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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

I’ve been raw for 5 days now!!  I’ll save writing about that for the next post, but in the meantime here’s a whole bunch of photos from the past few weeks I never got around to posting but are kinda making me hungry right now…

Allright, we’ve got up there… chili cashew dosas (my favourite recipe so far from Vegan Brunch), with a notably amazing chutney I made from the back of Indian Cookery, ie: this book ——>
Which is basically my favourite indian cookbook ever, even for the chutney chapter alone, which covers pretty much anything you’d want to stew and preserve in a super authentic, full of interesting tidbits kind of way.  Like, that peach chutney I ate with the dosas had paprika, poppy seeds, cloves, green chiles and cashews, oh my!  Totally easy to make, too.

Another perk of making chutney is that you get to re-use little jars and give them away after they’ve sat for a month on the shelf looking very pretty.  On the right is the peach, and in the middle is a pineapple chutney with about a ton of ginger and garlic in it, yay!
Okay, what else – this was astoundingly good.  It looks kind of grey, I’ll admit, but so so so good.  Velvety corn creamy chinese wedding soup, or something like that, with bits of savoury tofu floating in it and fresh peas.  It’s Bryanna’s recipe, and incidentally my introduction to creamed corn (I’m a fan, it turns out).
Oh, and Singapore green beans from Tropical Vegan Kitchen in the background.  Once that stuff marinates it’s addictive!
East Coast Coffeecake for an omni BBQ!  Plus adorable sign. :)
I loved how I could even make this in my dad’s kitchen – it’s the sign of a perfectly adaptable baked good.  (flour, sugar, oil, check!)
My favourite PB cookies ever, are the Crispy PB Cookies from Extraveganza with the cereal flakes inside.  They crackle like pop rocks and have that perfect dense chew, and are so easy to make.  I usually quarter the recipe and make them into the size of quarters, and have them as little pick me ups throughout the day.
Polenta Rancheros from V.Brunch, with noticeable flecks of toasted coriander that perfume the whole thing, it’s really nice, especially when made with fresh tomatoes cause that’s all I had.  Surprisingly light for a bean dish!
White bean, mango and rosemary tacos!!!  My surprising invention that worked, plus some leftover Tempeh Wingz made with tofu, cold and chewy out of the fridge.  (That red sauce is illegally finger-licking…. wow.)
Fresh organic vegetable pasta spirals with a sauce made from tomatoes, raisin-sage sausages, capers, zucchini & basil, NOM.
 

Banana Rabanada!!!  Not only is this delicious but no refined sugar, either, so it’s perfectly viable to eat for lunch!  Isa was spot on about the syrup & cinnamon-mopping, too.

(Heart-shaped) Fudge-pops from How It All Vegan, since I found my ancient copy in my mom’s garage a few months ago and figured I’d give it a whirl again.  These were sooooo good, and almost exactly like fudgesicles, which is no mean feat!

Sausage and eggplant quiche from V.Brunch with a homemade crust I put too much EB in but was still okay.   And I think that’s about it for cooked stuff!  Phew, sorry for the cursory writing about it all, too.  Somehow I think the pictures speak loud enough that it’s okay I don’t remember the details, plus this raw food thing is making me spacey… zomg.  It’s great, but I’ll be glad to bring it down to maybe 60% raw after the next few days.  Can’t wait to show you what that’s been like, though! 

So we’re finally in the present, now!  That was so weird, being back in time for so long… well, status quo and time re-adjustment has been achieved (thank you Doc!) and I’m the proud owner of not only Vegan Brunch but the Tropical Vegan Kitchen, now, too!  More on those at the end of the post, because I’m such a stickler for temporal integrity… although you’d never never never know it.  So I have to begin with rice.  Oh, but not just any rice…
It was sumptuous, luscious purple rice (yeah, I’m a fan), which I made with a big heaping spoonful of souvlaki spice blend that’s been sitting on my spice rack since last summer going “oh oh, make me with tofu, you LOVE greek food, get around to it, with those Vcon lemony potatoes, yeah!”
Which of course I did not do.  
Nah, no, I made this rice instead and actually swished it around in my salad, turning it all warm and tomatoe-y and olive-y, it was really awesome.  I never (never never?) mix my plate up, or at least not that often, so bear with my enthusiasm, haha.

