Dec 27, 2008

Do you like old things and hot licks?

Then you will like this video!

I know it's been a while but all will be revealed shortly. Right now I want to share this because it's blowing my mind. Brian Mota has made a music video for my old song "Shake Your Love Around" using archival footage and it's awesome and I love it and I think you will also love it and then we'll have to get some kind of permit for our massive love-in. And then we will love more. Is it lame that I don't sing anymore or am I doin' the world a favour? Ha!

Mojo Engine - Shake Your Love Around on

Nov 1, 2008


Skelecandy, originally uploaded by veganbilly.

Hope everyone had a great time. I made 2 dozen cupcakes, carved some jacks, and enjoyed the +10 weather. No parka this year, jerks!

Oct 24, 2008

Procrastination, Hallowe'en, and Sex : Ribaldry Ahoy

As you can see from my cool new poll option to your right, it's almost Halloween, and that means it's time for procrastinating about your costume.

I'm a Hallowee'en person. Comes with the territory. I'm a fan of things that lick and slither. And every year I manage to convince myself that THIS YEAR! I'll come up with a fantastic costume, wow the Great Unwashed, and end up winning multiple prizes at my local bars. And of course, every year I end up having drinks with friends in jeans and a hat. Or, one memorable year, getting dolled up, heading out to the local gauth barre, and realizing the Hallowe'en event was the next day. It's time for me to admit it: I procrastinate the fuck out of Hallowe'en.

It's no lack of love, I assure you. It's more of a lack of faith in myself. I'm lucky to have a lot of friends who share my tastes; some who go as far as to live out their passions weekly with friends, some who are professional photographers and makeup artists who could spank any of us with the power of their costumes, and some for whom every day really is Hallowe'en. And I love all of them. I can't abide boring people. If you have a fire inside of you and you spend your life trying to put it out with a big hose full of "I'll do it later", I ache for you. And I'm sure not going to lie and say I'm not the same damn way. I am. I procrastinate on a daily basis, and it's not about the dishes and the laundry.

I procrastinate mostly about things I enjoy. I love blogging here. I am here most of the day. And every time I have an idea for a blog post, I file it away and get to it later. There's a six month gap on this site full of "I'll do it laters" and now I've forgotten most of them.

And waffling on participating in a holiday I enjoy has its own corollary - the more we put it off, the more of a problem it feels like - in the sense that the weight, and heft, if you will, seems heavier and more burdensome than exciting and fun.

We do this to ourselves too, about things like sex. I mean this in the sense of when we don't have enough faith in our own ability to enjoy ourselves. My Old Man has a great saying - "just let go". Like a costume, I can spend hours denigrating myself over how I look (in this case, naked) and what signal it'll send ("no effort in THAT costume!")or whether I'm even "good enough" to go - who likes that person at the costume contest with a t-shirt that says "This Is My Costume"? No one! Effort! I like to do things up right, you know? I like to be great at everything I do, and I can't relax until I AM. Which is a vicious little circle of self-downing...I stress myself out and worry too much, it becomes bad sex unwittingly, and bad sex can be summed up in three words: "did my duty". Whereas good sex is summed up with "unnghghff" because verbalization becomes a bit of an aside to our glowing new sense of self-satisfaction (and other satisfaction, if you've done your job right.)

I don't want to "do my duty" for Hallowe'en. It's the time of year for horror fans and freakadoos like myself to run rampant and enjoy the brief celebration of our peculiar interests. When enjoying something starts to feel like a burden, it's time to re-assess hand.

So I'm going all out. I'm going to start on the costume today, have some pictures up hopefully for tomorrow. My costume is 100% vegan (you'd be surprised what's not!) and I think somewhat clever. If I end up spending my Hallowe'en in Azeroth putting out Town Hall fires, then that'll be because it was the most fun thing I found to do, and I'm not going to ride myself for it.

And if I end up buying one of those Playboy-issued "Slutty Bank Teller", "Slutty Veterinarian", "Slutty IT Project Manager" costumes instead, it'll be because of that heft - the one that makes duty a pure and constant pleasure, between me and My Old Man.

To kick off, I've dolled up my logo in a cute retro cookbook costume. Isn't she cute? Hopefully it won't be cold so she won't have to wear a parka overtop. Stupid Canadian Hallowe'en.


