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I’m almost done my raw week.  It’s been easy in a lot of ways (the food is just as delicious as any “normal” food), and in other ways a bit of a challenge (detox symptoms, having to throw out lots of food that spoiled unexpectedly fast, the whole nut soaking thing, the whole raw food extremism thing)…

It’s actually going to be bittersweet easing back into regular food, I think.  I don’t feel any huge inclination towards it at the moment, even though I know that someone as flighty and spacey as me really does flourish better on the standard vegan fare.  But that said… I should get onto the food of this week, more or less a meal by meal replay of all the lego-bright dishes I got to have the time of my life constructing.

Okay, so this is technically a pre-raw warm-up (haha, warm up, is that a pun?).  I made a carrot/tomato/miso soup to see how I’d feel about it all, thick with pumpkin seeds and bowl-licking good, and so….
I jumped in headfirst.  Would you look at that?  It looks like a deep-sea fish it’s so pretty.  A lot of green, but worth it.  The sprouted chickpea hummous in those wraps kept me going for snack times for the first few days, and the minty cucumber dressing from Vegan World Fusion doubled as a salad topper and a soup, before spoiling way too fast as these enzymic dishes are wont to do.  Alas, alas!
Avocado was also a life-saver, as I never felt warmer or more satisfied than after a meal that incorporated it.  I mashed this one up with rice vinegar, soy sauce and ginger, and made showy crunchy (astoundingly good) sushi rolls.  And a fruit salad with loquat and date syrup beside it.
Breakfast of day 2: the incarnation of my oatmeal habit!
Raw oats ground up in a spice grinder, with a heavy pinch of ground flaxseed, half a mashed banana, berries and lots of salt and cinnamon, left to soak overnight.  I’m keeping this one!  I’d been getting tired of regular oatmeal and this is perfect for summer and very laid back.  You have to choose fairly soft fruit for best results, but again – peaches, berries, tropical things – all available right now!  It’s very nutty and satisfying to have for breakfast.
Lunch day 2: Zucchini bites with spicy hummous, a salad of shredded carrot, red pepper, soaked walnuts and red wine vinegar (yum!!), and broccoli tossed with cucumber dressing.
Dinner that night was my first green smoothie.  I will admit I thought it the concept very strange at first, at least before I took my first sip.  Is it totally an unabashedly weird that I love the taste of green things in my smoothie now?  It adds a neat texture and a resonant kind of garden note that makes it more of a meal to me.  Especially wonderful with banana and pomegranate juice, I might add.
I’m skipping breakfast reports because they’re all variations on the raw oat groat thing, but…
Lunch day 3: A curried miso carrot dressing on spinach with avocado chunks and dried pineapple pieces – ZOMG.  Genius.  And some cucumber dressing in a bowl trying to be soup as I attempt to slurp it all up before it goes bad.  
Dinner 3: My attempt at flatbread without a dehydrator resulted in (of course) a lot of prematurely fuzzy food, but there was a small grace period where it was semi-firm enough to eat as bread and I made little sandwiches with homemade sumac tahini cheese, and some green beans tossed with organic stone-ground mustard and lemon.
Dinner day 4: pizza!
(lunch seems to be missing from the record)
The pizza is topped with sage-y sundried tomato marinara, green pepper, onions, pineapple, almond cheese, and artichoke hearts.
Lunch day 5: Possibly in the top 5 sandwiches I’ve ever eaten, is this Haiku Wrap from Juliano’s contribution to The Complete Book of Raw Food.  It has avocado mashed with garlic, ginger and lemon topped with wakame, mustard, pickle, burdock, bell pepper, onion, corn and shoyu – and it’s a magical, magical combination.  (carrot slaw with sprouted peanuts keeping the sammiches upright on either side).
Dinner 5: Another one of those raw standbys I never understood (like the green smoothie), was the zucchini pasta thing, but you know what?  It’s pasta-like, and not salad-like as I thought it would be!  Really good, actually, enough to repeat it later.  And the things that look like eggs are crunchy turnip slices topped with nut cheese.
Lunch 6: Cabbage burrito-wraps with cumin and chili sunflower pate inside (along with corn and tomatoes and green onions and things).  With a side of Pringle lookalikes (but really it’s delicious turnip) and nut cheese again for my new favourite take on nachos.  Soaking the slices in cold water gives them the perfect chip shape and makes them sweeter, too!