Enthusiasm wanes for this, though!  Too bad… it’s from Vegan Fire & Spice and it was only okay… cold soba something or other.  I could have just messed up rinsing it properly, because it was mostly a case of the the noodle liquid rinsing all the nice dressing off.  And I put way too many veggie in, who needs veggies man, not me (at least not when “slurpy bowl of noodle” is the simplicity required at the moment).  Does anyone have any cold noodle tricks?  I bought a pack of soba the size of my head and I was pretty up for doing it cold, japanese-style over the rest of the summer.

Also good cold:  eggplant!  Amazing cold!  I faked up this most excellent wheat berry salad with morrocan spices, creamy eggplant, fresh mint… so good.  Especially in crisp summer lettuce wraps with black bean hummous dolloped on, which needless to say, was my consumption method of choice here.  (I’m especially enamoured of the strange little ears on the hummous blob in the picture there, too :P)

Oooh, and unfortunately there’s no slice picture, but I made a red velvet cake!!  It was a bit of a talent exchange and I got a professional (shi-shi, layered and subtle!) haircut from a friend of mine who adores southern stuff.  I even put mint on it, a la Paula Deen.  Oh, and the recipe was of course from Vegan Cupcakes and OMG this frosting if you haven’t made it yet MAKE IT it’s all whippy like creamy and dangerously low-sweet and HIDE THE SPOONS.  O_O!

*cough*
Right.  Well.  Grounding… let’s be sensible here.  There is nothing more sensible than rice salad, not one thing, nope.  (the New Zealand Rice Salad on page 70, to be really specific.  tee hee kiwis).  What else can be eaten right out of the fridge like a miniature complete meal at the end of your snacking fork?  (And that can be hard to remember to eat sometimes!)  Also, what else can incorporate fruit into dinner without seeming weird?  Well, I guess I’m going to find out what else, because the Tropical Vegan Kitchen is full of fruit, it’s everywhere.  Which is why I bought it!  That and to figure out how to use up a crate of kiwis I got… I’m looking to adapt the toasted coconut mango muffin recipe in Vegan Brunch too maybe… which finally brings me to —–

Omelet!
La la la, nothing can be said about this I’m sure that hasn’t been said before, it is perfect and you want to eat this and your omni uncle wants to eat this (well, maybe), and I ate it with the V.Brunch sesame scrambled tofu with greens and yams ( – tofu, + dandelion greens).  I don’t know how she actually managed to do this, but not only does it actually taste like something good (as opposed to Vegan-Omelet-As-Novelty), but the structural integrity is a wonder to behold.  The thing spread perfectly, browned perfectly, held together like a champ… you can even stack them.  Now try that with an egg omelet!
(also, I offically think these taste way better than those egg things.  viva la revolution!)

Summertime and some are slacking!  That is to say — oh oh I’m sorry I dropped off the face of the blog-Earth!  I’ve been pretty busy, writing papers, painting spiders and lettuce leaves, taking t’ai chi, dating someone (yey), still cooking up a storm, and just not really feeling like there’s been a good time to blog about it.  But really, it’s getting ridiculous… I’ve lost count of how many photos I have.  Stacks.  And they’re getting outdated, I’m forgetting if I used olives or capers in these stuffed tofus for example… at any rate I used Kittee’s Method of the Stars to stuff them full of olive-oily spinach, red peppers, and raisins (I think).  Other good things, then breaded them in cornflakes, baked, and ate most of them all chewy-cold out of the fridge – like moment’s notice hunger-killers, basically.
Sushi!  But with black rice this time, which is really more of a purple, and taste-wise isn’t quite sushi bliss… but it sure is pretty.  I kinda feel like this is sushi with a silk tie on, or something.

