I built a shed

Wanna talk rad? I built a shed this morning at an elementary school to house the instruments for an improvisational orchestra program. Then I went for Tibetan food!

The Parkdale neighbourhood is apparently home to the largest population of Tibetans outside of Tibet. The restaurant offerings are very meat/butter laden (as one would expect) but I found me a plate of vegetable momos which suited just fine. I’m a dumpling fan in general, and will be attempting to make my own tomorrow based on the recipe I found online here

 

We’re back to cold and rainy around these parts, and I’m back to being a napper, writer and lover. Tomorrow we have the fundraiser for the Love and Obsession Theatre Festival, which I’ll be producing a play of mine for. The funder will be a live staged version of the newlywed game and the dating game… with real newlyweds and singles participating!

leftovers

oh yes, hello breakfast.

Omni Dinner at mom’s was pretty good. Two kinds of quinoa to compensate for my apparent suffering of a lack of protein. It’s always funny at a big meal like that because you’re bound to find a meat eater who looks at your overflowing plate and feel bad that there’s nothing for you to eat. My sister adapted her recipes like a champ and while I had an aunt give me a bit of a grilling over “so why are you doing this again?”, the food was all delicious enough to keep any real complaints at bay. Turned out to be pretty healthy overall as well, since mom felt it was easier to cook the vegetables well and leave em naked rather than work out a vegan version of- whatever brand of fat and sugar normally goes into the thanksgiving side dishes.

So summery outside still, which is nice, because it means a few more rides on the back of a motorcycle before it gets put away into winter hibernation. And you know, I’m pretty thankful for all that I have, and everyone that comes with it.

Thanksgiving!

happy thanksgiving

Beautiful out today, just perfect for spending all my time slaving over a hot stove for my family.

I made:

  • blended cashew cheese dip thing with artichokes, onion and miso.
  • homemade hummus (chickpeas, tahini, lemon, garlic, olive oil and water)
  • raw vegetables for dipping and store bought pita
  • vegan sausage using this recipe as a starter cut up after cooling and sauteed with onion, garlic and spinach (thrown in at the end till just wilted)
  • mashed potatoes
  • roasted cauliflower
  • carrots
  • box stuffing
  • can of cran, with special care to make sure it plated holding its original ridged cylindrical shape
  • apple crisp
It was my first attempt with the sausage recipe and I forgot the tomato paste and employed a lot of whimsy with the spicing. I’m not that experienced with seitan style meats and have a fair bit of playing to do, though I came very near to hitting the right texture and I’m pretty happy about that. My niece is a  year and a half old and was the life of the party. We gave her some juice in a little shot glass, and it was just as cute as it was enabling her future drinking problem. Tomorrow is second Thanksgiving, an omnivore affair at my mom’s, with plenty of vegan options because she’s cool like that. She’ll be serving the leftover half can of cranberry sauce from today.

chili fries

you can get away with small snacks in the theatre, but don’t plan on bringing in like, chili fries.

I made chili last night:

with the stove on medium heat throw in one onion, one pepper, 3 cloves of garlic in olive oil. add chili powder and a whisper of cayenne. rinse kidney beans and toss into the pot followed after a few minutes by a can of diced tomatoes. add tvp and a bit of veg stock or quality beer. check the spice level, adjust as desired, with a grate of nutmeg. simmer on the stove until the cornbread’s done.

The cornbread was the skillet cornbread from Veganomicon. Didn’t rise the way I was hoping, and will try again but in the meantime will keep searching for the ultimate vegan cornbread recipe because a particular friend won’t pony up hers  (despite all promises)

Tonight’s dinner then was frozen fries from the grocery store, reheated chili and daiya. Chili Cheese Fries. Yes ma’am.

Haiku Thursday

double helping of/vegan cheesy toast on rye/best mistake ever

Lunch Date

Yeah, that’s the stuff. One of the good things about being quasi-employed (at best) is the availability for weekday shenanigans with the like-lifestyled.

A restaurant around here that has hit that small-chain institution level is called Fresh. Started out as a juicebar in 99 and now has a full menu of rice bowls and sandwiches served alongside wine and beer and their signature juices and smoothies. I rarely go, maybe once every year or two, but we were halfway to try Hot Beans in the market when my counterpart declared he was too starving to make it the last leg of the journey. We cut the trip short and needed to find something vegan friendly in the Annex, and Fresh is there. So, with a vague memory and knowledge of what we were in for, we ventured inside the packed restaurant.

They have weird menus- long and laminated, taking up the whole table, and only one per two top. I guess the idea is that you and your partner both look at it together. The special, listed up on the chalkboard, was a vegetarian banquet burger with tempeh bacon and vegan cheese which my friend promptly ordered. I remember being a fan of their rice/noodle bowls which combine tofus with vegetables in really interesting sauces. I liked them more when they were less expensive… sorry guys, I’m not paying $16 for a bowl of effing noodles no matter how awesome the miso gravy. The sandwiches are where it’s at, ten bones and they’re pretty hearty, which is important because they don’t come with anything other than a forkful of (quite delicious and more oil than vinegar) kale slaw. I had a little taste of the burger, I’m pretty picky about my veggie burgers, with a serious loathe on for the bread on a bun variety. This was of that school, though nicely spiced, like thanksgiving stuffing mushed together. My sandwich was salty and breaded deep fried tofu morsels amongst sprouts and carrots and all those other things you see on every giant veggie wrap everywhere. It was pretty yum.

