Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Vegan lasagna!

Lasagna is heaven! Over the years I've created many different vegan fillings, with checkered success--from a humorously bad and gluey potato-based filling (circa 2002) to the vegan ricotta Ben and I worship. I've perfected the latter over the last few years, and it is so very convincing and delicious. (The former will not and should not ever be prepared again, by anyone.)

Vegan Ricotta

1 onion
4 cloves garlic
2 T olive oil
1/2 t basil
1/2 t oregano
1/2 block of tofu (not silken)
1 block of Follow Your Heart vegan mozzerella
1/4 c. nutritional yeast
1 t. sea salt

Finely chop the onion and garlic, then saute it the olive oil until the onions are transparent, about five minutes. Add the basil and oregano after about two minutes. In the meantime, puree the tofu, mozzerella, nutritional yeast, and salt in food processor. Transfer the sauteed onion mixture to the food processor bowl and pulse a few times to combine all ingredients.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Mary Ann Evans in a bubble-mailer

This week, a good friend (known
on the webs as Junknitter) sent
me a sort of care package. It
contained a biography of Mary Ann
Evans, the Victorian novelist who
used the male nom de plume
George Eliot to help ensure that her work would
be taken seriously. Thank you, Junknitter!

Flipbook & gingerbread muffins

These glazed gingerbread muffins are perfect for breakfast with some good coffee, so I hope a couple of them will survive until morning. See, I've been snacking on them all afternoon while working on a flipbook for my animation class. (If the time required to make a simple black and white flipbook is any indication, I am really in for it this semester. But I don't mind being in for it.)

Monday, January 21, 2008

I wonder what Aimee & Ben had for dinner last night...

If this question carries you to your computer each
morning, you will not be disappointed this day.
Last night Ben dreamed up this deluxe version
of meat and potatoes (read: tofu and potatoes).
There was a hefty mashed potato crepe, curried
and fried; sauteed broccoli, carrots, squash, and
balsamic onions; and spicy tofu.

Oh, and I forgot to show you these chewy, delicious chocolate chip cookies we made a couple nights ago when there was absolutely nothing dessert-worthy in the house:

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Typing keeps our hands warm

Today's high temperature in Minneapolis was
negative 2 degrees. That was the high, people!

Ben and I did leave the house tonight, though, to
see a long-awaited production of Ibsen's Peer Gynt.
We drank coffee in the Guthrie's cafe before the
show, behaving as though we actually belonged
there. In actuality, we bought these season tickets before realizing how little money we would be living on this year, and in truth I think we both feel a little funny about enjoying such a nice night out every six weeks or so. Still, it was neat to see a dramatic work that is so rarely performed in English; Ibsen wrote the play in verse, and there was no English-language version that actually retained the rhymes--until recently when the job was tackled by the Unstoppable Translation Machine that is Robert Bly. (He's the fellow who, with Coleman Barks, is largely responsible for bringing the poetry of Rumi to an English-reading audience. He's also intimately associated, for better or worse, with the Mythopoetic Men's Movement.)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Bear hug

Ben and I successfully entertained ourselves for free again this weekend, this time at the natural history museum. After we separated ourselves from some noisy Boy Scouts who were really amped about dioramas, we found the See'n'Touch room. That's where Ben got his picture taken with a taxidermied grizzly bear!

Back-to-school falafel

Falafel makes for so very satisfying a lunch. I love taking it to school with some olives, tiny tomatoes, clover sprouts, and, if life has been particularly generous, some roasted eggplant dip. And some bread--I like pumpernickel. Here are the falafel I made over the weekend, frying happily in their enormous pan. Once I figured out that you have to put some flour in the falafel mixture as a binder (I opted for chickpea flour), this recipe took a turn for the better. They turned out a little dense, but flavorful and nice. P.S. What is a falafel? It's a little patty made of pureed garbanzo beans, sesame paste, and all the best spices. A few of those wrapped up in a pita with some lettuce and tomato is also called a falafel. Anyway, c'est delicieux.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Bye, bye chai

This cardamom cake with chai frosting is already ancient history (we baked it Thursday and ate it Friday!), but I'm sharing the photo anyhow. You can make the fluffy chai frosting by whipping together half a stick of soy margarine, a little (like, 2 T) shortening, a cup or two of powdered sugar, and a scant 1/4 tsp each ground fennel, cardamom, cloves, ginger, and cinnamon. Drip some soy milk in there if it's too dry.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Chocolate-banana cupcakes
instead of dinner

Ben and I spent our Saturday baking, watching the Seahawks (Ben), and knitting (me). We also joined forces to eat too many of these vegan banana cupcakes with chocolate frosting. You should make them tonight instead of spaghetti!