Oct 19, 2008

The Holy Grail: Vegan Kraft Dinner

Or macaroni and cheese, for you non-Canadians!

First, I just want to say hello it is nice to have you here to our new subscribers! I am thrilled, and therefore I got blocked and was all "the next post better be really good" because, you know, performance anxiety, so I figure I'll start with the one thing tons of vegans have taken a bash at...mac n'cheese. I miss it. I love it. It's my friend, and we don't abandon friends just because we've changed. I don't wanna be that gal. I've seen those Afterschool Specials. I'll end up in a car wreck or something and learn a valuable lesson about friendship and that's time I don't have.

Making vegan KD is like unearthing treasure. You try tons of different routes to get to the golden prize and most of them end up being pits full of snakes and rats.

I started with Carol's recipe and made a few adjustments, but I do not take credit for this recipe and I changed very little.

K so you need:

* 1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
* 1/2 cup white flour
* 1-2 teaspoon garlic powder
* 2 cups soymilk (USE PLAIN!! Sweetened = BARF)
* 1/4 cup margarine
* 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
* 1 tsp turmeric (or tumeric or whatever, just put it in there)
* 1 tbsp miso (I used the one that's the colour of fridges from the 70's)
* YOU CAN TOTALLY CHEAT and add Tofutti "cream cheese" as well - when I heated this up for the second munch it was a bit dry so I stirred in a tbsp of the herb/garlic Tofutti and it was BAD ASS.

Do this now:
Mix dry ingredients in a saucepan. Whisk in milk. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it thickens and bubbles.

Cook and stir 30 seconds more, then remove from the heat. Whip in the margarine and mustard. Add more milk or water if mixture is too thick.

Then stir in the macaroni, UMM UMM GOOD!

When I plated it, I had to walk back to the kitchen for a fork and I came back to the following staredown.

It was REALLY good. The colour doesn't really come through here, but it was literally flourescent yellow and creamy and fine, and even my old man said "yup, that's good stuff."

It does sort of thicken up overnight. I was concerned that it solidified, but microwave + a bit of liquid = even better the next day, so go team me!

I'm not kidding about the term "Holy Grail" either. There are, at a conservative estimate, 19 billion vegan KD recipes out there, and no one seems to like anyone else's, so if you don't like this, dive in and be like the Indiana Jones of vegan mac n' cheese. Then you can say cool things like "Hey, I have a whip" and you will mean "to make food with" but other people will assume you're just an awesome dude with a whip and probably try to make out with you.

BONUS TIP: Cats don't like this

Oct 2, 2008

Sep 26, 2008

Internet First: Liveblogging My Tap Water

OK people: this may be the lamest thing I'll ever post...or the greatest?

I moved into a new place last October, and it's aces, except for one small issue, which affects 80% of my body and most of my food (also my cats, and various wiping procedures). In the interest of meaningless junk science, I present to you: The Mystery of The Water In My Apartment. Toronto water isn’t that bad, but in my neighbourhood (Old Town, close to the Market) it seems a lot of the water is hard. Toilets get nasty fast, skin and hair get pretty dry, the water demands a bribe every month or it’ll flood my bathroom – you know, hard.

Now I’ve seen cloudy water before; this ain’t my first H2-odeo - but it usually settles quickly so you can pretend that it’s fine and your eyes were just smudgy from all the sleep you don’t get. This stuff, though, is a little longer-lasting, and I intend to get some hard, completely non-scientifically gathered facts to give to my landlord when he tries to hike my rent at the end of the lease.

INNOVATIVE WEB 2.0 ALERT:This may be the first time anyone has ever liveblogged a glass of water. Now that’s progress!


PHASE 2: 5 minutes later - Typo-Prone Octopus Releases White-Out Instead

PHASE 3: 8 Minutes later: Wicked Witch Watch - Tornado Alert Level: Ruby

PHASE 4: 12 minutes later: Great, but where did all the schmutz GO?

I learned something today. The city wants us to cut down on bottled water, which is totally fine, because, garbage, but it might be a little easier if the city's water didn't have so in it.

