Friday, December 5, 2008

Home Sweet Home

First meal back home a simple vegetable stir fry. Basic principles for stir fries, heat wok with some oil (i like to use a splash or two of sesame oil for taste) fry your onions, fresh garlic or ginger (or both!), sesame seeds or nuts, then add the vegetables in order of which cook the longest like carrots.

Be sure to add your favorite spices and sauces half way through cooking. With this stir fry I added my sauce when I added the faux chicken strips. Things like bean sprouts should be added just before consumption.

Fresh vegetables always taste best but frozen works just as well, especially if you plan on using a thick sauce that will coat your stir fry. You can even mix and match frozen with fresh. Be sure to serve your stir fry with your favorite whole grain or grain mix. Here I have a herbed wild rice.

Good morning

As per usual I open one of my cookbooks find something that looks good, seems do-able. And then I make something completely different. Today it was pancakes and for the first time ever, it seems I have made a pancake recipe I can actually cook! For the first time ever I have cooked pancakes by myself.

Now these cakes are pretty dense and easy to flip in the pan with a wrist toss, you know like those pros do. These are not your fluffy light pancakes, they are almost biscuity in texture but certainly filling in the morning.

Chocolate Banana Pancakes
1 cup WW flour
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1/4 cup Cocoa
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 1/4 cup of Vanilla Soy Milk (or non-dairy milk of choice)
1 Tbsp Canola oil + more for greasing pan
1 Banana sliced as thick or thin as you like

In a large bowl combine your flour, cinnamon and sea salt. Be sure to sift in your cocoa and baking powder to remove any lumps. Next measure out your soy milk in a large liquid measuring cup and add your canola oil and mix in the measuring cup. Don't be alarmed that the batter is pretty thick. Now add your wet ingredients to your dry. Now gently stir in your banana slices.

Oil your non-stick skillet and heat the pan on medium high heat until heated through, then reduce your heat to medium/medium-low and let it settle. Using a big spoon scoop batter into the center of the pan, using a spoon to flatten the batter (this can be tricky). Wait until bubbles form around the edges and then toss your pancake. Be sure to press down the flipped cakes, once cooked transfer to a plate in the oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining batter.

Serve with a berry laced syrup or plain sugar/maple and earthbalance.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A day in the kitchen and couch

Today Zoe and I watch movies all day while cooking up a variety of stuff.
First up WW ginger carrot muffins a-la-Zoe.

I'll be asking her for the recipe a basic WW muffin to which various add-ins/changes can be made.
For these she chopped my candied ginger chunks and grated two carrots.

So I figured today would be a cooking day, and I pulled out Yellow Rose Recipes to make the tamale pie I never got to try during testing. Being out of corn meal and a few other essentials, I made a bastardized version of my own. Using crushed corn chips in place of the polenta, follow your heart cheddar and Joanna's Nacho sauce for the top, Yves Mexican crumble (had no tvp T.T), and a way to big can of kidney beans with a smaller can of corn (no frozen). Also, no tumeric or cummin so I just left it out (SHH!). Still turned out amazing.

Next up Zoe stewed lentil stew all day to produce this gloriously thick rich filling bowl.

And I decided to do banana bread, a-la Kittee.
Which lead to making Kittee's peanut butter fudge, but Zoe wanted chocolate and coconut fudge... so we just added some. And added a little more of everything else.

**photos to come.

Better than grilled cheese

This is one of Zoe's favorite sandwiches, which I had the pleasure of eating the other day. If you've never tried this, I recommend you change that asap.

The sandwich is stuffed with sauted vegetables (onions and garlic mandatory), then the bread is spread with hummus, stuffed with the vegetables and grilled. Served hot and steamy.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Lazy day off, when suddenly a potluck calls!

So it's off to the races, a shower while the bread dries out soon to become bread crumbs for the infamous MrsBadMouth's Wings. If you haven't made these, I suggest you do it. They are outstanding and extremely simple to prepare.

But my potluck is at noon and time is a wasting, so I will say more on these latter.

Monday, October 27, 2008

When is coveting ok?

We know it's apperently uncool to covet your neighbors wife, but what about their Crockpot? Slowcooker? Maybe I should have been a 70's child, but I've always wanting one of these babies. Soups, stews, chillies, seitan, and beans... oh yes, the beans.

I've always wanted to cook dry beans, but mine are always coming out crunchy. And nobody, I mean nobody likes crunchy beans. I want some thick, soft, held together, saucy, rich bean. And now for the saddest story you may ever hear.

This is the story of the crockpot that was nearly mine.