For the cupcakes:
1 banana, mashed
1 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. canola oil
2 c. flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
scant tsp. baking powder
dash of sea salt
1/2 c. (or less) soy milk

For the frosting:
1 1/2 T. soy margarine (you know that capital T means tablespoon, right?)
3/4 c. dark chocolate chips
3 T. soy milk

Mix together the banana, sugar, and oil. Add the flour, soda, powder, and salt, combining with as few strokes as possible. Add the soy milk little by little until it looks like cake batter--not too dry. (Sorry, that's the best I can do. Hopefully you can recognize nice cake batter when you see it, sweet pals.)

Using two cupcake pans, fill each compartment halfway (filling them all the way yields something more muffin-shaped--still delicious, but harder to frost well) and bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes, or until one of the cupcakes feels springy to the touch.

Make the frosting right before you're going to use it, because this isn't the light, fluffy Magnolia Bakery-style frosting that's full of shortening. No, it is the heavier, fudge-ier, practically-have-to-pour-it-on kind of frosting. To make it, melt the margarine and chocolate chips together. Add the soy milk little by little, not necessarily using all of it if the frosting starts to look thin. When the cupcakes are cool, frost them with a little spatula.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Our good friend Becca came all the way from Wisconsin to stay with us and bake cookies. We spent a lot of time listening to the New Hampshire primary results (which were pretty inspiring) and lingering at the art museum.

Our old yellow dog, pictured below, was as sorry to see her go as Ben and I were.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Toddler wears hat

My dear friends Jenifer and Greg have a small son, and that son has a wool hat (knit by me). Stay warm, bro!

Free, feathered entertainment

Always looking for fun events that can accommodate our monthly entertainment budget of zero dollars (actually, that figure isn't exactly right, since we have privately--and not begrudgingly--agreed to give $17 to NetFlix every month for the rest of our lives), Ben and I spent Sunday afternoon at St. Paul's raptor center. Ben already knows everything there is to know about birds, as far as I can tell, but he still had fun. And I learned a few things about birdies, and took this cool photo.

Isn't this great horned owl a gorgeous boy? Or maybe it was a girl. Either way, those cute tufts aren't its ears.

Better than just loafing around...

This week I made ciabatta bread for the first time! It didn't turn out as chewy as I wanted, but still wonderful! At "yeast" it tasted nice (ha!).

And this weekend Ben made one of my favorite desserts, his delicious crumb cake.

Friday, January 04, 2008


Since we're already kind of moody about a) the flaws of the early primary system and b) the results of last night's Iowa caucus, why not tunnel further into despondency by taking down the Christmas tree and making new year's resolutions?

They might not be as far-reaching as my husbeau's pledge "to stay awesome" in 2008, but here are mine:

To scream and swear less when I bump my head, break a dish, burn the banana bread, or accidentally drop a bag of garbage all over the just-mopped floor (all events that have occurred in the last ten days and that are very, very common in my life).

To really try not to be such a klutz. No kidding, I injure myself or break something or burn stuff in the oven almost every single day. I'm irritated by these accidents (because what am I, a gangly thirteen-year-old?) and also by the childish overreactions to them that my gentle husband has to endure.

To print a new issue of my little zine.

To stay awesome.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Frivolous, fun

Allow me to apologize for knitting a cosy for my iPod Touch when a shameful war is raging and
African children are dying in church fires. But this iPod thing is the only cutting-edge device I've ever owned and I'm constantly terrified of breaking it, especially since it provides me the great pleasure of listening to BBC podcasts eleven hours a day.

I made what is basically a tiny sleeping bag for the iPod, appropriating a slip-stitch pattern that, due to its thickness, is also nice for pot holders and Russian hats. Slip-stitch creates a great cushion, perfect for encasing a device that I am likely to drop on the ground frequently.

It's green wool, but is lined with a shiny, smooth peach yarn. There's a hole for the headphones, and another for the on/off button!