holiday meal!

Happy holidays to people who celebrate them this time of year!

I have been working on a wedding food post for a long time, and I prooooomise I'll do it before the end of the month, but at today's awesome Christmas dinner at my mother-in-law's (hi Tanis!), I promised a couple people I'd post links to the sweets I made to go with our meal. So Miki and Sarge, this is for you!

A big surprise hit today was the sugared cranberries. I used this recipe at 101 Cookbooks. It's very simple, though it requires a lot of sitting time.
Tart cranberries get a sparkly sugar coating. I had never heard of this before, but apparently this recipe is a holiday tradition for some people... I might make it one of mine now. They goes well with crackers and cheese/dip/pate for appetizers as well as a side during the main meal, and are a good compliment to dessert. So basically you can eat them at any time. Plus they look so pretty and wintery!

Unfortunately, as delicious as the dessert I made was, it wasn't very photogenic. It's Martha Stewart's Frozen Chocolate Peanut Butter and Banana Loaf.
Very rich, and verrrrry delicious. Texture-wise, it's along the lines of a frozen mousse. I replaced the whipped cream in the recipe with the cashew-and-coconut-based Rad Whip from the PPK, and it worked out great.

There were other awesome vegan elements to the meal, but for the sake of this entry not taking me forever, I'll just leave you with some pictures. (Thanks to the husband for taking them, since I was busy talking. As usual.)

My carrot salad (so much tastier than the lighting in the picture suggests!):

The husband's white bean, carrot, and caramelized onion puree:

My mother-in-law's excellent mustardy shallots and green beans:

My sister-in-law's raw beet and parsley pesto terrine (with her apple-cranberry sauce, which went with sweet potato latkes, of which we didn't get a picture)...
...and her appetizer: nut pate.
I'm still full.

ALSO, before I'm done bragging about my great meal, I also want to brag about the awesome gifts my husband and in-laws got me:


Portrait of a Lady: European Potatoes

I love food and I love to read. As a result, each month, I combine these two interests in a post about food from literature. I mostly stick with books from classic literature, so you're likely to know the storylines anyway, but just in case you don't: warning: there may be spoilers ahead.


People who read Henry James tend to have really dramatic opinions of him: he's either an amazing, complex writer, or he's the most boring author in the English language. I will let you all know right now that I come firmly down in the "Henry James is a genius" camp. I've read almost all of his works, and both my entrance essay and my writing sample for my master's program mentioned Henry James. 19th century realism is serious business for me.

BUT, for all the James I've read, I have always been a little embarrassed to admit I had not yet read Portrait of a Lady, one of his most well-known works. I decided to remedy that problem this fall.
The theme sounds ridiculous today, but the vast, vast majority of Henry James's fiction deals with a sophisticated Europe corrupting naive, pure Americans. An American who spent the majority of his life in England, James saw America, the New World, as having a fresh start, full of enterprising and moral people. They tend to be honest, sincere, a little awkward, and not in the least bit cunning. Europe is the exact opposite. James's European characters never say what they mean; they go through the forms of courtesy and morality but only to mask their real motives and intrigues. Inevitably, the corrupt, decaying Old World has a tragic, if not fatal, effect on the ingenue New World. They don't always do it on purpose, but James's Europeans, if not Europe itself, are downfall of his American characters.

Remember that James was writing at the end of the 19th century. The United States were still following Washington's precedent of isolationism. The Monroe Doctrine nicely kept Europe away from the Americas. We were removed enough to have our own culture, and access to culture was one based not on old, prejudicial class systems but on hard work and good decisions. James loved the idea of America, and was disappointed whenever Americans looked to Europe as an example of refinement or just of something better.

ANYWAY, Portrait of a Lady deals with these issues, but not in a dry history-lesson way like I did above. A young American woman, Isabel Archer, comes to England to meet her extended family, and while there comes into a lot of money. (Which, for James, is also a corrupting force.) Suitors are suddenly everywhere! Isabel is too innocent and pure to be protective or suspicious of herself or her money, and a few cunning, greedy people conspire to trick her out of her money, and out of her chance of a happy life, basically. There are good people, of course, who try to help her. IT'S SO GOOD AND INTENSE AND AWESOME. There's also a giant SECRET that you spend a good half of the book trying to figure out and then THINKING you have it figured out but no, that can't happen in this book, right? IT DOES. So yeah, I recommend this book, even though it's tragic. I've read reviews of it that found its ending ambiguous; let me know if you've read it, because I didn't think it was ambiguous at all and I'd be curious to hear that perspective.

