Sunday, January 31, 2010

My first month as a university grad resulted in...

... lots of reading, cooking, and job-searching, but apparently I haven't been blogging enough. My conclusion is the following: I need to either blog more or cook less, because I am left with an impressive amount of photographs of food, yet I fear leaving you all with an onslaught of pictures. I hope you'll bear with me and enjoy the food porn, as well as the requisite silly photos of myself and loved ones accompanying said food porn.

So what has happened in the past month? Well, I attempted a recovery from holiday overindulgence, first. I did not bake for a good two weeks, not because I didn't want to but because I actually couldn't bring myself to: I had no desire to eat sweets (sacrilege!). Also, just before the holidays began, I started a 30-day ReNew Life Digestive Cleanse to help keep me somewhat on track, physically, during the holidays, and I finished it mid-January. That's around when I got my desire to bake back. (Did you notice the absence, aside from the cinnamon rolls, of baked goods in my previous blog post?)

Mid-January--the 15th, to be exact--is when Matt and I started dating three years ago. To celebrate our anniversary, we went to our favourite vegan restaurant in Montreal, Aux Vivres, and ordered all of our favourites, including one dessert each; no, no, we are by no means one of those cutesy couples who shares a single dessert. We are vegan beasts who have the primal urge to devour entire pieces of cake that we encounter along our path, sharing with no one. Want proof?

This is my angry beast face. You'll notice that in the bottom left corner there is Matt's piece of cake that I didn't want. (It's nowhere near me.) Meanwhile, below is the source of my rage:

That's mine! And he's eating it! Growwwwllll... But it's very easy to appease the beast:

Give her her friggin chipotle brownie!

Yes, Matt did take a few more bites (I do have one or two generous bones in me when it comes to dessert), but the rest was mine, all mine! Other notable dishes from Aux Vivres are below, but you'll have to excuse my bad habit of taking photos of food only when they're half or two-thirds eaten. 

Here's a pretty big mess on Matt's plate, with chili cheese fries in the foregound and the last chapati with veggie butter in the wooden bowl.

My glorious Mekong in a chapati. This bugger is so big that I eat only half for my meal and the other half gets to come home with me to face its fate later. That's a big slab of grilled tofu in the middle, with lettuce (sometimes a bit too much), daikon, carrots, and beautiful sauce, though they skimped on it a little this time.

I know, I know: tea with meals is naughty because it reduces absorption of minerals, but I couldn't resist trying the yerba maté. In the background, you can behold half of Matt's sandwich, which is veggie pâté with sprouts, iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, and veggie mayo (I believe--I've never had it).

Matt's dessert, which I admit is absolutely delicious, but I prefer the chipotle brownie to it, so that's why I leave this gooey, creamy chocolate decadence to him. This is banana-chocolate pie, by the way.

The vegan attacks!!!!!!!!!!!

A vegan in her natural habitat before pouncing...


So that was it for our anniversary dinner. We spent the rest of the evening watching True Blood episodes because I just recently got into it after a fabulous friend of ours, one Marc, gave us the Sookie Stackhouse series, upon which True Blood is based, by Charlaine Harris for Christmas. I have only 100 pages left in book four!

Other than our anniversary dinner, I've been living the life of a, how should I say it politely--let's say I've been working only on weekends, and cooking, working out, hanging out with friends, and reading at home in my pyjamas during the week. Yes, this is what has become of my life as a non-student. I've been applying for writing, proofreading, and translation jobs left and right but I have yet to hear a response. But I'll spare you all the whining and just show you the rest of my culinary adventures. I will be posting again soon because I have ten recipes or so to test for the lovely and talented Happy Herbivore, so please stay tuned, and thanks for sticking around.


Bryanna Clark Grogan's recipe for pizza dough (for which I upped the whole-wheat content just a tad) from Nonna's Italian Kitchen, with my own toppings: arugula, broccoli, orange bell peppers, a bit of tomato sauce, olive oil, and my best friend, Daiya.

I can't tell whether he's posing for the photo or guarding the pizza....

This is a dish that will be in Happy Herbivore's upcoming cookbook. It's for something based on a meal called chicken and dumplings that I'd never heard of before. Frankly, I don't care what the original tastes like, because this is one of the greatest and creative meals I've ever had. Thank you, Lindsay!

Here's a nice close-up, but I apologize for the ominous shadows that lurk in the bottom left corners of some of my photos. I clearly am not a photographer (but will accept any advice I can get).

A pakora from Pushap and Happy Herbivore's Moong Dal, for her upcoming cookbook. When you make this, don't be surprised when family members, friends, and neighbours appear in your kitchen: this meal offers an enticing aroma.

The salad that accompanied the moong dal and the pakora, drizzled with vegan butter from Aux Vivres (every time we go, we stock up and put it on, well, pretty much everything)

Another genius recipe by Happy Herbivore for the cookbook: Egg-Nog French Toast. This is serious stuff.

Kale replaces spinach effortlessly in spanakopita. This recipe by Robin Roberston is really easy to make, and it's delicious. I added some Cheezly that was in my fridge to the tofu mix, and it offered just a touch of melty goodness. This is great for making on a Sunday afternoon so that it stands in as a quick meal for the rest of the week.

This recipe from Vegetarian Times arrived in my inbox serendipitously the day I was wondering what to do with the Brussel sprouts in my fridge, which were slowly floating towards the light. Like the spanakopita above, this is another easy dish to prepare at the beginning of the week for later meals.

And might I say that they go very well together?

Vegan Dad seems to like Brussel sprouts, too, so I used the rest of the my excess Brussel sprouts in his fabulous, hearty, comforting, and warm Roasted Vegetable Ragout. I served it atop whole-wheat penne.

