24 February 2012

Train of Thought, Fungi, Chocolate Hearts, Chia Seeds, and Other Products

Greetings.

I was about to write, “quick post,” then I realised I’ve used that excuse one too many times here.  As Neil Gaiman writes about writing in one of the Sandman volumes, "Never explain, never apologise."  I’m going to make time to write this because I enjoy blogging.  Simple enough.  


Last night at meditation, we discussed one of Anum Thubtun’s dharma talk DVDs, and one of the themes of his talk was not telling those storylines, not getting caught up in those storylines that we create in our heads.  The stories in our heads are—le gasp—not real life!  I am better now at recognising when my train of thought becomes a runaway, but sometimes I don’t have that recognition until I’m quite a few stations down the line.

There is a distinct lack of fungi on this blog.  “Ashes to ashes/ Fun to fungi/ We know Major Tom’s a junkie…”  No, not that kind of fungi.  We’re talking button mushrooms.  

Buckwheat pancakes, plain hommos, and bok choy with onions and mushrooms.


A few weeks ago I braised baby bok choy with onions, garlic, and a ton of sliced button mushrooms.  It’s not that difficult to make.  First I braised the onions and garlic in about 1/4 cup of water, then I added spices (cayenne, coriander, grated ginger).  Next I added the mushrooms and the white part of the bok choy.  I think I added more water (probably too much since this turned out veeery liquidy) and then I covered it and cooked it until the mushrooms browned.  I wilted the bok choy leaves on top once it was almost done cooking and stirred in a teaspoon of tamari when it was done.

I had a kale-banana-chia seed-almond yoghurt smoothie this morning. 

Mmmm, green smoothie.


I felt like a health nut for drinking it.  Granted, I added hot water from my kettle to make it blend, probably killing the yoghurt bacteria, and I used cooked kale.  Oh, stop being so hard on yourself.  I’m not striving for dietary perfectionism; I’m just trying to stay healthy and not suffer from lactose- and gluten-intolerance.  And not cause animals—including bees—to suffer because of what and how I eat.  There you have it, a summary of my personal dietary mission statement.

Chia seeds stuck in the dish sponge.   We won’t say of what this is reminiscent.



Someone left melted butter on the turntable in the dorm kitchen microwave.  I cleaned it and left a note, “To the person who left melted butter in the micro: you’re welcome.”  I doubt the sarcasm will prompt a change in that person’s behaviour, but I hope whoever reads it will laugh.



Q says, clean your mess!


For St. Valentine’s Day, I made these. 



Chocolate heart cakes with chocolate ganache.  I described ganache to a friend earlier in the day, and since I was out of dessert for that night, I made heart cakes.

Chocolate Heart Cakes

3/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup non-dairy milk [unsweetened soy]
1/2 cup agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease 6-well muffin pan or heart pan or an 8*8” square.  Shake dry ingredients and raisins together in a sealed plastic container until evenly cocoa-coloured.  Mix wet ingredients in large glass measuring cup.  Add dry to wet and stir until combined.  Divide amongst the wells.  Bake for 30 minutes or until the tops spring back when touched, they pass the toothpick test, and they pull away from the sides of the pan.  Cool in the pan for five minutes then cool completely on a rack.

Chocolate Ganache

1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons non-dairy milk [unsweetened soy]

Microwave all ingredients in a microwave-safe vessel for 45 seconds [covered with waxed paper so if it bubbles, you won’t be stuck with a chocolate-coated microwave to clean].  Remove from the microwave and stir until all the chocolate chips are melted.  Let cool to room temperature before using for best effects, and only frost completely cooled baked goods else it won’t harden.  Frost baked goods, let them sit until the ganache sets, then move the whole assemblage to the refrigerator to set completely.  Store ganache-coated baked goods in the refrigerator.


After two or three people told me chia seeds were superior to flax seeds, I gave them a try.  As you can see, they look like dinosaur eggs suspended in fluid. 

Chia seeds on oatmeal with cinnamon.



Or they resemble  a mass of tadpoles.  Either way, they’re delicious, with a crunch and a neutral taste.  Flax sometimes has a “dry-back-of-the-throat” taste, to me.  For the reason of flax’s distinct taste, flax oil is on my “Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!” list, and you can ask me why in-person.


 I was looking for cultured non-dairy products a few weeks ago and saw that this almond yoghurt was cheaper than the coconut kefir I usually buy.  



It’s creamy but it’s like cheap dairy yoghurt: the “whey” separates from the rest of it.  Makes a good smoothie and does not have the chalky taste of soyoghurt.  It also has far less sugar than most soyoghurts since it’s fruit-juice sweetened.  Someone tell me why soyoghurts are obnoxiously sweet?  Companies can’t hide the fact that soyoghurt is going to taste like soy under 20-plus grams of sugar.

Kale, apple, and soyoghurt over oatmeal.

I’m going to D.C. with the fam this weekend, hence I bought exotic nut/seed/plant butter: coconut-cacao butter.



Look at the separated fat on top of that.  I nuked it to make it reconstitute; it’s probably not “raw” anymore, but since I’m not a “raw” vegan, I’m not concerned.



It has an almost minty taste.  This stuff is frosting in a jar.

Amidst the smell of fresh-baked sweet potato-Mesa Sunrise (cereal) bread, I bid you adieu.

Q
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