Wednesday, 30 April 2008

beltaine eve

Yup. Tomorrow at sunrise M and I are going to scale Arthur's Seat. Tonight, I thought I'd celebrate the last day of not-spring with this. Tempeh marinated and simmered in lapsang suchong tea, with pepper, salt and sugar added at the end. Spinach, garlic and shiitake mushrooms. Celeriac cutlets (celeriac in rice flour, gomasio, lemon zest, baked) and asparagus, cooked briefly in the tea/maranade. Winter meets spring. I think I will make the tempeh the same way next time, but just sit it on plain rice. It will be simple and perfect.
springtime music: prince by whatever name.

Sunday, 27 April 2008

kimchi and more wild garlic

I found vegan kimchi! And when I walked past a veg store, there were little flowering bok choy. And then we found a whole field of wild garlic and onions on our bike ride today. So I give you pure happiness in a bowl: rice and barley. Two kinds of mushrooms and tempeh simmered in soy sauce, sake and mirin and then getting friendly with the wild garlic and onions and some ginger. Carrots, spuds and flowery bok choy in spicy korean bean paste. Kimchi.

Singing along with the soundtrack from Cabaret, and maybe doing the cancan.

Thursday, 24 April 2008


Fast soup: onions, garlic, carrot, sprouted chickpeas, roasted and ground up cumin, ras el hanout, splash o white wine, tomato, water, salt, stale-ish bread, lemon, random giant greens. Topped with leftover bourdin/boudin. I rather liked bourdin/boudin this way. Really, this took me 15 minutes, it was the yum, and it tasted far fancier than a mere 15 minutes. It tasted like at least 17 minutes, possibly more.

Feeling the need for speed: Kung Fu Hustle, dancing along with the axe gang.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008


Ahem. In order to compensate for the last round of photos, taken with a real camera with actual daylight, I give you my worst-yet spycam photo, starring recovering-from-a-week-of-culinary-madness soup. M brought me some enoki (yay!) and then I remembered I had daikon (yay!) and red radishes (yay!). While rescuing the daikon from the back of the fridge, I found a zucchini snuggled up against it. They looked so happy together it seemed a shame to separate them. Soup (daikon, the smallest onion ever, normal-size shitake mushrooms, a bit of leftover red rice, dashi, white wine, mirin, soy sauce, ginger, zucchini, enoki). It is exceedingly rare that the odds and ends in the fridge on veg-box eve go together so well. Salad in a teacup (wakame and red radishes with lemon, miso, maple syrup and a bit of white vinegar).

Also, Hezbollah Tofu has not yet posted my yummy yet disturbing boudin. Harumph.

enoki music: serge gainsbourg

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Bloody Bourdain.

Darling came all the way across the Atlantic to visit, and this is how we spent our Wednesday afternoon. There are also zombie comics. Aren't we romantic?

The Vegan's Dilemma.

Veganism, when you think about it, is a cold and heartless way to eat. We never get to know our food. We don't cuddle it, we rarely name it (except for the pervertables). We are wholly unconcerned with whether or not our food had the theoretical possibility to roam free in the fields, or whether it was confined to a growth crate. It's true. Our basil plants survive with barely 25 square cm per plant. They can't even turn around or feed their young, and we amputate the flowers without anasthetic. Sigh. So we decided that if we were really going to respect the sacrifice that these vegetable were making for us, and honour the spirit of the plants, we would produce and eat our own organic, free range, happy veggies. In the form of blood pudding.

The most important participant in vegan blood pudding is vegan blood. Since we need ours, we decided that the most environmentally sound and ethical way to go about this was to look to the "responsible" carnivores and embrace the concept of root-to-shoot cooking. Oh yes, we decided to use the whole carrot. We have have a photo of our carrot. We also have a photo of Anthony Bourdain. We named our carrot Anthony.

To find other ingredients to cook with Anthony, darling visited several grocery stores to make sure that the vegetables had enough room to behave naturally and fulfill their little veggie desires. We can't post photos of this with our current PG rating. We were satisfied that the vegetable habitats were humane. They were probably certified by some sort of organization supported by PETA and Prince Charles. We are confident that the welfare of these vegetables was not in any way compromised in order to make a buck. Or a pound. Or to make us feel better. Nope. These are happy veg. Many of them were delivered to my flat in an organic vegetable box, which supports local farmers. Especially the Scottish banana farmers. This also minimizes the stress that the vegetables experience on the way to my cutting board, where they are first stunned by captive bolt or cleaver, and then rapidly and painlessly decapitated. Not is this better for the plants, but it makes them taste better. Kind of like vegans. We assume that this was the kind of cuddly and pleasant sacrifice that Anthony made when he came to the end of his carroty life.