After years of wanting, pining, lusting for one of these ceramic gods. I happened upon a yard sale find, a working order, cleaned, functional, glorious crockpot from the 70's. Price tag 1$. One fucking dollar, I beg pleaded with my mother to lend me the cash, the women offers to give it to me for free. I gather all the change, get enough to buy it. Glowing and beaming I carry my new found love out into the car. Three feet from the door, it slips. Falling towards the driveway, shattering.... entirely. I was so close, only to have it all fall and crack away. I could have cried. Everyone was sympathetic. But nothing could take away the hurt, of having loved and lost.

so that is my story.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Vegan Hundred

The Vegan's Hundred

The Omnivore's Hundred inspired Bittersweet to create a vegan version.

The Vegan's Hundred is spreading in the vegan blogosphere as we all consider, "would I eat that?" or even "what is that?"

So as instructed:
Your mission, should you choose to accept it:

1) Copy this list into your own blog, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Post a comment here once you’ve finished and link your post back to this one.
5) Pass it on!

1. Natto
2. Green Smoothie
3. Tofu Scramble
4. Haggis
5. Mangosteen
6. Creme brulee
7. Fondue
8. Marmite/Vegemite
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Nachos
12. Authentic soba noodles
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Taco from a street cart
16. Boba Tea
17. Black truffle
Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Gyoza
20. Vanilla ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Ceviche
24. Rice and beans
25. Knish
26. Raw scotch bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Caviar
29. Baklava
30. Pate
31. Wasabi peas
32. Chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Mango lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
Mulled cider
37. Scones with buttery spread and jam
Vodka jelly
39. Gumbo
40. Fast food french fries
41. Raw Brownies
42. Fresh Garbanzo Beans
43. Dahl
44. Homemade Soymilk
Wine from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Stroopwafle
47. Samosas
48. Vegetable Sushi
49. Glazed doughnut
50. Seaweed
51. Prickly pear - There is one in my fridge!
52. Umeboshi
53. Tofurkey
54. Sheese
55. Cotton candy
56. Gnocchi
57. PiƱa colada -mine was virgin... it counts no?
Birch beer
59. Scrapple
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Soy curls
63. Chickpea cutlets
64. Curry
65. Durian
66. Homemade Sausages
67. Churros, elephant ears, or funnel cake
68. Smoked tofu
69. Fried plantain
70. Mochi
71. Gazpacho
72. Warm chocolate chip cookies
74. Corn on the cob
75. Whipped cream, straight from the can
76. Pomegranate
77. Fauxstess Cupcake
78. Mashed potatoes with gravy
79. Jerky
80. Croissants
81. French onion soup
82. Savory crepes
83. Tings
84. A meal at Candle 79
85. Moussaka
86. Sprouted grains or seeds
87. Macaroni and “cheese”
88. Flowers
89. Matzoh ball soup
90. White chocolate
91. Seitan
92. Kimchi
93. Butterscotch chips
94. Yellow watermelon
95. Chili with chocolate
96. Bagel and Tofutti
97. Potato milk
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Raw cookie dough

How many can you complete?

Also note, that I cross out all the alcohol as I do not drink.

Saturday should legally be changed to pancake day

Zoe and I made pancakes today, and not just any pancakes. But Isa's Coconut Pancakes with pineapple sauce. These pancakes are heavenly, or as Zoe says " A rocking beach party in my mouth!". And who wouldn't want some of that?

These are in Vegan with a Vengeance, if you haven't made them get out there and fry up a batch. You will be glad you did.

Substitutions made where corn starch in the place of arrow root and a combination of agave/brown rice syrup as we had no maple.

Happy pancaking.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Just a photo

Today I bring you:

Cookbooks, Organized by colour.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

That one ingredient

If you are anything like me you always wind up purchasing some product, produce, sauce etc simply because they are on a clearance sale (i.e. the use me ASAP sale). Normally marked down produce is my main weakness, which always leaves me drawing a blank on what to do with my abundance of quickly spoiling goodies.

This week the culprits are two pounds of button mushrooms. I love mushrooms, and usually add them to just about everything I make. However, having not made anything recently I need to find a mushroom centered dish and quick. I usually turn to the PPK as unlike vegweb (which I do love/enjoy) the ppk never disapoints. Plus as an added bonus a while back Bethamphatamine
had some free time and compiled a handy dandy list of a group of the "what do I do with ____" threads and was kind enough to share it with the rest of us. So now I am sharing it with you, behold the glory of the "What to do with just about anything thread"

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Grocery shopping

Here on the farm we go on weekly trips to the super markets. Being super stocked on staples, I only need a few things. Sadly, it seems like no one else is going. So for once, I am not feeling the food.

