Friday, November 14, 2008


a few weeks ago i discovered a trendy little coffee shop while i was milling around after work one day. it intimidated the heck out of me, i thought it was that cool. but one day i really needed to pee, so i went in and bought a coffee so i could use their bathroom. subconsciously it was an excuse to try their americano, which was good.

i went again a few weeks later with a co-worker. we met for coffee, but i had breakfast too. they do the trendy vancouver thing of having mostly organic, fair trade stuff. and some vegan options too (which is great, as my co-worker is vegan). i really love the decor - very simple, mostly white, and reminded me of what i loved about portland. its' a great little spot too. its right on the corner of main & kingsway, but not a 90 degree corner, a 45 degree corner. so kind of like a triangle - a rounded one. the two sides facing streets are basically large windows, so the lighting in there is incredible for photos. when its daylight. i wish i had pictures of the entire place, but as it was, it was a big enough step for me that i had the guts to take my camera out at all. cool, trendy places that i love are really intimidating for me.

here are a few pics of what i was brave enough to take pictures of:

Sunday, November 9, 2008

spinach artichoke asiago dip

a few weeks ago it suddenly occurred to me that i should attempt to make some sort of artichoke dip. i was going to go all out and prepare my own artichokes even. in the end, i was lazy and used canned artichokes. but i was just un-lazy enough to actually make the dip. i tried following recipes, but i couldn't follow just one, due to either a lack of ingredients or my hidden inner need for complexity of some sort.

but, i actually wrote down what i ended up putting into my conglomeration. and it turned out not half bad.

1/2 cup (or more) shredded cheese (i used asiago & parmesan)
1 can artichokes
1 tsp lemon
100 g (approx) cream cheese
1 cup (ish) blanched spinach
1/2 cup mayo (or veganaise, which is what i used. i realize how pointless it is to use veganaise when i'm using cheese, but the stuff that's in the veganaise is way better than the crap they put in the name-brand mayonnaise. in my opinion.)
salt & pepper

basically, if i can remember properly, i blanched the spinach first. the other option is to use frozen spinach. anyways, i boiled water, threw the spinach in, tossed it for a few seconds (using a tongs, not my hands), took the spinach out, drained it in a colander. after the spinach cools a bit, toss it into a blender or food processor and pulse it a few times till its choppy. if using frozen spinach i think you still need to chop it up a bit in the blender. then, mix everything together in a bowl. taste, add more cheese or salt & pepper to taste, and you are done! yay! apparently it tastes better if you let it sit (in the fridge) for a day, but you can probably eat it right away. best served warm with some type of carbohydrate to dip with.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

making pumpkin pie

i made pumpkin pie last weekend, for canadian thanksgiving. i also attempted cranberry pecan butter tarts. they were okay. but the pie was pretty damn good. i actually followed the recipe fairly closely, and it turned out fairly great, so maybe i'll try following recipes from now on. :)

i used the pumpkin pie recipe - both crust & filling - from yes, it was a very joyful experience. i even shed a few tears. the crust is a pate brisee, which is a French short crust pastry dough. those who ate the pie made great comments about the crust, it was flaky and yummy. if you'd like to try this pumpkin pie recipe, just follow the link, since it explains the whole process in much better detail than i could attempt. plus i would just feel lame & slightly like a plagiarist if i just copied & pasted the exact recipe.


i could lie and tell you i baked this pizza today. but i will save my lies for more important things. really i made this pizza last week, or maybe even the week before. it's still relevant enough to post, however, because it was good. really good. for homemade pizza, that is. it's funny... most foods taste so much more amazing home baked or homemade, but for some reason pizza is one of those foods that is really hard to make taste as good as it does when it's cheap, fast, greasy. you know, the kind that take off years of your life with all the grease & processed whatever is on it. like Uncle Fatih's pizza on Broadway just off Commercial. (if you live in Vancouver & have not tried Uncle Fatihs - most often pronounced 'uncle fatty's' - you really most definitely have to try it.) i think i've strayed from my point. oh yes, homemade pizza. it wasn't amazing, but it was good. and i made it all from scratch so i think it's worth posting about.

