Food Plant

asparagus & tofu linguine in lemon tomato sauce with leeks & oregano
June 1, 2009, 12:29 am
Filed under: Uncategorized


450 grams linguine, cooked al dante
1 large bunch of asparagus, tough ends discarded, bite-sized
1 package “firmer” la soyarie tofu (or another brand’s extra firm) cut into small (1cm) cubes

-olive oil, black pepper and chicken-style broth powder, for baking the above at 400f until the asparagus is tender and lightly charred, and the tofu is chewy/starting to crisp.

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 leeks, middle sections only, halved lengthwise and sliced
3 ripe medium-sized tomatoes, diced
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 heaping tablespoon each of flour and nutritional yeast
a splash of water and white wine, or all water, or a light broth
juice of 1 large lemon

small handful of fresh oregano leaves, chopped
kosher salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

(recipe and photos at some point, when i’m back.)


a break
October 24, 2008, 5:50 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

i’ve been so busy. not that i assume anyone is waiting for my posts with bated breath, but FYI it’ll be a couple of months before i can regularly update again.

the good news? i promise to design a fetching and organized layout when i get the time, and document a wider variety of my meals (yes, i make a lot of things that aren’t dessert.) i’ll also be going to israel in january, and i’m excited to document the local food and cook with different ingredients.

i’ll leave you with a photo of the scarf i’ve been working on. who knew knitting was such a slow process? it’s already freezing and after weeks of work i’m only halfway done.

chocolate-pumpkin pudding cake
September 23, 2008, 6:57 am
Filed under: sweet | Tags: , , , ,

remember this?

the housemate and i love pudding cakes, the fruits of fall and spiced baked goods.  half of a large pumpkin can was still sitting in our fridge after last week’s pumpkin sticky buns, and i wanted to try the pumpkin-chocolate combination that i saw in many recipes last year. our standby pudding cake recipe comes from VWAV, but its chocolate-rum flavour and the weird food-science behind the pudding bottom made me hesitant to experiment.  off to the internet i went, to seek a preexisting chocolate-pumpkin pudding cake recipe.  i found none! it might just be google’s fault, but i think you should all be ashamed for not inventing one and sharing it already.

well, i went ahead and jammed my pureed pumpkin into the aforementioned recipe, making just a few changes to accommodate the pumpkin and ditch the rum.

it went thus:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (for wheat free, use equal amounts barley and oat flours.)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice mix (i improvised 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 nutmeg and a bit of ground ginger and allspice)
  • 1/2 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder, divided
  • 1 1/4 cup pureed pumpkin (a standard/small can will yield enough, or get a large one and use the other half to make a double batch of pumpkin cinnamon rolls)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
my trick for an improved top:
after ten minutes in the oven, take out the cake and evenly sprinkle:
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin spice mix
  • 1 or 2 Tablespoon large grain sugar (such as turbinado)
then continue to bake as usual.
    instructions (lifted from
  1. Boil some water in a teakettle, preheat oven to 350°F, and grease a 9-inch springform round cake pan (non-springform works at least as well.)
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pumpkin spice, 3/4 cup of the sugar, and 1/4 cup of the cocoa. Add the pumpkin, oil, and extract, and mix into a thick batter.
  3. Spread batter into cake pan. Sprinkle the top with the remaining cocoa and sugar.
  4. Pour the boiling water into a glass measuring cup, add the maple syrup to the water, and pour this mixture on top of the cake batter.
  5. Place cake on a cookie sheet in case of pudding overflow and bake for  35 minutes – Don’t forget the sugar and spice intermission after 10 minutes.
  6. Let cool just a bit; while the cake is still warm, place it on a large plate (your plate should have a slight edge to prevent spillage).
  7. Throw on a scoop of vanilla soy ice cream if you like, and you’ve got yourself one impressive dessert.

dduk bok-ki yummittee
September 13, 2008, 4:11 am
Filed under: main | Tags: ,

sorry for no proper recipe with photos, i just want to remember how i made this dish tonight because i didn’t use a recipe.

fiiirst, cook about half a package of flat oval dduk (the traditional shape for this would be cylinders, but i don’t like them as much) in salted water until they are flexible and can be pierced with a fork, but still too firm to eat.

after draining the rice cakes in a colander, wash and dry the pot they cooked in (it will be used again later.) heat a large cast iron or nonstick pan on medium heat and add a tablespoon of oil. fry the dduk in the pan on medium heat until both sides are dry and they soften a bit. add sliced onion (about half a medium onion) and continue to saute until it softens.

place the pot in place of the pan on the stove, and transfer the content of the pan into it.  add 3-4 tablespoons of fermented hot pepper paste mixed in about 2 cups of water to the pot. let it simmer on medium low heat.

in the meantime, prepare tvp by soaking it in very hot water with a splash of soy sauce, 1 tsp of toasted sesame oil and a shake of powdered garlic. i used those thin dark slices of tvp that look like asian-style steak, about a large handful when dry, and tried to break as many as i could in half (tvp chunks can be used instead.)  when they soften and become flexible, drain and add them to the pot.

at this point add: 3 thinly sliced cloves of garlic, 1 or 2 tsp toasted sesame oil, 1 T sugar, about 4 T braggs soy sauce (start with less and add more until it’s salty enough,) and splash of white wine (regular or rice.) keep simmering.

cut up enough  tasty greens for two (i had 2 baby bok choi and 2 big chard leaves.) wash them in the colander and leave them there until the rice cakes are soft to your liking. add the greens to the pot and more water if necessary – the sauce for this dish should be thinner than curry, but not so watery it’s like soup. chopped scallions can be added at this point, although i didn’t have any.

turn the heat off once the greens are sufficiently tender. serve hot in a bowl.

serves two, although i was starving and ate the entire pot.

