Can’t stop, won’t stop

Cooking that is! And also finally – baking! Vegan baking is different from regular baking. So far I’ve found that it takes less time to prep and bake but also the textures are a bit different. The two recipes I’ve tried so far have tasted amazing, but the texture took some getting used to.

Over the weekend, I was craving Indian food. We live right by a fantastic Indian restaurant (East India Company, I love their garlic naan), and even just standing in the general vicinity of the place, it smells amazing. I’ve cooked Indian dishes before so I figured it might be easier to make my own vegan versions rather than eat out (although while eating out I try to be vegan but will settle for vegetarian).

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I found a great recipe on mindbodygreen for chickpea masala which honestly, turned out perfectly. I couldn’t get enough of it, I’m so sad it’s gone now!

I don’t love cilantro, but when a recipe calls for it I buy it and use a little. I know it’s one of those really-good-for-you herbs so it’s not the end of the world to add a little bit to dishes when appropriate. Also it’s nice to have a little pop of colour in these mainly orange/red dishes. My craving continued onto the next day when I had this chickpea masala for lunch and so I decided for dinner, I needed more! I went for an old reliable (meaning I’ve made it successfully at least twice before) – vegetarian korma.

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It actually calls for half and half, but I decided full fat coconut milk would do the trick. It did, although it was definitely different from the last time I made it. Not in a terrible way though I still loved it and often these kinds of dishes taste even better the next day, so I’ll know more tomorrow at lunch.

I’ll  probably make garlic pasta tomorrow which I’ve made many times before since the first time I tried it. It’s time to bring this Indian food binge to an end, but there will definitely be another one in the near future. I will have dreams about that chickpea masala, so I’m pretty sure I’ll only be able to go a week or two without it.

With all this delicious savory, I needed to mix it up with some sweetness. Sugar, YES PLEASE. Although ironically, this recipe didn’t actually call for any sugar. The sweetener was 3 tbsp of pure maple syrup (which of course, all Canadians thrive on), which I actually prefer to sugar now.

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I make thumbprint cookies every Christmas. My granny always makes them for Christmas too, but I have to fight 20 other family members for them soo…no thanks. I make my own now! I actually stumbled upon this recipe in a Buzzfeed post about vegan holiday cookies and I’m so glad I did because they’re a great alternative to my traditional thumbprint recipe from granny. Side note, does anyone use StumbleUpon anymore?? I used to waste hours on there and totally forgot about it until right this second…

The texture is…different. I would compare these cookies in taste and texture to those almond cookies that are almost always present at a Chinese buffet. I love those almond cookies, so I really like these. The texture is a bit grainy – could be because it’s almond flour. Which by the way, is insanely expensive. I can never buy it again. It was $18 for a 453g bag. For comparison, a 453g bag of flax seed meal was $5. How does that happen? Anyway it smells and tastes good, but that’s just not worth it to me. I used more than half the bag of it for these cookies. That means the cookies themselves (which only made about 20) probably cost around $20 to make. I know there’s a place nearby that sells almond flour in bulk so maybe I’ll try that and get a better price for it. I feel like it’s probably just an expensive item though.

One great thing about trying out new recipes (well in my odd opinion) is my spice rack is looking great! I don’t actually have a real spice rack – I have a shelf in a cupboard where all my spices are and I refer to it as a spice rack. It’s completely disorganized but I’m proud. IMG_20151215_170205It now contains things like turmeric and cardamom – and cumin (I do not like cumin in large amounts so it’s shocking there’s some sitting in my kitchen right now). It also has garam masala, essential if you’re cooking Indian food – also curry powder and probably cumin but personally I always half the amount of cumin any recipe calls for. That picture doesn’t do it justice, there’s about six more bags of spices behind the ones you can see. When we moved here, I started with three so this makes me very happy. It isn’t surprising though, I really love to cook and was always in the spice rack at my parents’ house. Cardamom smells fantastic by the way. I’m missing nutmeg though…I definitely have to pick up some nutmeg, in case of any baking emergencies.

Hopefully there will be time over the holidays to try out some new recipes, maybe I can even stray from my go-to cuisines; Indian and Mexican. Clearly I’ve got a thing for fragrant, spicy dishes. And rice. I think it’s time for more cookies in my life.

L.

 

 

 

 

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