i got the recipe for the crust from Bread & Honey, my favorite food blog currently, & just put on my own toppings. although i just checked the blog again & it seems they got their pizza crust recipe from Vegan Planet, so i guess i technically got the recipe from Vegan Planet. i made my own pizza sauce too, since i had apparently forgotten that i had used my canned pizza sauce already, but it's been too long for me to remember what the heck i did.

the pizza crust was fairly easy, but because it needed to rise for an hour, it's not as easy as take out or freezer pizza. (but better for you). i don't feel like copying the recipe, so if you really want to make it, click on the link i so lovingly created at the beginning of this paragraph.

one thing i really liked about Bread & Honey's pizza blog post was their suggestion of sprinkling cornmeal & ground pepper on the pan before laying the dough on top. it gives the baked crust a really great texture, & looks & tastes good too. their other suggestion was that you can put whatever the heck you want on the pizza (they call it 'everything but the kitchen sink pizza' - clever). i put on sauteed bell peppers, browned ground beef, artichokes, cheddar, parmesan.

i probably won't make pizza very often, but when i do make it again it will definitely be worth it, because it's really 4 meals in one. i shared with my brother, then took pizza for lunch the next day, and the day after. that was definitely worth the bit of time & effort needed to make homemade pizza.

Monday, October 20, 2008

chewy wheat-free vegan chocolate chip cookies

i had a desire to make chocolate chip cookies yesterday. but if i made them just for me, they would end up sitting on the counter for days & i'd eventually throw them out. i seem to have a weird thing about not liking too much of the same thing. or leftovers. so i made my cookies 'andrea friendly,' which is wheat free, dairy free, egg free, yeast free... basically they are vegan. but they are yummy!

i used the base recipe of Chewy Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies from RecipeZaar, but i didn't use wheat & i cut the amount of sugar in half.

my recipe:

  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (or honey or molasses)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon flax seed
  • 1/2 cup rice milk (or soy milk)
  • 2 cups flour (chickpea flour, rice flour, 1/2 teaspoon guar gum)
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semisweet non-dairy chocolate chips/chunks

  • preheat oven: 350 F
  • grind flax seeds in a blender until powdered; add the milk and blend for about 30 seconds more and set aside.
  • in a large bowl, sift together dry stuff: cocoa, flour, baking soda and salt.
  • cream the sugar and oil in a separate large bowl.
  • add the flax/milk mixture to wet stuff and mix well.
  • stir in the vanilla to wet mixture.
  • slowly mix in the dry ingredients.
  • mix in the chocolate chips.
  • roll or spoon out dough into 1" balls and flatten
  • place on a cookie sheet about 1" apart and bake for 10 minutes. (original recipe said ungreased sheet, but i think i would grease my cookie sheet next time)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

kale and potato soup (and biscuits)

i made some pretty fantastic kale & potato soup today. and then i made biscuits for the 3rd time this week. however, i made them without butter, and used coconut oil instead. coconut oil is somewhat pretty much solid at room temp, and has a similar consistency as shortening, so it works pretty well. its just a bit more pricey. it gives a great taste to the biscuits though.

like usual, i don't really follow recipes well unless i'm baking, but i will still attempt to explain how i made the soup. into a large pot i threw in some celery stalks, some onion, some herbs (dill, parsley, rosemary), salt, peppercorns, chopped potatoes (around 5 medium sized). i covered the veggies in water and boiled it, then simmered for a long time. in another pot, i steamed the chopped up kale (i took the leaves off the stems) with some salt & dill. i did it separate so that i could puree the stock while leaving the kale leaves intact for texture. while waiting, i made these biscuits. after some amount of time had passed, i pureed the stock in a blender with some coconut milk and put it back in the large pot. then i added the kale & the water it was steaming/boiling in. i tasted the soup, added some more salt (if you are overly concerned about your sodium intake, this is where you wouldn't add more salt), added some more coconut milk, and let it simmer a bit longer before dishing out and eating.

oh yeah and my sister made a pumpkin tart for herself for dessert (she's selfish that way).

