Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I have been wanting to write for a while about all of the containers in my life. Specifically, the containers in my food-life. I could go on for ages about the bags, satchels, computer cozies, pencil cases, knitting boxes, book huggers and other such (most often unnecessary) 'containers' that help me organize/carry/sort/love my junk, but I wanted to be a little more food-centric.

It was a special present I received from K's mom this past week that has finally encouraged me to stop dreaming about this post before I fall asleep at night, and actually write the darn thing. I have been pinning lustfully after a tea-decanter ever since my sweaty days in Chinese beauty salons when green tea would be poured out and offered to me after a luxurious 3 hour hair wash/massage (yes, I did begin to feel guilty about enjoying this service). My new pinkish-purple tea-snuggler is complete with an aluminum interior, cork top and screw-off tin cup (slash) cover. I couldn't be happier with this treat - looking forward to using it on a long road trip down to the Ardenne or as a side-companion if I ever get around to sitting down for more than a couple of hours and pounding out the writing projects/commitments that are (WAY) over due.

The next little container in my life is my lunch box. This kitten-topped, multi-compartment navy blue goodie was found in Lille (that great city in Northern France) down a cobbled side-street that had a couple of funky shops (some girlie ones for me, and some beer ones for K). I adore that I can stack up soup, tofu nuggets, olives or a bit of rice - all in one uber-cute container. I have seen Korean and Japanese kiddies with variations of these. It also reminded me of the great lunch boxes used on Vegan Lunch Box.

I am not sure if this next one counts as a container: my eco-bags. I bought my first one at The Mercantile on College Street, much to K-before-K's horror (not another bag). This super sexy red stretchy cotton bag is fantastic for market day. It goes from the tiniest, tightest corner of my purse to the biggest and most managable sac de marche that you could imagine. I actually managed to scoop up another one of these non-bleached/treated bags at Tsampa - for only 2 euros!!! Whoop.

I also adore my ceramic Tupperware chalkie buddies - I have posted about them before, so I will offer you only the link rather than a poem on my adoration of these little washing-up-friendly white pots.

Dinner tonight comes after a GREAT run. I started training yesterday for a marathon that I won't run until my next trip home to Canada - but, the earlier the better. The mixed up grilled veg and tomato-aubergine-chickpea sauce was a great combo. I think it was the spice that stitched it together into something that satisfied my belly.

Roasted Root Vegetables with Aubergine and Chickpea Tomato Sauce

-1 butternut squash
-5 carrots
-1 yellow onion

-2 baby aubergines
-2 cups of tomato sauce
-1 cup of chickpeas

The butternut squash (peeled) and carrots joined the onion under the broiler for about 40 minutes worth of warmth. The remaining ingredients were thrown together in a medium sized pan and set to simmer. When both parts were perfect I added the veg to the bottom of a bowl and covered it with the yummy red sauce.

I also have to share the tunes I have been chopping and cutting to lately - mostly for the sake of Randeep, who is the coolest recent graduate of Sheridan's Animation program.

By far the best music pickings of late are: Sun Kil Moon's new disc, and Vetiver is impressive (when I can remember who they are). I admit to be over spinning the rocking Broken String C.D. by Bishop Allen. And who doesn't enjoy a little Frente for the last few metres of a 7 km run?
I love Vegetarian Times for the smart names it has for features, such as: Carrot and Stick, and it always kept me company during my long commutes on the TTC and GO Train. So clearly can I recall raiding the Gladstone and College branch of the Toronto Public Library for as many back copies as I could possibly find, and there was nothing more exciting each month than seeing Ms. Lyndsay Daniel on the address bar of each new VT that made its way to my mail box.

Occasionally, I would get inspired by one of their feature ingredients, where they demonstrate some brainy economics by creating 5 dishes with the same ingredient. Recently, there have been two new mega reasons for chanting the divine within this publication. The first is the magazine's decision to publish its April issue electronically. Way to go VT, a great way to put your carrots where your mouth is and save a couple of trees. I enjoyed my copy on my tablet.

