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And then I had leftover crepes with sauteed peaches, coarse raw sugar, cranberry jam, and some malted soy drink mixed with enough water to make a sweet cream. Oh, frugal AND delicious, and even maybe healthy, how ’bout that? I love dinners that revolve around fructose.
Speaking of which, I made a tiny sweet potato cashew cream pie with a lone spud, because it’s just been so damned cold it seems not very weird to make food like this. Plus, it has a pumpkin seed crust a la Extraveganza, which in my weird mind makes it kinda summery. And when you pop it in the freezer and eat slices of it cold like spiced ice cream…… *drooooolz*. Also gives me a chance to use the tiniest fork ever imaginable that I picked up at a garage sale for specific things just like this. Fairy pie technique!
From now on I make my own thai green curry paste. Has anyone tried the yellow variety? I almost did but then I chickened out and returned it for a jar of the classic green, and while it resulted in a slurpily good skillet of hyper-spice, well… I’m still curious about the other variety. Maybe next time I’ll get the yellow (which boasts coriander and white pepper, yum) and just grind up lots of green chiles into it myself. I ended up throwing like, 3-4 extra thai peppers into this one anyway, cause I kind of like my thai curries to practically send off sparks into the atmosphere. Anything less and why bother, I say!
Then for a while I was all in love with med-firm tofu and it’s magical ability to become some luxurious (yet low guilt) salad dressing at a moment’s notice. I played around with a few varieties – I tried the Vegan World Fusion Caesar (yum!), I made a kind of ranch, and my favourite was a curried apricot dressing that was very inspired by something from the Millenium cookbook, although I changed it entirely… I even found the notepad file I wrote the recipe on! So here it is —-
1/4 lb. med-firm tofu
1-2 dried apricots, soaked well and chopped
1 tsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/8 tsp cardamom
pinch of cayenne
1 tsp almond butter
1 tsp canola oil
enough water to thin
This is just the shot of the leftovers – stuff put into tupperware doesn’t win any beauty points. But the point of this lunch was that it was a bento-ish kind of meal that randomly came together after I poo-pooed the idea of a peanut butter sandwich and started to boil potatoes. Which I never do, and made me feel festive enough to remember the wasabi tube I had in the fridge, thus wasabi mashed potatoes. So obviously then I had to try those panko & daikon stuffed mushrooms from the Veganomicon. Except… I didn’t feel like firing up the oven for 6 mushrooms so I made them raw and used bulgur wheat instead of bread crumbs, and added some sweet peppers and Sambal Olek for fun.
I’m inspired again!! It happened very suddenly, I think a warm breeze passed through my kitchen and the walls turned sunny-orange in a way I hadn’t seen in months, prompting a small whirlwind of culinary tinkering, and I haven’t stopped since. I made raviolis, even, which I’ve always wanted to do! They’re roasted beet with rosemary and toasted walnuts, made with wonton skins, so they’re not pasta exactly, but I prefer the chewy dumplingness of the skins, actually. Because that way I’m allowed to eat them with my hands. They also coincided with a small disaster that resulted in something wonderful …….
— my fridge has sucked for years. It’s been replaced 3 or 4 times since I’ve lived here, and each one has been more small, old, fragile and smelly than the last. Have you ever seen a fridge where the freezer was INSIDE the box, and there was only one door? That was mine, until last week when it started to leak freon and smell rather horrifyingly chemical. I tried eating an apple from the crisper and my mouth started to tingle… I didn’t repeat that. O_o
The building quickly replaced it, as usual, except that this time – it’s a real fridge, white and sizeable, with a real freezer door! It makes a very satisfying sound, and my smoothies taste like ice cream now because the ice is so cold. Amazing! Anyway, the reason I bring this up is because while I rescuing things from the old icebox I pulled out a huge bag of peas and was like, “uh… I should eat these somehow”, which led to a most delicious puree to go with my raviolis. I just threw the peas in a blender with some garlic, basil, mint, balsamic, oil, tamari and pepper and it was shmancy-perfect-face-stuffingly-delicious. woo!
I also made some sandwich bread last week, to celebrate the white flour purchase. I’d never made sandwich bread before! It’s so useful, and tasty. This one was whole wheat rye, made with a bit of molasses and caraway and I had no trouble eating it up, especially shmeared with spicy homemade apple butter, yum! It inspired me to make a real salad. And it inspired me to have reubens for lunch all last week – holy batman that’s a good sammich!
