Monday, March 31, 2008

Lychee and Morning Juice Jelly

This morning I juiced up a storm for K, but opted to stick with my banana, soyoghurt and walnuts - sans juice. I wasn't being a martyr, there was loads of the grapefruit, orange, apple and strawberry juice - I just had other designs for the nectar.

I used a can of lychees that I picked up on the weekend in this morning's agar agar molding party. After warming on the stove, I poured the agar-infused juice into a clear glass square mold. Before sticking it in the fridge I also added the washed lychee fruit (about 10 pieces of the fruit). The visual was pretty stunning this afternoon when I popped it out of the fridge. I am imagining hot summer afternoons will be perfect for this desert.

But, the fun didn't stop with the lychee fruit. I had also bought a bunny mold over the weekend. I can't put into words how cute this little bit of jelly is (It is actually quite a bit bigger than it appears). You will just have to look at the photo.

I wanted to share some good times with the vegan world, and complete KamutFlakeGirl's recent tag.

I am not a horn tooter, but, I feel that as this celebration is connected to my other blog friendlies, it is worth a mention.

While running against some of the coolest and yummiest vegan cooks out there, my humble Squash Pockets won Anke's Squash Contest. Thanks for running the contest Anke! I love the idea of having an external challenge (one that runs deeper than the deploring tiny kitchen I am currently contending with). It was great fun and I am now looking for other ways to participate in foodie contests. I was thinking more about what VeganDad mentioned in one of his posts last week, about other ways to share a vegan message/recipe/vibe with the 'rest' of the world. I am thinking that by joining contests, getting our recipes out there, sharing our photographs, and by celebrating our writing, we can actually have a large ripple effect (that effect might vary from vegan-blogger, to vegan-blogger). One recipe challenge that I found to be intriguing is a monthly contest at Daring Bakers.

Okay, KamutFlakeGirl, only because I believe in fair play, internet memes, and following directions (except when it comes to recipes), am I completing this tag. Argh.

1. I used to teach English Literature (et al) at Sheridan College, now I teach Grade Five at the International School of Brussels.

2. My very first 'boy' crush was on Dr. Baker from the North American T.V. show Little House on the Prairie. If you google this character you may loose all respect for me. I think I have worked me way up over the years, next was Rod Stewart......I was five.

3. In addition to winning the Butternut Squash Contest, I also won a Hola Hoop contest in my final year of undergrad. I make my parents proud.

4. One of the most amazing memories in my life was spending an evening with Irving Layton.

5. I love all vegetables. BUT I abhor pickled onions. Yuck. Yick. Yuck.

I am tagging: Jill at New Vegan Mom, Meg and Kelly at The Sisters Vegan, Steph from PoopieBitch Mr Tofu at Hezbollah Tofu, and Maggie at Desert Vegan

The rules are: 5 things about yourself. As KamutGirl suggests - this 'socialization' can be seen as a chance to break down the thick internet wall we can find ourselves behind. Let's make friends.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Lime CheeseCake, White Bean Spread and Eggplant Casserole

Who doesn't adore market day? The great thing about Brussels is that almost every day is a market day. One needs only to travel to any of the various 'communes' (the neighborhoods that make up Brussels city) to find at least one fresh, and, often organic, market.

On Saturday and Sunday the streets around the picturesque Lakes are shut down and this middle-of-the-city watery park becomes a ripe picking ground for local and shipped-in produce. Being a busy VeganCowGirl, with little life outside of my job, I find the market an important part of my world - a place to re-socialize with other souls and hear the tri-lingual tongues that make up the language of this land.

Today we picked up a slew of veggie, including a free sampling of nouveau parsnips compliments of the price-shouting market man who has become as familiar to me as the Chinese owner of my nightly shop stop back home in Toronto. Consistency is nice.

I made a whack of food this afternoon. I took some well paid-off chances with a Lime "Cheese" Cake, whirred up some White Bean Spread, which I tucked into one of the layers of a Aubergine casserole, and as I write this, I am grilling off some Lime Marinated Artichokes. I also got around to making two big whacks of Isa's Seitan recipe - to shore us up for the week to come.

White Bean Spread
-1 1/2 cups of White Haricots
-2 (HUGE) cloves of garlic
-Fresh Sage to taste

How To:
Put all of the ingredients in a glass bowl and whir up with hand blender. In addition to the casserole layer, I have plans on using this as a sandwich spread, and veg dip throughout the week.

Lick the Inside of the Food Processor Because It Tastes So Good Lime Cheese Cake
-1 cup of walnuts
-10 pitted dates
-8 vegan biscuits - I used traditional Belgian biscuits
-1 package Silken Tofu (soft, can use firm - but omit agar)
-1 package of Tofutti Cream Cheese
-1 teaspoon of vanilla
-lime Zest (2 teaspoons for cake, and 1 teaspoon for top)
-juice of 3 limes
-2 teaspoons of agar agar flakes
-1/2 cup of brown sugar

How To:
In your mom's food processor, whiz up the dates, add the walnuts and insert the biscuits. you are looking for a malleable crust. Press this into a spring form pan (I love my spring form pan). Wash out your food processor, and add all remaining ingredients, except the agar, and whiz until smooth. Stop here and taste this mix, be careful to have a stool or chair on hand. You will need to sit down. Add the agar and whiz for about 1 minute (feel free to use this time to do a little dance to celebrate the taste sensation you have created in your food processor). Add the tofu mix to your tasty pressed-in crust and pop the whole shabang into a preheated oven (140). Let the cake sit for about 30 minutes, turn off the oven and let it set in the oven for another 40 minutes. I grated another lime to top off the cake.

Eggplant Casserole

-1 eggplant
-1 tomato
-spinach leaves
-5 medium sized mushrooms
-White Bean Dip (see above)
-balsamic vinegar

How To: In a glass casserole dish I laid down three slices of the eggplant (but you can start in any way your heart desires), added slices of tomato, a layer of spinach, eggplant, bean dip (about 3 mm thick), tomato, and a final layer of eggplant. I topped it with fresh ground black pepper, and a splash of balsamic. I let it cook at 180 for 25 minutes covered, I removed the tin foil for a final five minutes. The glass dish was tiny, so I halved it and K and I tucked in for a good dinner.

A big fat Vegan Kiss goes out to K for his help in the kitchen today. Thanks K this VeganCowGirl is thankful for all of your help and vegan enthusiasm.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Lyndsay's Victory Lap Banana Bread!