In honour of this experiment, sing with me:

Sep 24, 2008



I have missed block cheese a lot, more for the texture than the flavour. I’ve never been one to throw slabs of cheese (or really, anything else) down my throat. I like a little ‘zazz, ya know? I make a lot of burritos, nachos, lasagnes – the texture of shredded or melted cheese is a huge component of the overall experience, so I am determined to find the vegan analogue and turn it into a cornerstone of my kitchen. This was the first recipe I found that had uniformly good reviews. I’m not sure why, to be honest. Maybe it’s just me, but this was nothing like cheese. It was like a block of gritty tofu. Didn’t melt, didn’t shred, was soggy, and tasted like…tofu. I looked at the quality of my ingredients, the prep method, and the final result, tweaked a bit, and tried again. The original recipe is here.

My revised ingredient list:
11 fl oz (300 ml) water
2 tsp agar agar powder
4½ oz (100g) RAW cashew nuts
½ oz (12.5g) nutritional yeast flakes
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp tahini
1/3 cup red onions, finely diced
1-2 tsp Dijon fancypants mustard
¼ tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, finely diced

For lack of a food processor I used a hand blender with the chopping bowl attachment thingamabob. I’ve ground coffee beans in here before with no problem, and it handled the cashews well. I used raw cashews this time to keep some of the stickiness and chewiness, and about 10 more than the original recipe called for as the first batch came out pretty thin.

The original recipe says “onion/garlic granules”. I have never seen an onion or garlic “granule”, so I’m assuming the chef meant “powder”. I used standard garlic and onion powder on the first pass, so this time I chopped some garlic and onion into very fine pieces, put them in a dish, and marked the dish “GRANULES ONLY! ALL OTHERS KEEP OUT!” and put a little security guard in front to prevent incursion.(ok, it was a cashew. with a hat. that i made.)

The mustard powder became Dijon mustard as the powder is so foul-smelling I refuse to keep it in my home. I have never been a mustard person, ever. Lame as it sounds, forcing myself to eat and cook with mustard and mustard products to make vegan cheese analogues has been really nasty for me. The smell, the flavour…just thinking about it makes me nauseous. Yet, never let it be said I wouldn’t try!

You will recall my excitement about agar powder, which I finally got a chance to use – the only other weirdie ingredient was the nutritional yeast. OK, I use Smilin’ Old Farmer Guy Bob Something brand yeast, and I’ve come to the end of a package and want to try something else. This stuff was flavourless, expensive, and Smiling Farmer Bob creeps me out. So I’ll be looking into a new brand, but for now, that’s what I used. Sorry, Bob. I'm sorry you had to find out this way.

It's effortless prep:
Boil the water and sprinkle agar agar powder on top.
Stir and simmer for around 3 minutes.
Place in a food processor together with the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth.
Place in a mold.
Chill in fridge overnight

Doesn't get easier than that.

The mixing went well (lot more watery than I thought – watch out for spills) and the setting as well. In hindsight, I should have tried to get all those bubbles out before I let it set, but it was so liquidy I thought they’d work it out for themselves, and it seemed like a private matter I shouldn’t get involved in.

The cheese was firm, came out of the mold well, and I let it air-dry a little covered in a thick paper towel to try to get the condensation off. After an hour or so, it was a bit more dry, so I cut a chunk off to try, being sure to take this incredibly artistic (possibly award-winning?????) photo. The kids today, they like the photos of food. Big market. Denny Crane.

Verdict: Meh. Not much flavour. Held together well. Basically tasted like tofu with lots of bubbles in it. Didn’t melt, and was too soggy to shred. My search for a block cheese continues. I think I’m going to try this one more time, but swap in some turmeric, and maybe use garlic/onion SALT instead of powder to try and add some flavour. And the cashews did add a nice mellow sweetness, so I think raw cashews are the way to go – just maybe a few more of ‘em.

FUN FACT: It’s AUTUMN. In honour of Bill Hicks, the cowboy hero himself, I’d like to quote him.
“Every day in L.A., hot and sunny. People say ‘Isn’t it great, every day is hot and sunny!’ What are you, lizards? I’m a mammal. I can afford scarves, coats, cappuccinos, and rosy-cheeked women, all of which are for sale on the streets of New York City.”

Sep 10, 2008

So cherry!

I was nominated for some Blogger's Choice awards! Here's a completely self-indulgent post about it. Aren't you excited you dropped by today?

Here are my sweet badge things if you are of a mind to vote. For some reason, they don't seem to be seinding activation emails when people sign up to vote, so maybe it's just not gonna happen, but thanks to anyone who tried!