I don't really feel like shopping and looking forward to getting food. I don't even feel like eating.
I was going to write a post about how related food and emotions are, but we are leaving.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Some Tips and Tricks to stretching your food dollar

Simple things that we all know, but sometimes fail to due for convenience, peer pressure and who knows what else. Like buying dry goods in bulk, cooking whole grains like brown rice over white for more nutrient bang for buck and the classic using dry beans. Dry beans, are supper cheap and if you plan a little or even cook a bunch on a day off and freeze for later, the can save you loads.

Buy dry goods in bulk. Again, don't go over bored and make sure you have lidded containers to store them away from moisture and bugs.

some other tips and tricks I often use when I need to save money and still eat well which may or may not be obvious.

Jarred sauces, stocks, soups, condiments and whatever else, they aren't cheap. In fact, most are pricer than making things yourself. Which you likely know, but hey everyone loves the convenience and ease of opening a jar, so my only tip here is to use all you buy. You're going to be recycling the bottles anyway, which means you have to rinse them.

Rinse and save: Whenever I use the last bit of tomato sauce, tomato juice, salsa, veggie broth /whatever it may be, take a small amount of hot water into the bottle. Close the lid and shake to get out every last bit of content, and add this diluted mixture to whatever it was you were making. The small amount of water won't hurt. I do this with ketchup, soymilk and well everything.

Another point, with leftovers EAT THEM! Sure the same food in a row might not be super exciting but you can recycle these too.

Diluting purees/blended soups: If you make a blended soup, make it stretch and change it into something different by adding liquid of choice.

E.g.: I made corn chowder the other day and for lunch today I took out a cup of the thick blended goodness and added it to a soup pot with a bottle of V8 (using the water/rinse trick too) and cooked until combined with stirring. Now this trick would be better with a vegetable soup, but it's still good with the corn chowder. Sure it's still soup, but now its a lighter vegetable soup. This is also great if your feeding more people.

Freezing vegetable ends. Whenever you chopping or dicing vegetables save all those skins, end pieces, stalks or anything else you would usually compost and freeze them into a plastic bag. Then when your bag is full use the odds and ends to make a flavorful and tasty stock.

More on recycling leftovers

Burgers: Just about any leftover can be made into patties or burgers by adding breadcrumbs, cracker crumbs, corn flour, regular flour or some kind of grain and maybe a binding agent. Beans and rice make great burgers just smash with a potato masher and add crumbs as needed to form patties. Soups particularly the thicker kinds can be transformed into burgers in the same way, as can casseroles, chillies, stews, pasta dishes and even braised/roasted vegetables.

Casseroles: Like burgers casseroles can be made out of almost anything. Grains, veggies, legumes, burgers, soups, anything can be made into a casserole. Depending on what it is, you could add some grains , broken crackers or mashed potatoes, some gravy or sauce and you have an instant casserole. Again this is a good way to use up leftovers or if your simply stuck on what to make for dinner. Generally a starch, sauce, veggie or protein (or both!) and your half way there.

Burritos: Basically take anything you have in your fridge and add it to a tortilla and viola, instant burrito. Rice and bean dishes or curries are particularly good served this way but most any left over will do. Vegetable stir fry or sloppy vegans or chilli even your burgers can be added with some lettuce for easy transport and a tasty lunch the next day.

Bulking up: If your making soups, stews, gumbo, sauce or really anything that you feel could do with a little more adding grains is an easy and simple way to make dishes stretch further and feel more filling. Same with blending cooked veggies to add to sauces, spreads, soups or anything you fancy. This adds flavor, nutrients and bulk. The same can be done with beans, once cooked simply blend and add to anything you like.

Mashed potatoes: another cheap and easy solution. Can become a meal in and of itself with the addition of blended white beans and blended steamed greens. Or added to sauce, stews, soups etc to thicken and bulk. It can also turn most leftovers into a burger or casserole and makes a great burrito or breakfast patty if friend with veggies.

So go out and eat something!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

More on doughnuts

A couple notes on sugar coating, its best if you use a finer grade of sugar. Which.. I neglected to do. They are still good, but it will be harder to get them coated and to have the sugar stick. Not that loose sugar is the end of the world...

You also want to make sure you roll them in sugar as soon as possible, same with your glaze. My glaze turned out to thin and resulted in a glossier final product instead of the traditional cloudy glaze. They still clouded or whitened in parts but overall I like my doughnuts with thicker, more luscious glaze.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Food Survey Fun!