Bananas very rarely manage to ripen in my favourite orange veg and fruit hanger (circa 1969). However, for whatever reason, this week has seen a decrease in the number of bananas appearing in oatmeal.

This morning, I found myself, a wide awake Vegan CowGirl, with a load of nearly nasty bananas. What does a Vegan CowGirl do with a load of nearly nasty bananas? Obviously she makes banana bread. Now. Let me tell you. There were many, many, many attempts to make banana bread back home. It was, after all, one of my omni-mom's best kept secrets (psst: lemon zest, sour cream and cream cheese...sorry mom).

Despite dedication to reinvention, I was never satisfied with what came out of my Ontario oven. Many moons have come and gone since I felt capable enough to battle the banana bread god (desses), but, perhaps with the support I feel from this wonderful vegan blogging community, I was able to champion my demons and from out of my Belgian oven and onto K's plate came a steaming and delicious slice of LYNDSAY'S VICTORY LAP BANANA BREAD.

I share my disasters (see last post) and my victories. Raw Raw Roar.

The recipe was one I fiddled with from Isa's never ending plethora of foodie knowledge. I omitted the fat, went with apple sauce, cut down the sugar, but added dates (I quite liked the ones on top). K reports a crispy top, moist, yet firm interior and an apartment that smells oh so sweet. (come on K that is obviously ME!)

I served the bread with our usual morning tea (No, not the uber-expensive (read: over priced) tea we bought from the tea shoppe which in turn inspired last night's disaster).
Simple Stir Fry and Green Tea Cookie (Disaster)

Friday night's dinner was a Simple Stir Fry. We decided to bake the ToFu before adding it to the veg. My wok loves the tofu a little too much, and unless I want to have an oil bath, the tofu is always a little mutilated by the end of the stir-fry process.

Inspired by our tea ceremony experience of last week we decided to try and make some Chinese Tea Cookies (the operative word in this last sentence is TRY). The recipes I found on line were not vegan, so veganizing was on order. Sadly, in one of my few attempts to use soy margarine, I ended up with a bit of a vegan cookie disaster. However, after a few glasses of wine, this didn't stop the almost-vegan cowboy from digging in.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Breakfast, Lunch and a Little Treat....

We had some rice left over from our sushi endeavours of a few evenings ago, and I didn't want to catch any botulism, so I decided to get it out of the fridge this morning for breakfast.

This was a really quick and easy breakfast that had the same satisfying effect as oatmeal, but offered a bit of an alternative flavour, texture and aesthetic. I added soymilk, dates and dried figs. K got a dash of brown sugar on top, but I found the dried fruit made my bowl as sweet as could be.

After sewing machine purchasing this morning I was ready for lunch. However, unlike usual meals K and I were hankering for different things. Rather than either one of us suffering, we made culinary compromises and concocted our own meals. I have to say that although his vegetable covered spaghetti (you just can't get the bachelor out of him) looked great, my Chili Infused Chickpea Spinach Stew was out of this world. I started out with a vague notion of simply reheating last night's soup. Nope....I added a large amount of organic spinach, a can of chick peas, 5 figs (diced), 1/2 a cup of tomatoes and a large amount of chili powder. I let it sit for quite some time and then enjoyed it with the last scone.

K pushed the limits of super-cool-almost-vegan-man-chef with his after lunch treat. While I was hunting up some fabric shops in the Brussels area he trotted off to the kitchen.There was some buzzing, some swearing and copious amounts of laughter. In the end, I ended up with some messy cupboards (which he promises will be scrubbed down) and one hell of a soy milk and cocoa cappuccino My hat is off to K (and all male cooks)- my treat is amazing and his continuous ability to create vegan delights has made me send his name and a couple of his recipes to Chris who is calling on all 'Men Who Cook'.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Soup, Scones and Sweet Somethings......

Dinner tonight was smooth, tasty and satisfying. The Squash, Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup was accompanied by some scones that were inspired by an avocado I had sitting in my veggie-keeper. Yes, that's right. An avocado. I decided to use this bright green chunk of good-fat to replace the oil that original scone recipes call for. I admit the scones themselves didn't taste so great 'as is', however, I think it was a too-hot oven.....Despite them not being their intended breakfast goodness, they were perfect 'dumplingesque' accompaniments to tonight's soup. Perhaps you can see the greenish hue left by the avocado induction......

Tonight's desert was compliments of K - who, considered these chocolate-bit cookies, to be his final test on his journey to the land of an almost-vegan-boy. The cookies were amazing, really, really amazing. And, not just because he made them, but because they tasted delicious.

Please note the fabulous new purple spatula K used to mix up his super yummy batch of cookies. I picked it up last week. I love it!

In my last post I mentioned having found a new ingredient - and 'tah-dah' Agar Agar has managed to make its way into my kitchen and my tummy.

I was filled with trepidation, uncertainty and even a bit of skepticism. The web is full of cooks/chefs and adventure seekers who have used agar and ended with a soggy mess. I understand, I sympathize, I have been there (see comment to Jennifer about Falafel Soup on Veg*n Musings), and I was completely willing to believe that this seaweed-turn-magic-powder would be added to the list of ingredients that left this vegancowgirl in the dust.

With hands shaking, and K 's head spinning with incessant questions from this insecure agar-agar wrangler, I started in on my Strawberry-Coconut-Jelly.

It was surprisingly easy, and the Chocolate Sauce that I added to the top was whipped up in a couple of minutes (but took two tries, due to a poor move made when I added my new vegan cream cheese to the sauce).

The texture of the jelly was fun and wriggly in my mouth, and the strawberries were a light flavour that I had the delight of discovering over and over again as I worked my way through my decadent desert.

I seriously recommend this little experiment - it was pretty low-cal, low-fat (I added a bit of coconut milk, but you could omit), and it was easy as pie (or parfait should I say?).

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I had a great day! It was so wonderfilled! We met great people, had excellent food, discovered new parts of our city, bought some rockin' music, found EGG REPLACER (!!!!) and I even had the chance to use a new ingredient.