Otherwise I hope you're enjoying Fall so far. I am making some pumpkin-chai foods this weekend - a new latte recipe I want to try, a stew I keep forgetting to write up for a friend, and best of all, an ambitious attempt at my first vegan pie - pumpkin, specifically. I'm thinking of subbing the condensed milk with a soy & icing sugar mix, but I'll have another look at the one in "How It All Vegan" first. Pumpkin time means Hallowe'en time too...ungh, this is the best season of the whole year!

My site was nominated for Freakiest Blogger!

Sep 1, 2008

What rough pakora, its hour come round at last...

...slouches toward the frying pan to be born?

I love indian food, and it's easily made vegan, so I took advantage of my time babysitting Paula's cats and picked up chickpea flour on Gerrard to make pakora. Everything else I had, though I used more garam masala than recommended, and a standard bag of frozen vegetables. Fun fact: a co-worker of mine once referred to these as "welfare vegetables". Then she got fired. Who's eating vegetables now, bitch????

How easy was this to make? Easier than writing this multi-Flickr'd post. Thanks to Moira Adams at VegWorld for the recipe.

* 1 cup (4 oz, 110 g) gram (chickpea) flour
* 1 tsp. mixed ground spices (I used cumin, turmeric, and garam masala)
* About 1 lb (450 g) of vegetables, cut into very small pieces (for carrots, celery, bell pepper and parsnips, prepare thin slices; for cauliflower and broccoli, cut into small florets)
* Oil for frying

Mix the flour and spices. Slowly add cold water, stirring all the time, until you have a thin batter. Heat the oil in a skillet. Dip each vegetable piece in the batter, one at a time. Make sure that it is fully coated. Drop it into the hot oil, and cook for a few minutes until crisp.

The raw mix looks like shreds of birthday cards in a velvety banana cream pie. But it's not, so don't try to make that instead.
pakora mix

Then you fry them for about 45 seconds, turn, and fry again. They fry really fast if you use frozen vegetables, and also they spit at you in disgust, which really hurts. Emotionally and physically. They must have heard that "welfare vegetables" comment and internalized their inherent class consciousness into hateballs.

Frying the pakoras

I'm sorry, angry pakoras. You were very tasty. I hope you get yourself sorted out one day, because you have kind of a lot of issues for a snack treat.

Jun 27, 2008

Eating out while vegan; humour as digestive aid

I haven't been updating, for which I apologize. I will be doing quite a bit of it over the long weekend now that my employment woes are over.

In the meantime, I'd like to share a little story with you. One of my biggest peeves about the transition to veganism has been eating out. I was a server for a long time; I don't trust most of them, because I know what the conditions are like and how easy it is to screw up, unintentionally or not. When something like this happens, I'm not sure how to react. I'm not the type to make a lot of noise, or demand free stuff, or whatever, but at the same time I get enough crap from carnivores who "can't believe why you'd do such a stupid thing, animals are delicious, etc etc". The usual shit we all seem to get. Why is veg*nism so...offensive to people? I know an insane, pushy, evangelical Christian who doesn't get as much criticism as we do.

So, please enjoy, and if you have thoughts on what to do when you're served something you weren't expecting, let me know! Back with a recipe for Channa and some sweet potato fries with miso gravy tomorrow.

So, okay, my old man and I go to have dinner with a friend after work. We decide between Green Mango (Friend: "It's so limited, all they have is Thai food.") and something called "Dr. Generosity". "They'll have more selection, and they have a patio", we decide. "It looks kitschy. Let's go."

Off we go, and the menu looks fantastic, and our waiter is obviously an out-of-work actor ("Ma'am, your eyeshadow is beautiful. Allow me to show you my laid-back surfer dude character, and then to switch it up into a knowledgeable snotrag impression. I'll just go ahead and leave my headshot under your plates.") I order a vegan soup and ask if the base is beef or chicken or something. "No, no, completely vegan, made from a veg broth."
"Awesome, that and the portobello sandwich, please."

Friend and my old man order, and we start a-waitin'.

About half an hour later, our soups show up. No worried, we were chatting, and our drinks had arrived. Smells good, but a little…musky? I take a bite and there are tiny chewy bits. "This has the texture of bacon" I remark in my internal monologue. "I am being silly." I plow through some more soup, but it has a weird greasy taste. You see what is coming, and you are waiting for the big reveal. Patience, patience.