This one is brought to you by the lovely Jess of get sconed!.

1. What was the most recent tea you drank?
Licormint from back home!

2. What vegan forms do you post/lurk on? If so, what is your username? Spill!
I post on the ppk, username B.A.D.

3. You have to have tofu for dinner, and it has be an Italian dish. What comes to mind first?
Tofu balls in spicy marinara over whole grain pasta.

4. How many vegan blogs do you read on an average day?
A day? Well I tend to only get a few hours a day with internet (sometimes none at all), but with veganmofo I tend to read 10 post/entires or so. Unless it's my day, then I can spent the whole day reading about vegangoodies

5. Besides your own, what is the most recent one you’ve read?

Kittee's review (cakemakertothestars) and Ash's post on this survey (lovelikeavegan)

6. If you could hang out with a vegan blogger that you haven’t met, who would it be, and what would you do?

One I haven't met? hmmm well I love everyone i've met, but for those I haven't I would love to chill with Katie (Don'teatoffthesidewalk) for some wings and buffy watching. And Jordan (hopestinks), because lets face it she is pretty awesome and a fellow Canadian (for now)

7. If you had to base your dinners for a week around one of the holy trilogy – tofu, seitan or tempeh, which would it be?
Tempeh! I have so many great tempeh recipes and its often too long before I bother to make them again. It's still good for you if you fry it right?

8. If you had to use one in a fight, which would it be?
Most people seem to have a fear or tofu, so I guess it would be a good weapon.

9. Name 3 meals you’d realistically make with that tough protein of choice!
Fried tofu sticks and fries, vegan lasagna with vcon caesar and baked tofu with veggies and wild rice.

10. What’s a recipe in vegan blogland that you’ve been eyeing?
Soo many. Although I've been meaning to make kittee's gulten log.

And I have yet to make Katie's Pumpkin cinnamon rolls.

11. Do you own any clothing with vegan messages/brands on them?
Yes... most of my wardrobe. Current fav, the Liberate Hoodie I bought from herbivore (not sure who did the design).

12. Have you made your pilgrimage to the ‘vegan mecca’ yet? (Portland, duh)
Yes. Once every year, since the gathering.

13. What age did you first go vegan? Did it stick?
I was 12? and it stuck.

14. What is the worst vegan meal you’ve had? Who cooked it?
Anyone who's ever tried to feed me salad. And the first time I cooked with tempeh, some kinda tomato taco idea... failed miserably.

15. What made you decide to blog?
Honest? So I'd have something to tell people when they asked about my food photographing. I love reading about food, and I figured maybe writing about it would be cool too. Plus, it gives me something to do with all my food photos besides post them on the ppk.

16. What are three of your favorite meals to make?
Well on the farm, whatever is easiest so a lot of pasta.

All time:

1) chickpea cutlets mustard gravy and lemon herb roasted potatoes with steamed greens.

2) BBQ collards, mashed potatoes, baked tofu

3) lasagna with vcon caesar and garlic bread

17. What dish would you bring to a vegan Thanksgiving-themed potluck?
Stuffed squash!

18. Where is your favorite vegan meal at a restaurant? How many times have you ordered it?
Hard one... lately vegan calzone and garlic knots from pizza Aroma althought I've only had it once.

19. What do you think the best chain to dine as a vegan is?
Chain? hmm... pizza hut? I have a thing for the crispy crusts

20. My kitchen needs a………

Vitamix! or kitchen aid mixer.

21. This vegetable is not allowed in my kitchen…..!
Olives. If they even are vegetables.

22. What’s for dinner tonight?
Something from house of Hong! (going out with Farm Staff)

23. What’s your favourite cookie cutter?
The farm animal cookie cutters Jacblades sent me!

VeganMofo- New Autumn Favorite

Inspired by esme's post about apple cider doughnuts I figured it was about time Vegan House had some doughnuts. So I looked back to the last time I made doughnuts and decided to make my very own doughnut recipe based using the lovely Random Girl's as a jumping point.

If your anything like me you won't be spending all day crafting Doughnuts unless you'll have them for some time to come. So I usually double all recipes (sometimes triple), with that in mind the recipe yields more than your typical batch. So feel free to double and triple again if you like.