We headed off downtown with the intention of getting some shopping done and meet up with our vegetarian (vegan friendly) wedding caterer extraordinaire. Her restaurant is just a touch off the funky St. Katerine Square, and despite being off the beaten trail it was heaving by the time we finished our lunch. Annabelle can be found M-F (11 - 3) at Picnik, where she and a small number of folk whip up fresh and tasty vegetarian delights. K and I both had a small bowl of her lentil soup. I followed the scrumptious soup up with a roasted veg salad (that included the unusual, but really delicious, celery root), and K had a chinese noodle and tofu salad. The price was right, the food was great and Annabelle seems to share similar beliefs about food and life as this vegan cowgirl. So, although we haven't signed any contracts yet, I think she is the one!

After lunch we stumbled upon a great chinese shop where we had an amazing tea service performed for us, and met a really funky lady whose life seemed to be spread out all over the world.

After a workout I came home to tackle some sushi/maki. Still boosted from Anke's contest, I decided to try my hand at making, amoung other sorts, some squash sushi. After wrestling with some Nori, me and my favourite almost-vegan-boy had a nice little meal on the floor, complete with some atomic wasabi and Neko Case. Good Times. We are just waiting on our Strawberry and Coconut Agar Jelly........

Squash (and other sorts) Sushi and Many Veg Maki

-Squash (sliced and baked)
-Sweet Potato (sliced and baked)
-Red Pepper slices
-Cucumber slices
-avocado slices
-tofu (sliced and baked)
-sushi rice (we actually used risotto rice and washed it off after boiling)
-rice vinegar
-sesame seeds
-soy sauce
-nori sheets

How To:
Maki - Cook the rice, cover with 3 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar. I like to let it cool down for a small while. Lay a nori on the sushi mat and cover 3/4 of the nori with the rice, in the bottom 1/4 line up any combo of ingredients (it will take you a couple of trys before you become aware of how much 'stuffing' works best for your sushi), sprinkle with sesame seeds, rub cold water on the non-riced top 1/4 and roll. Some of the combos I used: Squash, red pepper and avocado. Tofu, Avocado, Cucumber.

Veg Sushi - (Squash and Asparagus in the photo). Use your hand to craft a little 'ball' or oval of rice and lay an appropriately shaped veg atop. Tie with a cut sliver of Nori.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Baked - Not Fried

I made my best attempt to get a copy of Veganomicon today from the Brussels' Waterstones. I am looking at a month. But, I suppose, that is better then paying 72 euros for the shipping via Amazon. In honour of the cookbook I can not have, I made the one recipe from this PPK creation that seems to be all over the web: ChickPea Cutlets.

Tonight I went for a baked version, versus my last (and uber yummy) attempt of frying them up. Also, as suggested, we went with a middle eastern theme for the 'sauce' and meal accouterments. I made a baba ghanoush, using a smoked tahini, and K and I, working as a wonder team, made a fresh and tangy Cucumber/Tomato/Chickpea side salad.

We had stopped at the St.Gilles market on the way home from Waterstones - it is an all organic market on the front steps of their beautiful commune building. We met the nicest organic wine man - who explained the nuances of the various wines he was hocking - we ended up selecting two (why settle for one?). Tonight we had the black fruit bottle, it was gorgeous.

Sumac Salad
-1/2 cucumber
-3 (organic) tomatoes
-dash of sumac
-1/2 cup of chickpeas (left over from the cutlets)
-a dash of olive oil
-sea salt to taste

Bring on the Baba ghanoush
-1 eggplant (roasted for 35 minutes)
- 3 cloves of garlic
-2 tablespoons of tahini
-2 tablespoons of water
-dash of paprika
I would have included a squeeze of lemon, but, alas, I was fresh out. I whizzed this up with my handblender. This whizzing method leaves the dip a little more light and 'airy' when compared to what you get from the food processor. I wasn't hungry all day - had but a couple of glasses of juice. I think my belly was waiting on tonight's meal, because I wolfed it down. Yummmy.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sweet Squash Puff Packets
I admit to being a bit competitive. I like a good challenge. I hate being told I can't do something. And, even a hint of the word 'contest' gets me moving. Not that winning is a concern - the end bit doesn't much matter to me. It is the idea of working with (against) a whole load of like-minded people (cooks, writers, runners) who all share an exact goal.

Anke touched a nerve in my personality when she blogged about a contest that involved one of my favourite veg: Butternut Squash. Who doesn't love this veg? It is dynamite in flavour and its versatility is much appreciated by this little vegan - soup, stews, curries, muffins, grilled, baked, name it, this little squash can do it.

My idea for this recipe came to me one morning last week while I was running to school - it had started raining and I needed to divert my desire to flag down a bus and hop on. All in all, it worked out really well and I would definitely make it again. I had never worked with puff pastry before, so it was an exercise in discovery-cooking. I had originally imagined the squash to be stuffed inside a phyllo pastry - but, hey! on Easter Sunday - you take what you get from the grocery shops that are kind enough to open their doors.

-1 butternut squash
-1 sweet potato
-1/2 apple
-curry spices to taste
-1 (or 2 depending on size of box) puff pastry - or make your own

How To:
I sliced the squash, and sweet potato into 1/2 cm coins, marinated them in the spices, some water and a small bit of soy milk, and baked them in the oven for about 20 minutes - just to warm them up. While doing so I cut out the dough into four quadrants. I laid equal amounts of the baked squash - potato mix and topped them with apple slivers before closing up the packets.

I baked the pastry for about 20 minutes and served them with a middle eastern dipping sauce, some left over chick pea and spinach curry that K had made on Saturday and some grilled asparagus. They were excellent.

For desert (and breakfast this morning) I whipped up a version of Happy Herbivore's sweet potato muffins. I changed some of the ingredients and added dates (inspired by Urban Herbivore restaurant in downtown Toronto). These were wicked easy to make and to quote K as he heads for a second breakfast muffin: "They are great, and I can eat as many as I want because they are vegan"!!!

-1 sweet potato
-1 cup of chopped dates
-1 1/2 cups of flour
-1 cup of soy milk
-1/4 cup of maple syrup
-1 tsp of baking soda
-2 tsp of baking powder
-egg replacer for 2 eggs (I used flax powder and water)
-Cinnamon to taste
-1 tsp of vanilla
-1/4 cup of crushed walnuts

We made a wacky last minute change to our two week travel plans. We decided to ditch Slovenia - the weather they were forecasting wasn't conducive to our plans of hiking the alps. So we have opted for some chill out time (finally) in Brussels, a trip to Paris and day trips to Cologne, the Ardennes and some curtain making......It might sound less exotic, but this tuckered vegancowgirl couldn't be more excited.