The service was a little spotty, but kind of always has been. We ordered our food asking for a few more minutes to choose a beverage from their extensive list. The server never returned though so we were stuck upon arrival of our plates with our giant menu still in hand. The food runner asked if we needed condiments so we ordered our shake and juice from her. That juice was the biggest mistake of my day. I ordered the Detoxifier: Kale Spinach Parsley Celery and Apple and boy did it ever taste healthy. The apple juice kept separating to the bottom, like it didn’t want to be associated, leaving an algae like sludge on top. I tried stirring constantly while I sipped, I tried adding water, and abandoned the more-expensive-than-beer beverage a quarter of the way in because I just couldn’t punish myself any more. My friend did a little better with his Swoosh power shake. Peanut Butter, Dark Cocoa, Maple Syrup, Banana, Soymilk and Cinnamon is one delicious creamy combination. I’m so glad he saved me a sip to clear my palate at the end.

So yeah, it’ll probably be another year and a bit before I go to Fresh again. Some people love it though- and I guess it would be a good place to take your mom, or an omnivore looking for a safe venture out into the world of vegan food. Make sure you’re rich or they’re paying though, it’s kind of crazy expensive.

Harvey’s makes your hamburger

a reason to not bother cooking again.

Last night I got hit with a severe headache, aggravated by my neighbour’s bass practice and I was pretty laid up. Caught between that feeling that I can’t do anything and the feeling of being starving I figured I’d check out my fast food options for something in the neighbourhood of so simple I can’t even think about it.

Harvey’s is a chain that was one of, if not the first to put a veggie burger on the menu and keep it there. Their patty is soy based, vegan and very meat like. Their whole wheat bun does not appear to be vegan as the allergy guide has an egg product warning, though strangely there is nothing to indicate any egg product in the ingredient list. Regardless, a quick swap out of the bun for a roll at home and I was golden, well still hurty, but a golden hurty.

changes in the everyday

In an autumn full of wonderful sometimes it’s important to practice the easy meals that you can sustain past the mofo. Some days are perfect for elaborate dishes with multiple ingredients and time intensive preparation with calibrated instruments and tools. Other days, days like today, call for simple meals like lentils and rice, steamed snow peas and roasted cauliflower (350F for 45 minutes tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper).

I’m intending to use the overpriced supermarket adjacent to the park beside my house as little as possible this month. I’ve recently had an awakening of sorts about exactly how many of my dollars have been paying for a convenience that is lower in quality and higher in price then just about anywhere else. First market I’m trying is the next closest to my house, and lacks the selection of the supermarket and has no organic products as far as I can tell. Still, my vegetables and a big bag of almonds came in at around $6, and without the sacrifice of time that I’ll devote to investigating stores outside my neighbourhood in the future.

Sociable

Well I sang, I stripped and rolled into bed at around 8am after biking home in light rain with all my costumes and props perched and tethered to each other in and on my milk crate bike basket (this blog does fully condones the illegal use of milk crates for practical repurposes). Dang, haven’t seen that side of morning straight and sober since tenth grade.

What a great night. The Campbell House Citizens Band saw over 15, 000 visitors through the gate and singing along to the projected lyrics as we jammed it out in the pit. Lots of people gifting treats to each other that gave the evening a real friendly feel. One sucky thing about being vegan is having to politely say “no thank you” to random acts of cookies. This time, like an October miracle the baker replied “are you sure? they’re vegan” WHAT THE WHAT?!? She qualified – she did use granulated sugar. Up here the major brand of sugar (Redpath) doesn’t use bone char, so I didn’t grill her on the brand she uses. I figured at 3am outside in the chill it was vegan enough for me.

Today is pasta for breakfast with Esme Sauce. What’s Esme Sauce? A recipe from some hero over at the PPK. Tahini, Soy Sauce, Olive Oil, Miso, Nutritional Yeast and Lemon juice in equal parts. Pass me my  blanket, I’ve got some couch time to put in this aft.

black coffee no spoon

Vegan MoFo whaaaaat?

Today’s a busy day, Toronto has an all night art thing happening well, all night, and I’m involved with two of the many projects going on if you’re local and out and about. it’s called Nuit Blanche, translated to White Night – I’ll be part of a band playing singalong classic rock jams as part of the multimedia installation 1972-1976 at Campbell House and later on (5 and 7am) will be doing some comedic burlesque at Vaudeville Hotel which is aiming to break (it’s own) world record for the longest burlesque show ever. If you like fire, maker culture and interacting with giant things, friends of mine over at Site 3 will be showcasing their Heart Machine, where you can use touch sensors that will travel through the arteries and shoot 25 foot flames into the air.  http://www.scotiabanknuitblanche.ca/

But enough about me what’s this about food? This is my second MoFo, and I’m looking forward to cooking and eating and telling you all about it. It’s breakfast and it looks cold outside (just checked, we’re looking at 7 degrees celsius, Hello October) so I’m going to enjoy a mug of black coffee, and watch some TV on the internet until I’m motivated to start my homework.

Coffee is probably the only thing I’ve never considered quitting. Been hooked on the juice since I was fourteen. I took it with milk for the first ten years but never had the love for non-dairy creamer some people adore so. Plus it makes you look tough at diners and truck stops when you happen by. Black Coffee no spoon you can say, so they know you don’t take sugar. I like to say black as my soul and I’m sweet enough already.

 

 

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