back stirfry”. I dunno, it’s a subtle difference. And I was sad to see the last of it go.
I’m experimenting with a bigger font size, because I agree with you guys – I found my blog hard to read, too!
My first attempt at vegan pizza (actually from a week or so ago, but I forgot to post about it). 2/3 of it was italian-styled, with garlic marinara, Tofurkey sausage, caramelized onions, sundried tomatoes, roasted red pepper, eggplant and herbs; the other 1/3 was mexican, with homemade salsa, onions, more sausage, jalapeno, cubanelle pepper and hot sauce. Oh, and a half recipe of Bryanna’s Melty Pizza Cheese courtesy of Kittee’s pizza page that I wish wish wish I hadn’t halved because of how severely delicious it was. What’s particularly amazing about this is that it was made on New Year’s Day with hardly any veggie in the fridge and no grocery stores open, and yet it was still veggieful and fantastic!
Back home, yesterday’s breakfast (ha ha). I think I’m starting to get good at this stir fry business, which is one of those skills I would call “invaluable”. Note the Yellow Pepper of Greatness making it’s last yummy appearance.
And cause I’m really not a rice person but for some reason I make some for the stir fry, I had a bunch left over and I made my favourite rice vehicle ever – salad! I’m gonna post the fake recipe because I also consider this one of those invaluable kitchen throw-together methods…
2 cups of cooked grains (rice, millet, quinoa, etc)
2 cups crunchy vegetables, diced small
any leftover legumes you have around
1/4 – 1/3 cup of leftover salad dressing (in this case, Cumin-Cinnamon Vinaigrette)
salt and pepper
1. Mix, let it sit for at least an hour (many hours would be better), eat with chopsticks because everything tastes better with chopsticks. :D
In other news, I tossed the compost in the rubbish because there really wasn’t a responsible place to put it, but I’m going to research into worm composting and see if I can’t get one set up. It WAS kind of interesting to confirm my suspicions that a full half of the garbage I put out is food waste. Makes me feel a little better (sort of) about my footprint, even if it’s still going to a landfill for the time being…
My two new favourite questions have definitely become –
1. “Sooooo…. when’s your birthday?”
2. “Aaaand…. what are your favourite flavours?”
Best response so far? Blueberry orange – thank you Jay for being adventurous!
This isn’t even the grandolith-monolith cake-o-glory – this is just the home cake! I ended up doubling the vanilla cake recipe from ED&BV, so I had enough left over to make a cake for my family for my last day in town. Tongue-in-cheek captioning and all! I also switched most of the milk for real-squeezed organic orange juice and added zest and orange extract.
Yummy stir-fry goodness, on udon noodles. And since I was candying oranges anyway for the Grandocake, I tossed some of the extra syrup in the stir-fry sauce I made and it was awesome. I also got to use my new chili-garlic sauce! Can you believe I lived this long without owning any? I totally can’t.
Home cake innards, with about a mile of icing on top because I decided to use up the extra and be generous like that. It’s almost all dyed naturally, and the blueberry flavour is the juice from the pot that I stewed the blueberry filling in. It tasted… blue. Amazingly, burstingly blue. (I pat myself on back now).
I wish I had pictures of the insides… they would bring a tear to your eye. I woke up the next morning to find birthday boy excavating the orange mountain with a fork and a slight hangover and a pretty blissful expression on his groggy face, to which I say mission successful! and also….
what are your favourite flavours? :D