Friday, March 21, 2008

I know it doesn't look pretty, but the gesture is out of this world.
(and an eggstravagant edit)

My work has a cafeteria. It isn't really a place frequented by many vegans (, so, they tend to offer me one choice - salad. This is fine. Really, honestly, I have no qualms with the salad option. Chopped carrots, organic lettuce, corn, even the occasional cold quninoa, black and green olives, artichoke hearts. Arguably a veggie parade. No complaints. No problems - when I don't feel like eating salad I raid my fridge and do my own thing - cool.

In the past while there have been a number of faculty events that have required catering on the part of the cafeteria staff - which means I have had to be specific about my "Special Needs". Each request has been met in the nicest of ways. Excellent.

BUT....the topper came yesterday, when, on route to capture my salad, the head chef anxiously grabbed my attention and told me that she had something for me. She had gone out of her way to make and then save a vegan plate of tofu and basil. I was so touched. This chef is Belgian, speaks little English and has trouble understanding my Canadian French, but she has always gone out of her way to make sure I had what I needed - but this is a truly kind gesture that I wanted to acknowledge in a bigger way than my copious "thank yous". I ate the tofu over the past two days...with some of the salad. She even bought me my own sleeve of rice cakes. I still can't believe it.

People can be so kind and thoughtful.

i have more goodness to share

This day has proven to be full of kindness and thoughtfulness.

One of the best things about working with children is how often they remind us about the way human beings are capable of treating each other. One of my little stars, who reads Jane Austen books, plays the violin and loves to write stories, just gave me a little Happy Easter packet - complete with a homemade card. Walking away from me, she turned and smiled while saying "They are vegan......" How excellent. I have already eaten the bum off the chicken. Thanks Maddy!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Tonight's dinner was the perfect solution to the soggy Brussels Blues (Common impediment when living in this rain soaked nation - hence, I am convinced, the heavy dependency on chocolate). Tonight's dinner was also in celebration of my parent's wedding anniversary. Happy Anniversary to you both! If I was in Canada look at what you would (n't) be eating.

The roasted root veg, rosemary-crusted tofu bake, and Kevin's homemade pesto were all quite satisfying.

The pesto was the most creative bit of the evening's fare so I think I will share the chef's secrets. (I don't think he will mind)

Garishly Green Garlic Pesto

-4 cloves of garlic
-2 tablespoons of olive oil
-pine nuts
-two bushels of fresh basil

He pulled down my mom's food processor to tackle this dollop of homemade goodness. I am convinced that he pretty much threw everything in and whizzed it up into the bright green tasty goodness. He had some complaints about the intensity of the garlic, but, I was totally taken by the fiery taste of this cheese-free pesto. I actually had mine on my tofu (as a side spread), while he enjoyed it atop some whole wheat pasta.

One more day of work, work, work. And then I have airplane food to look forward to. Yes! Bring on the energy bars.

In other news: The Muffin-Cakes went over very well today. They were used to twist the arm of a colleague who will be travelling home to Canada over the holiday - he has graciously agreed to bring this vegancowgirl a packet of egg replacer (if any European reader knows where to find online Egg Replacer PLEASE email me). They also made it over to Kevin's department, and were enjoyed (apparently to great exuberance) by Danielle. Tonight I am thinking of some chocolate covered strawberries dipped in...coconut milk?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

EggPlant Pockets and Carrot-Coconut Muffin-Cakes

I was starving at the end of my day and had intentions of making some of the much blogged about carrot cake cup cakes, but I needed a little something else to go with them. I left work feeling pretty cranky - late night listening to the poorly engineered Tegan and Sarah, and then making the silly decision to run to work - cranky to say the least. But, once I started crafting a dinner plan in my head I felt bright and shiny. Ready for the most missing of essential ingredients or the most over-stuffed muffin trays. Bring It!!!

In the pursuit of slowly cleaning out the fridge in preparation for our Sunday departure for Slovenia, I decided to work on the premise of using the two eggplants I bought on Sunday. I didn't want curry, I didn't want fried (please remember the re-kindled love between me and my oven), so I opted for throwing together a new recipe that I am christening my Eggplant Pockets.

They were wicked yummy, and, given the middle eastern spices I used and the middle eastern nature of eggplant itself, I decided to serve it with some hummus and rice cakes (ok - so rice cakes aren't so middle eastern).

-2 eggplants
-1 onion
-1 can of chickpeas
-cumin, coriander
-1 can of tomatoes
-a tiny bit of olive oil

How To:
I cut the eggplants in half (along the horizontal) and hollowed them out. I added oil to a pan (yes, I did have to use the stove top) and chucked in the onions, followed by the spices. I let this cook down for a while before adding the eggplant-innards, which I diced up. I added half the can of tomatoes (reserving the other half for later), and chickpeas and let it cook for about 15 minutes. Stuffing the eggplant shells was quite easy because they were still raw and firm. I cooked the four 'pockets' for 45 minutes - adding the remaining tomatoes across the top for the final 5 minutes.

My baking tonight was inspired by the various scrumptious looking photos posted by Happy Herbivore, Dr. Stonielove, and Pleasantly Plump Vegan. However much I wanted to taste the flavours being raved about on these blogs the dream of recreating a recipe was not to be had. Tweaking was necessary, when, after picking up what I thought were all the essentials, I realized that I was fresh out of apple sauce, or rather, I was fresh out of fresh applesauce. For, I had mowed down on all the organic sugar-free for breakie and had only a skanky, moldy bottle of apple sauce hidden away back behind some atomic mustard we bought on our trip to Ghent.

Hmmm...what to add. In the end, inspired by the title of P.P.V's recipe, I decided to add Coconut Milk to make up for the lack of apple sauce. I admit, my goodies aren't fat free - ahh well. The other little twiddle that I did to the recipe was...I didn't end up making cup cakes, so much as I made Muffin-Cakes. I guess I was a little too indulgent with my spatula and ended up adding a wee bit too much to each little cavity in the tray...and well, hey...they came out looking like muffins - but! the more yummy nummy good stuff to add my yogurt, coconut milk (why stop?) and maple syrup 'icing' to? My friend/colleague Britt is receiving a special Muffin-Cake treat tomorrow - she has had a hard week and needs a little vegan baking love.