And speaking of oceanic treats, my sister and I discovered some fantastic package of salty fried nori in her cupboards.  This stuff is gooooood.  For my money, beats the pants off of potato chips.

Sis thinks so too!

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

Blend!  Blend like yo salad depends on it!  
My favourite part of tofu dressings is putting on so much that you can eat the extra at the bottom with a spoon. :)
Isa’s perfect chocolate chip cookies are, by the way, and if you hadn’t heard – perfect.  Utterly perfect.  Me and this cookie had a bit of a moment… time stopped outside my window, cars drove softly past and I felt like all the sweet chewy vanill-y mass was just going straight into my heart (forget stomachs).  Good times.  Oh!  And this is only from batch number two.  I made them before, maybe not creaming quite enough so they spread a bit, but obviously still amazing enough to convince me to try again.

Not having ever tried a Madhur Jaffrey recipe I figured I would give it a go, finally.  Her dhal intrigued me in how it has a whole lemon sliced right into it, and it really works!  Totally makes it a different sort of creature than your regular lentil-mash.  I ate it up with — oh oh oh oh!!  guess what!!!  I got a food processor!  Or at least, an attachment for my new stick blender that my mom got me (love moms!).  I turned veggies into confetti in like, 10 seconds, wow.  Anyway, yeah, I stuffed said veggies (sauted with garlic, mustard seeds, cider vinegar, bit of braggs, maybe a bit of tahini? possibly caraway seeds, too) into a paratha, and then ate the mountain of leftovers too, because it was pretty delicious stuff.  

I also think I’m finally getting the hang of cakes.  Getting the right ratio of textures, flavours, sizes, richnesses, bursts of things, etc.  This was so well-balanced, one of my favourites in recent memory!  It’s a chocolate mint cake with minty vanilla buttercream sandwiched between, whipped ganache on top, and loads of little violets, to celebrate spring or some such twee sentiment that surprised me in actually tasting good as well as looking way pretty.  I ended up dipping the extra violet stems in the leftover ganache!  And the cake… was this joyous kind of refreshing melt-in-your-mouth confection that I had (Mwahahaha!) MOSTLY to myself.  Usually I’m the one giving away desserts too soon, but this one was totally mine.  Yum!

*ackdroolzzz*  don’t you wish there was taste-o-vision?

Liz Holding Food Gallery: entry #27 – BROWNIE-STYLE
I tried T’ai Chi today for the first time!  That’s got nothing to do with chocolate, sure, but I feel really good right now!  Like a natural chocolate high.  Or a, uh… non-sugar induced high, yes.  Seriously though, I feel like a dancer, I bounced all the way home in my high tops, and then  threw together the roasted vegetables I’d made that morning into some whole wheat penne and home-soaked chickpeas for a really attractive dinner.  It needed something parmesan-y, but I have leftovers to subject to ground almond & lemon zest, there is always tomorrow.
So back to cupcakes!
I made the Brooklyn Brownie cupcakes for a friend’s 25th birthday in the park.  We played duck duck goose, Stella Ella Ola, a fun game called Sheep… I love being a nonkid, it’s so natural to be.  And the cuppers were a big hit!  These are dense dark weighty cakes with a huge woodsy whiskeyness that probably needs refreshing milk around for maximum enjoyment, but definitely brownie-ish and definitely good.  Super moist, too.  I think I like the regular chocolate VCtotW recipe better, but hey, I got to bake with whiskey, and I’ve been wanting to do that for, like, ever!  
Then something a little more virtuous… I made the Mole Roasted Cauliflower from the Swell cookzine that involved – of course! – cocoa powder.  REALLY good preparation for cauliflower, I had to resist buying another whole head and roasting it up the exact same way, which says something, that I would repeat a recipe so soon.  Not that it was hard to eat a whole giant head of this, it’s pretty addictive like better than popcorn good.  It was the star of the plate next to the mango slices, and some creamy mint & basil polenta I made, but actually the whole combo worked really well and I recommend it – mango with dinner I mean.  (what?  mango with everything!!  of course!)