And that’s not to say there were no sweets!  I made some tahini-geranium cookies, that I could upload but they look pretty much like little brown discs.  The brownies are gorgeous, though!  I ground up some sprouted and dried buckwheat into flour and combined it with dates, ground almonds, walnuts, carob powder, salt and vanilla and proceeded to nom NOM NOM them up because they were so amazing!!  I highly recommend the buckwheat flour thing, I have a container of the sprouts in my freezer right now and it gives things a more cake-like texture than the usual wodgy raw dessert texture.
And here’s a plate full of desserts I took to a raw potluck last night.  Clockwise from the top left are salty sunflower seed cookies, then those buckwheat brownies with a banana-fudge frosting, then coconut-cashew-agave crusted pear tarts with gojis on top, and finally like orange & clove oatmeal raisin cookies!  So much fun, and so easy to just make a few servings of anything, and experiment all over the place!  I definitely got into the habit of whizzing up just a single cookie for after lunch sometimes when I needed something for my sweet tooth.
Potluck food itself was possibly the BEST vegan thing any non-vegan has ever made for when I came to dinner.  It was a sundried tomato-cashew romesco sauce over marinated eggplant and it was mindblowingly good.  I think it was from a book by the same people who did Raw Food/Real World, if you wanted to try it, and you might want to add extra orange juice like my friend did and eat every indulgence-soaked aubergine triangle with additional gusto for having done so.  :)
Day 7….
….   it’s day 7?  It’s the end of the week?
Do you realize I didn’t realize that until about halfway through writing this post and counting up the dates?  Oh my goodness, I suppose that means I’m done and I should ground myself now.  Part of me wants to keep going, and in fact… *goes off to buy bananas for a few minutes*
* a few minutes later *
Well… on the way down the stairs to the market, oh what do I smell but buttery wafts of rice and faint hints of curry? and whoa-p, there goes MY 100% raw convinction!  That, and charred hot dogs on the street as I walked… and I’d like to feel like myself again, I think. :D
A few things I noticed, though, to sum up the week…
* it doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive at all to eat raw.  I stuck mostly to almonds and sunflower seeds for nut protein, which can be relatively cheap.  And I didn’t indulge in the condiments like nama shoyu and special apple cider vinegar or anything.  If anything it might have been cheaper due to me not buying coffee all the time.  OH YEAH I QUIT COFFEE FOR A WEEK.  !  Craziness.
* nut soaking liquid is super mucilagous and gross, and I’ll probably soak most things now if I think of it beforehand.
* white wine was okay to drink, as was whiskey (although I’m pretty used to whiskey).  Red wine on the other hand, made me terribly achey for a whole day after drinking it, and then the ache turned into a kinda “detox ache” that I’ve still got in my calves when I bend over too far.  
* a couple drying racks set in front of a sunny window was my dehydrator, and it worked pretty well for cookies and buckwheat sprouts.  Terrible for bread though, and I wouldn’t even try crackers.  Oh yeah, and sun tea!  Tasty stuff!  And not even that long to make, maybe a few hours in the sun for amber-steeped liquid.
* I caved once, for a bunch of artichokes I got for free, but wouldn’t you?  All succulent and dipped in lime & olive oil???  I’d never tried artichokes before and it was my chance right there, so I don’t feel bad.  And they are, by the way, not nearly as hard to make and eat as advertised and mysteriously sweet and I ate the stems too, YUM.
* Guess that’s it!  And I’m so making pizza, man, like, soon.

Happy Chinese new year everyone! For once I actually got to celebrate it, in a way – and on the correct day as well! At least, this was my lunch on the 26th. What tickles me more than anything is that I was able to make vegan tofu potstickers with an empty fridge boasting only carrots, cabbage and tofu. Because that’s all you really need! Admittedly they were wanting for some sprightly green onion inside, but otherwise they were purrrrrrfect. Chewy gyoza can be for lunch anytime it wants at my house. Oh, and the star of the meal was actually the Hot Mustard Dipping Sauce from Vegan Fire & Spice. Two minutes to make and so flavourful!