Autumn Cider Doughnuts

2 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 cup warm apple cider
1/2 cup vegetable margerine
1 cup sugar (I've used both brown and organic cane sugar, I suspect maple and other healthier sweeteners would work as well, so feel free to experiment and let me know how it goes)

2/3 cup more apple cider, warmed
Egg replacer equilivent to 4 eggs
4 cups whole wheat
all-purpose flour
3-4 cups all purpose unbleached flour (again, for healthier doughnuts you could get away with all WW but they may be denser) {I say 3-4 as I keep the fourth cup to help kneed the dough and have never used the full cup but it could happen}
1 tsp salt 2 tsp Cinnamon and Nutmeg (More or less depending on taste)
Oil for frying

Glaze: 2 cups confectioners' sugar 1/2 cup hot vanilla soymilk


Roll in:
1/2 cup sugar
2 TBS cinnamon
optional: vanilla

Dissolve the yeast packets in 1 cup of warm water and let the mixture stand until yeast clouds form (5-7 minutes).While your yeast is puffing up in a large saucepan, bring the first cup of cider to a boil. Add the margarine and sugar and stir until the margarine has melted and the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and COOL [believe me, I know you want to skip this step, but DON'T!]. In a separate measuring cup dissolve egg replacer and water (follow package directions, or use your favorite egg replacer recipe). When your mixture has cooled, add the puffy yeast and more warm cider. Stir in the egg replacer and 4 cups of WW flour. Mix the heck out of it. Add remaining all purpose flour slowly, reserving one cup for kneading and add the salt and spices. Mix some more, at this point you'll need to abandon your spoon (if you haven't all ready) and get in there with your hands. Again add the flour slowly, its for your own good. Only use enough to make a soft and manageable dough. Make sure to scrap down the sides of your bowl and get all your dough out. Now take your dough to a floured board and knead until smooth and elastic. Using your remaining flour to help prevent sticking, work as much as you need into the dough. Place the dough into a large greased bowl, cover and let it rise. It should doubled in bulk after about an hour.

Now again, if you are anything like me you now need to pee and your kitchen is trashed. So use this time to clean up (it'll save you in the long run).
After the hour has elapsed and you've re-cleaned your kitchen, punch down your dough (this part is fun!).

On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough until it is about 1/2 inch in thickness. Cut out doughnuts with a a glass or roll dough into tiny dough nut holes. Place the doughnuts/dough wads a greased baking sheet space them an inch apart or so. Make holes if you want. Now let them rise again for 1 hour. Re-clean if you need to.

Now the exciting part, heat your oil to in a deep skillet or deep fryer (test with the end of a wooden spoon, if bubbles form you are ready to fry!) . Fry doughnuts in small batched (as many as will fit with outcrowding at a time), until golden on both side. Drain on paper towels or old paper bads. Prepare your glaze or your sugar coating. To make your glaze, mix everything untill smooth in a shallow bowl. While the doughnuts are hot (but not hot enough to burn you), coat them in glaze or roll in sugar. You may need to make more sugar and/or glaze as you go, the thicker the better in my books either way let your glaze dry into the delightful crunchy sweet goodness we associate with doughtnuts. Oh, and by the way if don't you dare waste any glaze or sugar mixture, if you wind up with too much once the doughnut glaze/sugar has hardened or set pour/drizzle the rest over top of you pile.

*See my last doughnut post for info on baking doughnuts, it is possible and healthier but it will change the texture/taste. If you are kosher with that, then go to town.

Enjoy! and eat some veggies for gods sake.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Despite the lack of photos, I have been eating.


That mushroom I mentioned last post was finally put to use, and maybe even benefited from the extra marinade time. Lacking a BBQ I baked it in the oven for 25 (ish) minutes at 375, and it was just as juicy and tasty. The marinade was a take off of Joanna's (Yellow Rose Recipes), take off as in this is what I wanted to make but I'd forgotten to buy the ingredients so I wound up using rice wine, red wine vinegar, and presumably a few other things I can no longer recall. Very tasty.

To serve I sliced the mushroom over top of Tofu Basil Ravioli in a sweet marinara sauce with vegan soy cheese melted over top. The Ravioli was not home made, although I would recommend you make it yourself as although easy, tasty and filling. The soy boy version is too bland for my taste. The ravioli would be better filled with a vegan Ricotta recipe like the one in Vegan with a vengeance or even if the tofu had been marinated at all. But with a tasty sauce and mushroom pairing the blandness can be over come into something great for a working lunch.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Planning vs executing

As some of you may know I have been planning, promising, making and more or less rarely posting various dishes and creations. My issue is meal planning, heck menu planning. Even veganmofo for all the good it is doing in forcing me to think of what I will be making ahead of time, still has me dreaming up Vegan Iron Chef Entries, sometimes even making it to the store to purchase ingredients. But farm life always seems to swipe the execution stage right out from under me.

