Monday, May 23, 2011

birthday preparations,

as you may discern from the dated posts, i am not as dedicated a writer as i'd like to be. life gets in the way. in january, i made the mistake of adding a photo stream & thought i'd remove extra shots or those that were not my own. as i wasn't paying close enough attention to the pop-up warning me that i was actually deleting them from my account, poof, they were gone. needless to say, i've been feeling a somewhat dishearted, & my motivation for blogging (or remeding the situation) has been deflated.

life at the mo is busy. we're preparing to leave Dubai & return to Canada. my little ones 5th birthday is very soon (friday), which of course means lots of little things to do before i can really pack. i'm planning a bit of a themed party this year with rainbows, hearts & unicorns as quasi-requested. it is so hot here now (33° at 9a.m), an outside party is out of the question. the girls are going for a swim in the a.m. before the heat really hits for the day, & then 7 little girls, & their parents, will need too be fed & entertained in my not really big apartment. i've been preparing, but there's always more i seem to add to the list. food's ordered, most of the decorations are made, party bags are almost done... still must bake a cake, some cookies, perhaps some muffins, & clean the house a bit.

today's the day before the real work begins, so i'm trying to chill a little & go over planning details. i'm also going to get started on packing i think... must make some more coffee!

good enough.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Colours from Nature - natural dyeing, part III

A Day with Jjok ~ a.k.a Indigo

on the 31st of august 2003, my teacher took a couple of us to learn a korean technique for dyeing with indigo. at the time, i had no idea that it was indigo, i knew it as jjok. you may wonder why the colour seems to be green rather than the expected blue. green in the easiest colour to extract. the blue requires rigorous processing.

[while on a trip to Kyoto, Japan in february 2004, i learned of the Aizenkobo workshop, so i had to seek out their traditional method, & try my hand at indigo dyeing. i dyed a beautifully patterned scarf. it took about 3 hours to complete. the session included an introduction to the skill, packed with information on the craft, & was followed by a cup of tea with the family. The Utsuki family were really nice & answered our copious questions without hesitation. Their family have been dyeing with naturally fermented indigo for 3 generations, & are among only a few in the country who still dye this way. a few families produce the cloth patterns, one pattern to a family, so their sole work is to prepare cloth, basting a specific design for dyeing. alas, the scarf i produced is in Canada, no photos at this time. i did learn the process, though not having studied chemistry extensively, or the years working as an apprentice, i could not reproduce the colour on my own. perhaps in a future post, i could explain the day's events. for now, i've found another who's written about her experience with the workshop, Indigo Dyeing in Kyoto, & an article about the workshop, Beloved Blue.]

i apologize for the crappy images, they were taken with a cheap 35mm & scanned, & have been now copied from my old site, though i`ve tried to doctor them thru picasa.

Pickin' bagfuls

Snipped to bite-sized pieces

Soaking the jjok, reminiscent of a tisane

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Quick & Delish, III: Scrambled Tofu

for a quick supper or leisurely weekend brunch, a family favourite.

Scrambled Tofu

1 package tofu, rinsed, pressed 10mins, mashed
4 or 5 scallions, snipped to 1/4"
1 small handful carrot, diced small
1 handful broccoli, cut into little florets
1 handful red &/or yellow pepper, diced small
1 small handful asparagus, snapped to tasty tips
1 Tbsp basil
2 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp curry
1 to 2 Tbsp tamari
pinch of cayenne, optional
s & p, to taste
sesame seeds, toasted

in the wok, sauté scallions in some heated olive/sesame oil (about 1 Tbsp) for 1 or 2 minutes. then add carrot & broccoli, toss. cover a few minutes 'til the carrot is half done. add the red pepper & asparagus, toss. make a well in the centre, heat a little oil & add curry powder until aromatic. add remaining herbs, tamari & mashed tofu. season with cayenne, s & p. toss until heated through. sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. garnish with basil leaves julienne & sliced cherry tomatoes (if you have 'em).

serve on a bed of jasmine basmati or brown rice with a side of good bread, toasted. makes 4 small servings.

(the 3 of us get just about enough. my little one loves this dish. the above pic is her third bowl for supper tonight. i've tossed the rice into the tofu as i had some leftover red rice.) to get the most of this dish, for a brunch we include some homefried potatoes, sesame coated sweet potatoes (oven-baked), cajun potatoes, or perhaps some french toast. ah, do you have a fav french toast recipe? i have one here somewhere... good idea for tomorrow.



