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Well, Liz has broken out the nerdy google-searched JPEGS of sci-fi references again – and that means of course that it’s time to go back in time!   Woooo-eeeee-oooooooooh.

Back to a time way yonder… the wee beginning of August when I was just as likely to accidentally eat a blob of quinacridone pink as I was to absent-mindedly get soy sauce on my paintings.  Ie; (in simple terms) I was busy!  Meals had to be almost cute in their ease of preparation, with the notable exception of some bento experiments, but I’ll get to those later on….
Avocado kinda saved my life, the patron saint of summer classes, I think.  And while these look humble, and I’m a pure sucker for anything wrapped in a warm corn tortilla (and I mean just about anything) – this was a good and special combo.  Guacamole, corn, & chicken-baked white beans, with big chunks of onion ’cause I roll like that but you could leave them off I’m sure.  Addictive but satisfying.

And then avocado with fritterFAIL (it’s now hash!)

Even better than the tacos?  It has sweet potato this time.

I got a huge bag of white pitas for free because there was a big nasty fly paper stuck to the side and the store couldn’t sell it, so I tasted white flatbread for the first time in forever.  Can I confess that it’s kind of particularly delicious?  At least if you haven’t had it in a while.  Way sweeter than whole wheat, and makes excellent sausage, pepper and onion pizzas.  With big chunks of onion.  Because I roll like that!

Believe it or not, dorayaki are a quick lunch, too!  You just have to really cheat with the anko paste.  And cheater anko paste can be way healthier, too, because you can pull the sugar WAY back.  Basically just mash up some hot cooked adzukis with just enough sugar to make them lip-smacking, and just enough salt to make them more-ish, then make two fairly rich pancakes to sandwich it with.  And put loads of vegetables on the side so you can pretend it’s a sort of balanced meal.  (which okay it probably is, just sucrose heavy.   MMMMMM sucrose.  MMMM dorayaki).

MMMMM CHOCOLATE PANCAKES DORAYAKI   

I am feeling the Japanese, can you tell?  This lunch took forever.  Like, all morning to make, no joke.  Worth it in every way, though!  My first onigiri, everybody, and let nobody tell you that it’s just rice in a ball shape, it is so much more than that.  Even if you’ve made them yourself, they still taste all full of the love it took to construct them (the reddened burned hands, the totally occupied stovetop, the swearing at nori seaweed as it refuses to cover them completely). 
The first day I made 3 –
1 triangle filled with avocado (yes again!), tiny cubed cucumber, wasabi, green onion and salt.
The 2nd triangle was filled with tiny cubes of braised sweet potato and shitake mushrooms done in kombu no tsukudani style except without sugar ’cause they’re sweet already.  (SO umami)
And the 3rd piece was mixed up with red beans, sesame seeds and umeboshi vinegar.   yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum !

(rounding out my oh-so stylish tupperware is some lightly steamed broccoli sprinkled with shoyu, an Nin Jiom herbal candy, a strawberry lollipop, and some yellow baby carrot pickles I made myself and have been eating like candy from the back of the fridge.).  
It was a terrible blustery sweater-weather day when I took this downtown to eat it before putting in a long night at the studio, but after I got my green tea and an interesting seat to watch people from, and I took the first bite of my first pointy rice-ball…. I couldn’t help but smile like a tyke.  Really!  It’s all worth the effort for that first nori-wrapped bite.

oh yeah, Mr. Wasp thinks rice balls are delicious too.  I have mixed feelings about this one.  Shooo off my meticulous lunch there, little guy, sheesh!

Back on the fast track – the quickest cookies to make are shortbreads, of course.  And an herbal-loving friend had a recent crisis requiring me to spend at least a bit of time baking.  Basic basic shortbread, but with rose oil and black tea leaves.  The tea didn’t impart any flavour I don’t think, but it added a really pleasant crispy texture!

And finally, my favourite – muffins!  Featuring (do you see this coming?)…. avocado!  Yep, avocado replacing almost all the oil, date syrup replacing all the sugar, 50/50 whole wheat & oat flour, with orange juice, cloves, and a scattering of chocolate chips to seal up the deal.  100% eyeballed recipe, but it’s really hard to screw up a muffin, which is why I secretly adore them more than cake maybe.   These ones were surprisingly decadent with their buttery nuggets of green dotted throughout.  Totally a win.

And then I finished my last studio class ever!  Hurray!  
No more turpentine, no more (mounting) hooks, no more security guards’ dirty looks, la la la la la  :)
(ps. sorry about the font in some parts of this post.  not sure why it went so wonky)

So if my blog tags are any indication at all (and amusingly, they often are), I’m more than a little mad for blueberries.  Dunno why exactly… it could be the bursting qualities… or the way they’re so purple and freeze perfectly and are also called starberries?  And when you stick them in things people go “oooooooh” without fail, it’s kind of funny!

