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Mmm… it’s one of those mornings I grab a sweater and a coffee and just start working on stuff, in this case blogging.  To me that’s so evocative of autumn, which has begun to be noticed in the air.  I’m supposed to be selling postcards at an outdoor craft show/sidewalk sale today and the sky is a dark dark grey, with a snappy chill and a risk of rain… So I’m enjoying the indoor lamplight while I can, and getting the most out of every second I can hang out in my plushy pajama pants.  (pajama pants being the best invention ever, probably).
It seems appropriate to blog about the last of the summer meals, in this case.  Cold refreshing food I might not be as interested in in just a few days… zarusoba being an iconic example.  Despite owning a package of soba noodles the size of my head, I only just recently made up the appropriate dipping sauce to go with it so I could eat it summer style, cold with nori shavings on top.  If it’s still warm where you are, I recommend it so much!  And I insist that you slurp it, sucking up air in a perfect satisfying hoover as you eat, because it really does improve the flavour about 50% – I think it has to do with almost smelling it as you eat.
Perfect technique, so demure, and yet loads of delicious delicious air in every bite!  Now I kinda want fat soft udon, yumm……

This is a vegetable curry Pomme and I made using a lot of inspiration from this book, a seafood curry to be exact.  So it was a mix of turmeric, basil, mint, cayenne, paprika, pepper and lemon, which I thought was really novel (and very delicious).  Eaten with wheat berries for carbohydrates (defrosted from the freezer because you can do that), and a cucumber salad I made with chunks of ruby red cactus pear.  The seeds of cactus pears are hard like little BBs, but the melon taste and beautiful colour is worth it, like a poor man’s watermelon maybe.
Of those occasional small-batch cookies I make sometimes after meal, these mint chocolate brownie bites were knee-meltingly good!!  I wish I’d written things down, but there’s ground almonds in there, plus vanilla, mint, pockets of chocolate chips, and the texture was like 2-bite brownies, amazing.  Biting into them was a world-stopping experience, which probably means I added enough cocoa powder to the mix. ;P
Sometimes hash, just straight up hash is perfect.  Smoky sausages, in season tomatoes, little baby basil leaves, and enough salt and pepper to tie it together = wish I had more sausages so I could make this for lunch right now!
Finally, I’d had a tomato tart on the brain all summer.  Every week went by and I wondered when I would do it, if I would remember, if all the ambrosial blushing tomatoes would disappear from the markets en masse before I got the chance to make that pie.  But I did remember!  Luck would have it that I came upon a huge package of gorgeous organic tomatoes for a steal, and I hopped on the chance to bake them oh-so briefly in hardly more than their own juices.

I used a cornmeal pizza crust recipe from here, replaced most of the cornmeal with masa harina, spread the bottom with grainy mustard, thyme leaves, and drizzled it with olive oil before baking.  
And while I folded up the edges to make it more like a tart, I quickly found out that hand-to-mouth was the ideal method of eating this – it was a pizza at heart, and a robust and juicy one, too.  I still can’t think of any way I’d rather eat tomatoes right now!

Oh right!  That wasn’t the last thing, this is ^  Celine’s peanut butter granola!  oooooooooooh!
I replaced the PB with a Peanut-hazelnut blend, used hazelnut oil instead of canola, and left out the chocolate and it’s absolutely fantastic.  I hardly need to rave about how it melts away on the tongue and is just kissed with sweet and is full of toasty flax and is easy to make… because most of you have made this I’m sure, or at least if you haven’t you should and you can have a batch of oven-fresh granola in less time than it takes to run out and buy some.  
Kind of makes me wish I had some milk or yogurt around ever, but a jar of this in the fridge will disappear from nibbling fingers soon enough anyway, I assure you. ;)
Next post: an adventure in ninja-vegan waffle cones!
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I imagine most people out there have a ever-growing mental list of recipes to try someday.  I used to bookmark every delicious thing that crossed my path while I read blogs, the collection getting to the hundreds and only barely did I look at it when it came time to actually satisfy hunger.  After a recent browser crash and wipe of everything I’d saved, I decided to keep the ideas in my head, with the reasoning that it’s those things that I really wanted to eat anyway!  So right now, that list involves things like homemade bagels, tibetan yak dumplings, mole sauce, and anything ethiopian… and until very recently – anything with phyllo pastry!  I finally tried using it, not without trepidation, in a recipe I’ve been itching to make since the moment I saw it (and did not forget it) – Jenny Wren’s fennel corn phyllo pockets of awesome!  (name-change mine)  