Dubai, 2011

a new year, a new decade - a new beginning. i went on a bit of an unintentional hiatus this past month. life got busy. & the blank wall reappeared. with veganMoFo over, motivation deflated. i must set a writing goal. well, the little one goes back to school, but not until the 9th, so i'm unsure how much i'll get to think & read between now & then.

a little journal entry...

put down Emma (bio) for Bone (comic). reading Emma is wonderful, though there are so many people to meet, & a 'friendship' will dissolve with the end of the book. i feel like this with many books, but bios are different, so i keep interrupting her for other books to extend the relationship. i must finish, or i'll never succeed with the 12 books, 12 months challenge. i'm so behind.

the house is in disarray & i'm having one of those i cannot make myself do anything days. ah well.

still tryin' new recipes though nothing worth reporting really. i'm thinking of two baked beans recipes that were good, not bombshell. though i came across a few nice things from a couple of new cookbooks from my last post. i had a party for solstice & experimented with a few new dips. we did try our hand this year at my very first gingerbread house. in fact, we're still eating it. it is a tasty recipe. i veganised the one from Simply Recipes.

life is going to evolve around the journey home in six months. i must begin to purge. i still seems like a long way off. our goal was to buy land, or a house with land, but to set all that up will take a bit of time, & not really doable from overseas. that translates to renting again, at least, for another year. i'm trying to accept this concept. it is not what i want to do. when do we really ever get what we want? i suppose, reluctantly, that this will give time to find the 'perfect' spot. oh, i've been waiting for this for sooo long. & the idea of moving at least three more times is sooo unappealing.

well i'm using this post as motivation as a way to get back on track. hope this new year brings awareness & change.

good enough.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

new cookbooks!

the last day of vegan MOFO. it's been great getting to blog almost everyday this month. this opportunity seems to be the encouragment needed to dedicate time to the padding of my blog. an edible & potable repertoire has been birthed & rooted, & now needs nuturing to grow. as i mentioned yesterday, i want to return to other interests as well. there remains about a dozen draft posts to finish, hopefully by the year's end.

i bought a few new cookbooks the other day. *big smile* : vegan fusion world cuisine, the shoshoni cookbook & tassajara cookbook - lunches, picnics & appetizers. & i'm tickled, i'm pleased to say. i love the unqiue take on veg cooking in each of them. i'm a bit of a collector & really appreciate the efforts to make a cookbook interesting, beautiful & well-organised. i will, as always, take time to become well-acquainted with each new book, but these are my first impressions.

the vegan fusion has some wonderful photography that promotes tranquil well-being, a sense of connection to many places in the natural world. it has lots of resources & thoughts on being vegan. encouraging fresh, organic & live food, the recipes sound delish. there may be a few ingredients to stock, or it's a good chance to learn a few substitutes. keep in mind this book, from the Blossoming Lotus Café (which is currently closed) in Kaua'i, has access to fresh nuts, fruit & veg year-round. while there, it may be cheap & easy to buy local produce, alas in the wintery north, this book will be brought out only through the growing season. as the book is centred on the concept of world cuisine, imported foodstuffs associated with thai, japanese, indian, carribean & everywhere in between, must be purchased (usually available at the local health food store). as i'm presently in the middle east (where practically eveything is imported year-round), i look forward to experimenting soon.

tassajara cookbook is simply elegant & beautiful. *drool* owned by the san fancisco zen center, tassajara is a zen mountain center in california, & has been there since the 60's. it hosts visitors to sustain itself, & offers a wonderful palatte of vegetarian fare. i have a few other cookbooks they've produced, & they are lovely. this one focuses on finger foods & snacks in hand, which has been a focus of mine as of late, so i'm excited to say the least. again, because veg fare is found in all world cuisine, veg cuisine collects foodstuffs from around the world. this can always be simplified, but a few things will be needed, & are readily available, but it doesn't always follow 'local' to the letter. there is a whole section devoted to chutneys, sauces & salsas. yay! & another on pâtés & loaves. i love portable feasts. (btw, i have another cookbook, a thriftstore find, called the portable feast: picnic, lunch box & knapsack fare. knapsack fare! how great is that?)

the shoshoni cookbook - vegetarian recipes from the shoshoni yoga retreat, has been on my wishlist for some time. now, it's in my hand. it is not fancy, but it is packed with fairly quick & easy, & nutritious, recipes. there's a recipe for tofu feta, i cannot wait to try. unfortunately, many recipes call for apple juice concentrate, which may be easily accessible at home, i've not yet found it here in dubai. so i must find a substitute, or make my own?

needless to say, i really must stay out of the bookstore. it is a costly obsession. i usually relieve my guilt by only frequenting the used bookstores, but went upon a friend's request. who am i to deny someone else access to wonderful world of new books?


good enough.