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My room-mate’s birthday came up unexpectedly!  I had to innovate… it helped that I could peek into her side of the pantry and note the favoured ingredients… and remember that she has a yen for spicy food and japanese (similar taste much!)

I essentially made her the cake I secretly hoped someone would make for me someday (but shh, it works here, too).

I made a half recipe of a cake I found online here, sliced it into 4 rectangles and sandwiched them with a full recipe of the Vegan Cupcakes take over the World chocolate mousse recipe, but with a bunch of wasabi and ginger added, yes!

Top it with some pretty kiwis and champagne grapes and white pearls and call it an ideal job.  Just about exactly what I was aiming for – it’s elegant and spicy and rich.  If I did it again I might add some cashew cream layers, or some strawberry jam, but really it’s perfect just the way it is right here.  Roomie even professed to get a wasabi high off the mousse!  Ha ha, couldn’t ask for more.

Black Sesame Cake

(from Alice Medrich’s Pure Dessert (veganized), via Dessert First)

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup soy yogurt

3 tsp toasted sesame oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup canola oil*

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup soymilk

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup toasted black sesame seeds

– Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease a cake tin and dust flour inside it.  Set aside.

– Add the vinegar to the soymilk and set aside to curdle.

– Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  

– In a large bowl, beat together the soygurt, sesame oil, vanilla, canola oil, and sugar until it’s smooth and caramell-y, about 2-3 minutes with a whisk.

– Add 1/3 of the flour to the liquid ingredients and stir to combine.  Add half the curdled soymilk and stir.  Add another 1/3 of the flour (stir), then the rest of the milk (stir), then the last of the flour (stir).  Make sure not to overwork the batter, but it should be smooth and pourable.

– Pour into the greased cake tin and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the top is glossy, firm and golden, and a toothpick/knife inserted comes out clean.  Let it cool for about 10 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack, then let it cool completely before frosting.

* the original recipe called for butter, and you would probably get spectacular results with Earth Balance, I just didn’t have enough this time.  Follow the recipe the same, but cream the margarine with the sugar with an electric mixer until it’s really white and fluffy, before adding the other liquid ingredients.


Wasabi Ginger Chocolate Mousse

(adapted from Vegan Cupcakes take over the World)

12 oz. package of medium firm tofu, drained

1/4 cup soy milk

2 tbsp maple syrup (optional)

1 tbsp wasabi paste (or more ;)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp ginger powder

8 oz. chocolate chips (or higher quality chocolate if you’d like)

pinch of salt

– Bring a pot of water to a boil, then gently add your tofu, lower the heat and let it simmer for about 4-5 minutes.  Drain carefully and let it cool.

– Once cooled, put the tofu, syrup, wasabi, vanilla and ginger in a blender and blend it until it’s completely smooth.

– Melt the chocolate carefully in the microwave then add it to the blender and whip everything together.  Add salt if you like salt (I do), then stash it in the fridge for at least an hour to become firm enough to work with.  Ice your cake!

(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)

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!)
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. ^_^;

Ahhhh! So cute! They’re like koala bears! Except s’more flavoured! Mini-sizing these was SO perfect, it made them actually s’more sized. And unlike last time (of which we speak nothing and try maybe to forget the day-glo blue frosting on essentially my first batch of cupcakes ever), my painting class loved them! I only had three to take home from the critique, which I gladly invited to my belly. Oh, and I even put a bit of caramel syrup in the frosting for that burnt sugar thing, plus did I mention the grahams were homemade? Anyway, my teacher looked one moment at the tray I put on the table and declared my paintings A-worthy, sight unseen. Ha!

Sometimes I fry up leftover mushroom millet mash (mmm) into a crispy fritter of late-night eating, and it is good.

I was also blown away by this spicy rutabaga fava bean soup recipe from Tofu for Two. It’s so bloody tasty, I had it for breakfast, snack, dessert, hot, cold, with harissa yogurt, with pomegranate arils, with basil, and now it is gone and I am sad. I’m such a sucker for pureed soups, especially ones that taste like fanciness and comfort at the same time. And fava. Fava is specially good.

Unreal, eh?

