Food Plant

filler fun
November 28, 2007, 9:48 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

since i clearly have so much time on my hands towards the end of the semester, i’m jumping on the survey filling bandwagon that’s been rolling around.
1. Favourite non-dairy milk?

for versatility i get so nice original, but my favourite to drink is vanilla almond breeze. i don’t count pure-deliciousness drinkables such as chocolate flavoured milks or bolthouse farms’ vanilla chai.

2. What are the top 3 dishes/recipes you are planning to cook?
these are just the ones that i remember right now: pumpkin cheesecake from the joy of vegan baking, bryanna’s malay yuba and daikon curry, fellows’ coffee kisses from let’s get baked.

3. Topping of choice for popcorn?

styrofoam by any other name would be nasty and inedible just the same.
4. Most disastrous recipe/meal failure?

i don’t know if i’ve ever experienced a major disaster. last year i used too much “flax egg” and not enough sugar in a cookie, so it was edible at best. once when i just turned vegan i tried to bake vanilla cake with strawberries in the batter and the inside refused to bake (too much moisture, now i know.) ohh and the first ice cream i made was coffee ice cream, and i added espresso powder directly to the custard instead of brewing and using the liquid. grittiness ensued.

5. Favourite pickled item?

i don’t really care which vegetable is pickled so long as it’s pickled in brine and not vinegar.
6. How do you organize your recipes?

n/a. some are bookmarked, some are saved as txt, doc or html files, the ones on paper are either loose and lost somewhere or in the cookbook pile. i tend to memorize any recipe that gets made more than once, though.

7. Compost, trash, or garbage disposal?

i save some of the scraps for my friend’s compost, but too much ends in the trash.
8. If you were stranded on an island and could only bring 3 foods…what would they be (don’t worry about how you’ll cook them)?

quinoa, nutritional yeast and sweet potatoes. i tried to think practically, they’re long lasting and nutritious.

9. Fondest food memory from your childhood?

picking mulberries and malva on our street.

10. Favourite vegan ice cream?

soy delicious chunky mint madness is pretty fantastic. or any homemade flavour, mostly strawberry cheesecake.

11. Most loved kitchen appliance?

my roomate’s 5 speed braun blender. it’s malfunctioning these days and it makes me so sad.

12. Spice/herb you would die without?

i will cheat and say pepper, to include both peppercorns and chili flakes.

13. Cookbook you have owned for the longest time?

a tie between how it all vegan and japanese cooking – contemporary and traditional

14. Favourite flavor of jam/jelly?

strawberry rhubarb.

15. Favourite vegan recipe to serve to an omni friend?

home made ice cream and fancy cakes. people somehow think of those things as the hardest to veganize.

16. Seitan, tofu, or tempeh?

like everyone else said, tofu wins for versatility.

17. Favorite meal to cook (or time of day to cook)?

i like cooking in the afternoon/evening, but earlier in the day means better, natural light photos of the freshly made food.

18. What is sitting on top of your refrigerator?

canned mango pulp, dried yuba, tvp slices, hulled hemp seeds, dry gin, an immersion whip/blender.

19. Name 3 items in your freezer without looking.

wild blueberries, korean brand of vegetable dumplings, chopped lemongrass.
20. What’s on your grocery list?

we have much more than we need at the moment.
21. Favourite grocery store?

tara’s natural foods wins just because it’s a 5 minute walk and they carry specifically vegan and bulk things. i would like them even more if they weren’t so expensive and offered more produce. honorable mentions are produce town and loblaws.

22. Name a recipe you’d love to veganize, but haven’t yet.

chocolate-praline cake in a jar

23. Food blog you read the most. Or maybe the top 3?

i get feeds for vegan yum yum, vegan feast kitchen and kay’s food journal, and commonly check my friends’ blogs, here, here and here.

24. Favourite vegan candy/chocolate?

green and black’s maya gold is good.

