Dec 5, 2009

The real thanks is from the turkeys that didn't die

Canadian Thanksgiving is in October, so it's extremely sad that I've been so bloody lazy about updating this with my Thanksgiving menu. On the plus side, I totally have the jump on everyone else for next year. So uh, yeah! Suck it, schedulistas!

I made a pumpkin curry last year or so that drew such rave reviews from my friend Manjari that I was intimidated to make it again. Partly because when I made it the first time, I was skint on a lot of the ingredients and cowgirled the recipe a bit - so of course, being a total genius, I didn't note my changes and couldn't remember any of them. I love cooking, guys. I love it more than almost anything. And as a result I frequently just close my eyes and grab what looks good and cook on instinct. These usually end up being my best dishes, but I can never make them again.

The pumpkin citrus curry recipe here is the base recipe, and I would really like to make it properly sometime since it's been such a versatile base for experimentation. But for purposes of this blog, I'll stick with what I did.

The full menu was simple:

Pumpkin-Citrus Curry
Sweet Southern Cornbread in a mini-bundt pan
Banana Chai-Maple cake

and a great willingness to experiment!

There was to be a vegan Thanksgiving gathering at my occasional Spankhaus contributor Allison's place the next day and I thought I'd make an empanada pastry dough and stuff them with the curry once it had reduced overnight, but the empanadas were just not to be. I went through two batches and gave up. This curry is more of a stew than a thick cassoulade, so govern yourselves accordingly.

The recipe:
* 1/2 small pumpkin
* 1 small yam, peeled and cubed
* 1-2 medium carrots, cut into thick slices
* 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into bite-size pieces
* 1 cup cherry tomatoes
* 1/2 can chick peas, drained
* 2 Tbsp. grated orange rind

* 3-4 cloves garlic
* 1-2 fresh red chillies
* 1 can coconut milk
* 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
* 2+1/2 Tbsp. Tamari soy sauce
* 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
* juice of 1/2 lemon
* juice of 1 medium orange
* 1/2 tsp. turmeric
* 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
* 1 Tbsp. coriander, 1 Tbsp. ground cumin, and 1 tsp. Thai red curry paste
* 1/3 purple onion, sliced

The curry paste gets done first, in a blender if you have one. I'm a firm believer in not making things ore complicated than they have to be. So I Osterized the SHIT out of that curry paste! Throw everything under "Curry" in the blender and gogogo

The pumpkin...oh my. I'm not one to admit when I'm daunted, but godDAMN this took a really long time to peel, core, and cut. About an hour. And oh were my pretty fingers cut up and sore by the end! Fun fact guys, a paring knife, while great for detail work, is a STUPID THING TO USE ON A HUGE GOURD. I honestly recommend making this with either a stupid friend or an intelligent child. Stupid enough to do this part for you, intelligent enough not to cut themselves open doing it.

The rest is pretty easy - chop your remaining vegetables, and throw the pumpkin, yam, and carrots in a saucepan or big wok and add the curry sauce. Medium-high. When it starts to boil, turn down the heat to medium, stir, and simmer for 8 minutes, or until everything has softened. Then add the bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, chick peas, and orange rind, and simmer for 2 more minutes.

I served this over the cornbread bundts. I thought the little recessed pool at the top of the bundts would make a nice place for the juices to collect, and the sweetness was a nice touch with the citrus notes in the curry. I'M FANCY!

The cornbundts, as I insist on calling them, were a simple recipe from the PPK and all I added was a sprinkling of demerara on top so they would have a glossy, sweet finish, and the bundt pan shape. Thanks, Honest Ed's, for these little pans. Recipe's here, I won't take credit for it.

The cake was a lie. It was terrible. Word of advice: if you're subbing bananas for a binder already, and you make your baked good with whole wheat flour, it will come out like something you'd expect to find in the Metamucil Holiday Cookbook. Lesson learned. Vegan baking, still a lot to learn!

