I love a late summer weekend. The temperature chilled down quite a bit the other night and it honestly had me dreaming of Fall and apple cinnamon-y things. This in-between season is my favourite time of year. Tomatoes and peaches in abundance with cozy season peaking around the corner? Nothing could make me feel more at ease.
At the same time, we’re seeing the coverage of peak wildfire season in BC and the N.W.T. (and also in Maui, Greece…) after what’s already been called the worst wildfire season on record in Canada. I know that this is a natural phenomenon that occurs seasonally, but every year seems to get hotter and more intense. We will be supporting the regional humane societies (N.W.T. here and BC here) and Veterinarians without Borders while we hope for rain, and also ask that our government engage with solutions befitting the reality of our changing climate.
Here’s my usual assortment of reads and links below for you. Be well and take care out there ♥️
5 Things I’m Reading:
- No Meat Required (read an excerpt here)
- I was a champion of fake meat: but I’m not surprised people are losing their taste for it
- These are the 5 most common negative thoughts holding you back
- Meet Labyrinth Walking, the Ancient Practice That Imparts Major Mindfulness Benefits
- Remember When on Grist, a series that explores “what happened to the climate solutions that once clogged our social feeds”
5 Things I’m Enjoying:
- Cannot wait to make this chickpea curry over the weekend
- Leaning into low dopamine mornings
- Been making a tart cherry beverage before bed lately: a tablespoon of tart cherry concentrate, ½ – ¾ cup brewed chamomile tea (cooled), drizzle of maple syrup, a squeeze of lemon, and a splash of sparkling water over ice.
- Dogspotting: selections from a Facebook group where people share cute and heartwarming photos of random dogs they see
- Indigenous Earth Community Podcast
- I’ve noticed that Tamari is often used in your recipes. I usually sub with soy sauce. Is Tamari worth it? Should I stop subbing?
I definitely recommend just using what you have! When I add Tamari to a sauce, dressing, stew etc., I’m just looking to add a bit of umami and salt. Soy sauce has those flavours since both are derived from fermented soy beans. In terms of the texture/flavour difference, Tamari is a slightly thicker and less salty. I also like to specify gluten-free Tamari with my GF recipes because soy sauce has wheat! You can read more about the differences here.
- What’s the best vegan cream cheese?
My favourite one (if I’m popping over to the USA) is Kite Hill’s almond based cream cheese. I love the consistency and it’s perfectly tangy. I haven’t tried Nuts for Cheese’s new cream cheese yet, but it sounds great. For cream cheese frosting, I prefer Tofutti–it just has the perfect texture for that application.
- In terms of creativity and originality, especially in the age of Instagram, is anything original anymore? And should that even be the goal?
I can only speak for myself on this one. I don’t think you can say that anything is truly original with recipe content online, right? It’s all been done! Whether the recipe/idea comes from a certain cultural heritage or tradition, or it’s a remake of a menu item, classic cookbook recipe, grocery product etc. Sometimes there’s new interpretations, cooking methods, re-imagined versions of classic dishes or well-recognized combinations. In that case, I think you can use adjectives like: creative, innovative, unusual etc, and it fits. For me, this idea of total originality is not the end goal (despite avoiding food media for the most part because I don’t want to be indirectly influenced by someone else’s work). I approach the recipes that I post from the perspective of overall quality, practicality/usefulness, and the user’s time investment. No one’s going to make the dish if it has 25 ingredients, tons of dishes, multiple components, and it takes 2+ hours–doesn’t matter how unique it is! Even if it is minimal on the ingredients and still quite novel… I guess I just prefer a degree of familiarity and I suppose timelessness with what I post here? I find both notions very comforting when it comes to food. And of course giving credit and mapping out where the inspiration for a recipe came from when we’re delving into dishes with a clear cultural lineage. I love talking about how I arrived at a certain recipe or combination! I find this to be more fulfilling than trying to be the first person to ever make something (if that were even possible).
- Where do you find butter beans in Canada?
I’ve been buying the Eden brand! They reliably have them at my local Farm Boy location. They’re also sometimes labelled as lima beans though. I really want to find some dried ones to cook from scratch–just to see if there’s a huge difference in recipes like this butter bean skillet or this kale salad with butter beans and mustard tahini.
- Help! What to eat when you’re in an inspirational rut?
I get a version of this question every week and I try to answer it every few months or so here because I know how weird it feels. When I don’t feel creative (and I’m possibly not being kind to myself about it), I try to remember that food can just be fuel sometimes and that’s kind of nice. Usually after a couple days of simply focusing on getting a starch, protein, and some veg on the plate (without the pressure of creativity and aesthetics), I begin to feel inspired and curious about the cooking process again. Approaching food from this perspective usually looks like: smoothies, sandwiches/toasts, veggie pasta galore, noodle and veg stir fries, or simple beans and rice bowls with avocado and a handful of greens. Taking breaks from the compulsion to always strive for creativity and novelty is what helps me find inspiration long term.