I lost my camera cord! And I lost the internet due to crazy summer storms and their ease at destroying routers! So I’m sitting on a lot of pictures… will you bear with me? I have forgotten which are worthy of blogation, but I assure you, most 94% of it was delicious. Highly chewable. Well… I guess you can’t chew jam. But doesn’t it look pretty? Lame peaches became perfect ice cream topping, even though I pouted and danced all the while my mom made this, because I wanted to eat them raw. But I’m an annoying daughter like that. Yep. :D

And I invented a pizza! Which I would bet anything has actually been done before, but if you get the chance, you MUST try making a batch of samosa potatoes and laying it over pizza on a bed of pureed pineapple. It’s my new absolute favourite.

Oh, and speaking of pizza, I’ve been introduced to Ottawa’s gourmet pizzeria, Pavarazzi’s. It sounds so much like paparazzi!! Paparpizza? They have good taste in vegetarian toppings, though. No lame soggy mushrooms/green pepper combos. Sesames and roasted red peppers, artichokes and olives are the standard. Good show!

**note: I avoided the cheese bits encroaching on my nice side like the absolute plague, and am I the only vegan who takes pleasure in an increasing dislike for the smell/accidental taste of animal products? Cause cheese kind of tastes like fermented fluuuuuuuid to me now. *cough*
Appetizing! You can keep your squishy olives, sis!

Speaking of good taste (haha) and vegetarian accommodations, mum and me broke out this cast-iron grill pan that magically appeared in the pantry sometime between this visit and my last to grill up everything in sight, and some fennel besides. I also get to take the pan home! (vcon grilled tempeh tacos, here we come!). Simple dinner, yes, but I was raised on the good art of arranging a sandwich spread, and forgive me for my stereotypical tastes, but I SO do love a grilled vegetable. I think I ate 3 dinners worth of food here. It was worth it for the rosemary bread. The rosemary bread that was made of olive oil. Droolular.

Bit o’ baking. Ever tried a flapjack? I um…. hadn’t. But I was mad curious, I mean – golden syrup, margarine and oats, plus major associations to my UK heritage, I had to at least try. I succeeded at making floppy oat chews? The fat content alone is scaring me away from attempting this again… but if anyone else wants to try, I CAN highly recommend adding some lemon or lime juice to the mix, cause it makes it all lip-smacking more-ish. Too bad about the melty texture, though…

Banana bread is friendly. It shall redeem me. (yum)

As will peach right side-up cupcakes with toasted candied almond slivers on top (I should think). Which are perfect from the fridge, cold… teeth sinking through the cold fruity layer to moist almond-y crumbs…. acklejackarggggg…. s’good. I got the coveted “vegan baked goods are soooo much better than normal baked goods” comment from not one, but three separate eaters of cake. Suke-sess!

To make thine own, take one pineapple rightside-up cupcakes recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, replace fruit with appropriate fruit, add almond extract, and enjoooyyyyy. With joy! Man, I love that book, it should be renamed the Little Vegan Cake-Creation Sourcebook.

More to come in part 2!

So it’s been 10 days, and I was all going to post this picture and be like, “well, dinners like this are pretty much the reason I haven’t had anything blogworthy to mention all week. Simple and summery and involving a lot of corn, nothing terribly new.” But then I realized I was sitting on a whole bunch of pretty photos! (It’s funny, I also swear I’ve been living off of miso soup, but it’s so perfect for end-of-term eating – quick and cheap and energy-giving for late-night drawing sessions).

Okay, okay… so at the beginning of last week I thought I’d recreate that magically fermenting sesame slaw I made before, to much success. And I managed to get a photo of it before all the colours bled and muted out, too! (and like my new bowls? I so do!)

They also came with an awesome rectangle plate that I fell in LURVE with and had to buy (so frivolous, and SO matching my grey spiral plate, it had to be done! :P)

And Pomme surprised me with freaking spring rolls! It was in thanks for her birthday dinner, and they’re pretty much my favourite food ever, I ated so many of these it’s a wonder I didn’t roll around myself afterwards, but they were sooooo good, with mango and red pepper inside and peanut dipping sauce, egads. I even bought a thing of brown rice vermicelli to make them even healthier the next time I make them (and thus even more like a perfect food).

I love summer and farmers’ markets! A big basket of random sumptuous berry-things! Plus ground cherries, teeny grapes, figs, flowers and tart little red dots-on-the-vine, all for $5. I made the oatmeal of kings from this basket.

