Or is that “pain grillé aux amandes”?

My latest kitchen experiment was borne out of wanting to avoid the restaurants on Mother’s Day. It’s right up there with Valentine’s Day as far as overcrowding and the antithesis of a relaxing, enjoyable meal. Luckily, I had recently borrowed The Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook from my local library, and had tons of inspiration.

I opted for almond-crusted French toast, and although “crusted” isn’t a super-appetizing word (it makes me think of the top of the ketchup bottle), this was delicious! It’s not my recipe to reprint, but it’s similar to this – only vegan, so coconut milk for thickening instead of eggs – although there’s no cinnamon in the mixture. Instead, add in some orange zest: the recipe called for a teaspoon, but I chose to zest until my orange was zest-less, because a little extra flavour never hurt anybody.

Speaking of unappetizing: there was something a little off-putting about soggy bread with almond slices stuck to it. I got all of my bread dipped and almond-ed while I waited for my pan to heat up, and seriously had my doubts before the first side turned golden brown.

But before long, we were cooking (ha! In more ways than one).

In a moment of inspiration, I peeled the orange who had so bravely given its zest to the cause and served it on the side as a juicy little amuse-bouche. Who knew that citrus could be so tasty outside of the usual season?

This couldn’t have turned out better. The orange flavour really came though in the toast, and the almonds provided a wonderful crunch. The best part? It takes less than half and hour to make, so this is a lot of impressiveness for such a short amount of time. I made some for a friend for lunch the following weekend, and it tastes just as good when you’re not trying to avoid crowds.

Thanks for looking! 🙂

baking, cooking

Shchi whiz!!

Or is that “щi виз”?

Although I’m not thrilled about the cold autumn mornings, I love that the cooler weather means I can break out the soup pot again.  Honestly, I could quite happily eat soup every day, all year round, but (sigh) not everyone shares my obsession with the stuff, so the cooler weather means that the rest of my audience will be equally enthusiastic about a steaming bowl of goodness.

Much to my chagrin, I had never heard of shchi before, but when I found a recipe for it on the Post Punk Kitchen, I knew I had found my next undertaking.

Mmm…soup!  I used parsnips instead of potato or a potato/parsnip combo, and between that and the black pepper found the end result to be quite, well, peppery despite its unassuming appearance.  The dollop of Sour Supreme on top helped immensely to temper it.

But man, er, domestic goddess cannot live by soup alone, right?  Enter Garlic-Dill Bread from Julie Hasson’s Vegan Diner.  As a non-yeasted  bread it comes together quickly, using baking powder and beer as leaveners.  Sending me to the store for beer is a little like sending a nun to an adult novelty shop (Not.  A.  Clue.), but I think I did all right for myself.  I used Fort Garry Dark Ale, but can’t say I noticed either an overwhelmingly positive or negative taste.  (So, yay me!)

The very best part of it all: I have an almost-full pot of shchi in the fridge, ready to be warmed up again for supper tonight.