Song of the moment…

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Library Visit!

Oh bloggy, I’ve been tardy-I’m sorry for neglecting you! It’s been a busy week and it is sometimes hard to set aside the time to upload the ol photos and sit down for a minute or two! But now, here I am!

I wanted to share with you my books that I took out from the library:

Seriously, don’t laugh at the first one.  I don’t know if I could usually take out such a book without laughing at myself.  That’s the good thing about being able to check out your own books at the self-serve checkout! But when I picked up this book, it wasn’t actually cheesy at all, and I like how it basically breaks down exactly what a Life Coach would tell you for hundreds of dollars a session.  It’s got some cool checklists and what he calls “plans of attack” and well, I figure if I get one piece of useful information out of it, I’m happy.

The second book from the top is just little quotes and blurbs and to be honest I haven’t given it too much time yet.  I’ve picked it up and read a page here and there.  The cookbooks are all great, but I haven’t had a chance to make anything from it yet.  Of course La Dolce Vegan is pretty famous around these parts because the author is from Victoria.  A lot of her recipes sound awesome so I’m looking forward to trying them.

Serene Cuisine seems to focus more on an Ayurvedic diet and explains a bit about the different doshas and includes yoga poses with each meal..a lot of these dishes aren’t entirely practical for me in my every day, but some of the stuff looks good.

The last book is from the famous Kripalu retreat center in the US and there are a tonne of great sounding recipes in here.  I have a feeling I’ll need to renew a couple of these…

Spicy Laksa Soup!

This is one of my quick and easy go to recipes for Laksa. Laksa is a spicy noodle soup that can be found in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. I honestly don’t know how authentic it is. The whole time I was in Malaysia, I was talking about how I wanted to try laksa but then we got hooked on the South Indian thalis and that was it. I couldn’t stop eating Indian food. I definitely have to try it next time. I’ve made this a few different ways depending on how much time I have. Sometimes I’ll add fresh chopped lemon grass, birds eye chilis and kaffir lime leaves but basically it just depends on what I have on hand. This is a pretty versatile recipe that can be customized in spice level and to your taste.

Also-I’m not a complete vegetarian but I don’t eat poultry, beef or pork. This recipe would probably be just fine with any of those things. If you eat seafood, prawns are nice and this recipe includes tofu but also non-veggie stuff like fish sauce. S’all up to you.

Here’s what you will need:

  • 4c. H20 + enough Veggie bouillon powder for 4 c. of water. If you’re using liquid veggie stock, you need 4c. The kind I’m showing here takes 4 tsp. to equal 4c. of water. More on veggie bouillon below.
  • 1 pkg. Thai Red Curry Paste
  • 1/2 tbsp. Fish Sauce
  • 2 tsp. palm sugar (brown sugar is a good substitute)
  • 2 boiled eggs, halved
  • 1/2 block fried, puffed or extra firm tofu
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • Limes
  • Cilantro
  • 1 pkg. rice noodles

Any other ingredients you might want to add-bok choy, spinach, bean sprouts etc.

Veggie bouillon-I’m kinda picky about bouillon cubes and powder lately because it seems like every brand has MSG in it, something I try to avoid.  The brand that I’m showing here doesn’t have MSG or Autolyzed Yeast Extract, which as far as I can tell is another form of MSG or has MSG in it or something.  It also has real pieces of stuff in it, which makes me happy:

Heat up the stock in a large pot and add the red curry paste.  If you want it to be less spicy, don’t use the whole package.  I’m a spice fiend, so I use the whole package.  Stir till dissolved.  Add the fish sauce and sugar and then the coconut milk.  Soup should look something like this:

While you are cooking all this goodness up, start boiling a big ol pot o’ water for your noodles.  When the water is boiling you want to throw in the noodles, stir to separate and cook them until just tender.  These type of noodles do not take a long time to cook so watch ’em because they get gross and mushy when overcooked.  I always under cook them just a bit because I figure the broth finishes them off when I put it all together.  Drain ’em and rinse ’em in cold water but don’t completely chill them or it will make your soup cold!