But, that little notch in VT's enviro-belt is nothing compared to what the magazine did for me last night! K and I were treated to March 2008 recipes care of one Ms. H and her soon to be husband for the second time, Mr. C. My only contribution to last night's menu was the wine. I was most impressed with the filling of the tacos and Ms. H's desert - which, didn't feature in the above mentioned March issue - you will have to come to Brussels to indulge.

K and I will be making a cross-continent journey to participate in the nuptials of H and C. And I do mean participate - their wedding plans make our simple ceremony look like a day at the geriatric home. Ceremony in Berlin, bus trip to Poland, Polish wedding reception/breakfast and trip around the local city. Should be brilliant (but no way could the wedding be as cool as tasty as last night's dinner). See the dishes below!

Ring the Bike Bell Vegan Extravaganza Dinner Menu

Cabbage and Carrot Slaw
Chickpea and Avocado Taco Supreme
Mexican Rice
Rhubarb and Strawberry Parfaits with Cashew Cream

Tonight's menu has yet to be planned (read: improvised), but something special for K, who has had a stress filled month and little breathing room.

PS. Anyone who is interested in setting up a magazine swap/club let me know!!!

Monday, April 28, 2008

This weekend flew by. And, despite it marking the third straight weekend of go!go! go!, it was well worth the loss of quiet time. There is more than enough opportunity for solitude and regeneration coming up with my four day weekend that is but three days of work away.

K's parents arrived on Friday night, via Eurostar - England to Brussels in 2 hours. I finished a spin at the gym while K fought traffic to and from the station. We spent the entire weekend sharing some of our favourite restaurants and cafes. Their own personal/work related reasons for coming our way were uber-fantastically fun to take part in: Saturday included a tour of a soon to be dismantled exhibition of artifacts from around the tramping grounds of my favourite ancient short story character: Gilgamesh. But, I have to say, it was the field trip we took on Sunday that took the vegan cake. K's mom is an archaeologist, and she managed to wrangle group access to 6000 year old flint mines that are currently being excavated in a Belgian spot not too far from Brussels. I admit that while strapping on the safety gear and stepping, with trepidation, towards the 9 meter in length (SLIPPERY) ladder, I had some reservations. But, once I made my way down, and had a chance to poke around under the earth, I couldn't have been happier.

Before the descent we found a patch of the countryside and enjoyed a picnic that K and I put together, compliments of Flagey's weekend market stalls. Our picnic basket included:

Fresh tomatoes
1 baguette
stuffed grape leaves
black and green olives
one of my super quick tabouli salads

We capped the weekend off with some vegan friendly Ethiopian food.

I admit to feeling pangs of guilt with not being able to make my usual flurry of posts. I can see the horizon though - no more weekends of mad rushing, travel, entertaining or work. With the exception of a four day trip to Germany coming up in mid-May I am very happy to say that I am bound to Brussels (and my kitchen) for the next few months.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Post-Marked Friday of Last Week...

This whole week has felt like an extended Sun Kil Moon song. Let me interpret: I have been sullen, full of cranky energy and rather frazzled in any attempt to do anything. Some ebbs in this slurry of disheveled revelry have included: Wednesday night pizza with a huge helping of good people, hikes in the forest with a pack of ridiculously cute children, and a great partner who, despite crankasaurausrexes on the horizon, cooked up a delicious and experimental dinner for me last night!!!

K's menu included his fantastic fresh salsa that he has graced me with on a previous occasion, a really scrumptious allotment of grilled asparagus (I swear to god we DO eat things other than asparagus) and some marinated and then baked tempeh. We ended up joining efforts towards the end of his kitchen heroics to create a quick couscous - most of which made its way into our lunches today.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Atlanta was great. I met some interesting folks and found a Whole Foods Market, where I met some really friendly chefs. I was totally impressed with the kind people I met, who may as well have been from a model UN group - a taxi driver from Ethiopia, a pedicurist from Nigeria, a teacher from Japan, a fellow hotel-stayer from The Bronx. The conference was exciting and my blog presentation seemed to go off without a hitch. Whoppee.