So, onto the food! The best part. Okay, so James does offer a little proof that it's capable for Americans to interact with Europe without being corrupted. That proof is named Henrietta Stackpole. Henrietta is a journalist who ventures to Europe to 1.) write letters back to her paper about her impressions of Europe and 2.) try to meet European nobles. She has no interest in assimilating; she is American, and very much wants to maintain her American perspective. She does not put Europe on a pedestal like so many of James's more doomed Americans; she really believes America does everything better. She is a bit of a comic character (and has the most adorable courtship in all of James's works, in my opinion!), but she is also James's most viable option for intercultural communication without a tragic outcome.

When Henrietta first visits Isabel in England, she sits down to eat with Isabel and her relatives and starts quizzing the family about their connections to the House of Lords right away. She's not starstruck--she wants to discuss British politics. In part to shut her up, Lord Warburton (swoon!) says "Won't you have a potato?"

"I don't care much for these European potatoes," Henrietta says firmly.

Obsessed with food as I am, I had to know how European potatoes were prepared that Henrietta Stackpole's American tastes were against them, so I did a little research. While mashed (or sommmmetimes baked) potatoes were the rule in American kitchens in the 19th century, they were more likely to be served roasted at a wealthier English home. Obviously, they were talking about real (not sweet) potatoes, but since I can't eat potatoes, you're getting the sweet potato version.

European Potatoes
Only white (Japanese) sweet potatoes will work for this; the orange ones get too soft. Obviously you can also use (real) potatoes, but your cooking time might be 10-20 minutes longer. You can use any oil, but I stroooongly recommend olive since it's so tasty.

White Sweet Potatoes (Japanese Yams) - one small-to-medium potato per person
Oil (any kind works, but I prefer olive. At least 1/4 cup, but the more you use, the crispier they'll get)

Preheat your oven to 425. Fill a pot with water and set it on the stove on high. Chop potatoes into large chunks; I'd say at least 2 inches. You can peel them if you want, but I like the skins. Put the chunks into the water as soon as you chop, since white sweet potatoes start to brown when the flesh is exposed to air. Bring to a boil, and allow to boil for at least ten minutes, until you can poke the potatoes with a fork. (It doesn't have to go all the way through, though--as long as the edges are tender.)
Here comes the weird-sounding part. Pour all the water out of the potato pan, then put a cover on it... AND SHAKE IT LIKE CRAZY. The idea is to bang up all the edges of the potatoes, so they get crispy.
They'll look like this when you're done.

Now take out a deep baking pan large enough to fit all the potatoes in a single layer. I've used a roasting pan and my glass baking pans, and both were fine. Pour the oil into the pan. Here's the part where the amount is up to you: the more you use, the tastier and crispier they'll be, plus they won't stick as much to the pan. But you want at least enough to easily and completely coat the bottom of the pan. Add the potatoes, and roll them around a little (with a spoon is cleanest) so all sides have touched the oil. Sprinkle on some salt.

Bake for 20 minutes, then remove from oven and use a spatula or spoon to flip them. The down-facing sides should have browned and all the side should be starting to get crispy. Return to oven for 10 more minutes, then check again: all sides should be crispy and golden to golden-brown. Remove from oven, sprinkle with a little more salt, and serve!

(The baking time can vary based on how long you boiled them and even how much oil is involved, so you may find you need a bit more time.)
They are good for brunch or for dinner! Because of the oil, they're a little decadent and VERY filling.

Next month I'll try to get back to once-a-week posting.


how to make a dress out of a t-shirt that is too big for you

Vegan MoFo kind of burned me out on food blogging, so I'm going to spend a few entries not talking about food. But I promise I'll do a "food from literature" this month, featuring James's Portrait of a Lady. I'll also do a review of our wedding and honeymoon! (I promise to stick mostly to food/crafts so I don't get too sappy.)

