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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.
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.
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!)
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.
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 (!)