It took me a couple tries to get the hang of it, I will not lie.  But by the end I was folding up neat little dignified triangles with the best of them!  I ate the wonky first ones for lunch today with a tomato compote from the Artful Vegan, and felt pretty durn special, I can say that.  I’m pretty much on vacation for one whole week (wow) before I start summer classes again, so I’m up for any opportunity to get all indulgent in simple things, like tuesday’s mid-day meal.  Not that I wouldn’t anyway, but I broke out the giant white restaurant plate for this one. 

Hmm… and could not possibly resist making an apple-blackberry tart with local yellow delicious apples and BC golden syrup, nooooo…. not while the phyllo is just sitting there all defrosted and feathery and waiting for my apple-craving fingers to mash it into a crispy sugared square of fantastic with toasted walnuts on the bottom even !  It had to happen.  You know it did.  I’m glad it did.  I would have given my eye-teeth for ice cream or even soy milk alongside of this, but regardless it was light and perfect.  

Oh yeah – does anyone have experience with either/both of The Artful Vegan and Millenium cookbooks?  I’d like to get one, I think, but I’m not sure which!  

There is nothing quite like chili fries. I wish I’d had some sort of cheese-like stuff to melt all over this and really do up the indulgence (not that this is really that indulgent, actually semi-healthy), but an extra splash of olive oil while making the fries pushed this to another level anyway. Plus lots of nooch and peppers for a perfect after school nosh.
(is this the reincarnation of a half-filled tin of tomato sauce sitting in my fridge? I say nothing.

Okay yes, it is. :D)

I *heart* V-con sooo much. I’ve made the saffron garlic rice before, it’s my favourite (especially when you brown the bottom just a bit to get the most tantalizing crispy garlic-y crust… *droooools*), and the chickpeas romesco might be the best pantry-staple thing I’ve ever made. SO good. And even better about both these Spanish-y dishes is that they’re free of lemon and sherry vinegar so I can go to town on the side vegetables and the whole plate tastes amazing.

Now I kinda want creamy tomato soup. Go figure. :P

I’m so bad… I have been all but absent from the blogging world for a long time, I know… art has been taking up a lot of my creative attention these days. It’s been oatmeal/miso/salad forever (and I don’t mind, it’s just not worthy of post). I will try, though – I took down my Veganmofo banner thinking I wouldn’t have the time… but you know what? I’m gonna *make* time. I will even get around to all of your blogs, because I know you’ve been doing incredible things that I will be sorely tempted to make but won’t have time for… but isn’t that the way of inspiring food? :D

So yeah… there were actually two dinners of total note in the past few weeks. We made the most perfect chili dinner EVER, I mean, it was off the hook. The chili was spicy chipotle-chocolate with shrooms, corn, peppers, tvp and 4 kinds of beans and it did that… um… chili-thing, where the texture is kinda like… kinda thick and sticky. In the best way!
(there was even red rice and super garlicky sour cream, meaning that Liz swirled her whole plate together like one giant steaming burrito and proceeded to cry little pearly tears of “OMG vegans eat SO WELL!”).

We even fried something! Lots of somethings, meaning corn chips. In heart shapes (and moon shapes, and snowflakes and each of our names, but mostly hearts because being twee is cool again, I swear.)

All right, dinner number two… pagan thanksgiving! Or autumn equinox if you prefer. It’s the time when the day and night are the exact same length, on September 22, and some like to celebrate with wine and apple desserts, and stories and tarot readings. (hint: we are those people)

Pomme cornbread of another flavour, this time with peppers and zucchini, because cornbread is basically the best accompaniment to everything. Including ice cream! …. okay, okay….. maybe not. But yummy with ratatouille, which we did have.