The food comes about a minute later. The runner looks embarrassed. "I didn't realize you still had your soups," she says, "I'll take it back."
"No no, we're hungry, please leave it," we beg, and she does.

The sandwich is great. The burger was apparently great. I look at my friend's chicken and it's bright pink. A little mushy.
"Gross," I say.
"Yes." comes the confirmation.
"Excuse me, but my friend's chicken is a little raw," I say to the ActorServe 5000 and he comes out to the patio, looking put-upon.

"That's the colour chicken is," he says. "Chicken is pink. It's real chicken, so you're not used to it, but that's the colour chicken is." He sounds so petulant and superior that I finally get a bit pissed off. My friend is civil. "I'm not comfortable eating it the way it is, can you put it back in the broiler for a while?" He takes it in a huff.

I go back to the soup to take a wee break from the great but filling sandwich. The taste is even stronger. I reach in with my spoon and pull out a 2x2 cm, fully formed and marbled piece of bacon.

"Okay," I stand up and stride into the restaurant. "Okay." The waiter intercepts me and comes out to the patio.

"What's wrong now?" sniffs he. Very sniffy, this guy.
"Is this a vegetarian soup? Made with vegetable broth?" I ask icily. I can be so icy if I try, it's amazing.
"THEN WHY IS THERE BACON IN IT?" I say with my "stage voice". So he understands me. We are speaking the same language- THEATRE.

The wind is taken from him! He peers over onto the little wretched piece of porkfat and screws up his face. He is about to tell me it's a bean skin or some such nonsense, but I say "I have found several smaller pieces in the soup also."
"Well, lemme go ask the chef," walking away, trying to minimize the damage at the other table on the patio, "before you get all psycho."

"Did he just say "before you get all psycho?" I ask of the group, the assembled knowledge of whom in relation to this situation is impressive (Old man: worked in bacon factory. Friend: longtime server. Mom owns restaurant.)
"I think he said 'before you get all excited'," opines my old man.
"It sounded like 'psycho' to me," comes the Second Opinion.

The soup disappears. Friend's chicken: still MIB (Missing In Broiler). My old man is munching away on his burger, looking sheepish.

Captain Kangaroo returns with her chicken, now a healthy white colour. "It appears that the other soup tonight, which is beef barley, may have come into your soup. The theory right now is that it's bacon or beef. I think it's beef." Helpful young man!
There is a long pause while I wait for the "And so, I throw myself on your feet with apology and hope that you can understand."
Which I would have. Cross-contamination happens. I worked at a Taco Bell, for God's sake. I know the meaning of "stuff in other stuff."

But he just stood there. Waiting? Struck mute with guilt? Retarded? Who's to say?

"Uh huh," I say, with an "And?" to follow.

"I hope that doesn't... compromise you," he wheedles.
"It does. Thanks."
"I can bring you another one," and I know he is about to give me on of those patented "It comes out of my pocket/the chef is a dick/I don't know what happened/the kitchen staff doesn't speak English" speeches. I have them too; honed while I worked at Fran's, these speeches are powerful tools for servers who hate customers, and are available from my website for $12.99 plus tax. Worth every penny!

"I don't want another one, and I understand, thank you." The sniffee…has become the sniffer.
"How's your chicken?" he finishes lamely.
"Cooked, thank you." Oh snap!

When we are finished, we wait another half hour for the bill. It's been 2 hours. For some sammiches. I give up and go inside to our waiter, standing behind the bar.
"Can we get the bill please?" A sagely nod.

By now we are in full swing with the mocking and the sniffing and the prayers for me to start barfing so we can make with the suing. He comes out with the bill.

"I've comped your meal, and I didn't realize it but I forgot to charge you for your Coke."
Oh, generous hosts!
He offers me desserts and coffees for free.
"No thanks."

We grab the bill, throw it on Visa, wait another 20 minutes for him to come back. When I get back to the table from a phone call, my old man has taken a big leap.
"I left him three dollars."
On a 60 dollar bill!

I am always huge on tipping. I will always blame the kitchen before the server. However. When you basically tell off customers throughout a meal and then insist that you have a food-handling certificate after serving a vegetarian soup that's been the victim of cross-contamination (when most places make the servers grab soups themselves from a common pot, though I don't know if they do here), you are being a crappy server and you cannot blame the kitchen for the fact that you're a douchebag.

Have a great long weekend, everyone!

Apr 15, 2008

Cinnamon Buns - Oh, the joy of punching!