-1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
-1 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp baking powder
-1 tsp Cinnamon
-grated ginger
-2 grated carrots
-2 tablespoons of ginger and rhubarb preserves
-2 tablespoons of maple syrup
-1/2 cup of coconut milk
-2 tablespoons of olive oil
-1/4 cup of sugar

How To:

I added all the dry ingredients, mixed them up and then added them to the wet. I added the coconut milk until I had the consistency that I was looking for. I popped them into the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes.

Alright, two days of work await me before my holiday. Can't wait.

Monday, March 17, 2008

I didn't sleep so well last night, and by the time I got in from work tonight I was looking for a chance to be as cuddly and comfortable as possible. It isn't unusual that when I feel this way, I head straight for the kitchen. Rather than craving food to eat, I crave food to cook/bake. The systematic and creative combination of working with food, always help me separate a bad day or sick stomach or tired eyes from the rest of my world.

K was going to be later getting home tonight, so I knew I had time to just do my own thing - and I opted for a kitchen session that resulted in: a zucchini bread, stuffed squash, and a chickpea and spinach dish.

I decided to start with the bread - I knew it would need a while and I was looking forward to the cathartic destruction involved in grating the zucchini I picked up at the market yesterday morning. One of the interesting things about moving from single girl-hood into a boy's house that was once the home of a bachelor, is that certain things are missing. Yes, they have a wide range of frying pans, yes they have cereal bowls. But, no, they do not have muffin tins, loaf pans or proper Tupperware. I still need to get a banana bread loaf pan, so, the bread wasn't going to be uber-pretty, but, hey, its Monday. I played with a recipe in Vegan Planet and ended up with something that was a touch on the dense side, but satisfying.

The Quinoua Stuffed Squash was the next in line. I started by slicing the squash in half and throwing the two halves in with the bread - warming up the flesh while I was busy putting together the filling. After the filling was cooked through and mixed in with the quinoa, I added the lot to the deep holes of this cute little squash. I baked it, covered over with aluminum foil, for about 20 minutes after filling it up.

-1 squash - halved
-1 cup of quinoa, washed, cooked and added to veg filling
-1/2 zucchini
-1/2 tomato
-4 spring onion
-1/2 apple
-mustard seed

The Chickpea and Spinach dish was my attempt to capture K's perfection with the same ingredients.


-1 can of chickpeas, washed
-1/4 kilo of spinach
-mustard seed
-olive oil

I did something pretty silly the other day. I bought peanut butter. Some of you might know that I have been cursed with a fat-sensitive tummy AND a fat-loving mouth. I adore avocado, peanut butter and cashews. The cruel fate of my life means that if I have even a smidgen too much of any fat I get the most agonizing tummy ache. So bad that I became good friends with the folks at Oakville Trafalgar hospital in the summer of 2005. Ouch. I bought the p.b. with the promise to K (who experienced a great round of sore tummy on the eve of our trip to Paris) that I would be sensible and not be silly with the p.b (it has never been allowed in the house before now). I admit that tonight the yummy nut butter caught my eye and I had a taste....and....the nut butter has now been placed a top the highest shelf in our house - one that this little vegan, even with my step ladder can not reach. argh.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Today was excellent. I enjoyed a spontaneous day trip to Durbuy, which is in the south of Belgium and has some of the most amazing rock formations, and loads of tiny town qualities that one begins to forget when living in a big capital city. The houses were so quaint that it was silly. I felt as if I were constantly looking at a post card. The river was a rush with spring rain fall (not that it needs to be spring to be raining in Belgium).

I started my Sunday in a slow cooking kind of way with a hearty oatmeal that looks an awful lot like the breakfast Jennifer was enjoying in Columbia.

This oatmeal recipe comes not out of a book, but out of years of repeating the same simple steps - and always with the same delicious and satisfying results.

-4 apples - cored and chopped
-1 stick of Cinnamon
-1 wee bit of soy milk
-1-2 teaspoons of maple syrup
-powdered ginger as you like
-dried fruit (dates and raisins) as you like

This oatmeal is also amazing with rhubarb - but there is none to be had in Brussels at the moment. Cést la vie.
I ate my lunch in the car on the way down to Durbuy (K had croquettes and a really dressing-saturated salad in a Brasserie upon our arrival). My salad was a quickly thrown together collection of diced veg and a bit of baguette that we bought at the market this morning. As you can see - K brought with him the cookies from the other day....but they didn't all end up in his belly. I had a nice dose of Arcade Fire for the drive down and Great Lake Swimmers most recent album was our (my) choice for the ride home.

Tonight's dinner was inspired by a walk through the seafood department on Friday night. I don't usually find myself passing through aisles of mussels and cod, but, it was this unusual detour that resulted in K's discovery of a veg that I would have never noticed. Samphire isn't a usual accoutrement to the fruit and vegetable departments I have frequented (and with my obsessive food shopping there have been many walks through grocery shops). Upon plunking it into my basket I recalled seeing this fingered, green and bizarre looking marsh growing vegetable in the interesting bio/cook book Garlic, Gooseberries and Me.

After our rocking road trip I turned the samphire into a kicking salad that we had with our Polenta and Sage Crusted Tofu Steaks. YUMMY.

Fire Starting Samphire Salad
-samphire: soak in cold water for 20 minutes and cook in boiling water for 60 seconds
-Boston lettuce
-2 pears (I used red organic pears)
-crushed walnuts
-balsamic vinegar and olive oil

What do you do when you break your fiancee's favourite trapist beer glass? You make him his favourite desert. This apple crisp was BY FAR the best apple crisp I have ever made. I don't know. Perhaps it was the extra love I have been giving to my oven every night before bed. Maybe it is the sweet nothings I have been whispering in its ear every time I pass by. Doesn't matter, all I am certain of is the sumptuous finale to tonight's dinner. It turned out so wonderfully.

