Archive for the ‘Chicago’ Category

Today I decided to try my hand at vegan cream cheese with an almond base. My friend Alisa offered me some of this once, on a long car trip, and I had to decline because the oils were separating in an unappetizing fashion, but the idea stuck with me (I’m a sucker for dips, spreads, and sauces made from nuts, like the “pine nut cream” from Veganomicon. Yum!). I purchased sliced, blanched almonds from the Middle East Bakery on Foster street, because I had a vague sense that blanched almonds were needed here. The Middle East Bakery is an amazing, magical place where you can get, say, bulgur, red lentils, black wild rice, jasmine rice, brown jasmine rice, tomato paste, dried apricots, a delicious spicy snack mix, and whole coriander seeds – that’s what we got there today. (Whole coriander seeds are important for when Isa tells you to crush them by hand. We like to do what Isa says). The Middle East Bakery also has to-die-for spicy hummus (Erin tries to recreate it with red chile paste, but it doesn’t compare), fresh dates, bulk spices, and basically all that is wonderful and good in this world. Here’s a photo of our Tower of Bulk Spices:


The almond dip turned out to not be very much like cream cheese, but that is totally cool with me because cream cheese is, imo, kinda slimy and gross. So I’m renaming it Salty Delicious Almond Dip, and here is the recipe:

1 cup of blanched almonds

about 1 tablespoon olive oil

half cup water

juice of one lemon

way too much salt.

Put it all in the food processor and pulse / blend, adding water and olive oil as needed, until the Vortex of Death happens (you know, when the food gets pulled down into a whirlpool of blendy-ness and you can tell that the lemon juice and salt is becoming fully incorporated).

I accidentally added too much salt, but it’s actually pretty yummy. You could skip the salt and add more lemon juice or (this is what I’m going to try next time) a little white vinegar. Erin and I ate this Salty Delicious Almond Dip with triskets as we made some beer today, and it was definitely a winner.


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This morning, a potent stud of a man who works in my building avoided being emasculated by another man by refusing to step out of the elevator first, robustly deflecting the other man’s polite gestures of “you first” with manly shakes of his virile, generative head, holding up elevator traffic and establishing his hearty, majestic dominance. It was pretty sweet.

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