Cut up all your other ingredients while you are waiting for your noodles to cook.  Cube the tofu, slice the limes, chop the cilantro and any other ingredients you are using.

Put a bunch of noodles in a bowl and pour some stock over them.  Arrange the ingredients on top and that’s it!

Again, my crap camera doesn’t really do it justice, but trust me, this is sooo good.  If you have any leftover noodles, rinse them in cold water till completely cold and store them in the fridge with a bit of water in the container to keep them moist.

Enjoy!!

Things i am loving:

Okay, I know I’ve already mentioned Betsey Johnson but I actually went out of my way to take a photo of the window display, just for you 😛  And now THIS week, they’ve already changed the display and they have the hugest pink-est frilli-est Tutu Dress and now I think I have to go back and take MORE photos.  That being said, I obviously cannot take a proper photo through a glass window, and I’m sorry.  But I thought I would share:

I am also loving these little oranges that must be in season right now.  They are little and from California and so sweet.  I can eat, like, ten a day.  But I don’t.  I eat five 😛

And finally-this is a little tree that I pass by sometimes on my walk home.  Someone, or maybe several people have painted a door on the tree and made a little magical gnome door.  Note the little gnomes at the bottom of the tree.  This makes me smile:

Recipe: Tassajara Yeasted Bread

This recipe is from the Tassajara Bread Book. As this is my first recipe post, I thought I should let y’all know a few hints when it comes to following my recipes:

-I do not claim to be a chef, baker, and certainly not a photographer
-I have a point and shoot that I hate and look forward to the day when I can buy my Canon Rebel. Please excuse any blurriness/bad lighting etc
-I rarely follow a recipe exactly and will include any modifications

So! On to the Tassajara Bread book. I was initially inspired by Tassajara’s Composite of Kitchen Necessities, copied out here and have had the book for while now. This was my first recipe I tried from the book. The recipe makes four loaves which is enough for a monastery but too much for my house of two. I split the recipe in half, making two loaves and froze one after it cooled down. The recipe below is the full four loaf one as exactly written in the book:

Tassarjara Yeasted Bread

(the fundamental Tassajara Yeasted Bread recipe-four loaves)

1.

  • 6c. lukewarm water
  • 2Tbsp. yeast (2 pkgs)
  • 1/2-3/4c sweetening (honey, molasses, brown sugar)
  • 2c dry milk (optional)
  • 7-9c whole wheat flour (substitute 2 or more cups unbleached white flour if desired)

2.

  • 2-1/2 Tbsp salt
  • 1/2 c-1c oil (or butter, margarine etc)
  • 6-8 c. additional whole wheat flour
  • 2-3 c whole wheat flour (for kneading)

(ed. note-I would just like to point out that the version you see in the photos below did not include dry milk, only because I didn’t have any.  The sweetener was honey and the oil was canola.  I used no white flour.)

Dissolve yeast in water.  Stir in sweetening and milk.  Stir in whole wheat flour until thick batter is formed.

Beat well with a spoon (100 strokes).  Let rise 60 minutes.  Fold in salt and oil.  Fold in additional flour until dough comes away from sides of bowl.

Knead on floured board, using more flour as needed to keep dough from sticking to board, about 10-15 minutes until dough is smooth.  Let rise 50 minutes.  Punch down.  Let rise 40 minutes.  Shape into loaves.

(ed. note-I should point out it as at this point that I strayed away from the recipe a bit.  I decided I wanted stuff *in* my bread and so I mixed in chopped figs and walnuts into one loaf and mixed seeds (flax, pumpkin, sunflower) into the other one)

Let rise 20 minutes.

Bake in 350F oven for one hour.  Remove from pans and let cool, or eat right away.

NB: If I could have done one thing differently with this bread, it would have been to grease the pans, use parchment paper-anything.  For some reason, perhaps I didn’t knead in enough flour? this bread stuck like crazy to the loaf pan and I lost quite a bit of it getting it out.  Any ideas folks? I am open to all and any suggestions as I am a novice bread baker.  That being said, this was amazing with butter right out of the oven and made fantastic sandwiches for days after.  Froze well, but molds quickly, due to lack of garbage ingredients/preservatives.