the hideous vegetarian sausage roll project take 2.

This is the successful (-tasting, not -looking) version. It still needs a pinch of adventure somehow, but it tastes pretty great as is plus you'd never guess it was tofu.


vegetarisch saucijzenbroodje.

400g tofu, frozen and defrosted

1 large onion, diced small
2 tbsp butter (i bet you could even make this brown butter for extra boom)

1 tsp, up to 2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg, to taste (important, this should be the top note of the end result, but juuuust barely identifiable)
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp paprika powder
1 tsp ginger powder
a pinch ground coriander
1/4 cup ketjap manis, or more, to taste
3 tbsp ketchup
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
salt to taste

1 egg, lightly beaten

8 sheets 5 x 5 puff pastry


Crumble tofu with your hands until there are no pieces bigger than, say, a kernel of corn.

Spread tofu on a single baking paper-covered baking pan (speak English much?) and roast in 150°C oven for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly browned and dry and spongy.

While that's happening, sauté onion in butter until browned, 15-20 minutes.

Combine spices in a bowl and then add roasted tofu and sauteed onion. Mix and squish with hands until thoroughly combined. Then yeah assemble into sausage rolls (?) and bake for 15-25 minutes or however long it takes.



the hideous vegetarian sausage roll project.

Take 1: pretty much total failure, except for the hideous part.

Things that worked: freezing tofu, pulsing the thawed version with seasonings, sauteeing/caramelizing in a pan, then roasting on baking paper to dry everything out.

Things that didn't work: the seasoning. Something went horribly wrong in the earliest stages, leaving a rather nasty aftertaste, and all signs point to either Worcestershire sauce or allspice/pimiento as the culprit. I've had this happen with allspice before, so that's my suspicion. Here's what I think did work:

400g tofu
3 tbsp ketchup
1/3 cup ketjap manis
2 tbsp mustard
1 tsp nutmeg
a lot of black pepper

and then some other spices that I haven't figured out yet.
sauteed in 2 tbsp butter





As usual, it doesn't look like much, but this was deeply satisfying and very easy. It's supposed to be based on Hainanese Chicken Rice, but I wonder how it would be on a non-meat like tempeh...I think tofu would not be quite right. I didn't make the rice.


soy-braised turkey with ginger. 

1 medium shallot, thinly sliced, plus 1 small shallot, quartered
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar
salt to taste

1/3 cup light or low-sodium soy sauce
2 cups water
2 tbsp brown sugar
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 to 4 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh ginger
500g/3 cups shredded turkey meat
2 tbsp coconut oil or unsalted butter (if using white meat)


hot rats.

de toekomst.



 Flàmmeküeche and pumpkin soup at Troost. Sleep Gunner and Moore/Buis heading to the Belgian border.

Where I had one of the least edible restaurant dishes I've had in a long while, "homemade ravioli of the day". I think you can tell by the ravioli in the foreground that these are pretty "al dente", but what you can't tell is that they also tasted pretty "awful", like only the wrong things about dried mushroom taste.

Luckily Nelson was able to redress the lingering bad pasta juju by busting out her birthday present for the first time and making homemade lasagne noodles...

Which were then applied to this spinach and eggplant lasagna bianca with rosemary, really good, recipe from Caroline.

Italian suckses continued at home with Dennis's new pizza recipe, to be posted here soon.

Then quite a mixed bag of recipes from Veggiestan, this eggplant/tomato/yogurt/mint concept was really good...

...but an unpictured pumpkin soup with rice and za'atar croutons was, mmm, not such a great idea, and these kibbeh:

Despite appearances, were just depressingly bland and useless.

Then this week I encountered a need for vegetables and pickled things, so we get Mark Bittman's beet carpaccio and some perrrrrfect pickled beet eggs.



tempeh reuben.

I done stole this from somewhere a while back, made it a couple of times, it was a dang near perfect way to do tempeh without frying, you grill it in a grill pan for three minutes a side. Great on rye bread with sauerkraut, Thousand Island and a bread and butter pickle.


tempeh reuben.
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp water
1 tsp liquid smoke
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp prepared mustard
1 tsp dried coriander
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 bay leaf, crumbled, or a pinch of powdered bay leaf



fair and balanced.

First things first, let's not forget this. I mean, the household we were in wasn't forgetting anything: I was pretty much greeted with the phrase (delivered in a cynical deadpan) "let's celebrate some genocide".