I made cinnamon buns because, well, why wouldn't you? Why am I not making cinnamon buns every second of my life? I thought about this a lot and decided the only reason was because I might get fat. But after making the little bastards, I realize that could never happen, because this is a workout. I mean, Food Pilates may be an up-and-coming exercise program if someone with a lot of money ever makes these things. Someone, I'd like to add that I'd be more than happy to work with you on that project, as long as I get to wear my new boots to class.

I know, I know, Demonia, but they're fuzzy, too.

I adapted the recipe a bit because I wanted to use whole wheat flour. That's right. I'm part of the scandalously regular pro-fibre agenda. There. My hat is in the ring.

With the whole wheat flour, you're gonna need a bit more water. Not much, and maybe some drops for the fingeroonies during the rollout process. Bonus points if you yell "Autobots, roll out!" when you do this.

Vegan Cinnamon Bun FUN FIESTA

3 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup lukewarm water
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups whole wheat flour

Combine yeast, sugar, and water in a small bowl. Let sit for 10 minutes in a warm place. If your yeast does not bubble, it is dead and the dough will not rise. Throw out the mixture and start again with new yeast.

*There was an option to do this with a breadmaker but I'm not a fancy uptown bread-machine owning pastry fascist so here are the instructions by hand*

In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture with the nutmeg and salt. Add the flour in batches, stirring after each addition, until the mixture forms a cohesive ball of dough (it will pull away from the sides of the bowl). You will need about 3 1/2 cups of flour. Turn out onto a floured counter top and knead until dough is smooth and elastic. This can take up to 15 minutes. Flour your work surface frequently to prevent sticking.

Spray a large bowl with non-stick spray (or use one tablespoon of oil) and place dough inside. Cover with a clean towel and let rise in a warm area for 1 hour. While the dough is rising, make the filling.

1/2 cup vegan margarine
1 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons cinnamon
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
OPTIONAL: raisins (I excluded them because, fuck raisins, seriously)

Mix margarine, sugar, cinnamon, maple syrup, vanilla, nuts and/or raisins (if using) in a small bowl until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Punch dough down and divide into 2 pieces. Put 1 piece of dough back into the bowl and cover to prevent it from drying out. Place 1 piece on a floured work surface. Pat dough into a rectangle.

Using a rolling pin, roll out dough into a 9X13 rectangle. (Important! I ran ahead and made a huge sheet, about 2 feet by 3 feet, and the dough was not into the experience.)

Spread half of the filling mixture onto the dough using a spatula, leaving a 2-inch border at the bottom. Start rolling up the dough starting at the top left-most corner and working your way along the length of the dough. Try not to stretch the dough too much when rolling. Continue rolling until you reach the edge of the filling. Moisten the plain strip of dough (below the filling) with water and roll the dough down to seal. Let the roll rest while you finish the second roll.

With the seam side down, cut each roll into 4 equal pieces. Place, cut side down, in an oiled 9-inch square baking pan or in the middle of a baking sheet lined with parchment. Cover with a towel and let rise for 30 minutes.

Place rolls in preheated 350 F oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until edges are golden brown and filling is bubbling. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes before serving.

Gooey-Ass Entrepreneurial Icing:
Powdered (icing) sugar
Soy milk
Vanilla extract
Maple syrup

Put some icing sugar in a bowl, add a little soymilk till it gets faux-creamy, a few drops of vanilla, and then some maple syrup. I can't really give amounts but basically it's 75% icing sugar, 25% everything else. You'll know what to do as you're making it, so cowgirl up and give'er!

If you'll excuse me, I have some warm clods of fun to scarf back. It's been a long 2 hours.

Apr 7, 2008

Orange Chocolate cupcakes fit for the King

After making dinner I still had crazy energy (thanks, veganism!) so I said "Why the hell not?" and made some cupcakes for dessert. That's generally how I cook; the "why the hell not" method. See, if I want to cook something, I ask two questions:

1. Do I have the ingredients?
-if the answer is "no": Can I substitute anything for the ingredients I'm missing?
-if the answer is "no": Why the hell not?
2. If the answer is yes: Then why the hell not?

As a result I present to you some orange chocolate cupcakes, from the excellent (and ubiquitous) Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World. I'll link to the basic recipe - the icing was sort of a creation though, so here's the fixins' for that.

