it's not easy being green...

...greener than a Kuih Cara with envy over not being Malaysian, in Malaysia for Ramadan. Check this out. Not just this post, but the whole blog is full of great pictures of fantastic-looking Malay exotica.

Now, on the plus side of being here, other than a better-than-average opportunity (in Europe) to sample Malaysian food (a new Malaysian place opened up literally around the corner on the Kloveniersburgwal...haven't eaten there yet), October weather has been ridiculously pleasant. 60F and sunny today, and it's been that way pretty much all month. I don't even know where my raincoat is. And it's October. Huh.

Food-wise, what've I been up to? Sardines. Maybe I had to endure Herring Boot Camp in order to appreciate these guys, but I must say I'm totally impressed. Recipes and further geeky analysis to follow.


o, veganismo.


"...Don't' consider the bird head and feet as ornaments, No sir, pop them in your mouth beak and all. Yes, the eyeballs too. It's not boney or weird like you might think, it's just more crispy, flavorful entrée."


Every dish was offal, except for the dessert, which was bloody offal.

(both via Yummy Chow).

The excellent photos taken by the witty, extremely carnivorous bunnies over at Yummy Chow made me realize that I think I might actually be "off meat" (as in me not eating it vs. me not tasting good). Still happily putting my tooth all over those poor ocean-dwellers, though...I guess I'd find strict vegetarianism or and especially veganism tons more practical for me if I had a squadron of deployable vegan recipes that I could serve to guests without feeling like I was "feeding the band"...you know, veggie chili, couscous, bulgur, beans, etc. Stuff you serve with a ladle. I'm obviously not making this up: one of my original inspirations toward more careful cooking is Stephen Pyles (aka Steamin' Pile around here), and in his newish book Southwestern Vegetarian, Mr. Pile is becoming part of the problem: "Eschewing the usual recipe categories, Pyles divides his cookbook into chapters by gratins, casseroles, stuffed vegetables, tortas, sandwiches, and pizzas."

Now, as the Rossington-Collins Band used to like to say, don't misunderstand me...I loves all that stuff and have cooked up a ton of it. But I'm also a total sucker for artfully presented food that has layers and layers of flavors...like if you could find an ingenious, edible way to present a perfectly-constructed Maoz falafel on a dinner plate...crispy, spicy-ass falafel balls; soft, supergarlicky cumin carrots with plenty of cilantro; the double cuke attack of traditional dill pickles and cucumbers with fresh dill and lemon juice; crinkle-cut beets with mint and olive oil; the sinus-clearing red chile sauce; the tart, fresh green sauce...drizzled with a light tahini sauce...(falls face-first onto the keyboard)...

OK, so you probably could find an ingenious way to plate this. But it would still just be a falafel on a big plate. So, I guess I'm looking for vegan entrees with complex flavors that come from somewhere other than the snack/street food, Indian cuisine, and one-pot dinner categories. Fire away with suggestions, o vast ocean of faithful readers...here's what I've found thus far.

IMBB #19, coincidentally enough, was "I Can't Believe I Ate Vegan". The entries for this IMBB kind of highlight what I'm talking about...lots of creative stuff, but 75% of them are served in a bowl. Some of the examples that are more like what I'd like to cook:

And Meathenge's effort falls into the "band food" category, but it looks like a fantastic recipe (with the exception of vegan sausage, which no one should ever use for anything...I'd substitute Quorn or the Tivali "ground tofu" thingie and add some smoked paprika for emulating sausage-y goodness): Chili and Cornbread.

Speaking of Quorn, they've just released a new product, Steak au Poivre, which is, well...freaky as shit. It's close, so close to being right...but just far enough away to make you think of Soylent Green or some Stephen King story where food sent through a time machine/transporter thingie doesn't taste the same when it comes back. Or is that The Fly I'm thinking of?