Make Up for It Apple Crisp
-8 apples - cored and cut into bits
-brown sugar
-maple syrup
-apple sauce
-olive oil
-flax powder
-whole wheat flour

I made a 'crust' by crushing half of the walnuts I had on hand and adding flax powder, oats, maple syrup, a bit of oil and pressed it into the bottom of the pan. I added the diced apples, which I coated in maple syrup and a tiny bit of brown sugar. To the top of the cut up apples I spread some apple sauce. In a separate bowl I mixed together whole wheat flour, oats, maple syrup, powdered ginger, cinnamon, and a small bit of water. This makes a crumble and will easily cover the apple mix. I put it in the oven at 360 for about 50 minutes. I served it with a little bit of soy milk. And - I was forgiven for cracking the glass. :)

I read some amazing blogs today. Veg*an Cooking and Other Ramblings has a great recent entry, and Authentic Deliciousness was just amazing. The writing quality in the vegan blog world is high quality! Billy's Vegan Talk is an excellent example of some great food/ethics journalism and Chocolate Covered Vegan writes like a great magazine reporter. Excellent stuff out there.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Cookies are the perfect answer for oven-deprived vegans.
I decided to avoid the hard cover cook books today and went (sent K) instead to the grand vegan web. The likes of PPK turned up a chocolate cookie recipe that I tweaked a little bit. Searching for a macaroon recipe I had promised myself to make but, in classic VeganCowGirl way, forgot to bookmark, K found an interesting recipe for vegan macaroons that didn't call for any sugar in the white or brown form. I was game!
The truth: the macaroons taste NOTHING like macaroons, but they are a great substitute for baking a whole loaf of banana bread. The bite sizeness of them works with the (ironically) intense sweetness embedded by the dates, coconut and bananas. The initial recipe of: dates, coconut and 1 banana seemed to be seriously lacking something - so I went a little wild and added oats and vanilla. It really only seemed right - they had to be baked for 15 minutes, and it seemed insane to through them in their without a grain or two.
I ended up with two batches of goodies that will keep us sweet and full for the rest of the weekend and might even need to go into the freezer for desert next week.
They May Not be Macaroons, But They Taste Great, Macaroons
-1 banana
-8 dates
-1 tsp of vanilla
-1/2 cup of oats
-1/2 cup of coconut
I put everything into my food processor, pulsed it for 30 seconds and then pulled the 'dough' out and added it to my cookie sheet in art deco looking shapes.

They sat in the oven (at 160) for about 15 minutes - they could use a turning half way through.
Belgian Style Vegan Chocolate Bits Cookies
-1/2 bar of Belgian vegan chocolate: chopped (by one seriously cute geek)
-2 cups of whole wheat flour
-1/4 cup of sugar
-1/2 cup of apple sauce
-2 tablespoons of oil
-vanilla (as you like)
-1/4 cup of cocoa
-1 teaspoon of Cardamom
-2 tablespoons of maple syrup
-2 tablespoons of flax
-1/2 cup of soy milk (plus more if it gets a bit dry)
I blended the soy and flax and set aside. Upon insistence of a back-seat-cook I sifted the flour, cocoa and baking soda in my big bright blue bowl. I added the wet ingredients, the chocolate bits and the flax mix and mixed it all together. It was super mega sticky (wasn't really expecting that) and in the end it seemed a bit more on the cake/scone end of batters, but the cookies, after a 10 minute tan on 180 in the OVENNNNNN, turned out quite wonderfully.
Perhaps the best part of my day was how after buying the new Nick Cave and Vampire Weekend C.D.s a trip to the International Festival was in the cards. And guess what this vegan cowgirl found at the Canadian Booth? President's Choice Maple Syrup (so worth the 7 euro), AND they had a chef making Beaver Tails. Jesus, I could have been in Ottawa - but, alas, the butter and milk in the batter wasn't so vegan. I opted for a bite of a vegetarian spring roll from the Bangladesh booth. Yum.
I hate to share this with my Canadian readers who are still struggling with the cold and damp, but my terrace door is wide open and today officially began patio season. Whop. Whop.
I just wanted to say how great it was to read about Chocolate Covered Vegan's Friendship Day. What a great cause, and a wonderful account of what seemed to be a great day.

Friday, March 14, 2008

It's Back!

Our oven came home today. And tonight, rather then the regular night out, we opted for a night in with our most longed for appliance.

We knew it had to be roasted veg - of course. But, we needed something to go with it, and I suggested the famous Veganomicon Chickpea Cutlet that I have been reading so much about. We played with the recipe a little bit. And K took his new status as a husband-to-be-to-a-vegan to a whole new level with a great fresh Tomato and Basil salsa that was out of this world. This meal was not all VeganCowGirl by any means - it was total joint effort.
Hold the Chicken Cutlets
-1 cup of chickpeas
-1/2 cup of wheat gluten
-1/2 cup of chickpea flour
-2 tsp of soy sauce
-2 tsp of olive oil
-1/4 cup of water
-fresh sage, fresh basil, fresh thyme

These were so easy. So easy. I mashed the chickpeas and oil with a fork while K got busy with the veg. Once the chickers were nice and squished I added the remaining ingredients - in no particular order - and let the bowl sit for about 15 minutes (not sure if this had any real effect on the end product, but we wanted the veg to cook off a while before warming the cutlets). When ready to go I added some oil to a non-stick pan and browned the cutlets on both sides for about 7 minutes. Apparently they work really well time.

K's salsa was out of this world, and although we think we will pair the cutlets with something more Mediterranean next time, a la roasted eggplant or hummus, the salsa is a definite keeper. I was totally impressed. If I hadn't already said yes last weekend, I would be asking for his hand after the flavours in this dish.
K's Salsa
-3 red/green tomatoes
-a wee bit of red chili
-apple cider vinegar
-olive oil
-cracked black pepper
-finely diced spring onion

From what I saw, he finely chopped everything, and added it to the bowl, topping the fresh ingredients with the olive oil and vinegar. He mentioned that the taste increases in intensity when you let it sit for a while - but we weren't waiting for anything last night. We served it on the side, and I found it was a nice compliment to the other two more 'heavier' components of the feast.

All in all it was a great meal. K was trying to figure out how much we could sell it for at the imaginary restaurant I will one day open in Brussels.

After binging on our food we headed for a drink with some friends. Good times with Mojitos.

In other really excellent news Leonard Cohen is touring and where is going to be on July 10th? In Brughes. Where am I going to be on July 10th? In Brughes. K snapped up the tickets yesterday morning - I can NOT wait.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Tag, I am IT! And so is Vegan Sausage.....

Wow. People are talking about the vegan blog world. I couldn't figure out why folks kept linking to me via slashfood, and upon a little bit of investigation (otherwise known as distraction-at-work procrastination) I discovered that people have noticed the little bonding party we have had over our vegan sausage discovery.