For the ‘meat’ part I made lentil patties with pickle juice and gluten flour, breaded them in breadcrumbs and baked for 30 minutes, flipping once. Then loaded on the sauerkraut and homemade 1000-island and munched happily away!
Finally – to celebrate the spring equinox, and in anticipation of finding good things in life, I baked a lemon poppy seed bread yesterday, studded with little treasures. Rings, crystals, little coins, it was so much fun to bring this to a potluck, cover it with fresh berries, and slice off little hunks with surprises inside! The bread itself is moist and more-ish, too – super citrusy, with a sparkly sugary crust, and soaked in a lemon syrup = win!
Springtime Lemon Poppyseed Bread
1 tablespoon lemon zest
juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons poppy seeds
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water (could use milk)
2 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
3 tablespoons raw sugar (for sprinkling on top)
optional: little metal trinkets
1. Preheat oven to 375 and grease a loaf pan.
2. Combine the wet ingredients in a large bowl, lemon zest through water.
3. Sift together the dry ingredients, then add that to the wet and stir just until combined.
4. Pour half the batter in the pan, dot the batter with metal trinkets (if using), then add the rest of the batter, sprinkle the top with raw sugar and bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a skewer comes out clean. Don’t take it out of the pan yet though! While it’s still warm, make….
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
1. Mix lemon juice and sugar together in a bowl, microwave on high for about 45 seconds, stir to dissolve into a syrup.
2. Poke a bunch of holes in your lemon bread with a skewer or a toothpick, then pour the syrup over top and let it soak in for about 20 minutes. Then take it out of the pan and let it cool. Slice, warn people not to break their teeth on anything, and bask in the party game + dessert combined. :)
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)
Lunchtime: wake up leisurely and construct (reheat) some stuffed butternut squash from last night, with black rice, chard, walnuts, cranberries and red peppers inside (much inspired by jessy), with lemon sauteed green beans and a lovely white bean garlic sauce done pretty close to how Atxvegn made hers. Boomshakka, that plus coffee and then off to school.
Dinner: swung by chinatown on my way home to replenish my Sriracha and of course picked up some extra goodies to play with. Fried gluten balls, a strange turnip-like thing with lavender insides (anyone know what that might be?), dried kumquats (ew), salted black beans (yay! mapo tofu!), and dried black fungus. The fungus ended up in my tummy tonight! It’s so weird and I’m hooked, it’s all crrrrunchy in a mushroom way. I used this recipe, and threw some stir-fried chard with fermented bean curd along side, and ate it with …………. wheat berries. OH, it was good!
So I’m writing this from the comfy green rocking recliner in my mother’s living room, covered in flour and crossing recipes off of the veganomicon index faster than I can decide on the next thing I want to make, and that is to say – life (or at least my pseudo-vacation before school starts full throttle again in september) is good.
I even got to make a pie – a birthday peach and blueberry pie at my mother’s request, using the vcon pastry instead of my usual. It’s definitely easier to use, like those pie crusts you see on television that people just sort of toss into the pan… but I think next time I’ll stick with my madness-inducing-yet-extraordinarily-tender crust I usually use. Because personally I’d rather my pie disintegrate into buttery flakes at the touch of a fork than look pretty and pert, but that’s just me…. and I’m just a pie-obsesso who so rarely gets to make them… :p
Mmm… and I’m mentioning here that in an awesome and unplanned way, there is a tomato in just about everything in this post. Which makes sense! It being the season and all. But I’m mentioning it so you can play along and find them. Like in the vcon midsummer corn chowder, which is SOOO good, you have to make it! With rosemary focaccia it was perfect, and there was a big paprika’d mountain of hummus on the table, too.
Went out for dinner at Corners on Bank. Not much to say… I mean, it was crazy delicious, but it was just a Boca burger. I guess to people who never ever eat those things it’s a special treat, though. And they very happily let me pick my own toppings off of the menu options, so I got chipotle salsa, caramelized onions and guacamole, and the calabrese bun was teeth-sinking yeasty and notably fresh, so really, who’s complaining at all?
Okay me, for forgetting to ask for my salad sans dressing. :p
1 cup cornmeal
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup almond milk
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp chopped pickled jalapenos
1/4 cup sauteed onions
pinch of sugar
Fry them up, eat with salsa, say yum yum yum and think why didn’t I make DOUBLE that amount because now I have to give my lunch to my sister who just came in the door with hoecake longing in her eyes. Alas, alas…..
