Thug Kitchen – Relax, Of Course There’s Dessert


Now that you’ve experienced a healthy full fledged breakfast, lunch, and dinner, what kind of people would be be if we didn’t top it off with some f*cking dessert? Perfect your skills with this recipe before the holiday season rolls around and everyone will be begging you for the secret to your tiny little bite-sized moments of peanut butter perfection. Share with your friends, bribe your enemies, or do what I do and eat the whole batch yourself.

Crispy Millet and Peanut Butter Buckeyes

No clue what in the fuck a buckeye is? It’s a tasty treat from the Midwest that is supposed to resemble an Ohio buckeye tree nut. Breaking that down even more, it’s basically a peanut butter cup in ball form. Don’t waste any more time trying to understand this shit, just make it.

Makes about 24 buckeyes

1⁄2 teaspoon oil (olive oil, grapeseed, coconut… almost anything is cool here)
1⁄3 cup uncooked millet
2⁄3 cup creamy peanut butter (don’t buy shit that has more than 3 ingredients, OK? Bad fucking news)
¼ cup powdered sugar (Yeah, this is dessert, so relax)
2 tablespoons flour
11⁄2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon coconut oil, if needed

1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and toss in the millet. Shake the millet around in the pan until it starts to smell toasted and look a little golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Set it aside.

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, mix together the peanut butter, powdered sugar, flour, and vanilla until a thick dough is formed. Fold in the millet and mix until that shit is all in there. Make walnut-size balls with the dough and put them on the baking sheet. You should get about 24. You can lick your fingers here, we won’t snitch. Put them in the freezer for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.

3. Right before you are about to take out the peanut butter balls, you need to melt that chocolate. (For an easy technique for melting chocolate, see page 182.) When the chocolate looks all smooth, turn off the heat. This whole process should take about 3 minutes.

4. Gently lower a ball into the chocolate using a fork, and spoon the chocolate over the ball to coat all the sides. Traditionally you are supposed to a leave the little spot of peanut butter open at the top, but if you find it easier to just roll all those bitches in the chocolate, don’t fight it. If you’re having trouble doing it, stir in the coconut oil while the chocolate is still hot and it will loosen that bastard up. Drip off the excess chocolate and place the buckeye down on the baking sheet and repeat with the rest of the balls. Freeze them on the tray for at least 3 hours before serving. Store in an airtight container and they will keep for 2 weeks in the fridge or freezer. But for real, you will eat them long before then.

9781770894655 We only have one prize pack left to give away! Remember to tag @HouseofAnansi and #ThugKitchen on Twitter or Instagram to get your pic entered in the last draw. Bake these delicious balls by Thursday, October 23rd for your chance to win! Must be a Canadian resident, excluding Quebec.


Thug Kitchen – Chili or Soup? Have Both.


We’ve gone easy on you so far, but this week’s recipe is what delicious vegan cooking is all about. Sure, the difficultly level may be upped, but challenge yourself with this amazing dinner recipe that provides amazing leftovers for the rest of the week. And with Thanksgiving fast approaching, why not impress the f*ck out of your family and bring this dish to dinner, it’s like a big warm hug on a cold ass day. No guts, no glory – not only is this tasty recipe easier than it looks but everyone will be thankful you didn’t bring Tofurky again.

Pozole Rojo

Part soup, part chili, pozole is a hearty dish that you can trick out with a fuckton of toppings.