So we "did", the way you probably really only do as an ex-pat, with about half "traditional" Thanksgiving dishes, and half....well, other things. Pictured: mashed potatoes; stuffing; a very good cauliflower-halloumi thing with a parsley pesto; some authentically African shrimp and manioc stew made with dried shrimp and dende oil; green beans in tomato sambal; corn on the cob; turkey; my pumpkin-runner bean salad; some very orangey sweet potatoes; a beet and walnut salad; and the rest I can't remember except for a really really good homemade hummus and a surprisingly realistic vegan paté made with agar agar and miso. Not pictured: opening the champagne all over me.


oh the weather outside is etc.

What's this, a blog post?

Yeah. It's just that nothing has been happening.

Okaiiiiiiii, not true. Some things happened.

1) I got a piece of rice stuck in my iPhone headphones jack. Three pieces of rice actually. And? Contrary to popular opinion, I was able to get it/them out using only a wooden toothpick and American ingenuity. Oh, right what was my iPhone doing being submerged in a bag of dry rice? Yeah a friend of mine? Knocked it into a bathtub full of water, where it sat for about 5 seconds. It's totally OK now!!!

2) I have been on tour!!! In the Netherlands!!! This never happens!!! I have so far visited the teeming metropolisses of Eindhoven (above), where our tour bus/car was broken into and our driver's belongings were removed and then probably discarded moments later after discovering they were "only" clothes, and Utrecht (below), where I may have set personal records for Most Unintentional Feedback, Fastest Broken String Change and Fastest Load-Out. Next up is Baarle-Nassau on Saturday and then Rotterdam in December.

3) But before all that: Thanksgiving. It's always a challenge to figure out what to cook, well because I make it one: I wait until the whole menu is set, then ask, "so what else do you still need?" This year's answer is "something vegetarian that's not potatoes, and not orange- or yellow-colored."

OK, how about this. It's really good and you can make it ahead of time, I adapted it from here.


roasted pumpkin and runner bean salad with spiced pecans, cranberries, maple vinaigrette.

1 kg (about 1 large or 2 medium) pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled, seeded, quartered, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup (120 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
800g runner beans
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch ground cloves
pinch cayenne pepper
1 tbsp light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups (about 8 ounces; 250 grams) pecans
2 shallots, finely minced (about 4 tablespoons; 40 grams)
2 tbsp (30 milliliters) date syrup
1 tbsp (10 grams) whole grain mustard
1 tbsp (15 milliliters) sherry vinegar
1 cup (about 6 ounces; 200 grams) dried cranberries



against all odds, episode 913.

Wow, thanks to O'Neill, we now have a picture of The House.


For future reference: the goal was healthiness, using things already in the fridge. That meant watercress, turkey, yogurt, turmeric, lemons, and I combined these two random recipes to an unexpectedly smashing effect. This chili with harissa made with turkey breast instead of lamb, topped with this watercress yogurt dip, a bit heavier on the watercress, made with some protein-rich Icelandic yogurt from the Avondmarkt clearance bin. Anyway: it was like these two were made for each other, like Donnie and Marie.



vulture bait day -1: pre-liftoff.

Picking up Rental Car 1 in Phoenix from super-tweaking Dollar rep. Richardson's red chile cheese enchiladas for home use. Soccer in the desert.


vulture bait day 0: wikieup trading post.

Wikieup Trading Post: super cute old diner, but can't say much about the food. I think grilled cheese and fries was the only vegetarian option other than a cheese enchilada, which was just not going to happen, curious though I was. It seemed unwise.


vulture bait day 0: phx to vegas.

Driving. Northern Arizona. Wikieup Trading Post. Navigator/Photographer/Documentarian. The Saddest Palm Tree In The World. Sunset on The Strip. The Venetian. Very very good food at Yardbird (watermelon with lemon oil and farmer's cheese; roasted/blackened carrots with coriander and cumin, really great; and pretty definitely the best mac and cheese I've ever had). And a $15 cocktail so unexpectedly delicious that Nelson had two of them, called a Southern Revival (Wild Turkey 81, lemonade, passionfruit, Thai basil). Many games of pool at Dino's Lounge until bikers rained on our parade. One as-fast-as-possible beer at Club Platinum not pictured due to the absolute wrongness of it all.