....okay. This is exhausting. All this happy meat foodie talk is going make me lose my appetite. How do people write such drivel? The short version is that Anthony was bled dry and the carrot juice used as the base for vegan boudin. I call it "Bloody Bourdain!" You can use the this to a) describe the dish and b) mock a certain chef who has a certain menu where a lesser version of this appears. We made this for Hezbollah Tofu, which rocks. Also, we used a real camera to take photos, instead of my computer. I apologize. It won't happen again.

I am actually kinda sorta Acadian. I've experienced actual boudin, or at least seen people eat it, and smelled it. And seen it made. A face-off with a plate of the stuff is what made me vegetarian. And I have to say that this stuff looked and smelled disturbingly close. If you want it to be closer, add a cup or so of iron filings at the end. Other than that, if you want to be all les Halles "oh la la! I am eating zee fancy frenchy food" about it, serve it with apples and onions and a green bean and use your best french accent. Wear stripes, a beret, and handlebar moustache. If you want to be Acadian about it, serve it with apples and onions and mashed potatoes and about a cup of maple syrup. We, being all zen, took the middle road and just added everything. I did wear a tie.

a serenade for Anthony:

Bloody Bourdain!
(makes 12 sausages)
Look! A real RECIPE! Don't get used to it.

soak 3/4c fine pearl tapioca (NOT INSTANT) in 1c water. just let it sit there. walk away.

1L black carrot juice (available at middle eastern or turkish grocery stores)
3/4c black sticky rice
3/4c raw cashews
1/3 tsp each of nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, ginger
1tbs ground black pepper

Combine and boil until rice is done and liquid is reduced. It will look like purple boiling lava

soften 1c chopped onion in 2 tbs margarine

combine onions, lava , 1 block smoked tofu and blend, blend blend!

return lava to pot (and the pot to the stove. you might also want to turn the stove on) and add:
tapioca and its water.
2tbs molasses
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1tbs dark miso
2tbs chopped parsley

Stir everything and heat until most of the liquid is gone and the concoction begins to pull away from the sides of the pot when you stir it.

Place in fridge to cool. Once cooled, form into sausages, cool again. Fry in margarine.

Serve with caramelized onions and apples. Approx 6 small onions, sliced thin and caramelized and 6 sliced apples, added to the onions at the end, cooked until they begin to fall apart and rescued just before they become mush. This makes enough for 4 as a french-canadian size side dish, cuz you don't usually have anything else with it, and we eat alot. We served this with the aforementioned apples and onions, plus garlicy mashed spuds plus green beans and dijon/maple syrup dressing (because green beans make everything seem much more french and bistro) and a green salad with balsamic/chocolate dressing. And wine. Yum.

As far as I can tell, it's a little firmer than congealed blood boudin, but we also read that Bourdain's boudain is a little too firm. So we did it on purpose. Uh, yeah. Spanky says our boudin is better than congealed blood. Nyah.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

secret pizza

Potato crust pizza and new hoodie! I didn't eat the hoodie, but it did make me feel like a kitchen ninja because it is black and secret. I also have an apron. If you're very very good, I'll model it when I make something that goes with apron. Pizza crust (leftover mashed spuds, salt, wholewheat flour, rosemary, baking powder, water). I prebaked the crust, and while that was going on, I blanched some spinach and rocket and sliced up a pear. On the pizza: brie-like stuff loosely based on The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook (I used the seasonings, but used okara as the base), walnuts, spinach and augula, pear. Bake again to make everything warm. Oh yeah. The yum. I like the potato crust. I will do it again, probably often, perhaps requiring some sort of intervention in the future. I ate this with carrot sticks, and drank red wine out of a tumbler because the whole arugula/pear/brie combo was just a *little* too classy for me. I may or may not have used the carrot sticks to make vegan vampire fangs on myself during this picture. You'll never know.
pizza poetry: luna allison.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

pretty little things

Oh. My. Gawd. I was in the veg store ogling and fondling the vinegars, as I sometimes do, when I happened upon saffron vinegar. The vegetable dude is used to my little dances in his store, but I think the squeals of joy might have been a new thing. Then, I saw some adorable little kumkwats. "Hello", they said. "Come to me, my pretties", I answered. The veg dude laughed, I laughed, and then on the way home, I picked up some fresh rice noodles, because I had a devious plan. Now, should you choose to copy my devious plan, I should warn you that I looooove vinegary things. This is not a mild dish. So, you've been warned.
Rice noodles with carrot ribbons (made with a peeler) and chopped up bitter greens, all blanched together. Topped with broccoli and kumkwats simmered in saffron vinegar (not diluted with water or sweetened) and then topped with roasty toasty freshly crushed cumin and walnuts and a sprinkling of saffron threads. If you don't have my wonderful veg shop nearby, you could just use white wine vinegar and then add saffron at the end. Perhaps the tiniest itsy bitsy-est dash of mixed chili (nanami togarashi, which is chilli peppers, orange peel, sesame, seaweed and ginger. But I hardly added any, because I didn't want to overwhelm the saffron) and a tiny bit of salt. Full stop. Full yum. If you felt the need to somehow "balance out" the vinegar, you could add a little bit of pomegranite syrup, or some raisins, or some maple syrup. But I will point and laugh and call you a wuss. Actually, this would be really nice on potatoes (maybe baked potatoes), but I wanted something that would be completely and utterly unable to reduce the vinegar-saffrony goodness here.

dancing to: my own evil laughter.