But, it was great to fly into Brussels' airport on Monday morning, even if it meant facing up to a week of 'not my usually uber-organized self'' and loads of adminish-like meetings. We have had some yummy meals at home this week, and I took a can of Amy's organic Black Bean and Vegetable soup for lunch today (thank you Whole Foods!).

My favourite yummy so far this week was my broccoli, sesame oil and asparagus dinner on Monday night. Last night, after work I made a fattush with tofu...interesting, but not as tasty as the more traditional chickpeas.

Friday, April 18, 2008

I am in the world of Oprah and Dr. Phill. What a strange place to come back to. North America feels so different to me after 8 months in Europe. Different, not bad, just different. The most prominent difference is the altogether visceral presence of media. Billboards, television, radio, signage; I feel that media is screeching a variety of messages to me. My ears and eyes are hurting me.

But, a massage and a pedicure are just around the corner. After a day of plane travel (I hate Atlanta airport), and today's conference schedule, I think I deserve a little bit of pampering.

Food, food, food. To be honest, I am not hungry. Not one bit. Last night I went for a quick explore and came back with a prepared raw salad: red cabbage, kale, apple and vinegar. It was delicious, but I am just lacking any kind of real appetite. I have heard rumours of some pretty wonderful veg restaurants in the area - so I think tomorrow will have to see me seeking one out for dinner. Tonight, I am thinking about Japanesse, but will settle for another round of raw goodness. The photograph above is wretched, but K, who is a million miles away, chaperoning a Dramatic Arts trip in Norway, has our camera.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Amsterdam did a great job of nourishing my nerdy professional self over the last four days. And I am happy to report, that although we didn't make it to any vegan/veg specific restaurants during the conference, I did manage to eat some great food. .

As with most conferences we were stuck on site for lunch, snacks and coffee breaks. But, a little forewarning to the organizers was all it took to get some amazingly delicious veganfare included in the caterers' offerings. A Small World Catering operates out of a small cafe in order to provide satisfying, healthy and fresh foodstuffs to its customers. They made me some great hummus sandwiches, a great bean salad, beet and apple salad and some killer couscous. I was really well fed, and totally appreciative of the effort made by the conference organizer.

When free to wander about on our own, we found the chain wagamami, and an acceptable thai restaurant.

I have to say that the most interesting food moment of the trip was arriving in Amsterdam train station, totally starved, and running late for the conference and deciding to opt for eating a salad out of a bag, which, became a veritable feast with my decision to throw in a bunch of tofu chunks that were remarkably for sale at this station-grocery-stop.

I have a couple of days of Belgian sunshine to enjoy before heading to Atlanta. I am really looking forward to a visit to Cosmos' Vegan Shoppe and checking out some of the recommended veg restaurants. Atlanta - here I come!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Last night's Ode To Emily's Dinner pulled most of its dishes from the menu of our favourite Hamilton restaurant. However, with the need to use up one of the interesting gems picked up at our local market, the feast also included a guacamole.

This wasn't any old guacamole - it was a General Bureau Avocado Guacamole. I have yet to discover the etymological significance embedded in the handle of this fruit/veg, but it provided us with an interesting guac-making process. This guy wasn't at all like the other avocados I have played with in the past. Yes, it was green. Yes, it had a massive seed hidden inside, and yes, it featured as the main ingredient in the guac, which K was in charge of. Despite these similarities, this was no Haas. Its skin, which was much lighter in colour, peeled off with ease, and seemed to have an almost felt-like underneath. The flesh was plump and smooth as silk, making a much 'thinner' guacamole. The neck of the avocado was long and lean and bulged into a large and hefty bottom.