Anyway. I don't really wear T-shirts, mostly because I don't look good in them. Even the ones that are cut for women aren't very flattering on me. However, I own a lot of T-shirts, and I really like the designs or messages on some of them, so I try to turn them into things I do like. Last year I posted an entry on making throw pillow covers from old T-shirts; today, a dress!
Before instructions, a couple notes. First of all, I'm not great at sewing. I'm not saying that out of modesty; I mean it. I mostly sew for repairs, and I make the occasional pillow cover. So when I say this dress is easy, I mean it: YOU CAN DO IT! It takes measuring, and a lot of time to sew if you don't have a sewing machine (I don't), but it is not complicated. I give overly wordy instructions, mostly because I hate when I'm trying to do a project and annnnything is left to the imagination (In cases like that, my imagination will inevitably steer me wrong.), but don't let that fool you: this dress is easy.

For this dress, the bigger the T-shirt, the better, since it'll be longer that way. I'm 5'8 and the shirt I used was a large. It's sort of a minidress, suitable to wear to a club night without leggings, but I normally wear leggings with it. I'm sorta prudish, though, and have long legs, so bolder and/or shorter girls would be probably fine without leggings. You can also make this project with a shirt that's more your size, but in that case it'll be more of a tank top or tunic. If you want a dress, I recommend a shirt that is at least two sizes too big (i.e., if you normally wear medium t-shirts, an extra large).

ALSO, until someone complimented this dress, I didn't realize anyone else would want to make it, so this tutorial is written a while after the fact. Soooo you get cartoony illustrations instead of pictures of the first part. (The second part--straps--is easier for me to recreate for photos, since I always have extra sleeves lying around.) In my illustrations, it's a black T-shirt, and the green circle is just to show the location of a design if there is one on your shirt. Red lines mean you should cut there, and blue means sew.
  1. Start with a T-shirt that is too big for you.
  2. Cut away the sleeves, including the seam where it attaches to the shirt. (Save them! We will make straps out of them!)
  3. Cut off the neck and shoulders.
  4. Cut away the seams, if they're there, or just cut the sides open, if it's seamless. If you don't want it fitted, you can just cut straight lines. If you don't want it fitted (that is, if you want it to be be more of a tube dress), move on to #5.
    a.) If you wanted fitted, like I did, measure yourself: bust, waist, low waist, and hip/bum. Make a template of your torso (I used a taken-apart paper grocery bag). Remember to halve your measurements on the template (i.e., if you have a 28" waist, you want to draw a 14" waist, since front 14" + back 14" = 28"). Use it as a stencil on the center of your cloth. Turn the cloth inside-out so your marks won't show in case you make a mistake! Also, as you trace your stencil/template, try to leave an extra 1/4-1/2" on either side to leave room for mistakes/sewing. (You can draw your torso right on the dress if you want to skip the template step, but I'm not that good at eyeballing my shape.)
  5. Turn the front and back pieces inside out, if you haven't already, then pin them together so they don't slip apart and become unsymmetrical while you're sewing. Sew up the sides. If you have a sewing machine, this will probably take you like 2 minutes. If you're like me and are doing it by hand, put on a movie and curl up on the couch with your needle and thread, because this is going to take a while. I use a backstitch, but a running stitch would be fine, or a whipstitch if you didn't leave yourself that extra room for mistakes/sewing.
  6. You have a tube dress! You can stop here and leave it as a tube dress if it's fitted enough not to fall down, and/or you can sew a draw-string into the top of the dress. But if you want straps:
  7. Take one of the sleeves you cut off in step #2. Cut away the seam so that the wider side is even.
  8. How thick do you want your straps? T-shirt material rolls at the edges when cut, so they'll be narrower than what you measure. I wanted straps that were thick enough to cover a bra strap, so I cut out about two inches. You should measure a section almost twice as wide as what you want, so if you want thin of even spaghetti straps, cut it an inch wide. Decide what you want, and cut accordingly.
  9. Cut away the seam. You should now have one strip of cloth.
  10. Repeat with the other sleeve.
  11. Try on your dress and figure out where you want the straps to hit. Like I said, I wanted to make sure it covered bra straps, so I centered the straps over where my bra showed). Pin in place. The straps will probably be longer than your shoulders; cut away the extra material before you pin.
  12. Attach to dress. I used a whipstitch, but it would also be cute to use buttons or broaches or just hold it in place with a series of safety pins.
Note: If you want adorable and/or contrasting straps, you could attach ribbon or something instead of using the sleeves.
You're done! Enjoy the fact that you just turned a T-shirt into a dress.


last day of VeganMoFo!