Saturday, 5 April 2008


I got my veg box this week, and immediately got excited. There was a bag of mixed bitter greens, a huge daikon, and perfect carrots (and 5 avocados, but they're still ripening). The vegetables were so perfect, it would have been silly to do too much to them. And I've been having quite a few fancy dinners lately, so I was ready for a night of rice and vegetables. It was cold today, and I went running. Then I had a shower with this fabulous luxurious almond stuff that a friend sent me. It's one of those lovely nights in where everything is cozy and quiet. Here we have rice, seaweed and carrot salad (wakame, carrot, vinegar, soy sauce, agave) daikon in miso sauce (daikon simmered in the seaweed water then tossed with miso and white wine) and steamed mixed greens topped with soy sauce, crushed sesame seeds, vinegar and a few drops of sesame oil.

slow dancing to: marlene dietrich.

Thursday, 3 April 2008


Just. Yum. Miso soup: roasted eggplant, leek, konnyaku noodles, multicoloured seaweed, soy sauce, miso, fresh grated ginger. Sometimes the key is knowing when not to make things more complicated.
A short rant: Compassion. I've heard many people use the word compassion lately, often about food, almost invariably about the choice to consume animals. The definition of compassion seems to boil down to recognizing the suffering of another and then wanting to do something to stop it. So the practice of compassion is kindness or mercy motivated by a desire that somebody else not suffer. One can extend this to include voluntarily not using power when using it causes somebody else to suffer. So, compassion can describe a particular motivation for not hurting others. I don't think it is particularly compassionate to refrain from clocking people on the street even though you may have the physical power to do so, as there are social (and legal) deterrents in place that would make you pay a cost for using that power. You don't need any sort of personal (sympathetic) motivation to hold back: society has provided one for you. However, there is no cost to using our power to kill animals or cause them to suffer. It is perfectly legal to cause them a great deal of suffering, and even to kill them. We have societal support (and encouragement) for causing this suffering. However, it seems to me that when people claim that it is possible to consume animals and be compassionate towards them at the same time, they bloody well need to consult a dictionary, and look up two words: compassionate and consistent.
This rant was fueled by miso, and brought to you by the letter C.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

spring has sprung

There are most definitely leaf buds on the trees out there. Daylight savings time has arrived, and just as importantly, so has the wild garlic. Pesto pressie for M: Wild garlic, white beans, miso paste, lemon, salt, cashews. Easy, vampire-resistant, and spring-like. I could dress it up and add more stuff, but why fuck with perfection?
This pesto did, however, get me thinking about veganizing familiar foods. In this case, adding miso and white beans to make the pesto creamy and give it that cheese-ish taste. I guess the other option would just be tons of nuts and oil, but that's really oily, and as Spanky will confirm (and occasionally bemoan) that I'm not the biggest fan of oily food. Not that anyone would be fooled into thinking that there was animal cheese in my pesto (thank goodness!), but it does have that sharp/salty/fermenty category of taste going on. And this is the point where a rude omnivore would say "it doesn't taste right". Really? I think it tastes exactly right. And by "right" I mean "yummy". If I were as rude as the kind of person who would say that while sitting at somebody else's dinner table I'd reply "oh, you mean it doesn't taste like death?" Ahem. Perhaps sadly, I am not quite that rude. After consulting Ms. Manners, I've decided that instead of provoking the dreaded "defensive omnivore" conversation, those people just aren't getting any more foodish presents.
Food is a bit of a touchy subject with a lot of people. It's full of memories and associations and expectations. You might associate homemade pesto with your mom. I associate homemade wild garlic pesto with the Munich Viktualienmarkt and with a few Sunday hikes with some friends around Cologne, gathering as much wild garlic as we could stuff into our backpacks. It reminds me of buying the stuff by the shopping bagful at the Jean-Talon market in Montreal, washing it in the bathtub, and making batch after batch of pesto to give to friends when I was a student and this was a great (and super cheap) gift. What I'm getting at here is that I have memories of this stuff, and I want the taste of it to bring them back and keep them sharp. And it doesn't taste the same as a non-vegan version. But that doesn't mean that vegan food doesn't taste "right" or that the new version is a failed imitation of an old version. If I had (or if we had, as a society) lifetimes of memories associated with vegan food, and social occasions built around vegan meals, then no one would claim that it "didn't taste right". It would taste just like they remembered it. I've had enough vegan springs, holidays and birthday cakes now that the vegan versions ARE how I remember it: yummy.