When I saw this recipe for pea pancakes with blueberry basil dressing I knew knew KNEW I had to try it, it sounded the thing little fresh-showered elves would eat over tea and the latest forest news.  Lo and behold, it even looks like that sort of food, too!  Call me bowled over with technicolour, batman.  I wanna cook chromatically so much now!
Here’s the veganization of it all.  The pea pancakes are almost perfect (I’d consider leaving out the cornstarch to keep the flavour brighter perhaps?).  The blueberry dressing is also pretty good, but I could do better probably and another kind of vinegar would probably work nicer, I just haven’t figured out which one.  Still really good though!  (If you wanted lemon I’d never stop you, I just wanted to see if I could use something besides citrus.  Balsamic would probably be nice, too, come to think of it).  
Blueberry Basil Sauce

2/3 cup blueberries

1/4 cup water + 1 tbsp

1/2 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cornstarch

1 tsp vegetable oil

1 tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar

1 tbsp fresh minced basil

cracked black pepper

– In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tbsp of water with the cornstarch, set aside.
– In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the blueberries, 1/4 cup of water, sugar and salt to a low boil until the berries start to pop and bleed their juice.  Remove from heat and stir in the cornstarch mixture, oil, vinegar, basil, and pepper.  Taste for salt and cover to keep warm.
Green Pea Pancakes (serves 2-3 as a snack or side)

4 oz. snap peas, strings removed

1/2 cup green peas

1/2 cup milk or cream

1 tsp melted buttery spread

1/2 tsp cornstarch

1/4 cup flour

1/4 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

– Bring a pot of lightly salted water to boil.  Blanche the snap peas for 30 seconds, then rinse in cold water.  Do the same with the green peas, until they’re tender (2-3 minutes maybe).

– In a blender, combine the cooled peas with the milk, butter, and cornstarch, and blend until pretty smooth.  Move to a mixing bowl.

– Sift in the dry ingredients and gently fold until totally incorporated (shouldn’t take much effort)

– Melt a bit of buttery spread in a nonstick and fry thin little 2″ pancakes until golden brown on both sides.  Serve warm with a bit of blueberry sauce and some basil leaves on top.

Right.  And.
AND.
It was Pomme’s birthday time this weekend, and that meant I was required to out-do myself again, inspired by love to fling culinary handrail-holding out the window and concoct some sort of artistic masterpiece that’ll never have a recipe written down (but I’ll always remember how to do).  In this case – a 2-layer Morrocan Mint cake with generous inches of Blueberry Mousse and a Pomegranate Glaze, topped with sugared pine nuts and mint leaves.  !!!!  For the record, I did a billion new things in the kitchen for this (well okay, I played with agar), and it turned out like some patisserie’s jazzed star, in shades of aubergine, gold and lavender, and I *wish* I had a slice shot, but it was enjoyed by candlelight in the company of lots of vegan restaurant coworkers, so I’ll just have to make another layer cake soon to make up for that! :p
Officially, the entire thing doesn’t have a recipe, but I’ll post the adaption I made to the matcha cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes because it made a damned fine joconde and the vegan world can always use another attempt at that, I think.  Pretty simple, actually… (it was the simple part)
Vegan Morrocan Mint Joconde

1/2 cup soygurt

2/3 cup strongly brewed green tea with 10-12 fresh mint leaves in it (strained, of course)

1/4 tsp vanilla

1/3 cup canola oil

1/2 tsp almond extract

3/4 cup flour

1/2 cup ground almonds

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

3 tsp matcha soymilk powder

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup sugar

– Preheat oven to 350 and line an 8″ cake tin with nonstick spray and parchment paper.

– In a large mixing bowl combine the soygurt, tea, extracts, and oil

– Sift together the dry ingredients, then slowly add it to the wet bowl in installments, gently folding with a whisk until it’s smooth.

– Pour into cake pan and bake for 35-42 minutes (my oven is really slow, so take these times as approximations).  A toothpick should come out clean, and the top should be glossy and flat.

– Let it cool almost completely before turning it onto a parchment lined cooling rack.  Once cool, cut it carefully into 2 layers, and soak each layer (as you construct your moussey cake) with Mint Syrup.


Mint Syrup


2/3 cups strong Morrocan mint tea (made the same as before)

1/3 cup sugar

some extra mint leaves if you want


– Bring everything to a boil in a tiny saucepan over medium heat and let it bubble until it’s reduced slightly and thicked.  Cool completely before spooning over your cake layers.


(it all tastes of exotic and meltaway sweet sand and herbs….. very very very – needless to say – delicious)

Wooooaaahhh !!!  I just lucked out, it’s the sale of the century and I had enough toonies in my pocket to come home with the goooooold!  I don’t know why they were selling all these fantastic teas for $1 a box (haunted? peed on by raccoons?  somehow decades old?) but I’m going back tomorrow regardless, because apparently they have MORE. *faints*

(clockwise from center)
japanese flower mushroom tea
mint with chrysanthemum and honeysuckle
60 spirulina capsules !!!!!!

organic ceylon lemon
relasin (for nerves, insomnia and eyesight, perfect!)
yunnan tuocha green (for digestion and… hee hee, lowering cholesterol)
soolim (didn’t realize it was one of those slimming teas, oh well)
organic meadowsweet with devil’s claw
I’m drinking the mushroom tea right now and it’s so awesome.  I would never ever ever serve it to company, ever, but it’s deeply awesome and strange and OMG probably amazing with pizza !! 

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