September 11, 2008, 7:01 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

there is something that i don’t get about snickerdoodles.
it seems that almost all the top searched recipes call for small amounts of both cream of tartar and baking soda,
and wikipedia says that cream of tartar lends the snickerdoodles their distinctive taste.

now, all the vegan snickerdoodle recipes i’ve seen seem to call for baking powder in place of the cream of tartar and baking soda.
if you look it up, you’ll find that baking powder is made up of cream of tartar and baking soda in approx. the same ratios as non-vegan cookie recipes call for.

i’m assuming there are a few additions to modern baking powders, ones that perhaps affect their taste, but is it really so much of a difference to necessitate calling for the fairly elusive cream of tartar? is it merely a matter of tradition?

i’m wondering because i made a tiny batch of vegan snickerdoodles just now, and they were rather heavenly but i do wonder if they tasted  like the traditional cookie. they didn’t seem to crackle on top as much as ones i’ve seen in photos, and although they expanded they didn’t considerably flatten. the outter part was crisp and spicy from the cinnamon sugar, and the inside was soft and buttery-tasting, maybe a little bit acidic? i’d describe the entire experience as fresh, christmasy, and a little too rich for this time of the night. let me know if this sounds about right!

p.s. these are the ones i tried, if it helps.

smoky baba ghanouj
August 24, 2008, 6:47 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

bear with me; i have several recipes to share and zero motivation to write.  i know i should though, or else i’m more than likely to forget how i made these things and tragedy will be upon us.

i’ll start with the eggplant goodness – which funny enough, i’ve never made before and haven’t had a bite of since childhood. i used to be a big fan of baba ghanouj as kid (known as “eggplant salad” where i come from. don’t ask me why we refer to dips as salads, but we do it to tahini sauce and a few others as well.) much like in the case of avocado, i decided one day that the concept was gross and never looked back. that is, until lovely dark eggplants started growing in our community garden plot, and a sizable one arrived in our CSA share.  i wanted to turn them into a dip that peter’s mom made for us when i visited their house in niagara this summer. she called it baba ghanouj, but it contained fresh minced onion and no garlic, which tastes different enough to count it as its own thing.

as it turned out, i didn’t have any onions but i did have all the ingredients for a more traditional recipe.  i took an hour to compare various recipes and online discussions, and came up with a variation that we were both incredibly pleased with. keep in mind that i actually made a very small batch, using two medium-small eggplants and half of the other ingredients that i will list here. taste as you go and adjust the amounts to your liking!

this makes a creamy eggplant dip that’s thick enough to eat as a spread.

2 large eggplants (the purple/black kind. choose firm ones with non-wrinkly skin.)
1 lemon, juiced
1 large clove garlic (or 2 small,) grated finely or pressed
1/4 to 1/2 cup tahini. i use the larger amount, but if your tahini is the bitter, thick and grainy sort, use less and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
1/4 tsp. hot smoked paprika (you can use different paprika, but the subtle smoky enhancement does wonders.)
salt to taste

heat the oven to 400F.

cut the stems off of the eggplants and pierce them all around with a fork.
roast them whole, directly on the rack (or with a sheet of foil underneath) for 45 minutes to an hour, until they look collapsed and the skin is wrinkly and charred.

slit the eggplants along their length to open them up. if the insides contain lots of juices, drain the eggplants in a colander skin-side up.

using a fork, scrape the insides of the eggplants into the bowl of a food processor (feel free to discard some of the dark seed clusters – these, along with the watery juices, are the eggplant’s more bitter parts.) add the lemon juice and pulse. add the tahini, pressed garlic, paprika and a bit of salt and process until smooth. taste and adjust flavours if necessary (it’s always better to start with less and work your way up with this recipe.)

serve at room temperature in a bowl, drizzled with olive oil and more paprika.

photos do no justice to the deliciousness of this baba ghanouj on fresh crusty bread, even if pita may be the more obvious choice.

August 20, 2008, 5:44 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , ,

let’s all politely ignore my continual neglect of this blog.


so i haven’t stopped making food, i just never got around to writing down my adventures. i had the best intentions and planned entries about, amongst other things, a white lasagna with homemade fresh pasta (which turned out more work than it was worth, but i’ll revisit the idea when i have more time) and a completely improvised, walnut scented apple-raspberry cake, pictured here:

i also baked a couple of birthday cakes, leading to the realization that i could really benefit from a cake decorating course.

this one, pictured in our packed and messy fridge, was made for anna’s 20th birthday. it’s made up of two layers of lemony french cake with a centre of strawberry filling and bryanna clark grogan’s lemon curd. the icing is of the strawberry cream cheese kind, made with tofutti cheese and torani strawberry syrup. white chocolate chips, melted into a disk to create shavings, saved the little decorating disaster that occurred when the filling started oozing from between the cake layers.

meanwhile, kay insisted on carrot cake for her birthday. i used a winning recipe from vegweb that i modified a bit, mostly to reduce the sugar to allow for headache-free seconds. the frosting was a lemony cream cheese this time, and the “toddler drawn” style carrots were formed by mixing icing sugar with a few drops of soymilk and colouring paste to the consistency of very sticky playdough. it tasted soooo good, especially the next day.

i was going to add two recipes at the bottom of this post, but i can barely keep my eyes open! new posts tomorrow, if you can even trust my word at this point.