….at least I got the vcon mexican millet all to myself! It wasn’t gonna happen like that – I was making it for everybody, but everybody went to bed, and then a forkful of it went in my mouth and any plans to eat anything else went ~poof~ and I had half the pot all for me, and it was so good. I love millet! Especially when it’s buttery and nutty and crisp/creamy, and eaten out of a dainty little rice bowl.
And then vcon blintzes, with dill-tahini sauce, applesauce and pickled red cabbage. A lot of work for something that tasted pretty perogi-like, but delicious nonetheless. Especially when all the toppings glooped together to form SUPER GLOOP of the potato-y sauce-y goodness.
And lunch today – vcon creamy tomato soup (+ broccoli) with celine’s cheezy crackers (YUM!) and vcon mushroom-walnut pate with more lentils and less walnuts because that’s what I had.
(in conclusion: I love tomatoes! <——- ze obvious) :D
Anyone who knew me in my omni days knows that I practically lived off of chicken shawarmas. Being from Ottawa, that’s not too surprising — we have a billion shawarma shops and most of them are mind-blowingly good. There’s even a (sadly defunct) blog devoted to reviewing them all! Basically, it’s a middle eastern wrap sandwich on chewy, paper thin flatbread layers, with slow grilled chicken, hummous, tomato, cucumber, lettuce, yogurt sauce, garlic mayonnaise, and most importantly – pickled pink turnips.
I wouldn’t be surprised if I’ve waxed poetic about those turnips before. Actually I’m almost positive I have. So holy cow was I over the moon to find out how EASY they are to make!! It goes like so:
Pickled Pink Turnips for Pitas (or Torshi Left)
– 1 cup white vinegar
– 1 cup water
– 2 tbsp salt
– 3-4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
– 2 lb. of turnip (I used one a little bigger than a softball)
– 1 small beet
– celery leaves (optional)
What You Do:
1. Cut the ends off of the beet and turnips and boil for 3-4 minutes, then remove from the water and peel.
2. Slice the beet and cut the turnip into french fry sticks, and put those in a big clean jar with the garlic and celery leaves.
3. Bring the water, vinegar and salt to a boil to dissolve, then pour it over the vegetables. Seal and leave it on the counter for ten days, then refridgerate. (*ahem* – I tore through half of them in the first night, soooooo…… :D)
4. Load up a big fat sandwich with garlic mayo, falafel, vegetables fixins’ and some of those beautiful pickles and enjoy! I swear it’s worth the three minutes of effort – it takes falafel to the moon and back, they’re so awesome.
And look at that! Cabbage rolls, but would you believe that they were probably the most delicate and refreshing thing I’ve had all summer? I went from this recipe, made a few minor adjustments, and was sooooo happy with the results, it was worth every bit of wrestling with a boiling hot cabbage and more than a few dirty pots and pans.
Orphaned Greek Cabbage Rolls with Fresh Herbs (or Lahanodolmathes Orphana)
– 30 cabbage leaves (one huge head cabbage)
– 3 cups of cooked rice
– 1 large onion, finely chopped
– 3 ripe medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped (I used 1 tomato and 2 tbsps of tomato paste)
– 2/3 cup finely chopped zucchini
– 1 rounded tbsp finely chopped fresh mint
– 1 rounded tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
– 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
– 2 tbsp olive oil
– 1/2 tsp pepper
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 1 tsp cumin
– 1 cup vegetable broth
– 1-2 tbsp Earth Balance
– juice of one lemon
What To Do:
1. Combine onion, rice, tomatoes, zucchini, dill, mint, parsley, salt, pepper, cumin, and olive oil in a bowl.
2. Remove the core of the cabbage, and stick a large fork into the center. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and immerse the cabbage, leaving the fork in. When the outer leaves turn bright green, remove using the fork and remove softened leaves. Return to pot and repeat until all cabbage leaves have been removed.
3. Use a sharp knife to trim the thick part of the stem off of the leaves (this will make it easier to roll). For large rolls, place a 3-4 tablespoons of filling 1 inch from the thick end of the cabbage leaf. Fold the bottom over the filling, fold the sides in, and roll up. Place in a large baking dish. Repeat with all the leaves and filling.
4. Dot with margarine, and bake covered at 375 for 1 hour. Pour the lemon juice over the rolls 20 minutes before they’re done baking. Serve warm, room temperature, or – best of all – cold from the fridge.
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.
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!