Oh yes yes, I made some luncheon meat, via Vegan Dad’s recipe.  It is a bit dry as he says, but the flavour and texture is eerily spot on and I made some really satisfying sandwiches and I froze most of it into little single-servings for later.  Next time I thaw out a packet I’ll be sure to have some cheap yellow mustard around, because it would just work with this stuff, mmmm yeah.
What else?  Tofu nuggets!  I saw the Tofu Skewers with Espresso BBQ Sauce on Vegan Appetite and knew exactly what to do with the half pound of tofu I had in the fridge.  I’d not skewered food before, and you know, it actually does make a difference to the flavour!  The leftover tofu-bobs I cooked sans-impalement were less succulent and fun.  Like, you couldn’t gnaw on them at all, boo, I like skewers now.  Oh, and the sauce was great!  I added cayenne cause I can’t leave well enough alone and insist on mouth burning when it comes to anything BBQ.

Right, and finally, this is definitely the result of my new love affair with my wonderful freezer.  Never could have concocted something so specific without being able to freeze tiny bits of things throughout my cooking.  The whole door is filled with single cookies, 1/4 cups of icing, cake shavings, and other fun detritous I collect, mwahaha.  For this little cake that I made for a dinner on friday, I started with a disc of leftover Brooklyn Brownie cupcake (the recipe really does make a LOT of extra batter).  Then I made a base cheesecake cream in the blender, divided that into two and stuffed one with melted chocolate and the other with peanut butter.  I layered and baked that at 350 for 45 minutes, then I made a quick chocolate agar-gel for the top and was really really pleased with myself for rocking agar finally.  And then!  Crushed-up peanut butter cookies for the sides.  You know the awesome kind that are essentially just peanut butter and sugar?  Yeah, those kind.  And I almost forgot – star dollops of leftover chocolate cupcake frosting!  PIMPED.  OUT.  

Now I just need to get myself a cheesecake tin that’s bigger than 5″ across. ^_^;
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!

So I’ve been busy!  I have photos going back so far I don’t even remember the niceties of what went into the food!  Could be better this way, though… do a nice skim over with some sexy photoage and then I get to go RUN OUTSIDE AND PLAY!!!!  Because it’s so nice out.  It’s been hard to want to do anything else, besides run around the city on luscious errands (“Ummmm… I need a light bulb.  Let’s go on a 3-hour sun-drenched walk!”).  The markets nearby have been getting more fragrant by the day.  Mangoes are getting delicious again.  I’m listening to some pastoral Vashti Bunyan I picked up at a thrift store today and I’m having a hard time remembering the kind of cold that prompts lentil loaf, such as the one pictured above, but hey, it was needed at the time, and it WAS nostalgically yummy.  I’m not sure about the whole vegan Loaf Craze, I think it might be my second one ever, but this one turned out remarkably well.  It was even gluten-free, adapted from this recipe with some amaranth and rosemary added and some other changes I really don’t remember right now.  And it’s an excuse to eat ketchup, as if I wouldn’t eat it off a spoon, anyway. :)

I usually feel funny posting about salads, since it’s like, well, vegetables.  With oil and salt and things.  But this one was like a bomb of happy went off in my mouth, so here it is.  I think there was berries, daikon, carrot, goji, ume vinegar and mirin involved, maybe some tamari.  Good stuff!!  I think this is when I began to taste spring, a little bit.

And if I wasn’t careful, Satchmo was gonna taste my peanut butter banana oat muffins!!  These are soooo perfect if you don’t want anything even remotely evil in a baked good, and I really didn’t at the time.  It’s just every ingredient listed in the title, plus some baking powder, cinnamon, and raisins for sweetness and that’s it.  I mean, admittedly I added some salt and allspice, but that’s still earnest.  And they made perfect desserts for anything, since I made them mini I could celebrate putting my clothes in the dryer with a muffin if I wanted.  Oh yeah!  And gluten free, too!  Like the loaf, completely subconscious on my part, but neat.  Oh, and recipe is from aTxVegan!