Tonight's dinner started out with a bit of a disappointment - a funky cabbage. And, no one, no matter how hungry you are, wants to eat a funky cabbage. Ever since last night, (when cooking was just totally out of the question after spending an hour in the car looking for my PhD supervisor's illusive address), I have been dreaming about a red cabbage, shredded apple, edamame and pumpkin seed salad. I was ready, having stopped at the shop and armed myself with some additional supplies, to tackle this culinary dream. I ducked my head into the cupboard to pull out the hard, crunchy and purple cabbage, and all I got was a stinky, green-dotted, slightly toxic vegetable. I swear it has been there for about 1 week - Skanky water is to blame I think.

I didn't give up. I perservered. Committed to having a raw night (with K out of the house I always take the chance to have a nice big salad - not that he isn't down with the greens, he just needs something hot and 'bigger' at the end of the day), I scavenged through the fridge like a racooon with a mission. I found some treats I picked up at the market last night, and started chopping. What I ended up with was a beautiful salad. I topped it off with some Balsamic and soy sauce and wolfed it down while listening to Bishop Allen.

Red and Green Salad

-1/2 an English cucumber
-1 red pepper
-1 carrot: sliced
-5 big fat market strawberries
-2 stalks of celery
-1 cup of edamame (stemmed or boiled)

5 Things...About Me..I feel silly writing this...but, I adore Pleasantly Plump Vegan, and she tagged

1. I can not, under any circumstances, wear socks to bed.
2. I am a Canadian who has moved to Brussels, Belgium. I didn't come for the beer or chocolate, but I am exceptionally happy.
3. I am a pretty big geek. Reading, knitting, geek music, flat mary jane shoes, and strippey sweaters are the name of the game. I think being smart is sexy, so I read the dictionary as often as possible.
4. The reason why I went from vegetarian to vegan in 2002 was because: I kept having a reoccurring nightmare of my cat (bigger) being hooked up to a milking machine.
5. Ok, something a little more personal. I got engaged on Saturday. K asked me to marry him, and I said 'yes'. A vegan wedding is on the agenda for next Easter holiday. Wow. It all looks so real when you type it. Yikes.

I have tagged: Urban Vegan, Vegan Vancouverite, Jenn from Vegan In Vancouver, Abram from Vegan Miscellanies, and Mihl from Seitan is my Motor

Monday, March 10, 2008

Chocolate and Date No-Bake Balls

What makes more sense then making desert before making dinner? Nothing - except, maybe that chocolate tastes good even when you are full.

Work was great today, but the world got a whole lot more exciting when I got home and started playing around with some dates, raisins and a lot of vegan Belgian chocolate. My only regret is the banana - next time I will nix the banana and maybe try some coconut milk. Don't get me wrong - these balls are blissful (and totally satisfy my cookie cravings when my oven is 5 days away from its return home), I would just do something a little more exotic next time.

These are uber-easy and so tasty that you will skip dinner and just fuel up on these little nuggets of goodness.
-20 dates (pitted)
-1/2 cup of sultana raisins
-1 cup of oats
-1/4 cup of cocoa
-1 banana
-1 1/2 walnuts
-1/2 cup of maple syrup
I guess having the chance to share some really exciting news with my family at a silly early hour this morning (they are six hours behind me) got me thinking about my mom, because I pulled out my hand me down Braun food processor in my afternoon ball adventure. With the Euro-adaptor this 15+ year old kitchen machine handle the voltage with no problem and was my accomplice throughout this yummy process. I also had a pretty handsome looking side kick who was right there rolling balls, pitting dates and experimenting with double broiling.
How To:
In a food processor crush the walnuts and pour them into a glass bowl. Add the dates, cocoa, raisins and banana to the processor and pulsh until you get a sticky mess. Add the walnuts, maple syrup and oats - this will give them a structure that allows you to roll these bad boys into tasty little balls of goodness.
I dumped the contents of the f.p. into a glass bowl and pulled out a golf ball size of 'batter' and rolled until I had a firm and well-rounded ball. K covered a plate with organic cocoa, which we then rolled the goodies through, covering them completely. We had a bit of inspiration at the last second and threw some chocolate into a do-it-yourself double broiler and rolled a couple of the balls in the liquid chocolate.
They were delicious and topped off a great dinner of tomato soup and steamed brocolli.
Really easy no-bake desert. I can imagine rolling them through coconut, crushed nuts, puffed millet etc.
And what did I have for dinner last night? Oh my.
I found some white Belgian asperagus at the market earlier in the morning and ended up making a great salad, (and some not so great artichokes). The salad was really just about the asperagus, but had notable guest appearances from balsamic mariantated red pepper and some simple grilled tofu steals. The lettuce was a beautiful red, again, from the market. Excellent and really satisfying - I feel summer and its salads, roasted veg (and my trip to Italy) right around the corner.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Mission Accomplished!

I did it. I made the vegan sausages! This Sunday's brunch did not disappoint (see last week's post on damn pancakes).

I was up and at them quite early this morning, finished up some reading, tidied for a while and then attended to the project I had set for myself: my first faux-meat. After all of these vegan years I have never made a sausage, a burger, or a hot dog. The closest I have ever come is referring to my square slices of tofu as 'steaks'. But now, I have been initiated into the ever growing vegan group (vegan dad, post punk kitchen, vegan in vancouver) of those with enough energy on Sunday morning to tackle a session of sausage making.

To be honest, these were so easy, that I could have drank much more wine at last night's very important dinner and managed just fine this morning. Do it! Do it! Do it! Even all of you wacky non-vegans out there - you will love them, you will dig them, you will worship them (ok, maybe I have been reading too much of the medieval female mystic stuff this won't worship them, you will like them).


-1 1/4 cup of gluten flour/vital wheat gluten
-1/4 cup of nutritional yeast flakes
-1/2 cup of white beans, mashed with a fork
-2 dashes of soy sauce
-1 teaspoon of olive oil
-2 dashes of maple syrup
-1 cup of water (cold)

herbs: use your own discretion with the quantity - but it was the spices that really made it!
-crushed dry fennel
-fresh basil (red and green), fresh rosemary, fresh thyme
-powdered cumin

How to: (I used vegan dad's guidance for this part and watched a pretty kickin' video on ppk.)

While I was measuring out my ingredients, and cutting/grinding my spices, I started my water. I added everything together in a large mixing bowl, and was amazed by how quickly it began to form into such a firm substance. I pulled golf ball sized chunks out of the bowl and rolled them between my hands until I had little cigar-ish sausages. I laid each one on the end of a piece of aluminum foil (next time I will use cheese cloth - not impressed with the amount of waste) and rolled the suckers up, twisting the ends up nice and tight.

