Happy United Cheesecake Holiday!

Yes it’s been a while. That whole Vegan Month of Food thing had me blogging way more than was comfortable. So I became a bad blogger for the month of Dec. Oh well, you can’t expect much from a chocolatier this time of the year.

And what time of year it is? Well… it’s United Cheesecake Holiday! Yes, this is really the only holiday we need to celebrate in December. From the 20 – 27th it’s all about the cheesecake. Even non-vegan cheesecake. (That’s where the UNITED part comes in.) Gifts are frowned upon but homemade or food related are permitted. And… that’s about it. No trees, no candles, no weird dudes in weird suits, no angels… it’s just about the cheesecake. You don’t have to feel bad if you are alone on United Cheesecake Day (December 25) because just as long as you have a piece of delectable cheesecake in front of you you are NOT alone.

This cheesecake recipe is from my new book. Which is apparently out after 3 years. I started writing the thing in 2003, just after the first book was done. You wanna talk broken heart from an inanimate object? Well what happened with this book in all those years has crushed me and dulled my interest in my own creation. It’s a story that tires me out telling it, so you won’t be reading it here… although it would for sure make a teary eyed entry (I’m exaggerating a little here 😉 )

Double Decker Chocolate Mint Cheezecake

Yield: 8 or 9-inch pie

1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 tub vegan cream
cheese (8 ounces)
1 cup firm tofu
3/4 cup soy yogurt
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
egg replacer equivalent to 2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch salt
2 tablespoons
crushed candy cane
1/4 teaspoon mint
extract
chocolate cookie  crust (see below)
1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Melt chocolate in a double boiler
(or a smaller pot on top of a larger pot of simmering water.)
2. Blend all ingredients except candy cane, mint extract and chocolate.
3. Take out 1/3 of this mix. Add the melted chocolate to the 2/3 still in the
blender and blend well.
4. Pour the chocolate into the pie crust. Mix the candy cane and mint
extract into the remaining 1/3 mixture and pour this on top of the chocolate. Bake for 50 min.

chocolate cookie
crust:
1 1/4 cups chocolate
cookie crumbs
3 tablespoons oil
Mix together, press into pie pan.

Hopin’ you like that lovelies…

Broken Heart Vegan Tip #22: If you are alone during these kinds of holidays it is imperative that you either find people to spend it with, or construct a plan to make the day really interesting, weird, or just pamper yourself. Holidays can break your heart, but you have an enough in your arsenal to fight against it. After all – it’s all in your head. All the pressure to have a partner or family during this time of year is mere construction of outside forces. You can be happy being alone. You are awesome!

Broken Heart Song #22

December 27, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , . dessert. 7 comments.

This place has the Keys to my Heart (har har)

Back to places that HAVEN’T broken my heart… Key West!

I did this road trip from Daytona Beach to the Keys in 2000. It was a little bizarre because it was during the US elections and as I sat in an art deco hotel turned hostel turned cheap ass sex trade hang out (the taxi driver was worried for me) I watched “the day after” coverage. It was weird to be in the state that caused so much trouble.

Any rate, I never actually made in down to Key West. I rented a car and had lots of stops along the way including the Cartoon Museum, some punk record stores and Coral Castle (Coral Castle I will leave for another post as it fits in well with the broken heart theme). This year I decided to make that trip again, only it was going to be a mad dash to the most southern tip of the United States.

Well, I fell in love! Sure it’s a tourist trap, but unlike any other tourist trap the quirky element of this town is BIGGER than the touristy crap. It’s hella frustrating actually getting there by car – because there is only one road in and  out and if you get behind a slow mover – god help you! But once you’re there your stress evaporates. (It’s hot, right? 😉 ) It’s a town that has one main drag where all the tourists hang out and lots of little nooks and crannies which are totally walkable whether you are staying in the action or outside of it.

The architecture was pretty sweet. Lots of old detailed houses. Like all of Florida there was PLENTY of real estate. Lots of people unfortunately lost their homes in this state during the crash of the big scam. Although, I have to wonder if most of the houses in the Keys are vacation houses. At any rate, they were still more expensive than I would have imagined and I don’t think my little day dream of moving there will ever happen 😛

There are wild roosters  that hang out, crow a lot and make mischiefs of themselves. Some locals want to “get rid of them” but so far they have held on. I certainly did not find them ugly, dirty or disease ridden – as the anti-Rooster jerks spout. They are incredibly beautiful and yes, I would probably get really mad if they constantly woke me up at 5am like they tend to do, but I would still love them.

There’s all kinds of weird and wonderful people… and GERMANS. Lots of Germans. They seemed very nice too 🙂 The postal worker, who was delivering mail on the main drag, was super sweet and she went around so contented like she knew she had the best job in the world!

The food…

Yes, that’s why you are here! Well the food was ever better than anything else! I was in Key West for a total of 24 hours and I managed to eat from 3 different places (and I went to one place twice!)

Things were a little more expensive than Toronto or other parts of Florida, but they did it right!

I had lunch at The Cafe, just off the main drag it serves up incredibly tasty food and has good hours. There’s a couple fish dishes on the menu but mostly everything is veg and there’s a decent vegan selection. I had an INCREDIBLE… INCREDIBLE chickn salad sandwich that had grapes and almonds in it! YOWZA! I walked to the beach with it.

Just beyond the sandwich you can see Cuba ha ha ha!

The health food store – Sugar Apple – was stocked ok and they had a nice little juice bar on the side that had a cute boy behind the cash. I bought some nice rice/millet crackers that you can only find in Florida. I love these things.