Monday, October 6, 2008

i spent all evening in the kitchen

i spent almost my whole evening in the kitchen. it was a cold, rainy evening & i bought chicken thighs (non-medicated ones, in fact) for the sole intent & purpose of making chicken noodle soup. you'll notice that i only took a picture of the soup PRE cooking. it looks prettier before all the veggies turn brown. but luckily it tastes better after its all cooked. i'm not one for raw chicken broth. not very appealing. chicken soup alone isn't filling, however, so i made more biscuits. the ones i blogged about yesterday. then, while i was waiting for other family members to come home & dine with me, i made some humous. but i added sundried tomotoes to it, which is quite tasty.

i don't have a recipe for the soup or the humous, though. the soup is pretty easy, but it changes every single time. the basics are: chicken (either raw, or the carcus of a roasted chicken... mmm carcus...), veggies (like celery, carrot, onion), herbs (dill, thyme, rosemary, parsley...), salt, pepper, water. boil it; simmer it; strain it; pick the chicken off the bones. and cook up some noodles to go with. egg noodles are great, but if you can't do wheat, or want to try something different, rice noodles are also fantastic. the kind that you find in the asian section of the grocery store.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


i made biscuits for 'the open house' today, (we meet weekly for potluck & discussion) and apparently they were pretty good. the recipe is my mom's, and her food is always amazing, but i substituted a couple things so i wasn't sure how they'd turn out. i made them with a combination of chickpea, rice & kamut flour (& guar gum to compensate for the lack of gluten...) instead of wheat flour, and with rice milk instead of regular milk. however, feel free to use whatever kind of flour or milk you want.

"plain baking powder biscuits"
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening (or butter)
  • 3/4 cup milk
Heat the oven to 450 F (225 C).
Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder.
Blend in the shortening until the mixture looks like fine crumbs. You can either use a pastry cutter, or beat it, or use your hands. Stir in the milk only until the flour is all moistened, but DO NOT beat. You can either use a spoon or your hands. I like using my hands.
Knead the dough about 10 times on a floured surface. Roll or pat until about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. Cut out shapes & put on a baking sheet - either greased or with parchment paper.
Bake 10-12 minutes.

Best eaten when warm & with honey-butter. (honey-butter is just honey & butter whipped together. probably a 1/2 to 1/2 ratio, but its up to taste)

* T = tablespoon
* t = teaspoon

Friday, October 3, 2008


figs have always been a mysterious fruit to me... captivating and absolutely beautiful. thus, you can imagine my excitement to try one. as i bit into my first taste of fig, i felt like i'd been stood up. they were slightly bland and almost tasted 'off,' like they should have been sweet like honey, but instead they.. well, they weren't sweet like honey. i wouldn't even use the word 'sweet' to describe them. however, my let-down was all forgiven after i took some photos of them. really.. who cares what they taste like when they look so gorgeous?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

to make my mother proud

a detestable food from my childhood. my mother used to make me sit at the table until i finished my eggplant. the colder it got, the worse it tasted, all mushy and disgusting...

but, these two lovely eggplants getting their picture taken were indeed bought my me. that's right. they were so beautiful when i passed them at the farmer's market, that i decided to take some home. i even went as far as eating one of them. i stir fried it in olive oil with fresh rosemary and grated cheese on it afterward. no, i don't have a picture of the finished product - i was too hungry at the time. the other eggplant is slowly dying, just waiting to be eaten - either by me, or some fruit flies. eaten, none the less.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

sweet, sweet, granola

as a wee child, i loved granola. but only the granola my mom made. her secret? well, everything she made (99% everything. i spent hours and hours at the dinner table not eating my eggplant) was/is amazing, but i personally think it boils down to the copious amounts of sugar she used in the granola. anyhow, i attempted her granola recipe, and it is almost like i remembered it: sweet and crunchy!

here is the recipe, courtesy of my mother, with a few notes by me. the recipe she gave me was double what i used, but since i'm not feeding a family of 5, i halfed the recipe for myself. what you see below is the halfed recipe, in case i brought about some confusion with my excessive phrasing.