Tonight we venture to Green star (which is an apperently super awesome mega co-op), but do I need anything? Not really. My fridge is stocked with veggies who are venturing towards the dark side, more snacks than anyone should consume and the odds and ends to a thousand and one great veganmofo ideas.

For example, there is a large container of apple sider for making apple cider doughtnuts (but no yeast or flour yet), I have the makings of my planned pb pear stuffed french toast for the second iron chef challenge whose deadline has already past. There is a Portabello thats been marinating in there for at least 2 days. Corn from possibly way to long ago, to make into corn chowder to feed the house and we are going out to dinner tonight.

So readers, if any of you fabulous foodies have tips, ideas or suggestions on how to plan better or get your ass in gear post em, blog about em, leave them in the comments. Because something here has to give.

Another prime example is the Oyaki Post in progress. I've made them, I have the step by step photos on a hard drive in my room. Who knows when it'll get finished, hopefully some day soon (sorry john!).

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Veganmofo:Thanksgiving In Canada

This weekend, but seeing as I am in the states I celebrated by bringing a feast to a turkey named Troy. Which he loved and it was super fun and awesome. Although quieter, calmer and without all the tasty vegan eats this may just be one of the best thanksgivings I've had in a while.

I was planning to participate in this weeks Vegan Iron Chef, but due to our night out last night I didn't get any groceries. I will still be making PB Pear stuffed French Toast, but not until later this week.

Here is a Short and sadly poorly shot video of the days events. Feeding food animals instead of eating them is a tradition that should be widely practiced.

(apologies for farm apparel)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Sometimes things just don't go right

For example me and following recipes. Measuring and following a set path is something I always find myself drifting from. I don't sift. Measures are half assed at best, mostly guess work.

That being said, I love recipes and cookbooks. I read them like novels and my collection is always expanding. From cookbooks exploring the divine world of vegan gourmet, damn tasty food and the simple "students" cookbooks which contain more ideas than insight into the culinary world.

For example here is a dish from one such student cookbooks which sounds good in theory but needs a little something on flavour. Not sure what that will be yet, it was edible, maybe even ok, but it could be so much better.

Broccoli Soba with spicy peanut sauce, leaves a little to be desired. All the flavours are there but down played, I saved some sauce to fix up later and will post about the results. Fresh broccoli would improve this dish immediately. Up the ginger, the garlic and the peanuts because frankly it was a little bland.

The concept is good and this would be palatable for the masses, but I find myself craving more flavour. Perhaps the addition of hot sauce and roast nuts. The sauce needs to be richer, but when on a time restraint its a filling meal thats easy to make. Good hot or cold, I'll get back to you on my additions.

Friday, October 10, 2008

This may turn the vegan community against me, but I just have to say it

It has to be said.

I hate Garlic Presses. There, I said it. I know everyone loves them, and I've tried time and time again to get on the band wagon. Their easy, quick, efficient blah blah blah and more lies.

Don't get me wrong, I love kitchen gadget and tools,sure I may never need a mango slicer, oranger peeler or countless other fun tools. And maybe I've bought a few too many toys, used them once or twice and forgot about them. I am guilty. I love kitchen stuff. All stuff, especially tools and gadgets. But not, the garlic press.

Maybe I've only had bad presses in my life, but I find them tedious. They are hard to clean, with their little compartments and I always manage to get tiny garlic pieces into all kinds of odd places. Worst of all they don't even press all the garlic, you are always left with that icky, smushed, wad of what used to be garlic that just won't press through no matter how hard you pull. So after all the fussing with the stupid gadget the garlic juice squirting you in the eye and whatever else, you have to fish out these ends bits and chop em by hand or heaven forbid dispose of them.

Sure you can try and use it without peeling, which I guess could be appealing but really does anyone spend that much time peeling? One slice to remove the end, smack the clove with the blunt side of the knife and it pops right off. Same with mincing, a few quick slices and YOU ARE DONE. Easy clean up, use the whole clove, finished in a minute. Maybe I'm missing something, but chopping garlic is a breeze. Yeah, maybe your hands smell like garlic and it lingers for hours but hey, I like garlic that's why I am using it in the first place.

