Sunday, May 31, 2009

Quarter-Life Painting

So last night I had somewhat of a quarter-life crisis. I decided that I need to start focusing and being more productive. I've had the offer of displaying my work in my friend's cafe for a while now but keep putting off making a painting for it. Until now! Today I made a little trip over to the art store, picked up some paints, closed my eyes when the till rang through the total and stage 1 was complete. Stage 2 involved procrastination, and when that was over stage 3 finally came under way. So I painted most of the background tonight and may continue on later, but for now I feel somewhat satisfied with my productivity and will reveal that finished product soon. 

Oh p.s. Apparently there is such a thing as a quarter-life crisis.  Check it out here.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

This weekend was a lovely treat as hosted by my lovely friend Mr. Tyler Gray in Vancouver. Tyler is the co-founder and owner of Mikuni Wild Harvest, a company specializing in wild mushrooms and artisan items such as caviar, maple syrup, oils, etc.  I was lucky enough to be taken on a secret midnight tour of the warehouse and even luckier to be sent home with some exotic mushrooms. Now for those of you who don't like mushrooms, well, there is something seriously wrong with you. With that said, let's continue on with the story. So I have some Chantarelle mushrooms which are the orange beauties. And some Morel mushrooms which are the cool honeycombed ones. And some little blue guys but I'm not sure what they are, I'll have to get back on that one.  So I arrived back in Victoria quite late but tomorrow I'm going to have a mushroom feast. Stay tuned for some more mushroom madness!  

Friday, May 22, 2009

Best Ever

.Yes I like to stack my cookies.

Love is the only was to describe it. These cookies make me feel all warm and gooey inside just like them. They taste so good I want to go hand them out to strangers. They taste so good I want to go feed them to the multiple homeless drug addicts downtown. However with their addictive personalities they're bound to get addicted. Then I'm put in an awkward position of making them constantly or most likely getting my life threatened with dirty needles and rusty blades in order to supply them with unlimited quantities. Hmm, maybe I won't hand them out to drug addicts. Maybe I'll just hand them out to friendly individuals. Anyways, MAKE THESE!!!

 P.s. These gems also double as a love potion. Any man who tastes these will be putty in your hands. Or any woman ofcourse, if your a boy baker.

White Chocolate Lime Cookies

1/2 cup (128 g) nondairy butter
3/4 cup (144 g) raw sugar
Zest of 1 lime, about 1 tablespoon
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (204 g) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/3 cup (50 g) nondairy white chocolate chips
2 to 3 tablespoon(s) (15 to 30 ml) coconut milk or other nondairy milk

*1/4 shredded unsweetened coconut**(optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4). Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats, such as Silpat.
With an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar. Stir in zest, juice, extract.
In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
Fold dry ingredients into wet. Add milk, as needed. Fold in chips and coconut if using.
Scoop up 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons worth of dough. Flatten a little, as the cookies don’t spread a lot while baking.
Bake for 12 minutes, until the edges of the cookies are golden brown. If you want a soft gooey chewy cookie, bake for about 9-10 minutes. 
Wait 2 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Yield: 20 medium cookies

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Rustic Tempeh Spinach Pie

Now I'm not sure about you, but even though I'm not a vegan or  a vegetarian, I tend to gravitate towards the food and the recipes.  Never one to be a big meat eater, I never buy it, rarely eat it, and instead tend to buy tofu and tempeh. Don't get me wrong I loooove fish and seafood and will eat it a plenty if the chance arises, but other meats just don't float my boat so 
well.  So anyways, I came across a great vegan food blog, Have Cake Will Travel with some great recipes and thought I'd give this pie a try. 
It was pretty easy, the dough especially. I didn't have orange marmalade so I used Quince Jelly instead which came out fine. I think next time I would tweak this recipe and play with ingredients a bit more. I found there was too much orange zest so I have made changes to the recipe below. I would Maybe add some walnuts or pinenuts. Maybe de-veganize it and add some feta cheese, some sundried tomatoes. It's an okay pie on it's own but it would definately use an added flavour kick. So use it as a base and experiment from there.