There it is! From Aux Vivres, actually, so basically super fatty and tasting kinda like gold. Along with couscous, steamed chard and veggies, and the most amazing sagey roasted veggies, it was easy pants to put together this dinner after work and still covered every “festive” base, I think.

And having an ugly apple pie for dessert doesn’t hurt that cause, either. Ugly and the best thing that ever happened to apples, that is.
(a mix of cortland, granny smith, macintosh and yellow delicous)

Oh right! And I almost forgot to mention! THAT is my harvest! My weeny teeny tomato harvest. Yep. And it was alllllll worth it. For serious, for true – being able to look outside of my 4th story window to a fire escape full of fragrant vines was the real benefit to this whole endeavour. They’re just really cute, tart, perky symbols of urban defiance, woohoo!

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.

My old old old old cats say hi! They’re still doing their thing where they act like mirrors or parallels of eachother. Haha, cute.

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

I’m in love with hoecakes now, too. So easy to make and really surprisingly good. I made mine like…

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
pepper

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.

Slice of Pie! Look at that structural integrity! ^.^

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

Blub blub! Miso soup with real kombu (finally) required some sort of infantile time-wasting awesomeness, hence carrot-fish. I swear it made it more delicious!

And I actually ate something besides oatmeal for breakfast the other day! I love how sleeping in means I have to budget my time which means pancakes, ooh, life is hard. These weren’t perfect (oatmeal chocolate chip, for the record), but maybe I’ll fix the liquid ratio and put them in the zine someday. Chocolate for breakfast, though… it’s great.

This was another one I was thinking of putting in the zine, but then I was like, “uh, no. Everybody has a banana bread recipe and I actually suspect I got this from the ppk years ago, before I even knew what the ppk was.” Tasty, but I mostly just made it to see if I could still make banana bread, ha. (quartering a recipe and making it in a tiny pan turns it into banana bars, though, which is pretty cool!)

Yummy black bean and wheat berry salad, with corn, red onion, radish, carrot, cilantro, lime, cumin and cinnamon. It could use bell peppers and/or tomato, but not bad at all for an empty fridge kinda thing!

And banhi mi, banhi mi!! Okay, “vietnamese seitan sandwich with savoury broth dip” (from what else but Vcon). I was too excited to eat it to take a decent photo at all, but you can probably see that I deviated from the recipe and tried to make it more authentic, I suppose. So there’s cucumber sticks, sweet pickled carrot, green onion, radish, jalapeno, tomato, mayo, cilantro and delicious satan. I mean seitan. I’d never dipped a sandwich before, it was lovely, mushy spicy and bready.

Another cleaning out the fridge deal, this time minestrone, with the expected vegetable guests, but also corn because I really really like corn. And macaroni noodles. And I even resisted making it spicy. Oh, and I added ground up toasted almonds to approximate parmesan and this was a good decision, it totally made it right.

So very nourishing!

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.

(especially dolloped all over a pound of strawberries and eaten as dinner which I did not do, gosh no, certainly didn’t!)

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 have no idea if I got the Isles in me. Me mum says I do, but that could be wishful thinking and a tendency to believe that a british heritage means ALLLL that area had a hand in the genetic making. But yeah… doesn’t mean I can’t pretend. Although this shamrock charm cookie thing is a one time deal – bloody blasted darned canapé-sized sugar cookies take FOREVER, plus icing time. I had ghostly premonitions of my life as an unappreciated mother-of-two slaving over bakesale wares to limited applause. Never again! (but adorable. very very adorable.) I used NoWheyKatie’s recipe from the ppk (I can’t find the link, though! ;_;), and added lime juice and zest to make them, um… more green.

Lunch today – I ran out of pita and a little light went off in my head, ’cause I have a few kilos of whole wheat flour sitting in my kitchen and I ought to be making chapati way more often. Not to mention that the flavour and texture are loads better than most storebought pitas. I dumped leftover potsticker dipping sauce all over this and the chapati stayed watertight! Go fresh bread, eh? There’s also a leftover kidney bean burger in there, plus sriracha and other trimmings. Oh, and green beans (I added them later). Call me weird, but they absolutely sing on sandwiches. Maybe not the best *shape* for it, but they’re all like, “woah, what’s that crunchy niceness?”