To honour one thing I am thankful for - excellent art - I'd like to leave this here. Tom Robbins talks about the yam a great deal in one of my favourite books, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, and I appreciate them greatly. But there is a different quotation I'd like to leave you with today. Remember what you're thankful for, but...

"Any half-awake materialist well knows - that which you hold, holds you."

Let us appreciate the yam

Nov 22, 2009

Blue, but not blue

am i blue, originally uploaded by veganbilly.

I'm coming back, don't worry. Things are finally looking up, so I present you this picture of me...looking up. This here is a literal blog.

Feb 24, 2009

What is Twitter for? The Oscars, duh.

I'm an Oscar fan. I don't usually go to the movies in theatres (tough to say "Yes" to a gallon of diet soda when I know my bladder is the size of a pixel). Ever since I missed the part of "The Sixth Sense" where you find out Bruce Willis is dead (spoiler!) because I HAD to run to the bathroom, I avoid beverages at the theatre, and there are no vegan food options worth perusing (at least not for seven bucks.) So the Oscars are my cheapass way to see all the big movies of the last year, in easily-digestible clip form. I ain't never said I was no cultural scion and shit.

Twitter is my new favourite web-thingy because a) I don't have to be funny for more than 140 characters and b) famous people use it and most of the ones I like actually interact with their fans. So when one of my favourite comedian-type-creatures, Paul F. Tompkins (from Mr. Show and "best Week Ever") announced he would live-twit the Oscars I grabbed my laptop and settled in for a WEB TWO POINT OH Oscarstravaganza. And it did not disappoint.

Other famous funny dudes: the phenomenal Bill Corbett (MST3K, and now RiffTrax), actor and comedian Kevin Pollak (perhaps you have seen a film in the last fifteen years?) and John Hodgman (hobo expert) tweeting the shit out of the Oscars. When the show got boring, the tweets would sustain, and when the tweets were boring, the show was ridiculous. Same thing happened on election night, and I am sure it will continue on for more big ol' events to come.

My old man posted a collection of his Oscar tweets and I enjoyed it so much I decided to copy him and do the same. So here you go: low effort, high content, THE MUSICAL IS BACK, etc.

7:57 Hurry up and start happening, Oscars, I can't watch ryan seacrest awkwardly avoid Brangelina for much longer!

8:03 make it work, tim gunn

8:31 Was Defamer right about nudity and champers? Let's see

8:33 australia, australia, australia, australia, we love you, amen

8:39 ok hugh jackman you have convinced me you aren't gay.

8:45 Best Actress Council of Elders: So when do they come together to form Voltron?
And retweet from (John) @hodgman Are all the stars deciding if whoopi gets sent to the Phantom Zone?

9:25 Calling BULLSHIT on that makeup Oscar. Hellboy 2 deserved that, all of BB was fucking CGI, not makeup! Robbed


9:53 Is Beyonce legally required to sing "At Last" at every televised event now?
9:58 OMG Baz arranged that?? Wow. Wow. I'm surprised and deeply disappointed.

10:02 Just noticed the #1 search on google right now: "hugh jackman wife?"
10:06 Robert Downey Jr vs Cuba Gooding Jr
10:07 here comes heath's oscar
10:23 Look Jackman don't blame Truffaut for these Oscars

10:36 did he just say my sister Sally and my son Coolio?
10:37 i wish my son was named Coolio

10:43 lol this Joe Satriani song (OH OOPS I MEAN COLDPLAY SONG)

10:46 Jerry Lewis:"A woman doing comedy, I, as a viewer, have trouble with it.I think of her as a producing machine that brings babies in the world."

PS: That's an actual, shortened for Twitter, quote from humanitarian Jerry Lewis, folks. The full quotation is "I don't like any female comedians. A woman doing comedy doesn't offend me, but sets me back a bit. I, as a viewer, have trouble with it. I think of her as a producing machine that brings babies in the world."

10:56 so peter gabriel pulled out of this because he couldn't do the whole song. yet...doesn't it seem that he's here as we watch this perf?
10:57 I'm in love with Angry Johnny!