My first-ever batch of snickerdoodles :) (How can you not smile when you say that word?) This recipe is by Lauren Ulm, the lovely lady behind Vegan YumYum. I was delighted by the taste of these cookies and I absolutely will make them again. 

Vegetable Ragout served atop whole-wheat penne. But watch out! A Wonky Tonk lurks!

Ok, stop what you're doing. No, no, I'm serious. Take your hand off the mouse--wait, no. Click here. Then, go to your kitchen and get out all of the ingredients. Preheat your oven, and please, just make yourself this batch of brownies. Fran Costigan is the mage behind this recipe, and I think I have to say that this is the best brownie recipe I have ever tried. It's exactly as I would have my brownie: moist and fudgy. I'm not a fan of brownies that taste more like cake than what I just described. Feel free to send more recipes my way to challenge this one--who am I to refuse brownies?! Plus, you don't even have to feel guilty when you eat this. Just take a gander at the ingredient list and you'll see exactly why. Heck, just behold the photo below and guilt might not even cross your mind.

See? Pure decadence. Also, these refrigerate wonderfully, as she indicates in the recipe. I always confuse prunes with dates, so I made date purée for this even though it called for prunes, and I wouldn't have it any other way. One last thing: the ganache can absolutely be omitted since these are very rich... but I wouldn't recommend it ;)

And because I can't leave well enough alone, I insisted that my sister take a photo of me smothering chocolate on my lips. For the record, I totally had one brownie a day for four days straight. No joke.

And in an attempt to finish somewhat elegantly, here is the sunrise at my bedroom window one morning. Perhaps it is symbolic to end this post that relates a bit about my confusion and fright at starting the year and my life as a university graduate with a clean slate. Let us see what the new year brings. For now, I will enjoy the present.

Lots of love, and thanks for reading,

Vegan in Suburbia


Deleilan said...

All those photos of delicious-looking food has me drooling! And I've decided I simply must go to Aux Vivres at some point...

Mihl said...

Wow, you really bake and cook a lot! Thank you for the link to that brownie recipe. To be honest, I also had my fair share of brownies this week. Time to try another version ;)

Fran Costigan said...

Wow, thanks for the great post and pictures of the brownies in my book. I LOVE brownies and worked hard (think years) to find my holy grail of.. The date puree is a great idea and I'm going to try that. I use date puree in my raw 'brownie'. Keep making, baking and posting!


Carrie™ said...

I have TONS of food pictures saved as well. I quite enjoyed the porn. Your restaurant dinner looks soooo delicious! The chocolate cake (and the one near the end with the frosting) = yum!
I still have yet to find Daiya. If you can get it in Montréal, then I'm going to start looking. I didn't know it was in Canada yet. Where did you find it?

Natalie said...

Love all the food pics. You make me want to go to Aux Vivres. The pizza looks really good.

I get my Daiya online from Viva Granola.

Babette said...

What a great post! Don't worry about posting too many photos. The more the merrier!
I love Aux Vivres and really enjoyed those pictures. Their brownies are amazing. My favorite sandwich there is the BLT, and their pies are amazing too.
Your pizza looked great.
In which Robin Robertson book did you find the spanakopita recipe?

Kris said...

Thank you all for such kind comments. I'm glad that you managed to sift through the longest post ever!

Deleilan, I'm glad that you have come to that decision! A pilgrimage to Aux Vivres is very much encouraged.

Mihl, it is my pleasure, but it is the fine lady just below you whom should be thanked :) I'm sure you will LOVE the recipe.

Fran, thank you so much for taking a look at my blog. One day I will get my prunes and dates straight! And I daresay that your recipe truly is the holy grail of brownie recipes. Thank you for providing us with it!

Carrie, thanks for your visit. Well, a simple purely photographic blog post is always welcome, I am sure. Those photos need an outlet, and I would be happy to view them :) Like Natalie said, Daiya can be purchased at If you order it now, chances are you'll get your shipment by Tuesday!

Natalie, thank you :) Have you been to Aux Vivres before?

Babette, always a pleasure to have you swing by. You know what, I have yet to try the BLT though I hear nothing but good things about it. Old habits die so very hard--I'll have to let go of my attachment to the Mekong for just one night! Oops, I forgot to include the book: I got the spanakopita recipe from Vegan Planet. Both recipes for spanakopita that I make come from there.

All the best to you all!

Afsoon said...

Holy Moley! All this food porn isn't doing me any justice, especially since I'm on day two of the master cleanse. The chipotle brownie sounds AMAZING!

christy said...

This post is like a food orgasm! Yum! You might have to be a tester for my cookbook :)

Hannah said...

Now that's a slab of brownie up there! Ah, everything looks delicious though... Amazing stuff!

Kris said...

@Afsoon: Thank you :) Are you done your cleanse yet? If not, how is it going? Best of luck to you, and I hope you choose something very special to indulge in once your cleanse is over (and I know that my prayers for that something special are in vain). ;)

@christy: Thank you! I tried clicking on your name to get to your page, but for some reason (yeah right--I'm using Windows Vista and IE at work here. It's no wonder I'm having issues!) I can't get to your page. Nevertheless, I would totally LOVE to be a tester :) What kind of cookbook are you preparing? Know that I specialize in editing and translation, in case you need any help. :)

@Hannah: Ha ha, what was I thinking, saying I was cutting myself a "piece" of brownie? Slab is indeed the right word. Thanks for your visit :)

christy said...

Check out my blog All the info is there. Let's def talk soon when I need testers. Thanks!