Veganomicon roasted eggplant and tomato stew with chickpeas, with soft poppyseed polenta – this fulfilled a craving I’ve had stored away since the last time I made polenta (and kinda botched it). At 17. So I’ve been craving polenta and roasted vegetables for a long time. The whole thing was awesome, probably so especially good because I roasted the tomatoes along with everything else. I want to make this again, actually. Maybe right now. :P
(Oh, and when you microwave the leftovers for just a bit too long, everything melts together and becomes absolutely LUSCIOUS.)

And this recipe has been at the top of my list since I first got the V-con – the greek-style tomato-zucchini fritters and cashew cucumber sauce! Holy cremini, they are exactly as wonderful as I wanted them to be. They are rich little fritters of awesome, and they have mint in them! (also, the tofu-paste itself is an experience not to be missed — don’t let me put you off the whole idea, but man, did it look/feel like grey cookie dough!) I’m gonna par-bake a bunch and have them in the freezer, I get this feeling they’d sub in for falafal really nicely. Oh, and the cucumber sauce got licked off of every implement that came into contact with it (spatula, spoon…. yes, stickblender. …. unplugged, though! :D)

I lost my camera last night! *sob* *wail* *gnashing of teeth* ….. *more sob*
There were a couple tears… but I definitely learned a lesson in there somewhere about scatterbrains, expensive toys, and wild nights on the town not mixing so well. Sigh… this is the last batch of beautiful food pictures, and then it’s back to macbook camera for a while….

*okay, one more sob* ;_______________;

Now on with the food:

I’m trying to press and marinate my tofu more, cause I squish it up into mash a LOT, and eating it like this is probably a good exercise in patience and, uh…. planning. Plus chewy chunks of ‘fu are the building blocks of life, or at least a dinner that resembles something you might want to throw some candlelight over. Or something. Anyway, it was yummy, and completely encrusted with sesames, totally worth the trouble. (with roasted eggplant and zuke on bass, lemon quinoa doing drums and glockenspiel)

Little mini enchilada casserole, with refried pintos, avocado chunks, salsa all over, diy-pitted black olives, and lots of Vcon cheezy sauce with green chiles in it for kicks. Also some tabasco was thrown around and appropriately enough there were corn tortillas involved. SO. FORKING. GOOD. msnarf and such.

I loves coleslaw so much… I’ll probably make my way through every major variety before the summer’s out. This one is kind of curry-based, with toasted mustard seeds, red chiles, cumin, wonderful long green raisins, thin-sliced green beans (to use up 4 green beans I had) that look PRECISELY like long green raisins (ha!) and almonds and stuff. I think I hit that sweet spot of coleslaw where all of a sudden it starts tasting like piquant juiciness and you want morrrre, which is okay, cause it’s good for you.

EDIT: I found out the raisins are an Iranian thing, and they’re called Keshmesh in Farsi. They’re dried in the shade and aren’t treated with sulphur so they’re much more fruity and less sweet than the regular kind. This page describes them SO much better, though —

Highly concentrated, like all dried fruits, keshmesh strike the palate with a trinity of flavors; pineapple, lemon and a nutmeg-tinged green apple to be precise. Even the sound they make when poured into a dish draws the attention as they delicately ping against the bowl like small hollow stones…” – Glass Petal Smoke

Neat!

And finally, I can’t recommend the Vcon tomato rice soup enough – I like, never (hardly ever) remake recipes in the interest of trying new things, but this soup has officially entered Rotation. I’m such a tomato-soup head, and this is basically what my belly wants when I start craving the red stuff (plus it’s way more healthier than tinned goop <– bonus!). And the moon biscuits? Well… I tried to quarter a biscuit recipe and only halved the amount of margarine, sooooo…. they didn't need extra EB slathering, I can tell you that. Good, though! I eated up every melt-in-your-mouth crumb with gusto. Now I go make myself chocolatey chocoblock chewy-choc cookies to make up for being such a stupid last night, or at the very least watch Nigella do the same thing, which is almost as good, and just eat a brick of Lindt. yay.

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