Later I made some split pea soup because it’s probably my favourite, this time heavy on red peppers and with quinoa in it as well, which made it a lot lighter and smoother, and better for warmer times.  With my first sundried tomato pesto on rusks beside it.

And I ought to open Vegan Fire & Spice WAY more often, because it’s just crammed full of launching-pads for creative dinners.  I was way too lazy to cook up brown rice one night, so I riffed off the Persian Orange Rice with Pistachios, using couscous and walnuts instead.  Really good!!!  Totally orangey and warmly spiced and great with zataar-spiced vegetables to mix into it (especially zucchinis!)


CHOCOLATE !!

The best dark chocolate I’ve ever had?  Possibly… quite possibly.  My sister got it almost cheap because it broke into two pieces, thus affected the taste irrevocably and rendering it only fit for ruffians such as us to consume.  Ahhhhh broken chocolate… also calorie-free I hear!  And isn’t that aztec-y wheel printed on the back gorgeous?  The coffee beans in it are roasted near to a meltaway powder, and there’s tons of them, and you should go to the Chocomotive site and order some of this and maybe send some to me, or just definitely pick some up if you ever see it broken in a store near you.

Yay!  I am predictable like this, in that it’s a wrap sandwich, but check it out, this one’s special.  I had the stroke of genius to mix in a whole buttload of fine-chopped scallion into my usual roti and it worked.  SO.  Well.  The tofu mix wasn’t half-bad besides, and maybe I’ve just been craving dijon really madly lately, but this was really good.  If you haven’t tried green beans in a sandwich before, you’re missing out, too!  Lightly steamed, rinsed cold, loaded along with zukes, sweet pickled onions, more dijon and grated carrot = win!  I even remember what I did with this one …
French-ish Tofu Salad 
makes enough for 2 generous sammiches
1/2 lb. firm tofu – herbed is nice
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
3-4 tbsp mayo
1 tsp coarse ground dijon mustard
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1/4 tsp tarragon
salt and fresh black pepper to taste
– in a bowl, mush up the tofu with your hands (squish squish) until it’s mushy like ricotta.  Mix in the remaining ingredients, adjusting to your own taste, then stuff into breadish things and nom.
Scallion Flatbread 
makes two 10″ breads
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 all-purpose flour
2 tsp hazelnut oil
a good pinch of salt
1/4 cup fine-chopped scallion
6-8 tbsp warm water (it will really depend)
– In a large bowl mix together the flours, oil, salt, and scallion.  Slowly splash in the water and mix until a dough is formed.  Knead it for a minute or two – it should be a wet dough, but if it gets too wet (and it might due to onion moisture), just add a bit more flour and keep going.  When it’s slightly elastic, pop it back into the bowl and cover it with a towel.  Let that sit for a few minutes while you heat up a heavy iron skillet over medium heat.  Take out the dough and divide in two balls, dip them in flour and roll them flat (I usually get a 10″ circle), then cook in the dry skillet about 2 minutes each side, until brown spots appear and it smells toasty.  Instant lunch!

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.  

Clearly the asian tofu from Vcon was the third logical step!  Grill pans are great stuff.
It was special because I was taking it to an all-day drawing performance with rather zen-like properties, so it felt very appropriate (albeit not-even-slightly-traditional) to have a cute little themed lunch like this.

I even had one matcha & goji berry scone leftover from the night before!  Double cute.  Not to mention how it looks amazingly like an anatomical heart, which I only noticed after I uploaded the photo!
See?  Awwww.


Testing for Terry’s latin cookbook has been loads of fun so far!  Everything is so much in line with what I like to eat anyway – whole foods, simple but interesting preparation, loads of lime and cilantro, and all the recipes mix and match very well, so every meal is a new surprise. 