Happy Halloween! Though this picture is from a couple years ago, I'm wearing the same thing today:

The husband and I just got back from our honeymoon in New Orleans, and while we had an awesome time, and ate a lot of awesome food, coming home was really nice. (Even though our heat is broken...) Especially nice was being able to have a big healthy meal; while all our restaurant meals were great-tasting, I never feel quite as healthy eating out as eating at home. So when we got back from the airport, I made us a big greens-and-tofu dinner. I was too hungry/distracted to take pictures, but this is another home-from-travel meal I made a while ago: a big salad with chickpea salad on top.
It feels good to sort of detox with greens after decadent eating for so long. But expect a New Orleans food post soon!

Happy Halloween, and happy last day of VeganMoFo! It's been a really busy month, but I'm glad I was able to participate. I am sorry I couldn't read more blogs, though--I guess I'll have plenty to catch up on in the (hopefully) slower month of November.


Sunday Brunch: pancakes and crepes

My "blog photos" folder is going to be so empty after this month! Which is a good thing, since I tend to stockpile pictures for too long. Since there's only one day left after today, this is probably the last "epic post," and it's a delicious one.
Pancakes! I've gotten over my hatred of making pancakes; I'm much more patient now and don't burn them. Above, pancakes with blueberry sauce and cashew creme. Below, pancakes (I think they were lemon-flavored?) with a raspberry sauce.
And these are red, white, and blueberry pancakes!
Topped with soyatoo whipped topping.

This is the coconut pancake recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance topped with simmered peaches and hazelnuts.
You may have noticed a trend by now: I like to have fruit with pancakes. Unless they're SAVORY pancakes!
These were mirepoix pancakes (carrots, onion, celery) topped with gravy.

And finally, a sort of pancake: crepes!
These aren't filled with anything too exciting: fruit, cashew cream, and each one has a different seasoning. (I think I went cinnamon/blueberry, nutmeg/clove, and ginger/raspberry.)

So that concludes our "Sunday Brunches" this month. What are your favorite brunch foods that I didn't mention?


Saturday Snack: popsicles

I'm writing this ahead of time, but when it actually posts, I will be on my honeymoon in New Orleans! It's gotten chilly in Boston, but New Orleans is still quite warm, so it's not entirely unseasonal to write about one of my favorite warm-weather snacks: Popsicles!
I like popsicles, but they're usually too sickly sweet for me by the end, which is why I love making them at home. I can control how sweet they get. The one above is just chocolate soymilk, and tasted just like a fudgesicle, but not quite as sweet--perfect for me! I also freeze juice and smoothies in my popsicle molds.

I did find some store-bought popsicles that are really good without being too sweet.
Smooze! They're a combination of coconut milk and fruit juices. And they're like push-pops!


pasta salad with beans? be careful

When I want to make a meal that will provide enough leftovers to have lunch for the week taken care of, I usually pasta. Basically I make a warm pasta salad for dinner, then eat it cold for lunch over the next few days. To make it a complete meal, I usually toss in a generous amount of vegetables and either beans or nuts as some sort of protein.

Since I'm obsessed with chickpeas, they are my go-to legume. Unfortunately, sometimes I do not have any chickpeas, like the time I made this pasta dish:
It's za'tar-spiced whole-wheat orzo with pinto beans, broccoli, roasted sweet potatoes, and probably onions, since I love onions. It tasted great the first night!

Buuuut as it sat in the fridge over the next few days, the beans got this weird slimy texture. They weren't going bad or anything, they were just continuing to absorb moisture from the other ingredients, and getting increasingly mushy. The taste remained the same but by the second lunch of leftovers the texture was awwwwwwful, ugh.

So! a word to the wise: if you're making a bean-and-pasta dish that will result in leftovers, go for a firm-skinned bean like chickpeas, cannellini, or kidney beans. Because maaaaaan is it gross otherwise!


a LOT of stuffed squash

For me, this has been the VeganMoFo of epic posts. I had an epic pizza post, an epic soup post, a long socca post, and each of my Sunday brunch posts have a bunch of one thing per day. I tend to stockpile pictures for future blog posts that never quite get written, and VeganMoFo is a great way to get all those pictures/posts out.
I really like squash, and one of my favorite ways to cook with it is to stuff it with other food and then roast it. Sometime's it's simple, like the above squash stuffed with greens, raisins, and pepitas. But mostly my stuffings consist of grains flavored with herbs and spices and mixed or topped with a protein like beans or nuts.
This one has chickpeas, spinach, and... some grain, it's hard to tell. I often also mix in nutritional yeast or miso to give it a cheesy flavor.

