Monday, February 26, 2007

...and for today's lunch...

A homemade dairy-free quiche!

  • Homemade shortcrust pastry

  • Eggs

  • Unsweetened soy milk

  • Fresh-cracked black pepper

  • Prosciutto, chopped

  • Spanish onion, chopped

  • Mushrooms (frozen organic, in this case)

  • Asparagus, chopped (also frozen organic)

It would appear that I'm back in a cooking mood these days.


How to use leftover duck meat:

Make a duck, onion and mushroom risotto. :)

  • Chop one Spanish onion, leftover duck meat and mushrooms.

  • Sauté Spanish onion and set aside.

  • While onion is being sautéed, boil reduced-sodium chicken stock and any duck drippings collected.

  • Lightly sauté Carnaroli/Arborio rice.

  • Begin ladelling broth into rice pan, one ladel at a time, stirring constantly.

  • 15 minutes before completion, add chopped duck, onion and mushroom to pan, add final ladel of broth and cook until rice is al denté.


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

In the Chinese New Year spirit, roast duck

Years ago, I made a promse to myself that I would attempt to create the Frankensteinian culinary monstrosity that is a turducken following my tenth roast bird.

In recent years, I've lost track of what number I'm actually at, but I'm fairly certain that the roast duck I made last night is either the tenth, or over.

So, do I feel courageous enough to attempt the fabled turducken? In a word, no. Not yet, but the siren's call of a tri-fowl concoction will not be forever denied.

I do think I'll try my hand at a duck confit some time in the near future 'though.


Video-response time!

With a baseball bat

Also, God bless George Takei, and that Roy-fella.


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A low-fat, low-cal dinner?!

When you make the decision to sacrifice a week's worth of leisure-time to calculating your taxes, it's inevitable to, at least, consider turning to comfort food for solace. Or to buy two doughnuts on your way home for inhalation.

It had been years since I last had anything doughnut-like, due to its probable dairy content. Last night I decided to chance the misery any way, figuring the trace milk amounts in it probably wouldn't affect me. So far, so good, on that front.

I'm not usually the type to experience eater's remorse, but I do take a morbid fascination in discovering the nutritional information from my fast food choices. One chocolate dip and one maple dip doughnut from Tim Horton's break down thusly:

  • 420 calories

  • 16g fat: 7g saturated, 0.2g trans

  • 0mg cholestrol

  • 380mg sodium

  • 64g carbohydrates

  • 2g fibre

  • 8g protein

  • 4% RDI calcium

  • 20% RDI iron

What I'm completely flabbergasted by is the fact that, as far as dinner goes, this wasn't really all that bad for me! Clearly, it's not something to do on a regular basis (the lack of fibre alone illustrates that), but I could've done much worse — if I could reduce my calorie intake per meal to 420 calories, I'd be laughing.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

And now, a musical interlude

The Good, the Bad and the Queen - History Song


Success! Lemon chezzcake

A bit of clarification first: I've taken to using the word "chezz" to denote any food product which is used as a cheese-substitute. Some examples are Tofutti's Better than Cream Cheese (nearly indistinguishable from real cream cheese), Galaxy Nutritional Foods Vegan Slices (which don't melt as well as cheese slices, and have a sharper flavour, but which make grilled chezzes possible) and Vegan Gourmet's Cheese Alternatives (of which the Mozzarella flavour — at room temperature — is almost like mozzarella, but melts atrociously).

I've been making home-made graham cracker cookies for about two years now, adapting from the recipe I found at

Homemade Graham Crackers

1-1/2 cup all purpose flour
1-1/4 cup graham flour1
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon2
3/4 butter3
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla4
1 lrg egg5

1. Mix dry ingredients together.
2. Cream butter, add sugar, add honey, vanilla and egg. Beat until combined.
3. Add dry ingredients to wet, beat together to make a fairly firm dough. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill until firm enough to roll.
4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Roll dough out to 1/4" thick.
5. Cut dough into 3" squares or cut into shapes, scrape from countertop with a metal spatula. Space squares apart on baking sheet. Pierce crackers with a fork.
6. Bake 10 minutes or until edges brown. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

On to the chezzcake

So, I use the homemade graham crackers in many of the pie bases I make by adding honey to the crumbs in my food processor. This is, of course, much lower fat than traditionally adding butter and sugar to the crumbs.

This is the vegan cheesecake recipe I used:

(Vegan) Lemon Cheesecake

14 oz package firm silken tofu6
8 oz package Better than Cream Cheese
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp almond extract7
2 tbsp cornstarch
9" pie crust6

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Place silken tofu and vegan cream cheese in the food processor. Process for 1 minute, then add sugar. Process until smooth and no sugar granules remain, 3-5 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine lemon juice and almond extract. Whisk in cornstarch. Pour mixture into the food processor and process until very smooth. Pour into prepared crust and bake for 45 minutes.
Allow to cool at room temperature for 2 hours, then refrigerate overnight.
Serves 10

Sadly, my chezzcake is nowhere near as photogenic as bakingsheet's, so no photos this time.