I also made pretty awesome vanilla-vanilla cupcakes for my drawing group, ’cause waking up early on saturday to go downtown and muck around with pencils is just that much more enjoyable with frosting. :)

I love how R on the left spontaneously drew a garden, with a mole in it and everything, and a Mr. Potato head! He couldn’t remember what radish leaves looked like, and I so knew exactly, having just eaten a salad of them the night before… so houray for the new kids knowing about their foodstuffs (there were discussions on the relative frumpiness of potato leaves and how appropriate that is to their taste, hehe).

And uh… I ran out of li hing mui yesterday, so I went to chinatown and picked some up for 85 cents….. and then totally couldn’t resist buying a wack more goodies, cause that place is pretty much like my idea of culinary disneyland. This was all under $20, too! Clockwise from the left is some wakame, black rice, abalone flavoured wheat gluten in a can (can’t wait to try that one!), yuba/dried tofu skin, cornstarch, brown rice vermicelli, regular rice vermicelli, mangoes, a mysterious package of some sort of pickled vegetable for 10 cents, wonton wrappers, assorted sesame/peanut/cashew brittles, sweet pickled radish, really cheap tofu, bean sprouts, and (of course!) the li hing mui that started this whole debacle.

I had to HAD TO experiment with that yuba, so stir fry it was, and WOW is all I can say – I love this stuff! It’s so chewy and soaks up sauce like a chewy soyfood of long-pantry life and pure awesome! And for the record… pickled turnips are delicious but pretty much 92% salt, so serve with caution (or at least a lot of water).

And is this related? Oh, I dunno. Girls and bugs living in symbiotic vegan harmony sounds okay to mention! And plus one-shot zines are super cute and everyone should try their hand at making one, be it full of manifestos, sketches, goth poetry, bread recipes, or like… everything in your apartment listed alphabetically.

That, plus walking around across the city and back all day today made me totally and completely go into SANDWICH MODE. Gallery-hopping is fun but hunger-inducing, and I even took some extra detours to get the perfect soft baguette-bread to make the Vcon cornmeal-crusted tofu Po’boy and it was SO worth it. What a perfect damn sandwich, I mean seriously. Dude. DUUUUUUDE. Anything involving chipotle mayo has to be good, but this was a major synthesis of happy components making perfect lunch science in my mouth. Making this again! With even more mayo! Bwahahahahaha. So evil, yet so delicious…

I also hope next week is similarly uneventful so I’ll have nothing to post about again.
/sarcasm.

I’m thinking of making bread with sprouted wheat berries soon!

I had the best time in Ottawa with the fam, having free reign of flours and sugars, and access to an oven that’s probably 4 times the size of my own. Not to mention plenty of eaters of baked goods! I have a hard time justifying sweet recipes at home, as all I really need is a cookie here and there. But near the end of my stay I was just churning out sugar-soaked excellence everywhere and it was actually getting eaten (and quickly!). Kinda heavenly. I’m also considering taking a pastry course after uni or something… I’d like to take some culinary classes too but I don’t know how the veganism will factor into that… are there vegetarian culinary schools (with prestige) at least? Anyway, the cookies up there are the oatmeal raisin cookies from the Veganomicon. They smelled like skinned knees and school lunches, and even replace Larabars nicely as travelling rations! (half regular thompson raisins and half organic flame raisins).

I like to think of this as clash of the transitory seasons – spring and fall duking it out! It’s the 101 Cookbooks roasted butternut and farro salad making time with those strawberries. But it worked!

And then I made Vcon red and white bean seitanic jambalaya with Old Bay-spiced Julie Hasson sausages, sauteed collards and french bread — ooooooh, if only I could eat like this every night! It’s funny, cause I loathed sausages as on omni (they tasted like grease and salt and ACK, parts), but I’m a nut for the gluten kind. Everyone got sick the day I made this so I was a little aghast at the mass amount of food left over, but it made killer leftovers all week, and people kept pulling it out of the fridge as if seeing it for the first time with renewed interest in the smoky goodness.

Another perk to cooking at home – there are always random things around that need using up that I can be happily surprised by. Like a half tin of peaches! I had to make the Fatfree Vegan peach upside-down cake of course, which CAN be quartered, it can be done! I admittedly put a splash of canola in this, but that was a teaspoon maybe, and it came out like almost like a peach donut, if that makes sense. Really really good! I’d want to experiment with cornmeal I think, when I try again with real peaches.

Yummmm, Vcon curried carrot dip made my crackers sing! It should be called pâté, really, it’s that good. Especially with parsley on Ryvita.