Makes enough for 6 hungry people, no fucking problem

5 large dried chiles (guajillo, ancho, whateverthefuck kind of big chiles you can find hanging at the end of the spice aisle)

2 cups warm water

1 large onion

5 cloves garlic

1 zucchini

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (yeah, the same shit you use to make brownies)

1 teaspoon olive oil

8 ounces of tempeh

2 teaspoons soy sauce or tamari

1 can (29 ounces) hominy (hominy is made by soaking maize kernels in a lime mixture to soften their hulls causing them to swell up. It’s fucking awesome. You can buy hominy already cooked in cans near the beans and salsa at the store, or you can find it dried and cook it yourself like the package says)

1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons ground cumin

¼ teaspoon salt

5 cups vegetable broth

1 teaspoon maple syrup or other liquid sweetener

Juice of 1 lime

Toppings: sliced cabbage, sliced green onions, radishes cut into matchsticks, cilantro, sliced avocado, lime wedges

1. Grab a big pot or griddle and toast the dried chiles on both sides until they get a little bendy and soft, about 2 minutes. Don’t let these fuckers burn. Stay focused. When they are all good, throw them in a bowl with the warm water and let them soak for 15 to 20 minutes.

2. While that’s going down, chop up the onion, garlic, and zucchini. When the chiles are nice and rehydrated take them out of the water but hold on to the water. Cut off the chile tops, remove the seeds and chop them all up. Throw them in a blender or food processor with the water they were soaked in, the garlic, and cocoa powder, and run it until the chile-garlic paste looks all mashed up with no big chunks left.

3. Heat up the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté that shit for 2 minutes. Grab the tempeh and crumble that fucker right into the pot in dime-and-nickel-sized chunks and sauté until both the onion and tempeh start to brown, about 3 more minutes. Add soy sauce for a little flavor. Next, add the zucchini, hominy, oregano, cumin, and salt. Stir that all together and then add the chile-garlic paste you made earlier. Toss all that around so that everything is well coated and then add the broth. Cover that bastard and let it simmer for 15 to 20 minutes to get all the flavours to combine. Next add the maple syrup and lime juice. Taste that fucker and adjust the spices to the way you want it.

4. Serve hot with your favourite toppings.


Don’t forget to tag @HouseofAnansi and #ThugKitchen in your tweet or Instagram and send us a pic of your food porn to win one a Thug Kitchen prize pack. Get your submissions in by Thursday, October 16th at 5 pm! Must be a Canadian resident (excluding Quebec) to win.


Thug Kitchen – Next Level Lunches


Now that you have breakfast on lock, we want to take your lunch game to the next level with another recipe from inside Thug Kitchen.

You might think you want that floppy baloney sandwich now, but this lunchtime delight is the recipe that made Sarah MacLachlan, our president and publisher, and Meredith Dees, our lovely editor, realize we all needed Thug Kitchen in our lives. Your mouth isn’t going to know what happened and your digestive system will surely thank you for keeping it healthy and on the reg. No more sad leftover pizza squished up at the bottom of your lunch pail, it’s time to cook something healthy and fulfilling.

Grilled Eggplant with Soba Noodles

Perfect for the middle of summer when basil and eggplant price have hit rock-bottom and you’ve spent all your fucking money on a new fan.

Makes enough for 4 people or just 1 if you want to save this stuff for lunch all week.


1⁄2 cup rice vinegar
1⁄4 cup water
1⁄4 cup tamari or soy sauce
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon agave syrup or other liquid sweetener
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium eggplant (about 1 pound)


8 ounces soba noodles (you can use whole wheat pasta or whatever here, but soba noodles – made of buckwheat flour – taste way fucking better)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
3 tablespoons water
1⁄2 cup fresh basil cut into thin ribbons
11⁄2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1. Mix up everything for the marinade in a glass. Slice the eggplant cross wise into 1⁄4-inch rounds. Place the eggplant in a large pan of some kind and pour the marinade over that shit. Let the eggplant marinate for at least 15 minutes or up to 1 hour if you’ve got the fucking time.

2. While the eggplant marinates, cook the soba noodles according to the package directions. Drain the noodles and rinse them with cool water so that they aren’t still cooking. Place them in a large bowl and add the toasted sesame oil and rice vinegar. Stir it all up.