Tomorrow, I think I'll make a wild blueberry syrup to top the slices.

Updated: Now featuring lemon chezzcake with blueberry topping photo-pr0n!

1 I use whole wheat flour
2 I use a coffee grinder to grind fresh cinnamon and nutmeg, and don't usually make note of how much I use for this recipe
3 I use dairy-free margarine
4 I've had homemade vanilla for about two years now, too. Just use a litre of a "neutral" spirit like vodka or rum, add 4 whole vanilla beans to it, and leave to sit in a cool, dark place for a few months before using.
5 I've taken to adding 1-1/2 tbsp of flaxseed meal and using 1/2 egg per batch — I usually make two batches of graham cracker dough at once.
6 I doubled the tofu and cream chezz quantities as I was using a 9" springform pan, instead of a pie plate. The baking time was almost doubled as a result.
7 I use vanilla instead of almond extract.


Monday, February 12, 2007

Patti Smith/10,000 Maniacs - Because the Night


In other news

I'm now a Wikipedia contributor. So far, only for the Pinky:St entry. ^_^


Sunday, February 11, 2007

Quote of the day

Quite honestly, I can't imagine how anyone can say: "I'm weak," and then remain so. After all, if you know it, why not fight against it, why not try to train your character? The answer was: "Because it's so much easier not to!" This reply rather discouraged me. Easy? Does that mean that a lazy, deceitful life is an easy life? Oh no, that can't be true, it mustn't be true, people can be so easily tempted by slackness...and by money.

-Anne Frank
The Diary of a Young Girl
Thursday, July 6, 1944


Thursday, February 08, 2007


I've had a lot on my mind recently, and I'm still struggling with a lot of the questions that have been raised. Mercifully, the emotional carnage has subsided.

I've been trying to deal with the fact that I'm a very open and honest person in a situation where silence is socially imperative. The fact that I have to keep secrets — especially when I can clearly see the benefit in starting an open discussion about the issues they'd raise — is very hard for me to reconcile with my system of beliefs. Still, I suppose I must respect the wishes of those who would like to keep these things discreet — even if it means compromising my own values.

I fear that this blog will end up being nothing more than a forum for recipe-sharing, anecdotes and peeves, but I suppose it wasn't much more than that any way.


Thursday, February 01, 2007

Pot roast!

Feeling largely uninspired to do anything creative in the kitchen, last week I picked up a comfort-food magazine to get me thinking. Doing so reminded me of many of the goodies I've yet to try my hand at, like homemade biscuits, a non-dairy "cream" of mushroom soup, and pot roast. Yes, pot roast. In all of the years of living on my own and cooking for myself, I had yet to make a simple pot roast — or any roast of a non-poultry nature, actually.

Stopping at Loblaws on my way home from work yesterday, I shopped for items to throw into a pot roast (all quantities approximate, 'cause I never make note of these things):

Two big thumbs up for the vegetable broth, by the way. I usually end up avoiding using beef stock because of the preservatives that always get used in those, and the vegetable stock added flavour without concerning me about the artificial junk I was putting into my body (aside from the pesticides and hormones in the food I picked up, any way). I see I also consumed way less sodium by going this route too.

When I got in, I started preheating the oven on the broil setting, got my large stock pot — about half-full — of water boiling and started heating my cast-iron skillet on low. After settling in a little and sorting out what needed to be done, I started pan-searing the beef. I set the peppers on a roasting rack and pan in the oven to start roasting those, and began blanching the tomatoes to peel them. Once they were done, I did the same with the onions. Meanwhile, I minced the garlic.

By the time the beef was seared on all sides and set aside, the garlic was ready to be tossed into the skillet with some of the vegetable stock. While that was reducing, I added peeled tomatoes and onions. I emptied the stock pot of all water, poured the rest of the broth into it and began heating that as well. When I was satisfied that I'd incorporated most of the beef caramelization into the stock mixture in the skillet, I added that to the stock pot. I then added the beef.

The peppers were done roasting by this time, but I hadn't set them out to cool and loosen their skins yet, so I had to wait another hour to add them. I let the whole mess roast for about two hours on low-heat.

It was pretty late by the time everything was done cooking last night, so I didn't end up trying any of it until today, when I found the roast itself fall-apart awesome, and the stock marvelously flavoured. I served it with brown basmati rice and it was accompanied with "buttered" carrots.