I stacked my Chinese (all the way from Spadina Street in Toronto to Brussels) bamboo steamers onto my pasta pot full of boiling water and added 8 sausages to the steamer - side by side. I added a second level and filled it with a 'burger' and a larger sausage - to steam and set aside for later use.

I waited 25 minutes, checked them, decided to turn them and let them have another 25 minutes (this departs a bit from vegan dad). I let them sit in their bamboo tower while I headed down to the market - I was planning a feast and I needed a little more.

When I returned with bags full of goodies I cooked up tofu scramble (eggs for K), warmed up the sausage in a bit of maple syrup, soya sauce and olive oil, and had K make some sauteed mushrooms while I cleaned up the kitchen. The syrup, sauce and oil browned the sausages into disguise and no one could have picked my vegan sausages out of an almost all-meat line up. I served brunch with some nice dark bread and a big pot of Lady Grey Tea. K was totally impressed and is demanding vegan sausages for every meal from this day forth.

To be honest, having never worked with wheat gluten, I am really impressed. Dead easy. Dead yummy and, most importantly, fun!

And hey, if you are looking at those super sexy containers in my top photo, you can find them at Habitat in a range of styles and colours. They are super cute with birds and ferns; they have a great seal so your goodies will stay fresh.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Thanks for the comments on the new layout. Much appreciated. I am pretty content with it as well.

Content is one thing. But, overjoyed and ecstatic are totally different. These exuberant emotions filled me last night as I munched on my dinner last night. I implore you all to make this little VeganCowGirl-experiment-gone-right. Please.

I was feeling a little funny last night, looking around the shop, filled with thoughts about today's presentation (which is but an hour away) and couldn't quite focus on what I was buying, or what I had hidden in the fridge. About the only thing I had nailed down was that I wanted some tofu and I was feeling like a salad. My brain hopped onto an old favourite - 'the single girl's salad' - which I love. I adore. I pine for. And would have gladly eaten. However, given aforementioned mental state, I didn't think to buy anything but the tofu and the lettuce - and I had not much more fresh and summer-salad stuff hanging around. I had a moment of raw carrot consideration (if it was good for a mid morning snack there is no reason why I can't eat it for dinner), but then I decided to be wild and make a Warm Salad with the rest of the vegetables laying to waste in the fridge (maybe not waste, that is an exaggeration of sorts).

My Wild and Warm Eggplant Salad


-white mushrooms (i used a lot. in fact, maybe an actual lot's worth)
-canned tomato (just a small bit).
-fresh crushed black pepper
-one cutlet of (shock, horror - but sorry they were out of the usual plain fu) flavoured tofu
-organic boston lettuce (I used about half a head)
-a few green olives
-balsamic vinegar
-juice of 1/2 a lemon

I started with warming up about 3 tablespoons of the tomatoes and adding some basil, fresh rosemary and the pepper. I added all of the mushrooms, and the lemon juice, letting it all simmer for about 20 - 25 minutes. The tofu was very firm and didn't really need to be in the pan for any practical reason - accept to heat it up, but I decided to throw it in quite early - and I am glad I did, the fu had a great coating of the sauce when it was laying on top of the lettuce. I added the garlic and eggplant to the mix, and moved it all around so that the eggplant was flush on the pan with the mushrooms/fu a top. Here, I added a dash of Balsamic, I wanted something heady and rich - and it did the trick.

I washed and ripped the lettuce, adding it to one of my favourite green bowls, finally, placing the warmed fu/veg to the top. A few more splashes of vinegar and I had my masterpiece ready for munching. It was amazing, satisfying and had a surprisingly large depth of flavour. Overall, one of the best vegan experiments yet!

I also had another great discovery last night - I listened to the Czars. Really great band. Impressive C.D. called goodbye. Get it.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Look At That View...

No, no, not the hummus sitting atop my kidney beans. Look past the acceptable lunch time fare and be incredibly jealous of the view that I get to look down upon when not wondering about Julian of Norwich, or whether or not my new blog format works.

Lunchtime didn't involve dipping into any fantastic left overs. Sadly, no. Rather, I had the layered salad bar treat that started with red kidney beans and ended with some corn. It wasn't as exciting as my mid-morning snack of carrots and hummus.

I adore the ceramic container that I had my carrots in, which was later transformed into my lunch bowl. These containters are fantastic! I have them in two sizes, but wish that I had about 40. In addition to being a million times better for the environment (when compared to some Tupperware out there), they are also acceptable for the microwave (if you so choose to use one) and are great for VeganCowGirls who have memory problems and aren't quite too sure how long the soup has been sitting in the fridge. Each container has a 'chalk board' strip on the side that allows you to write everything from: VeganCowGirl's Lunch to Chickpea Delight March 6 2008. Excellent stuff! They wash up wonderfully as well. Not that I ever do that.

Today, while reading about the infused bread made by pleasantly plump vegan, I got to thinking about the joys of bread making and how much I miss the (once to me) conventional ovens of North America, and how I long for something other than the dinky (and currently busted) oven I have been continuously complaining about. I miss baked loaves from the shores of Lake Ontario.

So, in honour of my much missed bread baking parties I am going to share one of my favourite things to do at the end of a bread baking far one of the best reasons to bake the bread in the first place!

-left over newly risen dough (preferably something whole grain/wheat
-left over (or freshly made) chili
-olive oil
-parchment paper
-pizza stone
-sea salt
-rosemary (crushed)

How to create your very own CHILI BOMB!

Roll out some dough into a shape that resembles a thick mini pizza shell (about 2 cms thick and about 5 cm wide). Add a splog of your chili to the middle of the dough, sprinkle some rosemary on top (and/or any other applicable spices). comes the fun....if you are wrap challenged, now would be the time to call in your favourite vegancowgirl to the rescue.....grab the 'sides' of the shell and start to pull it together at the top like a little purse. Hold the top bits tight in your hands for a few seconds to let the dough settle into a nice little dough clump atop your chili bomb (I even got really fancy at one point and tied an elongated piece of dough around the pieces - but not necessary). You want to have your chili bomb tight packed tight enough so that it feels like the tummy of a fat kitten (does that make sense? or is it gross?). The trick is figuring out how thick to make your dough so that you can make your bomb without it breaking through.

Bake the bombs on a pizza stone, after coating them in olive oil (or not) and a little bit of celtic sea salt (or not). Enjoy!