The same bakery, Sami’s, also does a really great gluten free chocolate chip cookie. Quite possibly the best GF choc cookie I’ve had. The secret ingredients seems to be soy butter? Check em!

Ok so after I scorched myself in the sun eating this amazing sandwich I did some more walking around, quite a bit of it in fact, and then it was dinner time. I had a nice raw dinner and dessert (which I saved for the next day) from Help Yourself although for the life of me I can’t remember exactly what I ate! I remember WHERE I ate it – on the OTHER beach – on the Gulf side – whose handful of inhabitants were very much NOT tourists.

Then I went over to Green Republic to get a sandwich for the drive the next day. I chose Corned Beef and I found out they make the vegan cheese themselves! How great and mysterious! I nearly bought of one their delightful looking cupcakes but I had to resist… because…

I then walked back over to The Cafe because they were serving a key lime cheezecake. How could I be in Key West and not eat Key Lime (although it’s sad to report that most key limes come from Mexico and Central America now because of Free Trade. It’s frustrating to think I was eating the juice of a fruit that I could have picked from a tree in some one’s back yard, but instead came thousands of miles away)? At this point I was extremely stuffed and had walked all day, so I decided to let my dessert wait in the hotel room as I went on a ghost walking tour (which turned out to be 2 hours long!)

Walking off dinner was a good idea because this was sooo rich and delicious I can still taste it:

It was tres fabulous!

What I liked best about Key West was the fact I could be a foodie tourist and STILL see mostly everything I wanted to see that WASN’T related to food. I can not say this of New York City. I’ve been about 6 times and each time I just go from place to place eating. I’ve only been to TWO museums/galleries on ALL my trips combined! Key West was mostly about eating and walking… two things I like very much 🙂

On a worried note – this whole BP oil spill could KILL Key West (OR the rest of the Gulf! Rest of the planet!) THAT would break my heart…

Broken Heart Vegan Tip #12: Living in a city that’s breaking your heart? Take out a map and take a good look at what’s around you. Get on your bike and go for a ride to a place you’ve never been to. I bet you will find a little nook and cranny of a park or neighborhood that heals your heart. Maybe it’s an East Indian grocery store or a park dedicated to roses… maybe it’s even a building that was built in 1910 in a town known for tearing everything old and beautiful down… Make it your own little secret bit of happiness.

Broken Heart Song #12 (No. No freakin Jimmy Buffet for you my friends)

June 21, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . dessert, entree. 1 comment.

Good Place to Get Some Thinking Done

Cities can break your heart too… not just beings. Ties to places can be so fragile. People, jobs  – they take you from one place to another. You can move around constantly looking for the perfect home. You may never find it.

Two towns have broke my heart. Town A was a refuge from a bad break up. I crossed the border in 1998 and the guard hauled me in to ask a lot of questions – including “You are visiting someone you met on the internet!?” (We had actually met through MaximimRocknRoll, but I wasn’t going to say “classified section in a punk rock fanzine”!) Now I’m sure you’re thinking, in this day and age of dating online, that I  was going to this town because of a boy… but I wasn’t. Or more like it wasn’t for romantic reasons. Although I did fall for the town itself.

Town A was a shockingly small place for my big city roots, where people would walk into your house unannounced. Where punk rock wasn’t quite like the punk rock I knew from the big city. It was a super month. I think it was my best summer ever. Trouble began for me when I didn’t recognize it as being a one night stand. I kept wanting to have a relationship with Town A. I wanted to know how everyone was and what everyone was doing and what was going on with the movie theatres and health food stores. To its credit, Town A didn’t dump me all at once. It happened it stages. We even got together again for a brief period where I was trying to relive that one amazing summer and IT wanted our relationship to grow and become more complex.  11 years is a long time to hold on to something that wants to get away from you…

Eventually it changed so much I no longer considered it my second home. I think it was grateful. “Whew!” it said, “Glad she’s finally out of our hair!” But I am still scared…

Town B was like a colourful holiday brochure that ends up being a poor country that REALLY doesn’t want you and your rich flabby ass there…  Town B broke my heart because I just couldn’t fit in.

Oh the city itself was great – fruit trees everywhere, different bodies of water, culture to entice even the most bored soul, free health clinics… But the inhabitants were so busy being hipsters they didn’t know when to be warm and open. They tried really hard to forget there was an outside word, or that there was a world in the same town just outside their little bubble.

I lived my sad little lonely existence in the town that didn’t know my name and didn’t give two shits when I left.  Who patted my head and said “Oh sure you’re one of us” while turning to a friend and rolling its eyes.

I sometimes dream about going back into its arms… but only if I were to have my own tiny army of friends for support and barrier jumping.

Traveling around, sometimes you get a hankering for a cupcake. But my word! How DO you carry a cupcake with you? I usually avoid products made in China (virtually everything you buy at malls and department stores), because it’s 90% sure there is slave labour involved, but I couldn’t resist this:

Cupcake Carrier!

This cupcake carrier is carrying a Lavender Chocolate cupcake from Sweets from the Earth (Have I mentioned that they make the BEST CHEEZECAKE ever? And yes I’ve had Portland and Eugene vegan cheesecakes!)

Broken Heart Vegan Tip #11:  Get a haircut. No I’m not calling you a dirty long haired hippy – merely suggesting that a haircut and make you feel like a new person and as a new person you will get over your broken heart faster and easier. You are a superstar and everyone will smile and nod as you pass, thinking “Yep. That person has got it together!”

Broken Heart Song #11


June 17, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , . dessert, snax, Uncategorized. Leave a comment.