Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Have you had a proper chastizing today?

Too big for your britches? Think you're all that, huh? Your ego will shrink to its proper size once you have been subjected to a round of bunny disapproval

You can thank me later.

In Praise of "Fungus"

These were a find during a recent neighbourhood shopping trip. These bags are huge. Just to give you some idea of scale, that's a 20 lb + pumpkin that the bags are leaning up against. And the smaller bag was only $2!!
I bought some dried mushrooms from the organic seller at the Farmer's Market this summer which I will put to good use, but the recipes in Moosewood Cookbook (one of my favourites, I must say) have got me using Chinese Dried mushrooms instead. The mushrooms go a long way, as once reconstitued you can use particularly the black ones both as mushrooms, and as a quick, rich soup broth.
Tune in next time, when I will show you what I have created.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Fall Foliage

Picture of Fall colours and Grouse Mountain off my balcony. Please ignore the telephone wires!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Trinidad Doubles

Doubles are traditionally served as a snack, and can be bought from roadside vendors in Trinidad. They are delicious and sustaining. The recipe I have worked from can be found here (http://caribbeanavenue.com/kitchen/recipes/doubles024.shtml). The recipe is adapted to make use of ingredients that are more readily available to North Americans. I have not been to Trinidad, but know people who have! ;-)

Find out why I find Doubles so fabulous here

This recipe is not as finicky as it looks, and regardless the results are well worth it!

Prep Time: 30 Min
Cooking Time: 25 Min
To Serve: 10 as Snack, or 3 – 4 as meal. Makes approximately 10+ doubles.


Curried Chick Pea (Channa) Filling:

  • 3 cans (each 19 oz/540 mL) chick peas, including liquid
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil (30 mL)
  • 1 tbsp curry powder (15 mL)
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and mashed
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme (15 mL)
  • 1-1/2 tsp toasted ground cumin (7 mL)
  • Salt to taste

Barrah (dough patties):

  • 3 cups warm water 750 mL
  • 1 tsp saffron powder 5 mL (or few threads saffron sat for about 20 min in 1 Tbsp warm water)
  • 1 tsp each baking powder and salt 5 mL
  • 7 cups (approx.) all-purpose flour
  • some Vegetable oil to work dough and moderately grease baking sheet

Condiment: Hot pepper sauces


Channa Filling

In large pot over medium-high heat, bring chick peas and liquid to boil. Boil for 15 minutes. Drain, reserving liquid.
Meanwhile, in separate saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Cook curry powder, onions, garlic and thyme, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup (125 mL) water and bring to boil.

Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, until mixture is thickened and forms a paste. Stir in an equal amount of the reserved chick pea liquid. Stir in chick peas and cumin. Season with salt to taste. Keep warm.

Barrah (the dough, or the Doubles patties)

Preheat oven to 375 Degrees. Moderately grease a baking sheet with oil.
In large bowl, whisk together water, saffron, baking powder and salt. Whisk in about half of the flour to make a smooth paste. Stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough. Dipping hands in oil to prevent sticking and adding more oil as necessary, knead dough until smooth.

Sprinkle work surface with flour and then with oil. Keeping hands oiled, break off pieces of dough the size of a walnut. With tips of fingers, flatten each piece into a very thin circle, about 4-inches (10 cm) in diameter, or bigger if can be managed. (Canuck girl’s cheating tip: A floured rolling pin might make things easier)

Place barrah on the moderately greased baking sheet and bake for 6 – 10 minutes at 375F.

Ideally when the barrah is baked it does not become too crunchy, which helps in the assembly stage. All is not lost if the barrah does become crunchy, the finished double will still be as good, but the barrah will not be able to be used as a wrap.

Assembly: Place one barrah on plate and top with a loving spoonful of Channa Filling, season with hot pepper sauce and top with another barrah. Alternatively, use 1 larger, thinner barrah for each double, and wrap the Channa in the barrah. Makes about 10+ "doubles".

**Karen’s note: The original recipe calls for deep frying the barrah, which I don’t feel is authentic based on my experiences. The double should not end up being greasy in any way. I have tried baking the barrah with minimal oil instead. I would welcome comments from those who have more experience in making breads, as ideally the Barrah should become a soft wrap to wrap the channa in.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Quiet Vegetarian?