So everyone can fiddle with their presses and shun their cutting boards, but I think I'll skip the hassle and enjoy the scent of garlic on my hands and let some other poor soul figure out how to clean those darn things.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Veganmofo: A Word about food choices

I know this month is about food and the awesomeness of vegan cooking, baking and food in general. Maybe its a downer, but our food sends an important message. Whether we buy eggs/dairy/meat/etc can be the difference for thousands of animals yearly and the industry knows it. Dean foods owns a soy milk brand (which brings about a whole other set of issues), if there wasn't money to be made selling dairy alternatives do you think this dairy giant would take the resources from their veal and milk to promote, produce and sell a vegan beverage?

Each time we sit down to eat we are making choices. We choose what to eat, what not to eat, what message to send, who should get the bulk of the profit, if money should be spent on chemicals, on health care for workers or if the money should be spent hurting animals.

I have never felt a greater urge or need to promote a plant based diet, because as much good as vegetarianism, cutting back and everything else does, they need more. They need us to make the choice, because not everyone is going to be moved by compassion. In fact, most will be moved by profit.

I just got back from yet another stockyard visit, and I will spare you the gritty details but to have looked the newborn calves in their teary eyes and have to explain to them why they were there. Why their mothers were being moved, and why large men where sizing them up has really gotten me thinking about how important what we put on our plate is.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

VeganMofo: Iron Chef Challenge! (week one) *Rough Post, This will be fixed up*

Vegan Iron Chef Challenge, as suggested and put on by Katie so I'm doing my part here on the Farm.

As I am on my way to work, and may not make it back in time. This is just a quick informal post about my contribution to this weeks challenge.

I did one raw recipe and one cooked.

#1) Apple Ginger Tempeh Rubens

This was my first time crafting a Ruben and I have to say they turned out pretty well (photos will be sorted and added on my lunch hour, recipe included of course)

Basically saute onions (thinly sliced), with 2-3 inches of ginger and 3 cubed apples, cook until apples are soft and reduce in size. Throw mixture in oven (don't wash the pan) and fry your tempeh bacon (marinade based off vwav). To assemble toast rye bread, spread with eb on both sides, thin layer of veganaise, toffuties cheese slice, apples ginger mixture, strips on bacon, other toasted rye slice with veganaise. Cook and press in same frying pan.

#2) Raw apple orange salad with ginger lime dressing

This is pretty basic, but I have a raw housemate and wanted him to have something to eat too.

Peel and chop oranges (6 large ones), chop a dozen apples (I used Macintosh and gala mix), and 2-3 cups of raw sesame seeds. To make the dressing peel 2 inches of ginger and puree with a handful of sliced apple, zest and juice 6 limes and add 4 heaping tablespoons of raw agave. Mix and taste, if you want more of anything adjust to taste. Combine with fruit and let sit over night or one hour.

This salad also makes an amazing topping for Hawaiian burgers or French toast stuffing. (if chopped finely an interesting relish/salsa)

Friday, October 3, 2008

VeganMoFo: Kick ass greens (as promised)

Despite the blog title, I do love me some greens and when I'm not making Kittee's amazing Collards, I like to make something like this:

Kick Ass Greens
  • One Large bunch of Greens (I used Rainbow Chard)
  • 3 Large Garlic Gloves
  • Earth Balance or other Vegan Margarine
  • Raw Sunflower seeds
  • Liquid smoke (just a few drops)
To start wash greens and get ride of any super tough ends. Mince your garlic and melt a generous wedge of EB in your pan. Add garlic and saute until fragrant and tender. As garlic is cooking, slice greens into thin long strips (I like to keep my stems and just dice them finely, their good for you!!). Once Garlic is starting to brown, add in your Seeds and roast until golden. Shake off most of the water and add your greens in batches, allowing them to cook down before adding another handful. Keep stirring and as they cook add in a few drops of Liquid smoke until that hickory scent begins to fill the kitchen. Serve as a side dish, or add to pasta sauce for a healthy kick.

These are also great is diced finely and mixed with a vegan cream sauce over pasta.

VeganMofo: Cooking for Community

Food is key. People thrive on it, we need it to sustain ourselves, we use it for pleasure, comfort and most importantly food is social. We build our communities around food, celebrations and even nightly dinners. Food brings people together. Which is why I love cooking, and feeding others. It truely is one of the best things out there.

That being said living in a house full of vegans, the kitchen becomes the central focus. People gravitate to it, cooking and chatting surrounded by the heavenly scent of spices and vegetables. Some come to watch the process, others to anticipate its arrival and more still simply to be around the wonderful environment cooking creates.

Here is a meal I made the other night to feed the Vegan House Farm Crew, Joanna's Bechemel sauce and what I like to call kick ass greens (recipe tomorrow).

