Dinner for one – Halloumi stack with chickpea salad and kale chips

What now seems like a lifetime ago, I kept a vegan food blog, which I updated fairly regularly, and which people seemed to like pretty well enough. At the time, I was living with my beau and of course… was a vegan. Fast forward to me living on my own, and giving up veganism in the name of eggs benedict, and the blog fell apart. 

For whatever reason, it’s a lot more difficult to find motivation to create interesting meals on a regular basis when you are not cooking for another human who can ‘ooooooh’ and ‘aaaaaaah’ over your creations, and who you can watch thoroughly enjoy every last bite of your delectable dishes. 

But lately I’ve been thinking that it’s time to kick the same old stirfry and pasta habit and to start cooking wonderful new things for myself again. Who knows, maybe I’ll even start having the regular dinner parties that I’ve been dreaming about for years…

On that note… I welcome you to MY FIRST FOOD ENTRY on ‘Another Blog’…

For today’s dish, I kept things pretty simple – Grilled halloumi cheese stack, chickpea salad, kale chips. These dishes are all broken down below.

Grilled Halloumi Cheese Stack

Halloumi cheese has been gaining popularity over the past year, and after trying it out a few different ways, I can see why. All you need to do to make Halloumi cheese lovely? Throw it in a pan for a few minutes, then add some toppings. DONE. Not to mention the fact that guests are always impressed when you give them little stacks of food, amiright? Somehow it seems fancier. I’m not entirely sure why. You can usually get halloumi at any little greek or turkish delis. 

ANYWAYS.

For this part of the dinner, I cut three 1/3 inch thick slices of halloumi. I then heated up a very lightly greased cast iron pan on medium heat. I grilled the halloumi for a few minutes on each side, until golden.

Next step. Thinly slice some tomato and avocado.

Stack.

DONE.

Kale Chips

Preheat the oven to 350F

Thoroughly wash a bunch of kale, and remove and really hearty stems (sometimes this means slicing out the entire middle of the leaf). It is VERY IMPORTANT that the kale is COMPLETELY DRY before you proceed, or your kale chips will end up wilty and chewy rather than crispy and light. COMPLETELY DRY.

Very lightly coat the kale leaves in oil (olive or grapeseed work well), then toss them onto a baking sheet. 

Bake for about… 15 minutes?? Every oven is different, so it’s best to just check on them every so often and kind of toss them around to make sure that they are not sticking to the pan. I’m going to say just check them every five minutes. Then use your best judgement to see when they’re done. Just wait until they seem crispy.

Toss with sea salt. 

When I’m feeling fancy, I like to drizzle these with truffle oil. OMG. AMAZING. But they are also really wonderful with a bit of cayenne or nutritional yeast, or both. 

DONE

Chickpea Salad

1 large can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

4 carrots, grated

1 bunch of cilantro, finely chopped

Mix together.

Dressing is made of ROUGHLY – 1/3 cup of white wine vinegar, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, heaping tablespoon of grainy mustard, tablespoon(?) of agave nectar. These proportions are estimated. You can play around with them until you find a flavour that works for you.

Thoroughly mix in the dressing and add a dash or two of cayenne pepper, and you’re DONE.

PHOTO!

Image

Overall, this dinner was extremely satisfying and easy to make. Not to mention, I’ll have plenty of chickpea salad left over to take for lunch tomorrow. HURRAY!!!

That’s all for the FIRST FOOD POST.

‘k byyyyyyyyyyyyye.

 

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We met on the Internet

A brief surmisal of my non-adventures in online dating. Username shown is not my own.

Recently I have found myself re-delving into the world of online dating. Although, this time around it would probably be more aptly described as online lurking. I have been on Internet dates in the past, with the best outcome leading to a strange and indifferent one month fling, and the worst being an hour long date where the guy showed up on a bicycle emblazoned with a dragon whose  side of the conversation consisted mostly of him telling me how much he hated his job and didn’t really have any ambitions. All-in-all, not too successful, but no horror stories.

I started off with the intention that this time around, I would message every person back, I would be open-minded about people who looked weird based on their profile pics, I would not judge people’s profiles based on their grammar, and god-dammit, I would go on some dates. This renewed zest and vigour lasted for approximately a grand total of one afternoon. Even with the people who look interesting, who I think that I might like in real life, I usually muster up the strength for one or two messages and then just CANNOT BE BOTHERED EVEN REMOTELY CARING.