And a barbecue came up, I wanted to make margarita cupcakes, but I’m SO glad I made mini jalapeno-onion corn muffins instead. Portability-wise, much better, and much more casual. I think I described the heat of the peppers as “haunting” and I stand by that. I wasn’t sure if they would work out, since I used rinsed pickled jalapenos instead of fresh (+ sugar / – salt to make up for that), but they DID work and the end result was pretty addictive.

We had zombie day dinner very late this year so here’s the holiday plate! Steamed fresh asparagus, black bean and mango salad, rosemary roasted potatoes, salad with lots of fruits and toasted hazelnuts, and leftover tofu scramble, yum!

Aaaaand…. I did in fact make the cupcakes! The orange and redcurrant ones! OMG SO MOIST AND DELISH. wee! (ha ha, as my memory fades so does my ability to articulate). They were springy, poppable, juicy and tender-good, ya.

Phew, backlog of photos done, hurray! It was a bit of a week!

I had the most relaxing christmas, at least in terms of cooking. It was pretty blissful, and that’s not to say I didn’t make anything (oh, I did), but I didn’t have to make my own holiday dinner and that was the best present. The best present excluding all my new cooking supplies, that is. I got a spurdle!!!! (to be blogged about later — my oatmeal’s so fluffy now!)

These were my favourite – Crimson Velveteen Cupcakes with Mint Chocolate Chips and Peppermint Icing. They went over so well at my dad’s house, even with his entourage of pretty timid (and omnivorous) palates. Such a good combination, and just the perfect bite size for ending a meal of quesadillas – inside of which I had tofurkey slices! They bought me fake turkey and sausage besides for the morning after – I felt so lucky.

Then later back to mom’s house, where I find her beaming ear to ear and brandishing these beauties — aren’t they the coolest things ever? They’re not vegan, but I just had to post them. I’m also thinking the fiddly-funwork approach to food may be genetic… yep. :D

These thin mints are straight from 101 Cookbooks and I’m urging you, go make them right now! They’re like biting into a tender cocoa explosion, super easy to make, gorgeous on a plate, and my sister can fit 4 in her mouth at one time. (by the way, can you tell I’m a nut for chocolate and mint? I am!)

For christmas dinner itself I only had two things to do myself, and here’s my five minutes of work to make vegan stuffing. My mom had even baked bread with onions, sage, walnuts and cranberries in it to cut down on time/up the flavour quotient.

The spread! mashers, stuffing, cranberry sauce, coleslaw, yams, squash, sprouts, broccoli, and home-canned pickled beets from the pantry, all covered in portobello & red wine gravy that was already made for me when I got home! It was simple but exactly what I wanted, and I ate to bursting anyway. Who needs a turkey-like element, really? I had sausage for breakfast! :)

I was also in charge of pumpkin pie (lest there be none at the table at all!). No ginger due to allergies, but a hazelnut crust to make up for it, and though the filling was less good than the one I made for thanksgiving that hasn’t stopped me from eating the leftovers with a spoon right off the plate. Tee! And the tofu cream I threw together to go with it put all my previous soy-whip attempts to shame, it was damntastic.

Aaaaaaand a shot of cutie Thelma-cat, hiding in a bag full of donation clothes and sterile bandages (we’re real linear in our organization around here). Go cat pictures! Happy It’s-Cold-So-Let’s-Eat Day! I hope everyone felt connected to those they love and at peace with themselves and got funky socks and all that jazz. :PP

Cookies galore, man. Today was my first day home, and it’s a good thing too, since my mum designated it Cookie Day (can I complain about that? …. no. no I can’t. *grin*). My sister and I baked all morning and only botched one recipe (btw, don’t use leftover oatmeal in cookies… it just makes them taste gummy-weird). But the rest were great! Clockwise from the top left, there’s V-con Chewy Chocolate Raspberry Cookies, except with homemade sour cherry preserves instead of raspberry; Chocolate PB cuppin cakes; Rumnog pecan cookies with walnuts instead, Dreena’s homestyle cookies with mint chocolate chips (TRY THIS COMBO!), and um, the aforementioned botchers. They might try and convince you that they’re actually orange-cranberry oatmeal, but really they’re shite. teehee, don’t eat them.

Sexy shot of Dreena’s cause they’re probably my favourite cookie ever, with the mint, oooooh… *drools a little on the keyboard*

And my sister being a cupcake monster. :DDD