Yellow Rice with Garlic ~ Columbian Style Red Beans
I had this for lunch today and it’s probably my favourite thing so far!  They both take the exact same amount of time to cook, the prep is maybe 10 minutes, and ohhhhhhhhh it’s good.  There’s annatto and plantain in it and it manages to taste light and warm and sweet and earthy all at once.
Pickled Red Onions

These take possibly no time at all to make and they are delicious on sammies!  And burritos, tacos, the end of your fork, eaten right out of the jar, draped across the side of a heavier bean-y or fried dish… ultimately, they are good, and a welcome addition to the pickle collection my fridge has got going.  They are without doubt the prettiest member at the moment, too.
Mango Jicama Chopped Salad
I’m pretty sure that jicama is my new favourite vegetable, and this salad may be my favourite way to eat it… loads of lime, sweet mango, fresh herbage… mmmmm yes.  
So Good, So Green Dipping Sauce
See, I told you jicama was my new favourite vegetable!  I broke out my mandolin to do it up right.  I’ll spill that there’s lettuce in this sauce (among a myriad of other wonderful things), so it’s kind of funny to think that this lettuce is dressed with itself but it works.  Oh, it works.  This sauce is pretty magical: zesty, creamy, spicy, cooling, and obviously an incredible shade of emerald.
Cilantro Lime Rice ~ Tofu Chicharrones ~ So Good, So Green Dipping Sauce
Ultra-fried smoky chewy chunks of porky tofu?  YES.  YES IT IS.  And you waaaaaant it.  Also, that rice has addictive properties.  All the rices so far have been hard to stop eating, actually.

Simple Sofrito

The basis for a few other dishes, it’s super slow-cooked sweet browned onions + other things, and I am so glad I know the secret of this sofrito thing now.  It made a quick after-school meal taste like it had been cooked by experts all afternoon, just by me scooping some of this out of the container in the fridge and adding it to the pot.  Instant awesome!  Neat trick.

Next up I’ll be trying some Pumpkin Soup and maybe the Mashed Potato Pancakes with Peanut Sauce (!)

I’m a huge advocate of switching around protein in any given recipe. As (I believe) most Canadians can tell you, tempeh is a little bit dear up here in the north, so I almost always substitute tofu and that usually works just fine. A little less… fermenty, but more sproingy*. In this case of the VwaV Sausage Crumbles I think it may have needed that extra bit of tempeh pungency, but anyway it was nice in a pita for lunch. Fennel is win, all the time.

(*look up “sproingy” in the dictionary and I guarantee there will be a nice block of tofu pictured there!)

Second favorite is for sure chickpeas, and I’ve even started to eat them out of cans, I love them so much. I should probably start soaking some now, actually… anyway, I was sick and in dire need of vegetables and honest food, and Dreena’s Sweet Potato, Tomato & Chickpea Curry (real name?) was soooo tailor-made for the job. I added a dried chili for heat, replaced the zucchini with loads of kale, and sopped it up with some only slightly burnt brown rice. (my nose wasn’t working very well and anyway, I like it crunchy! :P). I actually felt at least 63% healthier after eating this.

Leftover rice became little baked rice balls, from Extraveganza. They have tahini, ground almonds and dill, and I messed up by stirring the almonds right in instead of coating the balls, but fixed that with bread crumbs. Mmmm delicious breadcrumbs…

I had a hard time keeping these shaped – the mixture was very very sticky and err… ricey, but the flavour was really nice, and went super well with Tangerine Chipotle-Basil Hummus (my own special favorite concoction these days, and inspired by Mel, for sure).

I promised sweet, aaaand —- here’s the white flour I bought! Say “Hi,” White Flour! (“Hi White Flour”). SO YUMMY. Dreena is cookie queen, they always come out with that great chewy bakery texture, and Anise Almond 5-Spice really *was* a nice break from chocolate, which was her selling point in the book. I think she needs to write a cookie book, because they’re not giant fussy affairs to make, usually healthier than most, and always taste like something a bit more special than a mound of sugary dough. Mmm, I wish I had another one right now…