11:12 Voted Paul Newman as last in montage
11:13 winnar
11:26 why no george carlin in the death reel? heh, like to think it's because he wouldn't have wanted to be in it

11:28 Oscars of Eastwick
11:31 Holy shit Nicole Kidman can move her forehead! YAY, motherhood has un-golemed Kidman!
11:32 Kate Winslet's dad with the Saint of Killers hat ahaha
11:35 Yeah Meryl, suck it!

11:36 SEAN PENN VS MICKEY ROURKE: with these two mumblers? "There Will Be Fudd"
11:46 Glad he acknowleged the protestors and called em out
11:47 sean penn, i had no idea you were so classy, but did i miss when you thanked princess buttercup?

At this point I gave up because it was late and other people were much more entertaining. I guess what I'm trying to say here is that I love Twitter for live nationwide events. And that @hodgman, @pftompkins, @BillCorbett and @kevinpollak are a lot better at this than I am.

Web 2.0 more like Web 2. NO amirite folks

Feb 15, 2009

Rocket Throbbin' Hood

Made my 1st ever video: a bunch of clips of Rocket Robin Hood set to "The Love God" by Martinibomb - sort of TKK-style porno music, fantastic stuff. I call it "Rocket Throbbin' Hood."

Brian helped me lots! Thank you honey ~.0



HELLO FRIENDS, originally uploaded by veganbilly.

Turned 31 on Groundhog Day. Miraculously still in full possession of all my faculties.

I don't think I will be blogging so much about food anymore. I've developed kind of a...well...obsession with it. Being more aware of what I eat and how to make it appealing and terrific is a good thing, but feeling like I shouldn't update my blog with anything but recipes & pictures of recipes means I update extremely infrequently, and I like this blog. I like updating it, and I like you guys rather a lot.

So tell me - will you still read if I blog about other stuff too?

Jan 14, 2009

Toronto & GTA people: Please take action

Please repost/twitter/facebook - keep the homeless from freezing.

In Toronto we have, as in all large cities, a homeless crisis. Twenty years without building new public housing (or, really, affordable housing) means that on days like today (-22 degrees Celsius) many of the homeless are freezing to death.

Street Helpline Service: 1-866-392-3777
**Please call if you see homeless/cold ppl - WE can get them shelter but need to know where they are 1st!

Store it in your cell phone so you can call when you are out without digging around!

The City has a service for the homeless and marginally housed. During cold snaps like today, these people because even more invisible since we are trying so hard to get out of the cold ourselves. Please, PLEASE, if you see homeless/obviously suffering with weather/mentally ill and not dressed for cold people, CALL THIS NUMBER AND LET THEM KNOW. They have a van, food, and the City has opened up almost 200 more shelter beds today.

It only takes a second, and you won't have to give any personal information. The City has supports in place but they need help from us citizens to tell them WHERE to send it!

I called Trinity-Spadina councillor Adam Vaughn's office this morning after he was on CP24 talking about this. CP24 didn't provide the number and I couldn't find it anywhere on the City's website. I spoke with Rebecca Hewitt in his office and she provided the number and encouraged me to spread the word. So please, if you have a social media website you use, or even just a memo you can tack up by the water cooler in your office, or ANYTHING - please spread the word. No one should freeze to death outside when this kind of support is available.

Thanks very much, stay warm, and remember the Golden Rule. Speaking as someone who used to be homeless, it is gratifying to see how much support is available and kind of a bummer to see how little the information is publicized. So I thought I'd help out.

1-866-392-3777 24 hours a day

And if you live outside Toronto, please consider calling YOUR city council and asking them what kind of help THEY have for these situations. Almost every major city has a Street Team and a similar setup. Why not get that number so you can help in your area too? Citizenship is a responsibility, not a right - and part of being a good citizen is watching out for ALL your fellow peoples. It feels good and SAVES LIVES. Thanks for reading this. Stay classy, readers. :)