4 cups oats (quick oats is what i used)

1/2 cup oil/butter (i used coconut oil - smells amazing combined with the sugar)
3/4 cup dark/brown sugar (or 1/2 cup honey)
1/2 tsp salt
2-3 T water

bring the sauce to a boil in a saucepan, and set aside.

granola: stiry fry method***

this method takes a bit of upper arm strength. if you don't work out, ever, like me, your arm will get tired from constant stirring. if this happens, just suck it up and don't go whining about it on your blog. :)

in a large wok, on top of high, but not too high, heat, dry fry the oats for about 15 minutes while constantly stirring. turn the temperature to medium before you pour the sugar sauce on top. pour the sugar sauce on the hot oats and continue to stir, making sure the sugar doesn't burn. continue to stir, again, for about 20 minutes. that's it. done. this in when you would add other fancy ingredients like baked slivered almonds, or coconut flakes. cool the granola, store in an airtight container, and let it wait to be devoured in bowls of milk.

***if you don't own a wok, you can also bake the granola. (apparently baking granola is more 'normal' but i wouldn't know anything about that...) for baking, pour the oats onto a cookie sheet (or two) and just pour the sauce mixture while hot on the oats and bake at 350 F, checking and turning every 7 – 10 minutes. bake about 30 minutes or more til browned and crispy.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

sweet pluot plums

i love the color of these sweet pluot plums. and unlike some fruits i've tasted recently, they actually taste as good as they look! fancy that...

weekend breakfasts

on the weekends my breakfasts generally have this layout: coffee, eggs of some sort, toast, and last but not least: entertainment. generally its either the simpsons, seinfeld, or arrested development. arrested development has especially become a bit of a household meal-time ritual.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

farmer's market

went to our local farmer's market again last weekend. took my camera along, but was too engrossed in all the wares that i ended up taking only 2 pictures (this is my excuse. i also feel awkward taking pictures in public places). pictured are onions, but i bought lemon basil from this stall. the basil smells amazing...

Monday, July 28, 2008

rosemary-lemon white bean dip

my obsession with rosemary has taken up again. i made rosemary-lemon white bean dip again, but this time i had time to take pictures. and pictures i took.

i found the recipe while trying to find ways to use up the rosemary i got last time at my local farmer's market. i bought some more fresh rosemary on saturday (along with sage, lemon verbena & fresh garlic). and seriously, the fresh garlic was amazing. i'd never had it before, but it smelled great, and i'm pretty sure tasted more amazing than the regular dried garlic i normally use. (also, the lemon verbena makes fantastic tea)

back to the dip. i'm sure you can follow the link to get the recipe, but i'll copy it here with a few modifications i made. which aren't many.


* 2 cups cooked white beans, like cannelini, drained but moist (i used 1 can of white cannelini beans)
* 1 to 3 cloves garlic, peeled
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
* 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
* 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
* Grated rind of 2 lemons (i used only 1 lemon, & i added about half of the juice from 1 lemon)

- Blend the beans & garlic (start with 1 clove & taste to see if you need more) & a pinch of salt. (add some of the oil & lemon juice if your food processor doesn't blend dry stuff very well). process until the mixture is smooth. then taste & see if you want more garlic. if so, add more, blend more.
- Scoop the bean mixture into a bowl & beat in (with a spoon or spatula) the chopped rosemary, lemon zest, & the rest of the olive oil, along with salt & pepper to taste.
- Garnish, & serve with chips (i prefer rice chips)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

blueberries + apricots = yummy smoothie

as you can guess, i made a blueberry apricot smoothie the other day. it was delicious. i never measure things when i make them. but i basically just blended together blueberries, sliced apricots (i think they blend better if peeled..), honey & fruit juice (i only had grapefruit available).

to see the pics large & beautiful, visit my flickr. more specifically: this picture, this other picture, & yet another picture.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

basil scrambled eggs...

apparently i'm not very original with my eating habits. i happen to like eggs. a lot. and i like eggs with toast and avocado. a lot. however, i tried something different today. in my scrambled eggs i added a bit of pesto, chopped basil, and shredded cheese. it was scrumptious. :)

Monday, July 7, 2008

sauce of apples

i've discovered how easy it is to make homemade applesauce. i used this recipe as a template, but i make modifications each time i make it.

this is roughly what i did yesterday:

4 large apples (i used golden delicious - they really are...)
1/2 cup H20
2 strips of lemon peel (1/2 inch in diameter)
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 -1/2 inches cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
2 heaping tsp honey

core & chop apples. put abosolutely everything into a medium to large pot on the stove top on high heat. bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium and simmer until the apples are mushy enough to mash with a potato masher. taste for sweetness. (this recipe isn't very sweet - if you like sweeter applesauce add 1/8 to 1/4 cup of brown sugar instead of honey. or just add more honey.) remove cinnamon stick & lemon peels. mash. serve hot or put in a jar and refrigerate.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

the best part of waking up: breakfast

i had pancakes for breakfast this morning. mmm...

lately i've been using the buttermilk pancake recipe from joy of baking, except that i substitute regular milk for buttermilk, since i never have any buttermilk on hand. i highly suggest using 1/2 white and 1/2 whole wheat flour, which is what i normally do. however, i am out of white flour currently, since my grocery store isn't selling the brand i like anymore. thus, i used stoneground spelt flour. the result was a batter that was a bit too liquidy, so i'm thinking maybe the stoneground spelt didn't absorb the liquid as well? (i really have no idea). regardless, they were yummy. i ate them with blueberries, peanut butter, and maple syrup.

try the recipe here.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

our tiny basil (garden)

tiny basil seedlings:

a little bit bigger basil:

soon to come (hopefully): even bigger basil ready for use in a scrumptious recipe

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Thursday, June 19, 2008

fresh rosemary and some of its glory

last weekend my dear sister and i frolicked to the local farmer's market. i'd been once before, approximately one year ago, and i found the experience this time around much more exhilarating because a)this time i had a job, consequently money to buy local goodies, b)both my knowledge and appreciation of food have extensively increased.

but the point of my little farmer's market story, is that i bought some fresh rosemary. i've never used fresh rosemary before, so i had no idea where to start.

my first attempt with fresh rosemary goodness involved yams. well, technically one yam. regardless, yams are wonderful. i preset the oven to 425 F. i peeled the yam (singular), chopped it, and tossed it with olive oil, salt, pepper, and freshly chopped rosemary leaves. i read that the rosemary should be sprinkled onto the yams (or potatoes, should you prefer them) only when there's about 10 minutes of baking left, but i cheated a bit. i microwaved (gasp!) the yams before i oiled them up to speed the process (i was hungry), which meant i added the rosemary straight away. after this, i spread the yams on a baking sheet and slid them into the oven and somewhat kept an eye on them, turning them over every so often. ...all that to say that the yams turned out quite tasty, despite the few that burnt when i wasn't looking.

another fresh rosemary adventure involved wild bison steak.
i marinaded the steaks the day before with olive oil, salt, pepper, and of course, chopped fresh rosemary. we seared the steaks for a minute on each side, before placing them on a medium heated griddle. i placed a sprig of rosemary, soaked in oil, onto the griddle between the steaks, to 'infuse' the aroma a bit more. i don't know if it actually worked or not, but it sure smelled amazing. because the steaks were sandwiched between the two grill plates, we only left them on for 9 minutes. they turned out quite tender and flavorful, but if we do it again, they probably only need 7 minutes, as the steaks keep cooking once off the grill.

more fresh rosemary infused food adventures to come! my sister and i made an amazing rosemary-lemon white bean dip the other night, but alas, we didn't have the chance to get any pictures...

Saturday, June 14, 2008

applecelerymint smoothie

i bought my house a beautiful book of smoothie recipes (&photography of said smoothies) for christmas (titled 'the perfect blend') and decided randomly this evening to make the 'apple & celery revitalizer.' but, with the excess of mint in my fridge, i decided to throw some of that in as well. i used coconut milk instead of regular milk for 2 reasons. one, the bottle of milk in my fridge is way past its prime. two, i wanted to share the smoothie with my sister, who can't have any dairy. the coconut milk was a great substitute though. it turned out pretty tasty, but i might add more lime next time as the drink slowly turned brownish as it sat there waiting for me to drink it up. brown smoothies just aren't that attractive. luckily my camera got to it before the natural browning process did.

here's what i did:
chopped up 1 apple (after i peeled & cored it)
chopped up 1 stalk of celery
chopped up a bunch of fresh mint leaves
blended it all up with a dash of salt, & an unknown amount of coconut milk
poured into pretty martini glass
garnished with mint sprig and strip of celery