Basic Chocolate Cupcakes here

Orange Frosting

(I didn't have the Earth Balance shortening so the frosting wasn't really as "buttercream-y" as the one in the book. Y'all may wanna throw some in there as I found this frosting a bit too sweet.)
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp extra nonhydrogenated margarine
  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted if clumpy
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons orange juice from a can of mandarin oranges
  • 1/4 cup plain soy milk or soy creamer
  • 15 drops red food colouring and 10 drops yellow food colouring
  • cute little mandarin oranges from aforementioned can
  • statue of Elvis Presley
  1. Beat the margarine until all creamy.
  2. Add the sugar in 1/2 cup batches and add a few drops of orange juice and food colouring with each batch. Beat for about 3 more minutes - you'll see the pretty swirlies start to form.
  3. I added an extra tbsp of margarine at the end as the liquid ingredients made it a wee thin.
  4. Add the soy milk, and beat for another 5 to 7 minutes until fluffy.
  5. Frost those bitches and luxuriate in your own awesomeness (not optional)
They were gone by the end of the night. And I'm feeling pudgy today. Pudgy...and satisfied. They went over big with the King too.

Black Bean and Yam Burritos with marvelous "Cheese" sauce

Yesterday my old man and I set up a portable kitchen island and to celebrate I made a fancy meal. I can't get enough counterspace. I mean, I have been really lucky in life to date with kitchens. My apartment in Montreal had a kitchen the size of a large living room; my first apartment back in Toronto had an entire galley-style hallway kitchen; and this one is sorta lofty but has limited counterspace. So the island was welcomed with fanfare and foofarrah and here's what I did with it.

The burritos started as a recipe from VegWeb but I didn't like the prep method much - I like my beans mashed up when they're in burritos, or else they sort of roll out of the wrap and get everywhere and it's a problem, a serious problem, that results in fashion emergencies. I change FOR dinner, not after dinner. So I added some nuked yam chunks (about 4 minutes in the mike) and mashed it all together to make the filling.

The superstar was the "cheese" sauce. This is the first "cheese" recipe I've made that actually pretty much tasted like cheese, and I want to share it with you because sharing is caring.

From the excellent vegancooking community on LJ:

"Cheese" Sauce by VampireFodder

Mix all of these ingredients together:
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 tbsp. vegetable stock
1 tbsp. tumeric - I used cumin instead since I had no turmeric, and it was fucking AWESOME.
1 tbsp. vegan parmesan cheese (I used Florentino Parmazano)

Then add:
2 cups water
1 tbsp soya sauce

and whisk it all together until it is well blended, with no lumps. Heat the mixture on low heat, stirring very often until it begins to thicken and bubble. Allow it to bubble approx. 45 seconds, and remove from heat.

Then, stir in:
1 tbsp mustard (I used dijon)
1 tbsp margarine

Went over huge with my old man and myself. I think I'll use cumin more, I really enjoyed the flavour and the smell. One fun thing about the transition to veganism - all the new spices to learn and try.

For dessert I made some cupcakes...

Apr 5, 2008

Fruit Salad: EXPOSED

While grocery shopping this aft, I picked up one of those pre-made fruit salads at the grocery store to munch on back at the ranch. It looked great - pineapple, strawberries, blueberries - that's serious num factor. Right?


My friends, the time has come to demand honesty in packaging, and that means the end of the term "fruit salad".

After eating the pineapple and the strawberries, which ended up being literally one piece of pineapple and one strawberry cut into 6 shuriken-thin slices, what was left? Why, what's always left! FUCKING MELONS.

If you like melons, you will like this salad. If, like me, you find the taste of melons similar to the taste of feet, you have been ripped off again by the fruit salad ILLUMINATI.

Yes, melons technically qualify as fruit. Everyone knows this; everyone knows. But to me, "fruit" is plural. That means "many fruits". That means "the U.N. of light salads".

That does not mean "this salad is made entirely of melons with two pieces of fruit that actually taste pleasant spread out on top to fool you into purchasing it."

I checked the bottom and I saw the melons and I, like many melon-loathers before me, sighed and resigned myself, but dudes...dudes. Look at that salad. Look at that orphaned, isolated blueberry.

That is a melon salad.
That should be labeled "Melon Salad With Melancholy Blueberry".
That should be named "Lie Salad".