I still remember my first taste of guacamole. I was already in graduate school, believe it or not, by the time I tried my first pita covered in guacamole. A PhD gal pal of mine, Melissa, showed me how to whip up a tried and true dip that lasted me through many a Shakespearean sonnet, and more than one crummy marking session of undergraduate papers. Isn't it great the memories that live in our food.

The Rosewater Cookies went over immensely well at my team meeting today. I love you Veganomicon.

General Bureau's Guacamole
-1 general bureau avocado
-1/4 of a really hot pepper
-juice of one lemon
-1 clove of crushed garlic

How To: Peel avocado, cut out any of the brown bits, add remaining ingredients and whirl in a food processor or use a hand blender.

Let's give it up for K's guac and his beautiful photo of his ingredients. Thanks for your artful eye K. VeganCowGirl loves every one of your contributions.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

A Very Special Post

Lunch today was a bit of an experiment. I grabbed a kohlrabi from the market on Wednesday, and decided, after reading about its relationship to broccoli stem, to grate it with some carrots and serve it in an afternoon salad. To go with the salad, I put together an Asparagus and Leek soup before heading to the gym. K was already whizzing her up when I ran in the door.

Kohlrabi and Carrot Salad

-1 Kohlrabi (grated)
-5 large market carrots (grated)
-1 granny smith apple (diced)
-a handful of raisins
-a tiny bit of greens for the base

How To:
K grated the Kohlrabi and carrots and dressed them in a little vinegar, citrus and oil. It sat for a while while I did my best to destroy the stairmaster. Upon my arrival, we topped it with the remaining ingredients and ate it up.

After clearing away the lunch dishes, I cracked open my bright and shiny new copy of Veganomicon and decided to start in the most appropriate of sections: The Cookies. I picked the Rosewater and Pistachio recipe, because I had never worked personally with Rosewater, but I had eaten enough baklava to choke a horse - so I thought it best to learn how to work with this ingredient. After dabbing some of the main ingredient (the water, not the nuts) on my neck and behind my ears, I got to work on Isa's scrumptious recipe. In the end I changed the all purpose white flour to a whole wheat. This decision wasn't based in health or whole grain purposes - it was what I had in the house. I also went with less oil and sugar. The end product is delicious. I am really happy with these cookies. They are crisp, chewy, yummy and cutely decorated with pistachios. The book is satisfying me already.

Birthday Dinner
Dinner tonight is in honour of someone special, someone who I can't be with tonight. Work, the limiting speed of current travel options, and life in general make it impossible for me to be with my little sister tonight as she celebrates her 19th birthday (a big day for any Canadian). Emily, I miss you and love you so much. I made hummus, babaganous fatoush and mushrooms tonight - all for you. (K and I will do the honours of polishing it off for you).

My sister is pretty cool, exceptionally beautiful, and wickedly smart. One of our favourite haunts back home is a Lebanese restaurant: La Luna. I remember thinking that I had the coolest sister on the planet, when at the fresh young age of 12 and 13 she was ordering falafel, hummus and other Middle Eastern goodies. Over the years Emily became a fan of the hummus and would do just about anything for a taste of La Luna's hummus.

Happy Hummus Birthday Emily. I am wishing you all of the happiness and adventure that you might be able to find as you work your way towards 20. It isn't La Luna, but I thought you might like it:

Saturday, April 05, 2008

It Must Be Snowing Somewhere (Fat Free) Stew

This recipe came together over the last couple of days. I knew that I wanted to do something 'stewish', and I knew I wanted to use up the root veg sitting in my fridge - namely the interesting and never before used Navet (French) Turnips. I also wanted to do something with the remaining Seitan I had made last weekend; K added an interesting dimension by suggesting that I use the Pearl Barley in our pantry, rather than the Polenta I had originally conceived of as this recipe's grain.