Monday, September 29, 2008

VeganMofo: Poor Gal's Soup

Here is a recipe for a soothing soup when your wallet is looking bare.

Poor Gal's Soup:
  • Tomatoes (fresh is best, but canned works or a combo of both)
  • Onion (for a milder soup, green onions are best but they are pricer)
  • Garlic (I like garlic so I use 3-4 cloves)
  • oil
  • Water
  • Seasoning: Optional but this is best with fresh thyme and a little S&P
    • Thyme*
    • Rosemary*
    • Oregano*
    • Pepper
    • Cayenne if you like the heat
    • Mix it up and use whatever you have on hand or like
*On a super budget, Italian seasoning will do and you can use granulated or powdered

This soup is great with just the bare minimal (water, tomatoes, flavorings), but some easy add ins include: Small quick cooking pasta, rice, beans or lentils, veggies like greens, zucchini, peppers and anything you like. This time I had some Quinoa (lucky me!) so I used that.

Heat your saucepan with a little bit of oil, chop your fresh garlic and onions add them to the oil and cooked until soft. If you like you can add your spices now to flavor the oil. Chop your tomatoes (or open your can). Add them as well, cook them for 3-4 minutes and then begin adding your water, it may look thin but as the tomatoes cook down you will begin to thicken the soup base into a surprisingly think and tasty broth.

Notes: if you are adding any extras like beans or veggies you can fry them with the tomatoes or simply add them after the water. Grains or pasta (uncooked) add them once the water is boiling.

This is a great light soup, easy for when you sick or studying, and filling when your fridge is bare.


Will soon be upon us, prepare for updates... maybe I'll even finish that Oyaki's entry.. it's saved in draft form now, really it is. Just mixing in photos/text on blogger is a pain.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Turning Japanese, I think I'm turning japanese. I really think so...

That's right it's Oyaki day!!!! For those of you who don't know Oyaki is a traditional Japanese pastry or bun stuffed with a savory filling. I had planned to make three different Oyakis today but ran out of time and dough; so the Greens filling was canned and only the sweet potato miso and mock beef soboro.

Step one
Employ minions.

Step 2: Employ a potato peeling minion

Normally I wouldn't bother peeling the potatoes however for Oyakis the potatoes will be used to make the dough so the consistency is important and the nutritious peels have to saved for later or composted.

Potato peeling is rigorous business,

so make sure you have a suitable supervisor to keep the process in line.

Fire Ball supervising the potato peeling process

I seem to have lost the rest of the photos and step for this process the search for the missing footage continues 2010

Doughtnut days

That's right, we made doughnuts and they were awesome. Recipe curtsy of Random Girl .
We double the recipe and added some extra Mace (worth the purchase it gave the dough a lovely sweet spice). Some where fried, other's baked (with a unfortunate accident for those on the lower rack >.<).inside shots!

We started with taking the warm baked donuts and dipping them first into melted earth balance and then into a bowl of cinnamon sugar with cinnamon. Very good, although messy our technique was not presented. We also took confectioners sugar with water as suggested for a nice white glaze which was very pretty. Doubling the dipping action for extra sweet crispy goodness. I also turned the eb/brown sugar bowl into a glaze of its own, cinnamon style. Here they are in various forms. Assembly line

Fired VS Baked Bowl for the nerds.

These ones were on the bottom rack.... oops.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Recovery is in sigh

Tonight is the first night my face is feeling somewhat back to normal. So in celebration Geoff and I decided to buy some Pizza and eat a meal for once. We grabbed an Amy's thin crust pizza, no Cheese, Vegan of course from the frozen section and brought it back here.

Now, Pre-Made Frozen pizza isn't bad enough. I decided I wanted to add some fake cheese to the mix so after oiling up the pizza stone and opening the package, I take a moment to tear up some Toffutie Slices and brush a little oil on them. Follow with a grind of fresh pepper and bake according to package directions. Near the end I took two minutes of broil time and once removed from the oven I added some ground basil.

I've got to say, Amy's Pizza with Caramelized onions is Brilliant. If you don't want to, can't or simply don't have time to make yourself a decent pizza this is one hell of a way to get there.

And as Pizza is never enough of a treat on its own, we also opted for some Vegan Ice Cream and the failed brownies I made a while back.

The brownies were a bit drier as they had been sitting out all this time, however due to my handicap (wisdom teeth extraction) I had mine chopped and mixed into the combo of Soy Decadence Cherry Nirvana and So Good Regular Chocolate scoops. Geoff opted for a classic piece of brownie with accompanying Ice cream scoops.