Lentils and bulgur!
Topped with Your Vegan Mom's Vegan Parmesan.

I don't remember what's in this one, but the picture is making me want artichokes.
I can see pecans and chard in there.

Lentils, peas, and spinach. Protein and greens, whoo!

Zucchini is a summer squash, so it still counts, right? I know there's quinoa in it, because I always make more filling than I have room for stuffing, so I always end up with a side serving of the filling as well.

I think that's all the stuffed squash pictures I have stockpiled...

A stuffed onion! I made a "cheesy mushroom" mixture with a nutritional-yeast-based cheese sauce and mushrooms, and had my grain on the site this time. Not squash, but still fills my obsession with stuffed vegetables


ras el hanout quinoa pilaf

I have a lot of pet peeves. I will spare you a list, but one of the ones that surprises people the most, considering that I have a food blog: I hate food trends.

It's not the food that bothers me. I know that disliking trendy foods is like shooting the messenger. What really bothers me is the fuss foodies and food reviewers make about new foods, and how quickly those foods spread around stores/blogs/cookbooks as "the next big thing."

What bothers me is that food trends exoticize food and cooking, make it sound like you don't know about food or cooking if you haven't used Himalayan salt, tasted macarons, or shaped cake pops. They make cooking at home sound difficult, expensive, snobby. Cooking can be (is) simple, quick, cheap, and will still be delicious. I am a food troglodyte; I don't want trends for my food the way there are trends for fashion. My forebears did without food trends; so can I!

But like I said, it's not the food that bothers me. Fancy cupcakes, for example, were a maaaaajor food trend for a while, and I stubbornly held back, resenting the trend, until I actually ate a cupcake and was like "oh yeah, I forgot how amazing cupcakes are." Similarly, I resented seeing "fleur de sel" in ingredients lists for a year or so before I broke down and bought some--and it really does add a nice touch to main dishes. I love food, I just mind when there's fuss around it.

The whole point of this story is that a while back I heard of Ras El Hanout seasoning from a bunch of food blogs and got all obstinate and thought "ARRRRGH NOT ANOTHER FOOD TREND." I intentionally did not read many of the reviews, and after a while the trend disappeared.

But then couple months ago, my mother got some for her store, and started singing its praises, too. My own mother! But she's not an obnoxious foodie, she's my mom! I thought. Maybe this stuff is worth a try. So I "let" her give me a bottle (thanks Mom!) of Frontier's Ras El Hanout spice blend.

I'll be honest here and say this is another food I was a jerk for resenting. Ras El Hanout (which means "top of the shelf/shop") is a spice blend native to North Africa that consists of warm spices, most of which start with C: coriander, cardamom, cumin, cinnamon, clove, cubeb/black pepper, nutmeg, sometimes cayenne. Every blend is a litle different, so nightshade-free people should read the labels for cayenne/chilis, but Frontier's is nightshade-free. It is very potent, and it is delicious! If you like North African and/or Middle Eastern food, this is a must-try.

Many recipes involving Ras El Hanout use it as a meat rub. You could definitely do a tofu or seitan rub out of it, but I was making quinoa for dinner a little while ago, and decided it would also be excellent in a quinoa pilaf.
Quinoa, raisins, carrots, some chopped cauliflower, and ras el hanout. And hoooooo boy is it strong! I added a teaspoon or so of it to about 1 1/2 cups of uncooked quinoa and 3 cups water, and it was allllmost too flavorful--I was glad we had a plainer side salad to eat with it. I could have halved the amount of ras el hanout and still gotten the right amount flavor. So err on the side of "subtle" when you're trying out this spice blend for the first time!