I can honestly say that this stew was completely worth the simmer time. The flavours were amazing, the whole concoction was fat free, and the seitan I added towards the end gave it an amazing depth of texture.

-5 navet turnips
-1 yellow onion
-4 large carrots
-1 small butternut squash
-1 1/2 cup of pearl barley
-1/2 pound of seitan
-fresh thyme, sage, rosemary, pepper
-6 cups (or more) of water or veg broth
-2 tablespoons of corn starch

How To:
I cut the veg into bite size pieces, and set the water to boil on the stove top. When I had a gentle boil I added the veg and turned the heat down to medium. I left the veg to simmer for 40 minutes. Towards the end of the simmer, I added a little bit of soy sauce to a pan and seared the seitan a tiny bit, I then threw the wheat-meat and the pearl barley into the bubbling stew. With ten minutes left, I added the 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, and I let it bubble a bit while I cleaned the kitchen floor and played with the new online photo editor I stumbled upon (Picnik).

We served the stew with a nice bottle of eco-wine.

Chef Statement: (I am only saying this because I want all my vegan friends to give this recipe a try): This was the most amazing stew I have ever had in my life. It was delicious.
Mango Pie . Oh My!

Anni's post from a couple of days ago inspired me to make our coffee treat for today: Mango Pie. I admit to never having had given a moments thought to using mango in a pie. A cheese cake, maybe. A stir fry, for sure. But a pie? Nope. It had never really crossed my mind. I changed a few of the ingredients to prevent an otherwise unnessesary trip to the shoppe, and what we ended up with today was quite yummy.

-1 fresh mango, purreed (according to Anni's recipe, you could have used much more mango)
-1/2 cup silken tofu
-2 tablespoons of soy yoghurt
-about 15 dates
-a dash of Agave syrup
-1/4 cup of water
-2 tablespoons of agar flakes
-1 cup of oats
-1 cup of whole wheat flour
-2 tablespoons of oatmilk
-3 tablespoons of canola oil

How To:
I added all of the crust ingredients together and mixed them until they looked properly distributed and then I pressed it into the bottom of my spring form pan. I baked the crust for about 10 minutes at 160. I then assembled all of the filling ingredients (sans water and agar) in my food processor and whired it right up. If you don't like the look of date speckles throughout the end product, I would opt for Anni's suggestion of sultanna raisins. I quite liked the date skins throughout the otherwise orangey hue of the pie.

For the agar component, I let the water get to an almost boil, added the agar and whisked until my arm was aching. It was amazing how quickly the seaweed powder turned the liquid into a gel. I added this to my mango/tofu purree and whizzed it all a little bit more. I used that gorgesous purple spatula of mine to add the filling to the crust. To jump start the cooling I popped it in the freezer for 1 hour and transfered it to the fridge for about 10 hours. (you don't need this length of time, but we didn't need any pie last night after our pizza, so decided to leave it chilling until this afternoon.)

Anni suggests enjoying it with some vanillia non-dairy ice treat. We had ours with coffee, the new Breeders C.D. and a book.

A book! A book! A BOOK! Guess what arrived? Guess what is sitting at my feet? Guess what I will be reading on the stationary bike all week (no tredmill because I can't read while running)?

Friday, April 04, 2008

Mom's ChickPea Pizza and Lynnie's WorkOut Cookie-Treats

When I was home for the holidays my omni-mom went out of her way one evening when the rest of the family had ordered some pizza, by making an excellent chickpea-topped pizza. for me and K. I made an attempt to recreate some of these flavours by using some whole wheat pizza dough I kneaded into a frenzy yesterday afternoon, and a whole load of roasted veggies, herbs and a little bit of olive oil. The end result was a thin, crispy crust with veg that, because of the pre-roasting, didn't dampen the dough. We had bought some vegan cheese (Toffuti Mozzarella), but decided against it in the end.

