Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A second bug

Bug number two, this time a bumblebee. I'll scream if you say
he reminds you of the Bee Girl from the Blind Melon video.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Ladybug, ladybug

A cute little digital illustration--the first in my bug series for the digital illustration class I'm taking.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Vegan apple crumble

Ben baked this wonderful thing over the holidays, and I've determined that it is more or less a crumble* with a bottom crust, distinct from his famous (famously delicious!) apple and peach cobblers. Don't even ask me how to make it, though. Ben is our household's President in Charge of Pies and Pie-Related Desserts (also, Cookies); I tend to focus on cakes, cupcakes, and Twinkie-shaped mini-cakes.

* And speaking of foods of British origin, I think you deserve a nice cup of tea and a sit down.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Vegan Ricans!

This food blog by a couple of native Puerto Ricans
is one of my new favorite things on the webs! I can't
wait to make some of those homemade vegan cheeses!

Sunday, January 18, 2009


This attempt at making a convincing vegan tuna salad involved TVP, vegan mayo, minced dill pickle, a bit of onion, and powdered kelp! Verdict: the homemade bread was good, as always, but the fake tuna just wasn't quite right. The TVP was still TVP; I was never able to suspend my disbelief. So the search continues. As for a good vegan chicken salad, don't even get me started! In Seattle I used to get truly perfect vegan chicken salad on pumpernickel from Vegete, and from Rainbow Grocery on Fifteenth (RIP). For three long years in Wisconsin and a year and a half in Minnesota, I've fantasized about those sandwiches and unsuccessfully tried to recreate them.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Bento surge - part two

More bento photos! And guess what, in coming months you might notice a cute new bento box hereabouts, 'cause my girl Jen sent me one of those cutie-poo Japanese bentos that I've been secretly wanting but could never justify purchasing (not when Ben and I each have one of these awesome Americanized bento boxes). This thing Jen sent is so fricking cute, though. It has bunnies speaking French! Its two oblong containers fit together and are held together with a cute stretchy band. And there are crazy-cute bento accessories, like dividers and tiny little cupcake papers! Anyway, I'm never going to go down this road, but do keep an eye out for a new, pink vehicle for eggplant pasta salad (actually, I think Ben and I are both tired of that salad, due to the jumbo batch I made last week).

Above: no-queso quesadillas, fresh tomatoes and salsa, banana bread, and yet more eggplant pasta salad from the never-ending foil-wrapped bowl.

Above: eggplant pasta salad, roasted tofu cubes, tangerine dream cupcake, roasted zucchini with sweet potato fries.

Above: curry piroshky, carrot and spinach salad with tangerine vinaigrette, vanilla-pecan cupcake, and roasted zucchini on rice.

Above: green salad with roasted potato and Balsamic vinaigrette, gingerbread mini-muffins, grapes, and curried potato-and-green-pea phyllo parcel.

Bento surge

Lots of bento to flaunt! This might be boring for you if you're not interested in the art of packing a lunch, but hold tight--more
knitting nonsense to come, I'm sure.

Above: coconut sticky rice with tofu, bake sale-style cupcake, carrot sticks, and orange slices.

Above: cilantro-cannelli dip, chocolate chip muffin, eggplant pasta salad, and homemade roll.

Above: eggplant pasta salad, curried potatoes with roasted red pepper, banana chocolate chip muffin, and green salad with basil vinaigrette.

Above: eggplant pasta salad (why did I make such a huge batch of that?), coconut sticky rice with sweet potato fries, banana bread, and roasted zucchini and onions.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

And it's certainly sweater weather
in Minnesota

For the first eight years of my knitting life, I had zero interest in knitting an adult-sized sweater, mostly because of the seeming foolishness of buying seven or eight skeins of expensive yarn when I can get virtually any sweater my heart desires for $6.50 at the Goodwill. I was happy and willing to knit child-sized sweaters for the kids of my friends, though; a certain cabled cardigan, toddler-sized, took me months to finish, and was both satisfying and ridiculously complicated. But an adult sweater? Why waste the time and the money?