Ras el hanout would also be good mixed with other grains, sautéed with chickpeas, roasted with nuts, or used in a sauce. Obviously I didn't make my own at home, but if you're interested in trying out ras el hanout without not being committed to buying a whole jar, the ingredients are pretty common to anyone who does a lot of Indian or Middle Eastern cooking, so it'd be pretty easy to mix at home. Have you ever tried it? What did you do with it?

Are you secretly a curmudgeon about something people think you'll like? How do you feel about food trends? Are there any in particular you love or hate?


sushi and vegan mofo survey

Some quick sushi, and then onto a survey!

Sometimes making sushi at home is a casual affair, just chopping up some veggies and rolling them up (and using leftovers to make rice bowls).
OTHER times I like to go all out and make crazy rolls. This usually means I have ingredients allllll over the kitchen.
But it makes for tasty sushi!
I always go for brown rice at home.

I found this Vegan MoFo survey over at Vegan Megan's blog, and it came at just the right time; we're going on our honeymoon this week and I'm feeling overwhelmed by how many posts I have to do in advance. I could use a "nothing" post or two! It has a couple questions in common with last year's survey, but my answers have changed, so it's not repetitive, I promise!

1. Favorite non-dairy milk?
Earth Balance's unsweetened, unflavored soy milk. Organic Valley's is okay but has a vanilla-y taste that doesn't work for savory things.

2. What are the top 3 dishes/recipes you are planning to cook?
Only 3? And is this for MoFo? I won't have time to cook any of these for MoFo, but they've been on my list forever: skillet chocolate chip cookie, agave popcorn balls, and homemade inari.

3. Topping of choice for popcorn?
My Cracker Jack-ish popcorn, but if I'm with the husband, who doesn't like sweet popcorn, nutritional yeast, salt, and kelp flakes.

4. Most disastrous recipe/meal failure?
UGH I tried to veganize my mom's old creamed beef recipe, but I accidentally curdled the soymilk when I added it (at the end, mind you, after adding all the other ingredients) and it smelled and tasted like some dead rotting fish, so I had to throw out the whole recipe. I think we ate pasta that night instead, and it was a bitter meal. (Because of the earlier failure, not because the pasta itself was bitter.)

5. Favorite pickled item?
Pickled radishes! I have some radishes in my fridge right now that I want to pickle. They are so tasty.

6. How do you organize your recipes?
Um... you're looking at my organization system. I blog about them. Also, I have a "recipes" folder in my browser's bookmarks section.

7. Compost, trash, or garbage disposal?
Does it have to be "or"? I tried composting last year but it wasn't very successful (probably because we live in a small apartment?). I use most of my food scraps to make veggie broth, then throw out what needs throwing out. The garbage disposal gets its fair share of work, though.

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)?
Chickpeas, sweet potatoes, garlic.

9. Fondest food memory from your childhood?
My mother is an awesome cook, so many fond childhood memories are around food. But if I had to choose one... when I was 3 or 4, my family lived with my grandmother. I never slept through the night, and my grandmother was an insomniac, so when I woke in the middle of the night, I would waddle out to the kitchen, where she would usually be sitting at the table. She'd make a bologna-cheese-mayo-lettuce sandwich on white bread, and we would sit at the counter and share it. Everything would be dark and quiet except the kitchen. It was like we had the whole world to ourselves, like we could have done anything or gone anywhere, and we were just choosing to eat a sandwich together instead.

10. Favorite vegan ice cream?
So Delicious's (coconut milk) cookies and cream! Oh wait or their chocolate peanut butter swirl. Both? Can it be both?

11. Most loved kitchen appliance?
My food processor, probably. Especially now that I have a nice new one, and not the old one I had to stick a knife into to make work. (Seriously.)

12. Spice/herb you would die without?
I probably wouldn't die without black pepper, but I'd be really sad. Also, sage. I don't use it all the time but I looooove it.

13. Cookbook you have owned for the longest time?
I think Vegan Planet, because I think that was the first cookbook I got when I got a kitchen of my own.

14. Favorite flavor of jam/jelly?
Marmalade! Though mint jelly is really cool; I just don't know enough uses for it.

15. Favorite vegan recipe to serve to an omni friend?
Hm. Probably the Guttonous Vegan's smoky sweet potato soup (I use liquid smoke in place of the paprika); it has great complex flavors, and with a side of roasted chickpeas and bread, it's a really filling meal.