You scored as quiet vegetarian. You are a quiet vegetarian! You might be unsure of yourself, simply shy, or in a fairly hostile environment. You tend not to express your views or minimize them when asked. You don't have the "veggie gear" (buttons, shirts, stickers), and you're not an activist. You don't try to convert others to vegetarianism, although you may want to. You might fear criticism in general. www.goveg.com

quiet vegetarian


health-conscious vegetarian


militant vegan


vegan vixen


welfarist vegetarian


lazy vegetarian


new veggie


What type of vegetarian are you?
created with QuizFarm.com

I don't think I am a "quiet vegetarian" per se, regardless of this quiz says. Even though I am new at it, I am not afraid to state my preferences when I feel it is necessary. I am the lady that marched into the Keg Steakhouse last week with eight of her coworkers and asked for a vegan meal. Pretty ballsy thing to do in a steakhouse, not to mention that it brought on a lot of questioning at the table. The cook made me up a great Portabello Fajita that was not on the menu, so I hope my boss tipped them well. The server was very considerate.

I feel that actions speak louder than words. I am a vegan mostly for ethical reasons, and when indivduals make an ethical choice, they want to be able to own their choice. They are not going to rearrange their lives because so-and-so told them to do something or nagged them into it. You can talk and sloganeer until you are blue in the face and maybe not make change, or worse create resistance and resentment. Being the change that you want to see in the world sometimes appears to be an underrated route to take. Maybe not everybody notices, but people do notice.

Going vegan represents a shift of consciousness in our current society. Eating meat and other animal products is an unconscious choice for many people. These people might act differently if they sat and thought about what eating meat represents, and thought about if they have a choice. I feel people's actions help affect the consciousness of the world. I was not completely ready for vegetarian talk and discussion until I had made this shift in consciousness myself, which was a very personal, private thing for me.

Well, maybe that makes me quiet after all.

Or maybe the quiz labelled me "quiet" because I did not value a bra made out of lettuce very highly. Is that a sign of being a vegetarian prude?

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Just had to share...

Go here, and click on the song "FlyPaper" by K-os. I happened here today by chance, and I can't listen to this particular song without getting up and dancing like no one's watching.

My apologies if this link expires quickly, as I don't think they will have the whole album posted in its entirety for long.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Preservator 3000

Act NOW! Supplies (unfortunately) are not limited.

Watch the movie....

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Doubles are coming! The Doubles are coming!

(Heh). Isa Chandra Moskowitz, author of Vegan with a Vengeance, told a story about a well loved restaurant in her neighbourhood that suddenly closed down, and left her with her face planted against the glass, hoping against hope it would open again. The moment I read that, it took me back to a similar moment of my own. Roti Bistro on West 4th closed down a few years ago. Even though it was replaced by a perfectly respectatable (even though yuppified) vegetarian restaurant, I was quite disappointed.
Back when I was a Karate-Ka, I belonged to a Karate School that is based in Trinidad (and has a couple schools in Vancouver), Don Jitsu-Ryu. After class on Saturdays, as often as not we would go to Roti Bistro (a Trinidadian/Caribbean restaurant) for something to eat, because that was the day that Roti Bistro made doubles. Doubles on Saturday was not just what was on special. For us Karate students it was a Happening. Their Doubles were this absolutely delicious spicy chickpea concoction wrapped in this soft, yellow bread. And when they were sold out, that was it until next week. If you came too late, you were out of luck. Thinking back, I remembered that one of my instructors, who was Vegan, would dig in with similar gusto as the rest of us. So today I had a brainwave: I was going to try to make doubles myself.
It was not too easy to find on the internet as it is an extremely regional recipe apparently. Also the name of the bread "Bara" seems to be similar to some sort of sexual saying (what, I don't know), as for a while I was hitting more porn sites than food sites in my quest (eeek).
But I think I have a recipe figured out. I made doubles tonight, and they were delicious. Not to Roti Bistro standard, but pretty darn good. I would have taken a picture, but I ate them way too fast as I was so excited to test them. I am going to experiment with the bread a little more tomorrow, and then post the recipe.