Rustic Spinach Tempeh Pie

For the filling:
1 teaspoons orange zest, about 2 oranges
1/2 cup (120 ml) fresh orange juice, about 2 oranges
2 tablespoons (40 g) all-fruit orange marmalade
1 tablespoon (15 ml) toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons (30 ml) soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, grated
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional, to taste
2 teaspoons ground ginger
8 ounces (227 g) tempeh, crumbled
1 tablespoon (15 ml) peanut oil
2 cups (380 g) frozen chopped spinach

For the crust:
3 tablespoons (48 g) tahini
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/4 cups (150 g) light spelt flour
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (75 ml) fresh orange juice ( I used water, you can also use milk)

To make the filling:
In a medium bowl, whisk zest, juice, marmalade, sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic, optional red pepper flakes, and ginger.
Stir in tempeh. Marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes, stirring once halfway through.
Heat oil in a large saucepan. Cook marinated tempeh, along with marinade, on medium heat until it browns up, for about 8 minutes. Add spinach and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C, or gas mark 5). Line a rimless baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat, such as Silpat.

To make the crust:
In your stand mixer or food processor, combine tahini, salt, and flour. Add orange juice, 1 tablespoon (15 ml) at a time, until dough forms.
Shape into a disk. Roll out dough to approximately 11 x 10 inches (28 x 25 cm), a little over 1/8-inch (3-mm) thick.
Transfer onto prepared baking sheet.
Place filling on top of the prepared crust, leaving about 1 inch (2.5 cm) from the edges: the filling will pile up high. Level it, fold the edges of the pie crust up and over so that the filling is visible: it’ll look rustic, and that’s the point.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the top of the crust is golden brown.
Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Yield: 4 servings

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Garden Markers

So I was cleaning my room and came across these little diddys I did a few months ago. I thought using them as garden markers would be cute. What do ya think? Peas and Carrots a classic combination!  

Friday, May 15, 2009

This morning I put the finishing touches on my whale lino block carving and printed it tonight. Silly silly me, when will I ever learn that words have to be carved backwards in order to print forwards.  It's supposed to say 'Sing' but it now says 'Gnis'...Oh well, I'm still happy with the overall look so one could just say that one may have done this on purpose - It's all about the creative license!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Beautiful Victoria

So I moved to Victoria BC 4 months ago and looove it. Since I've been here I've been fortunate enough to explore Hornby Island, Mystic Beach, GoldStream Provincial Park, and view to die for from the beach just a few blocks from my house. Thought I'd share some imagery from my island explorations. More to come! 

Oatmeal Chocolate Chippers

So last night I promised a trade off. Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies for a Salmon Burger. Needless to say it was worth it! Lightly toasted bun, Avocado, Tomatoes, Spinach, Jalapeno cheese, portobello mushrooms and Miso Chipotle Sauce. YUM! But let's not forget, this post is about these lovely little cookies. First of all I have to touch base on how beautiful they were coming out of the oven. Perfectly round, domed, little golden bundles of nostalgia. The smell, the look, the taaaste. I'm definately one for experimenting in the kitchen but sometimes you just need to bake up a batch of the classic comfort food recipe. Get some vanilla bean icecream and layer it between two of these little treasures for a decadent, bite sized, tasty treat.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tbsp milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups oats (rolled or "quick," but not "instant")
2 cups chocolate chips (about 12-oz.)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the sugars until mixture is light in color. Beat in the eggs one at a time, followed by the milk and the vanilla extract.In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Either by hand or with the mixer on low speed, gradually beat the flour in to the sugar mixture until just incorporated.Stir in the oats and chocolate chips by hand.Drop 1-inch balls of dough onto the cookie sheet, placing about 1 1/2 inches apart so they have room to spread.Bake at 350F for 10-13 minutes, until golden brown at the edges and light golden at the center.Cool on baking sheet for at least 1-2 minutes before transfering to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 4 dozen.

Notes:- If you chill the dough for about 30 minutes before baking, you will have a slightly puffier cookie.- You can substitute raisins for the chocolate chips.- You can add up to 1 1/2 cups chopped nuts in addition to raisins or chocolate chips. You might want to make the cookies slightly larger if this is the case.