16. Seitan, tofu, or tempeh?
Tofu! Whooooo! (That's my tofu cheer.)

17. Favorite meal to cook (or time of day to cook)?
Oh, definitely dinner. I like cooking in the late afternoon/early evening.

18. What is sitting on top of your refrigerator?
We store our plastic bags (for reuse) on top of the fridge.

19. Name 3 items in your freezer without looking.
Veggie broth, black beans, leftover wedding food.

20. What's on your grocery list?
We're going on our honeymoon this week/end, so I'm trying to use up everything in our fridge. Which means my grocery list is tiny this week... bread, oats, some fruit. Clif bars for the trip.

21. Favorite grocery store?
My parents' store, Cooperstown Natural Foods! It would be my favorite even if they weren't my parents, I swear.

22. Name a recipe you'd love to veganize, but haven't yet.
Ooo this question was on last year's survey, and I still haven't veganized it yet: croissants. At this point I've seen a bunch of great recipes for vegan croissants, I just haven't had the time to make them.

23. Food blog you read the most (besides Isa's because I know you check it everyday). Or maybe the top 3?
Because blogs have been blocked at work, I don't get to read as many as I'd like as consistently as I'd like... but when I get a chance to check up on blogs, I always read the food blogs on my links page. I've also been reading Bonzai Aphrodite pretty regularly.

24. Favorite vegan candy/chocolate?
At first I was going to complain about how hard this question was, but then I remembered: the peanut butter pitbull bar from Rescue chocolates. A vegan coworker from the New York office sent some to me when he found out there was another vegan in the company, and I ate them embarrassingly fast.

25. Most extravagant food item purchased lately?
Our wedding cake (from Xs to Os Vegan Bakery in Troy, NY)? I'll post pictures of it when we get them.

26. Favorite pumpkin thing to eat?
I prefer savory pumpkin recipes to sweet ones, so coconut-milk-pumpkin stew! But pumpkin muffins are pretty tasty, too.


epic soup post

I used to hate soup. It's a between food, and I don't like between foods. "Between foods" are things like soups, stews, chili, slushies, and smoothies--things that aren't exactly drink, but aren't quite solids... they frustrate me.

But I discovered a few years ago that if the between foods taste amazing, I can deal with my aversion to their texture/form. So there are smoothies, stews, and soups that I put up with for the sake of their flavor--I just have to find which ones they are. This post is dedicated to soups I have enjoyed!

Curried things are always good, like this yellow split pea soup, seasoned with curry powder (homemade, of course, to omit the cayenne):
Or the curried corn chowder from Appetite for Reduction:

Appetite for Reduction also has a good butternut squash and apple soup:
I have to admit that I could only get over my soup aversion for one bowl's worth of this one--the husband had to have the leftovers because I was souped out.

In the same vein, here's a chickpea and carrot soup that was great because it tasted like falafel. (I added shredded lettuce at the end, which is why there are unflattering green lumps. But the lettuce added to the "falafel sandwich" taste!)
We had it for dinner last night, and I had it again for lunch today... and about halfway through my lunch I was like "I CAN'T EAT SOUP ANYMORE! IT IS SO ANNOYING." So the husband gets all these soup leftovers.

You know what soup I never get tired of?
FRENCH ONION SOUP, BABY. I use a Mark Bittman recipe, and homemade veggie stock, "beefed" up with some tamari for extra umami. (Good stock is a must!) Here I topped it with bread and daiya.

I also love The Gluttonous Vegan's sweet potato soup.
I think I've written about my love for it many times here.

And one thing I discovered while preparing for this entry is that apparently I really love cream of broccoli soup.
I mean, I knew I liked it, but in the past few months I made it three times, all from different recipes, and I liked them all!
I think #1 had a cashew base, and #2 I cheated and used mimicreme, and this one below had a chickpea flour roux base?
Served with the tasty butter dip biscuits I discovered on The Kitchn.

Finally, a German-style cabbage soup that I served with seitan sausages.
This soup is one of those recipes that make me sad I don't write things down. It started as a basic boring cabbage soup recipe from the internet, and when I tasted it, it had ZERO FLAVOR, so I just started adding different things to my liking, without paying attention to what/how much I added... and it turned out to be AMAZING. But for the life of me, I cannot recall what I did to make it so good. Alas!

Do you like soup? How about other "between" foods? What are your favorites?