-1 batch of Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
-1 grilled eggplant (sliced)
-1 grilled zucchini
-1/4 cup of chick peas
-1 grilled onion
-1 roasted red pepper
-3 sprigs of grilled asparagus
-fresh: thyme, rosemary, basil
-5 tablespoons of tomato sauce
-a dash of olive oil for the roasting

How To:
We roasted the veg before adding them to the rolled out dough. K enjoyed some deep primordial emotion while roasting the red pepper over an open flame. (weird). I squared the dough and laid it on a roasting pan (my pizza stone is back home in Canada), and spread the tomato sauce; I laid the veg on the dough, and sprinkled the chick peas and herbs over the pizza. We baked it for about 20 minutes, just until the crust had a nice brown hue and crispy edge. I served the pizza with a roasted veg and green olive salad that I squeezed a lemon over.

I also made a batch of carob cookies (those who guessed raw carob were RIGHT!) that I envisioned as great post-workout treats (the oats, flax, raisins and seeds seem like great energy boosts after a hard core workout)

Oatmeal, Raisin and Carob Cookies

-1 cup of whole wheat flour
-1 cup of oats
-1/2 cup of carob powder
-4 tablespoons of veg oil
-4 tablespoons of raisins
-1 tablespoon of flax
-dash of vanilla
-2 tablespoons of sunflower seeds

How To:
I was really lazy and just added all of the ingredients one at a time to one of my favourite blue bowls and mixed it up until it was cookie-dough quality, and then scooped them onto a cookie sheet. To be honest, we only have four of these yummies for eating.....my new cookie timer didn't ding for me, and I was so into my pizza that I let them sit a few minutes too long. Yikes.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Rhubarb and Strawberry Crisp and Mystery Item

I woke up early this morning and decided to hold off on the gym, so that I could make a special treat for K's breakfast. Early in our relationship, K betrayed his weakness for anything with the term 'crisp' in its title. He made short work of every Apple Crisp I put together and was salivating at the mere idea of rhubarb season. So, my screams of "Rhubarb for Sale, Rhubarb for Sale" when driving through a cute town near the German boarder were completely accepted by the driver, and he was more than complying with my suggestion that we make a quick pit stop.

I washed the rhubarb off and got to work. I admit to never having made The Crisp with this ingredient, and rather than going whole hog on my initial attempt, I decided to have the dish co-hosted by some of the decadent strawberries I picked up at last night's market. I added a wee bit of sugar to both the fruit and the crispy crust, perhaps I should have been a little more indulgent, but a girl has to keep her vegancowboy svelte. In the end, all was well, and K woke up to a nummy breakie, while I noshed on the copious fruit options that can be found tucked in various food pockets throughout our kitchen.

Just For You Rhubarb, Ginger and Strawberry Crisp
-1/2 pound of rhubarb (cut into 1 cm cubes)
-1/2 pound of strawberries
-1/2 tablespoon of grated ginger
-1 teaspoon of orange zest
-2 tablespoons of sugar
-1 cup oats
-1/2 cup of flour
-2 tablespoons of applesauce

I mixed the fruit ingredients together, laid it in a piece of crockery, crumbled the crust ingredients together with my finger tips and added it to the top of the fruit mixture. I placed it in a warmed oven (180) for 45 minutes.

I guess it was good, he finished the rest for lunch-time desert.

I am using the leftover rhubarb to make preserves for the week to come. I added some blueberries, flax seed, 1/2 cup of brown sugar and remaining rhubarb (about 1 pound) to about 1 cup of boiling water. It has been on the stove for about 45 minutes. I plan on leaving it there until it gets to where I want it (thick and sweet).

Now: I found this ingredient at the market yesterday. Any fancy pants out there want to take a guess at what it is?

We spent the day in Lille yesterday. A quaint, yet chic, city if you are looking for a quick duck into France. It took us all of an hour and some to make our way from Brussels to Lille, and with K at the wheel, it was smooth sailing.