As for the year of the Ox:

“This year will no doubt bear fruit, but the motto is: “No work, no pay!” Time waits for no man; if we are too lazy to sow then we can blame no one if we have nothing to reap. We will find a great many things requiring our attention, and the list of what needs to be done will seem endless. The Spartan influence of the Ox will be a constantly cracking whip over our heads. Better to apply oneself diligently than waste time arguing with the authorities. They will prevail, as the year of the Ox favors discipline.”
Feng Shui index

You know what? I can get behind that. I’ve been drawing temples and mandalas lately and I will be completely honest – it is tedious as all get-out. But I really do feel it will pay off later on. And I don’t mind working hard in other areas of life too right now, perhaps with no evident reward. It’s almost… liberating. I forget myself a bit.

But that’s enough about life! Onto the good stuff, the foodstuff! ———–>

Okay, so I couldn’t even believe I was eating this soup while I was eating it. It was lavender, and it tasted cheesy. I mean, it was magical princess soup or something. I’d made the cauliflower bisque from Vegan World Fusion before (it is SO good and easy, it’s in my permanent repertoire), but never with a purple cauliflower. I also added delicious chunkies to it this time, like corn niblets and extra bits of cauliflower and ate it with a tiny little henge of caraway & raisin whole wheat soda bread.


And would you believe I didn’t plan the symmetrical photo-op? Or even the symmetrical dinner? I guess it’s not surprising that I was going for blended soups and little toasted starchy things though, it’s been a flurried-snow january and I’ve been nursing a flu for a while. This one is the mellow lentil sniffle soup from Eat Drink & Be Vegan and I think it’s actually my favourite lentil soup ever so far. There’s something just so… right about it. It doesn’t try to be anything but nicely balanced and nutritious and slurpy, and with some squash biscuits alongside I couldn’t ask for a better snowy day dinner.

Oh, do you remember when I asked if anyone had any advice for non-sugary cranberry recipes? I think someone mentioned a cranberry dhal, which totally piqued my interest and that inspiration led to this creamy sweet potato & romano bean concoction, served with lemon rice cooked with a whole lemon. I was really wanting sour that day, and this was perfection.

Just the other day I made vegan*core’s snickerdoodles because I’d never had one before and it was on the mental list of cookies to try someday (and also I had a tarot party to go to and cinnamon-sugar just seemed like a good idea to bring with me). The photo is terrible, but the cookies are fantastic. They’re a white flour and sugar-fest (I only bake like this when I know I can give them away!), with a perfect slight-chew texture and crispy edges, and oh, they’re gorgeous too. Like shimmery brown stars…. mmmm.

Another bad photo of something very yummy – I made essentially a flatbread pizza the other day on a homemade chapati with basil chipotle hummous on the bottom and tomatoes and peppers on top. But the real special part was what I managed to make out of leftover pureed squash. I only added nutritional yeast, lemon, olive oil, garlic powder, salt & pepper, but once it was baked up it tasted so much like a cheezy thing. Something gooey to sink the teeth into! I was pleasantly surprised!

Finally – possibly my favourite chinatown find of late – Hopia Baboy. It’s a Filipino wintermelon pastry flavoured with green onion!! Astoundingly good. You just pop it into a very hot oven for 5 minutes or so to get toasty and flaky and then oh my goodness, it’s like an instant sugar pie with sesames and a haunting bit of onion that totally works. I think some of the time they’re flavoured with pork fat, which is slightly horrifying, but these ones were clean and clear. And they last forever. I bought a little blue package of them months ago and I just pull one out of the fridge and bake it whenever I want something aromatic and sticky to nosh. Sooooo good!

Oh, ick… I’ve had a horrible night. I won’t get into the messy details, but it involved professing feelings that should ne’er been professed. X_x……. guys are so stupid.