25. Most extravagant food item purchased lately?

nothing too recent. probably some fair trade chocolate thing.


sweet soy sauce noodles
November 20, 2007, 5:01 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

it all startd with a recipe titled Tahu Goreng, which i assume stands for fried tofu. it was featured in bryanna clark grogan’s excellent newsletter, and consisted of fried tofu, edamame beans and onions in indonesian sweet soy sauce over rice. i tried it just slightly modified at first, with peas instead of edamame and noodles for rice, as seen here:

first variation, still using the original sauce, with thin fried tofu and peas

noodles, first round

it was my first time using kecap manis, the thick indonesian sweet soy sauce, and i was instantly a fan. i liked the original sauce used in the recipe but wanted to add a bit more of a kick. i was also too lazy to separately fry the tofu, and so the vegeful tempeh noodle dish was born.

do not feel obligated to stick with the particular vegetables, tempeh or noodles i used, but keep in mind that you may have to adjust your methods and cooking times. if you can’t find kecap manis or worry about the possible use of bone char filtering in the bottled stuff, there are several recipes available online, and in a pinch i’m sure that a 1:1 mixture of fancy molasses and dark soy sauce would do the trick.

you will need a large pan or wok as well as a medium sauce pot (if you plan to use a vegetable that needs blanching, start by boiling some water in the pot . otherwise you can wait, since it’ll only be used for the noodles.)


  • oil, such as peanut
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cup chopped onion (it’s about 1 large onion)
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or chopped
  • 1 package ready to eat tempeh (i use “indonesian flavour”. if your tempeh requires steaming, do that first.)
  • large handful almonds, slivered or sliced, or cashew pieces.
  • 1 large orange pepper, in strips (carrot rings may be subbed)
  • 1/2 large head of broccoli, or 1 small/medium
  • sauce, recipe below
  • 200 gram brown rice or wheat noodles (about 4 servings)
  • 2 thinly sliced spring onions, or 2 sliced, fried-til-crispy shallots (optional, for garnish)

sweet soy sauce sauce…

  • 1/3 cup kecap manis
  • 1/4 cup braggs (or low sodium soy sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons concentrated tomato paste
  • 1.5 teaspoon asian hot sauce, such as sriracha, chili garlic sauce, or any hot sauce made in indonesia
  • 2-3 tablespoons water (this is optional, and added later to the pan itself in case the sauce disappears on you.)

begin by heating the oil at medium-low heat and add the onions. saute them, stirring occasionally until they get soft. reduce the heat to low, add the garlic and continue to cook for a couple of minutes. (if you’re planning to boil some vegetables, the water in the pot should be just about boiling at this point.)

add the sliced tempeh and almonds to the pan and increase the heat to medium-high. stir-fry for a minute or two, then reduce the heat to low/medium-low again. at this point you can take the time to blend the sauce ingredients together (just make sure nothing in the pan is burning.)

the broccoli should go in the boiling water, if it hadn’t already. it’ll receive additional cooking in the pan, so should still be quite firm when drained from the water. as soon as the pot is emptied (into a colander, say,) refill it with water and return to the heat.

add the bell peppers to the pan and stir frequently. you want the peppers lightly charred and softened, but the onions shouldn’t go black in the process. fine balance! add the sauce, it’ll be pleasantly noisy. reduce the heat to minimum if the sauce appears to be evaporating quickly.

add the broccoli (or quick cooking vegetables, such as frozen peas or julienned carrots) to the pan and mix it with the sauce and other ingredients.

cook the noodles to al dante; this may take a minute for vermicelli or about 5 for thicker ones. drain and add them to the pan, tossing well with the rest of the ingredients (without splashing all over the stove top.)

if the sauce is still very thin, increase the heat and stir fry until it reduces and slightly thickens. if the sauce appears to be gone, add the 2-3 tablespoons of water, turn the heat off and stir.

check for salt and spiciness, adjust if necessay and stir once more.

when serving, top with chopped spring onions or fried shallots. the leftovers are great cold as well.

second shot: adapted sauce, brown rice vermicelli, broccoli and orange pepper, tempeh and forgotten almonds

here’s a bonus: an already vegan recipe i found on a site that sells kecap manis. it links to yet another vegan recipe, for “festive yellow rice.” yum!

chow mein noodles again, sliced almonds, adapted sauce and red pepper (i prefer the orange kind in this but they were old.)

nothing of importance
November 1, 2007, 1:17 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

let it be known that i had fine plans for the tray of thai eggplants i bought at the asian grocery. at first I was planning on quick (canned paste based) massaman curry, eggplant-potato-whichever protein sort of fair. then i found the highly tempting recipe featured here
and decided to fancy things up by stuffing the eggplants with the aforementioned potato, seitan, peanuts and a thickened massaman sauce… unfortunately these outwardly great looking eggplants all turned out to be the “black seed innards” sort, and a short steaming for the sake of curiousity revealed that they were indeed very bitter. it’s not usually a good sign when i’m craving vegetables and that chinese broccoli in the fridge looks mighty good. methinks a random approximation of lolo’s pad see ew would make a good meal once i catch up on sleep.