Then I realized that I had about a dozen skeins of fluffy pink (oh, very pink) yarn in my stash. I'd gotten it for pennies at an estate sale in Madison, and there was no reason not to turn it into a sweater for myself... practically a free sweater, if one looks at it in the right light. So I got out the copy of Vintage Knits that I bought years ago, back when I wasn't a good enough knitter to actually make anything from that book. I flipped to a sweater pattern that looked attractive enough, and set to work over Christmas break. The sweater is very easy... much more straight-forward than the toddler-sized cabled cardigan. I'm following the pattern for shaping, but I've added length to the sleeves (to the whole thing, actually) and substituted my favorite "railroad rib" for the plain ribbing called for in the pattern.

I've spent hours of TV time on this sweater (that is, while watching Stargate and Lost), and at this point I'm done with the sleeves, the back, and half of the front. I hope to Christ it fits.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Whole wheat tartlet with
cilantro-cannellini dip

I've been saving up my bento photos for one big bento-pollooza post. I don't know why. This isn't that post, but it's a taste.

These whole-wheat tartlets are great for bento, and you can fill them with roasted veggies, savory salads, or (as I did here) dips. If you fill your tartlet with something very wet, like, say cilantro-cannellini dip, line the tartlet with a leaf of lettuce or spinach to avoid sogginess. No one likes a soggy tartlet.

Vegan whole-wheat tartlets

4 slices whole-wheat bread
3 T. olive oil
Optional: dried basil or other dried spice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Trim the crusts from the bread and save them for when you make vegan mini-meatloaves, then trim each slice of bread into a square. Flatten with a rolling pin and brush both sides of each slice with olive oil. Sprinkle a pinch of spice onto each slice, if using (I usually don't, but it can be nice depending on what you're going to fill the tartlets with). Press each slice into a compartment in your cupcake pan and press a small ball of aluminum foil into each tartlet. Bake 5-8 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool before taking out the foil and filling the tartlet.

Cilantro-cannellini dip

Generous c. cooked and rinsed cannellini beans
1/4 c. chopped cilantro
2 T. olive oil
sea salt to taste

In food processor combine all ingredients. Scrape sides and blend again. Chill.

Introducing the crock pot

Santa (i.e. Grandma Floy and Grandpa Dave) brought us a crock pot*, and I loooove it! What could be more satisfying than coming home, after a long day of school or work or both, to a hot, savory, and delicious meal that cooked itself? Chopping up some stuff and throwing it into the crock pot in the morning is all the work that's required. Because I can't get enough of the vegan burrito (or its variants, the vegan taco salad and the no-queso quesadilla), I've been using the crock pot to prepare spicy black bean fillings lately. A few cups of cooked beans and some chopped onions, diced yam, and hot sauce is all you really need. I throw some TVP in there, too. Then, in the evening, Ben and I bask in the splendor of vegan burritos with avocado, chopped fresh spinach, salsa, and nice tomatoes.

* I've observed with some disappointment that the term crock pot seems to have gone out of style, maybe because it's a trademark; now, slow cooker is favored. But I like the former, and how 1970s it is, like fondue pots, and ceramic popcorn bowls with "popcorn bowl" or "Rick and Sandy's popcorn bowl" painted on the side.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Tangerine dream cupcakes

Vegan tangerine dream cupcakes

1 c. unbleached flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 T. Ener-G egg replacer
1/2 c. sugar
dash of salt
scant 1/4 c. soy milk
1 1/2 T. fresh tangerine juice
scant 1/4 c. canola oil
1 1/2 T. plain soy yogurt
zest from 1 small tangerine

For the frosting
1 1/2 T. soy margarine
1 1/2 T. non-hydrogenated shortening
1 c. powdered sugar
1 1/2 T. tangerine juice (might need a little more)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Set aside. In mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, egg replacer, sugar, and salt. Mix well, then add the soy milk, tangerine juice, canola oil, yogurt, and extract. Combine, but don't over-stir. Oil cupcake pan if you aren't using papers, then fill each well slightly more than halfway. Bake for 13-18 minutes. Oven temps vary; take the pan out when a sharp knife inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. (Because thees cupcakes are so very fluffy and moist, the cupcakes may look less dry than your usual cupcakes. But if the knife comes out clean, they're done!) Allow to cool.

Combine frosting ingredients. Mix with electric mixer until fluffy. Apply generously with pastry bag, or slather on free-style with a butter knife.