So I need food therapy, and pretty pictures, and I’ve even finished my homework, so I am allowed, and everyone benefits, ’cause um…. food porn is a good thing. Just bear with me if I’m not exuberant? Up there is rice! (oh wait, that exclamation point was pretty exuberant. heh). Wild rice with cherries and almonds from Extraveganza, and maple roasted turnips and beets and onions, and even dandelion greens. I kinda feel like a hobbit eating dandelion greens, like I should be making them in a little tin pot that I carry around in my pack or something, with field mushrooms and a bit of a pipe and a song for after supper. :p

More Extraveganza – sicilian white bean salad. Pretty nice! Super lemony and sagey, I liked it.

Living corn chowder from Vegan Fusion — this would have rocked my toe-socks off if the corn and avocado I’d used were looking healthier than the ones I *did* use. And it was still really yummy, even with lame-ish produce. And yes, blue corn chips are totally not raw at all, but c’mon…. chip sharks. You know you want em!

Extraveganza mocha almond spice cookies. Amazing!! Something so good about the crumbly almost bitter nut crunch, these disappeared fast.

And heck, here’s what I’ve been living off of. I’ve mentioned it before, but I like this shot. It’s very exemplary of “Liz’s Lunch”. Slurp.

Oooh, I’ve been wanting the Vegan World Fusion Cuisine cookbook SOOOOO badly, I’ve been pretty much in love with how it all looks so fresh and spirit-full, and complicated in the sense that there’s a lot of small ingredients involved, but essentially simple to prepare. Plus it’s all colourful, and semi-raw! Anyway, fortunately enough you can read a bunch of it online, and two of the recipes just about stepped off the page, took a gander at my fridge and said, “you know girl, you have everything to make this AND it would use up that gigantic organic cauliflower you got for 99 cents that’s been sitting like a delicious white ghost in your fridge just waiting for the right soup recipe to come along.”

I swear, they said that! (it’s a pretty magical book). So I soaked up some seeds and maybe an hour later I had some seriously sparkling food. The sunflower seed pâté is so cool, you get a woosh of olive and then a woosh of sundried tomato, and so on like that. And the soup! It’s light but almost buttery and easy enough to make that I did it all with one hand while talking on the phone. Went really well with the sandwich!

And because I got the recipes online anyway, I’m just gonna cut to the chase and post them up here, cause they’re that good. I can’t wait to buy this book!!

Bhakti’s Broccoli Bisque (*Cauliflower variation*)

5 cups filtered water or vegetable stock
3 1/2 cups cauliflower florets
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup cashews, roasted (I only had 1/3 of a cup and it was totally fine)
1/2 cup celery (I didn’t have this, didn’t miss it)
1 tbsp garlic
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tsp sea salt, or to taste
1 tsp fresh dill (or 1/2 tsp dry)
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
black pepper, ground to taste
Nama shoyu, to taste (optional)

1. Add water or stock, cauliflower, onion, celery and garlic to a 3 qt. pot and cook over medium-high heat until all veggies are just soft, approximately 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Remove from heat, allow to cool 10-15 minutes, place in a blender, add cashews and very carefully blend until smooth (I used my stickblender). Blend in batches, being careful to fill blender only half full. Start with low speed initially, slowly increase speed until desired consistency is reached. Return to pot, add remaining ingredients and stir well.

Jai to the Most High Sunflower Seed Dip

1 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup lemon juice, fresh squeezed
1/2 cup filtered water
2 medium sundried tomatoes, soaked in warm water
2 tbsp red bell pepper, diced
1 tbsp green onion, diced
1 tbsp olives, sliced thin
2 tsp fresh basil, minced
2 tsp italian parsley, minced
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp Nama shoyu, or to taste
1/2 tsp garlic, minced (optional)
1/4 tsp oregano, fresh minced
1/4 tsp sea salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper, ground to taste

1. Soak sunflower seeds in water for at least an hour.
2. Soak sundried tomatoes in warm water for 20 minutes. Drain & chop small and place in a large mixing bowl.
3. Place soaked and drained sunflowers seeds, lemon juice, water and garlic in food processor and process until smooth.
4. Place all ingredients in the large bowl and mix well. For best results allow to sit for a few hours before serving.

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