Wernher von Braun, Little Green Men, and some great psykobilly music

I am a huge fan of Lehrer's, and I recommend you check out this amazing satirist - quite ahead of his time.

Von Braun was a Nazi scientist who came to work for the Americans, helping to eventually perfect the atom bomb. And the atom bomb is pretty much what began, well, the Atomic Age!

A lot of the aesthetic of the 50's is centred around "space". And a big part of the draw for me to the retro aesthetic (long before discovering amazing things like Dr. Chud) was the flowing art of Brave Spacemen and Little Green Men, and their wildly creative gadgets.

I'm running around today taking pictures of all my "space stuff". After dinner tonight I'll have a new recipe and some pics. I hate when people post "I'M GONNA POST STUFF LATER KK" but I wanted to break it up into a few posts so you're not like, whoa, that's a lotta post.

And thanks to The Stylish Vegan for linking me on his blogroll! What a prince!

Apr 2, 2008

Pasta-Free Tofu Lasagna

Was expecting La Liz and her lovely man over for my first fancy dinner in the new pad. The second (I mean the second) this thing went in the oven, she called up sick with a migraine. Ah well.

But, the lasagna must still be eaten. I took the recipe from one of the net's great vegan resources (and another "Eat To Live"-er), Fat Free Vegan.

The prep was a lot easier than I thought - whipped the whole thing up in like, 15 minutes - but here's a truth I'll tell you and I don't care who disagrees. Slicing zucchinis lengthwise into 1/4" slices SUCKS. I mean on the Monsanto level of sucking. You get the first 3 or 4 ok, then the zucchini starts saying "No, no, I refuse to participate in this wanton display of nose-thumbing to the pasta industry" and you slip, slip, slip and end up with 400 little wee thin pieces of zucchini. BUT HEY it's edible and serves the purpose. But yeah. Watch out for that.

It was frickin' delicious. Huge, too. There was a LOT of liquid in the bottom of the pan when I scooped out our servings, and I'm thinking maybe I should have pressed the tofu, but the recipe didn't say to do that so I declare myself an innocent victim!

My music - the old stuff

So way back in the hallowed 90's I was the lead singer of a band called Mojo Engine.
I spent a lot of time gigging, smiling, and feeling hopeful.
Unfortunately we broke up, as bands always do, and after a long time (uh..lessee..ten years?) I have been teaching myself to make music at home, with software and shit.
I can't play an instrument. I have tried, believe me. But my brain just don't work that way.

Feel free to have a listen and try not to laugh out loud!

Healing Heart Designs - Cruelty-Free Clothing with a punk-ass edge

Healing Heart Designs has an Etsy store that makes me wet my pants. Everything is handmade, 100% cruelty-free, Canadian-owned-and-operated, and extremely original. I've met Becca a few times and she's very awesome (and extremely creative, so go check it out!)

Vegan Etsy in general is a lovely resource. I get sick of triple-checking things I buy (remember, I'm still new to this!) and it's great to support other vegans too - especially people brave enough to strike out a living in what is still a niche field.

Go Healing Heart and go new friend!

Apr 1, 2008

Five Dumbest Questions To Ask A Vegan

From The Stylish Vegan - The Five Dumbest Things To Ask a Vegan

I won't just repost to look like I'm awesome, click that sucker and go have a good laugh.

This one I will repost though, because it killed me:

Q: If everyone just stopped eating meat, what would happen to all the cows? They’re only here to be eaten.

A: They’d probably make kick-ass pets. And just think how happy they’d be knowing no one’s going to torture them or take their children away or kill them after driving them in packed metal trucks through scorching heat. Oh and the wonder of walking Elsie through the neighborhood on her designer collar and leash. Paradise, I tell ya, paradise.

Right the fuck on.

Now that's a god damn wedding cake, amigos.

Yes, Virginia, there is vegan fondant!
This'll make the in-laws happy, I bet.

There ARE TOO vegan zombies!

I have always wondered if zombies poop. They eat constantly - even if their digestive systems are null and void, all that food has to go somewhere, or else their stomachs (already decomposing) would just explode, like the cows in Diablo 2.
Yet if zombies poop, would they then eat the poop as it was undigested human flesh, which they crave constantly? Could a zombie be kept in captivity using this eat/poop method?

Tofu, The Vegan Zombie over here is pretty much the Restaurant At The End Of The Universe of zombie stuff. And he's so cute!