So why do I keep my okcupid account? And more importantly, why do i keep checking it? Well… I wish that I had an answer for you there. In terms of efficiency and accuracy in dating, I sure do not believe that it’s the best interface for choosing someone to meet up with. So you both like Wes Anderson movies and science? ZOMG! You also both know that in reality, it will take about two seconds of meeting in real life to be able to tell if you are even remotely interested in carrying on a conversation with the other person. Amiright?

I suppose that I have enough friends who have met their AMAZING partners on online dating sites, that I feel like it’s worthwhile to hold out hope… to sift through the messages from pervs asking if they can be my slave, and the sad type of nerd who thinks that because I like TNG, it means I want to hang out with them drinking Mountain Dew in their mom’s basement…

I don’t know where I’m going with this. I started off with a purpose, and it’s kind of meandering into a long rambley blah blah blah. Which, I guess, is exactly how I feel about online dating.

But hey, a girl’s gotta’ try.

Portland bound

ayma portland photobooth

Ayma and I in a Portland photobooth.

This summer, instead of making a big trek across the country to NYC, I decided to make my very first trip to Portland, Oregon. As a hip, young resident of Canada’s Southwest, it’s kind of miraculous that I had never been to Portland before. But with the introduction of the cheapest busline ever, and a ton of vacation time to burn before starting a new job, there were really no excuses left.

So I booked a place to stay, grabbed a bestie, and hit the road.

I’m not quite sure what this post is about in regard to my trip. We did not have any miraculous encounters; I did not really go shopping; we did not see any shows. What we did do was drink a whole lot and eat more vegan ‘junk food’ than I have ever eaten in my entire life. ‘Chicken’ and waffles? Check. Biscuits and gravy? Check. Whiskey bbq sauce delicious mess of a meat-like sammich? Check.

On the not so vegan side, I also ate the most fucking amazingly delicious icecream that I have ever had in my entire life. If you ever have a chance to pop into the Salt and Straw, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, GO! I couldn’t decide on one single flavour, and so got a Chevre with Marionberry Habanero Jam and whatever the chef’s special or whatchamacalit was that day. It was heaven. Also, if you buy a scoop of whatever the feature special flavour is, they will donate a dollar to Planned Parenthood. How can you say no to that? I ate this icecream immediately after ordering a huge, amazing and decadent brunch at the Vita Cafe, and after all of this food I felt as though I might go into an insane food coma while at the same time, having a stomach explosion and also dying.

On the non-food side of things, we also made a day trip to Cannon Beach. Though Google Maps let me know that the drive there would be about an hour and a half, in actuality, it took us upwards of three hours. I’m not sure how, as we were going slightly over the speed limit the entire way, but there you have it.

I had heard a lot about Cannon Beach and how wonderful it was, and so was super eager to head there. Ayma was less eager, and after three hours of driving and a car rental that was about twice as much as we had expected, I was really worried that it would be a disappointment. Very thankfully, it was not. Cannon Beach is not so much a ‘let’s lay here in the sun all day’, as ‘dear lord, this place is beautiful and wild’ kind of beach. The sand is white and soft, the water is deathly cold and choppy, the sky is overcast and stretches out for miles above an unbroken sea that is only disturbed by Haystack Rock. Looking away from the water and towards the town, it is also exactly how I picture ever single stereotype of a New England beach town that rich families go to to vacation all summer. Low sloping sand banks dotted with wild native grasses, leading the way up to large porched houses decorated with grey wooden shingles and white trim.

Anyways… you get the idea.

We walked the beach for a while, before getting all touristy and renting one of the recumbent beach bikes available at several shops. Holy moly. I would never have guessed in a million years that these things would be so fun. I am going to say that renting one of these was probably one of the best things that I have ever spent 15 dollars on in my life. Yes, they look kind of stupid. Yes, the locals probably think that they are a nuisance. But cycling for kilometers down the shores of a sandy, beach with cold sea air blowing at your back is just… well, it’s just lovely.

On top of our beach bike experience, we also happened upon a tiny cafe, with some rather quirky staff, which happened to serve some vegan and gluten-free fair (apparently this is just the norm in oregon?)

… I’m not sure how this turned into a post about Cannon Beach…

Anyways… the rest of the trip was a blur of cheap bourbon, delicious things to eat, and walking around all day in the hot Portland sun.

I can’t wait to return for a longer trip, with my bike in tow to eat more delicious foods, drink more delicious drinks, and hopefully sing more karaoke than my little heart can handle.

THE END.