Rice Noodle Salad, Cookies & Winterlude!

First recipe from Thug Kitchen done, and oh my god, that was a crazy amount of chopping. I don’t think I’ve chopped that much in my life before. This is what real cooking in adulthood is; endless chopping. I knew it was too easy, what I’d been doing before, this is the real deal. Here’s a few pictures of chopped things so you get the general idea, but trust me somehow it was way more than what you see here.

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Veggies and herbs galore, meanwhile I’m cooking noodles, baking tofu, and mixing two sauces. Yes, it was insanity. My kitchen has never been that messy while I’m making dinner. I’m a big fan of the “clean as you go” mantra (thank you McDonald’s training) but I just couldn’t keep up this time. Every time you turn around, there’s something else to chop/whisk/bake/marinade with this recipe. The worst part is, it took long enough but I felt like I should have spent way more time chopping the veggies even thinner. That probably would have added at least an extra 30 minutes.

But the most important thing – was it worth it?

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So fresh mmmm

Yes, yes it was indeed.

I almost always order a vermicelli bowl at Vietnamese restaurants – I think on the menus they are called “Bún” and there are various meat options or spring rolls. I go for the one topped with spring rolls and it is sooo good, put some hoisin sauce on top and it’s perfection. This bowl, was not that bowl and I should not have expected it to be. The dressing is extremely strong, tasty but very strong. The marinade for the tofu was fantastic though! It smelled so good as it was baking. Baked tofu is the best, I have probably mentioned before that so far I have not found a tastier way to prepare it.

The tofu was an optional addition – there’s two pages in the cookbook dedicated to how to bake tofu, and three marinade recipes. With this recipe it was suggested to use the ginger sesame marinade, which was rice vinegar, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, fresh ginger, lime juice, and sriracha. If I had left out the tofu, this process may have been slightly less stressful. Okay, a lot less stressful. Baking tofu is a lengthy process because you have to press it first, and this time I had to marinade it too. A lengthy but worthwhile process. I liked the salad much better for lunch the next day for some reason, perhaps because I was more conservative with my sauce and sriracha pouring.

Okay so after that experience, I went back to something I know, love and trust – baking cookies. Have I mentioned how much easier vegan baking is than regular baking (sometimes)? Well, it was in the case of this next Thug Kitchen recipe – Carrot Cake Cookies.

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Were they just like carrot cake? No, no they were not. In fact my biggest complaint about these cookies is that I did not find them sweet enough. Since switching to mostly vegan foods, my sweet tooth has almost completely disappeared, so you know it’s legit when I say something isn’t sweet enough. I have a very low bar of sweetness to meet, and it was not met here. Good to know though, I will adjust it next time perhaps by adding vanilla – I have not yet researched whether that’s a good idea or not. Anyway, these cookies were insanely simple to make and I had basically all the ingredients in my kitchen except the walnuts. Out of the oven, they were very good and the next day also good but had a bit chewier texture. Definitely worth making again, although with more sweetness.

This week I also fit in some time to go to Winterlude! It was opening weekend which is probably the best because guess what was happening? The ice sculptures were still being sculpted! I was there Saturday night and watched the artists put the finishing touches on their magnificent sculptures. If you’ve never been to Winterlude before, I highly recommend going, at least to check out Confederation Park for the sculpture competitions and of course to grab a beaver tail.

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I also went skating on the canal the night before, which was great although turns out when you go late at night, you can’t see any of the holes. I always forget it’s not actually lit until I get there. What I’m trying to say is, I fell twice but blamed it on the fact that I was wearing new skates. Best skates ever they were so warm! I could have skated all night! Although I probably would have fallen more and been a giant bruise so maybe not…

-L

 

 

 

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