Our first stop was for a coffee, and we found an adequate cafe, but what we really needed was some food. Figuring why break with tradition, we found a Japanese restaurant and tucked in for their (somewhat over priced) lunch menu. For me, this included miso soup, (an exceptionally small) salad, tea, rice, an avocado roll, 2 asparagus sushi, and a cucumber roll. Unfortunately, the first plate offered to me came with mayonnaise (both inside the wrap, and dolloped on top of the sushi pieces). I had to send it back.

We also had a chance to check out the great art gallery (mostly Reuben, saw a Goya and some Monet - but really liked the archeology bits in the basement). The most fun was the cooking shop we found: Alice Delice. I bought a scale, and other fun tools for the kitchen.

After our journey home we headed for the Wednesday market - which the commune so nicely decided to set up every week just at the foot of our street. The food is changing. The asparagus, both white and green, are coming down in price, the fruit from Spain is plumper and the sunflowers are starting to be sold. Spring is almost here.

We bought a load of food and came home to engage in our almost habitual Wednesday night picnic. We often grab aubergine dip, hummus, olives and good bread from the market and sit on the floor with our spoils and a good bottle of wine. Tonight, we extended that a bit. We had a brilliant time in the kitchen as K made a killer set of Bruschetta Bites, and I spiced and baked a cookie sheet's worth of Rosemarried Sweet Potatoes. I also put our strawberries to use right away with a Rocket, Strawberry and Walnut Salad.

Rosemarried Sweet Potatoes


-1 large, or 2 small sweet potatoes
-a dash of olive oil
-as much Rosemary as you'd like to enjoy
-a good turn of fresh ground black pepper

How To:
I left the slices long and wide, but quite thin. Thin enough to bake in the time I needed them to finish, but I was aware of not making them too thin - they tend to fall apart or crisp up unevenly. I covered them with the Rosemary by using a pair of scissors and just snipping away above the taters. I added my oil and pepper and gave them a loving stir. I baked them for 25 minutes at about 180.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Foodie BlogRoll and K's Quick CousCous

Before K and I headed off to see the new Wes Andersen film, which, if you like The Royal Tenebaums and/or Bottle Rocket, you will adore this most recent addition, he cooked up a great little couscous dish that I wanted to share for the sake of its interesting use of Fennel.

K's Quick CousCous
-1/4 medium sized fennel (anise) diced
-1/4 cup of raisins
-1 large tomato (diced)
-1/2 cup of couscous
-olive oil

How To: This dish came together really quickly, and its end result was amazingly satisfying. He diced the anise, tomato, mint and rocket and added the lot to a big blue bowl (feel free to use any colour bowl you wish). The couscous and raisins were left to plump up in a small bowl, which he added some boiling water to, allowing the water to be absorbed over 7 minutes. When the pasta and dried fruit were ready, he added them, the oil and spices to the diced ingredients and gave it a good stir. Really impressive flavours, and a nice crunch was found in the fennel. Great job K.

In other news, I want to celebrate the Foodie Blogroll that I have recently become a member of. (Wo) manned by Jenn, The Left Over Queen, this electronic network has the intent of bringing foodie folks, both readers and writers, together. I suppose that with this recent rash of 'tagging' that has been floating around the vegan blogs I read, I have been thinking about what can be seen as superficial relationships/connections made in the blogging world. My conculsion is that blogging can be as superficial or as 'real' as you make it. I am enjoying getting to know people like Jennifer, Lori and Lindsay by way of reading their tags, blogs, and even the recipes they share. I see the Foodie BlogRoll as an extension of this - I want to use it as an opportunity to build authentic moments of interacton and impact. Food, like poetry, art, music, and education, can make connections - if you want it to. My compliments to Jenn for thinking up and keeping up a networking and social environment in the electronic world that otherwise can limit and restrict our human reality.

Happy Cooking and Blogging!