3. Bring your grill or grill pan to a medium heat (around 300° to 350°F). Oil the grill grates. When the eggplant is done marinating, grill the eggplant slices (but don’t throw away that marinade) on each side 2 to 3 minutes or until you see some grill marks. If the eggplant begins to look a little dry, take the slices and dip them in or brush them with the remaining marinade and continuing cooking them until done. Eggplant hydration. Boom.

4. When all of the eggplant is done cooking and has cooled slightly, cut it up into 1⁄2-inch squares. Mix together 1⁄2 cup of the leftover marinade and the 3 tablespoons of water. Pour that mess all over the noodles and mix. Toss in the eggplant and basil and mix again. Top with sesame seeds and serve at room temperature or cold.

9781770894655 If you want to enter the contest for a free copy of Thug Kitchen and a badass tote remember to tag both @HouseofAnansi and #ThugKitchen when you tweet or Instagram a pic of your next level lunch. Get your entry in before Thursday, October 9th contest open to Canadian residents only, excluding Quebec.

Let’s F*cking Cook


Your food game is weak. We want to help you.

We’ve all been there: you have three condiments and an old zucchini in the fridge, and somehow you have to turn that into a viable meal. You want to try out a recipe that is Pinterest worthy, but you can’t find any of the bizarre ingredients listed and, frankly, the instructions are so confusing that you may as well give up before you even start.

You are in a codependent relationship with your delivery guy and it just isn’t healthy anymore.

If you saw this week’s post from editor Meredith Dees, you know that excitement levels for our new cookbook are at max. We’ve been cooking like crazy in the office, and it has been yummy and fun. Cooking at home shouldn’t be an endless struggle. It should be delicious, healthy, and easy. House of Anansi and Thug Kitchen want to give away four copies of Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook, so you can start eating like you give a f*ck.

You want to win this shit:

Each Friday for four weeks, we will release a new recipe from the cookbook. We want you to cook it, eat it, tweet or Instagram a picture of your sweet, delicious victory, and tag @HouseofAnansi and #ThugKitchen.

You have from now until Thursday at 5pm to enter. When the contest closes, we will draw a winner from that week’s entries. The winner will be announced on Friday along with the release of a new recipe (and a new chance to win!)

If you don’t win the first week, you’ve got three more chances, so keep checking the blog! The contest is open to Canadian residents with the exception of Quebec (sorry guys).

The Prize:

One copy of Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook, two decals sporting your new cooking manifesto, and one badass tote so you can grocery shop like a champ. We’re going to give one of these prize packs away every week for four weeks in a row.

The First Recipe:



Maple Berry Grits

“Grits don’t get enough love at breakfast. They are creamy, slightly sweet, and full of fiber. You’ve had enough oatmeal; it’s about damn time to try something new.”

Makes enough for 4, or a solid solo breakfast for 4 days

2 cups water

2 cups almond or other non dairy milk

1 cup stoneground grits (not that instant bullshit)

¼ to ½ teaspoon salt

1 to 2 teaspoons maple syrup or your favourite liquid sweetener

Your favourite jam

Fresh Berries

1. Grab a medium saucepan and bring the water and milk to a boil over medium heat. Gently whisk in the grits and ¼ teaspoon salt. Don’t just dump it all in and spill water everywhere – show some fucking care, man. Bring it all to a boil and then reduce that heat to low. Cover the pot and then let that deliciousness simmer for 20 minutes. Stir the fucker on occasion while you sip your coffee and troll the Internet, ‘cause you don’t want anything sticking to the bottom.

2. When the grits have absorbed most of the liquid and are tender, turn that flame off and add 1 teaspoon of maple syrup. Taste and add the rest of the salt and syrup if you think it needs it. That’s on you. Serve with a small scoop of your favourite jam on top and some fresh berries so it looks all classy as fuck.

9781770894655Don’t be a chump and skip breakfast this week. Give this recipe a go. Tweet or instagram us a pic of your grits by Thursday, October 2nd at 5pm and you could win!

Acquiring Anansi’s First F*cking Cookbook


“The proposal is at the bottom of this f*cking email,” is one way for your boss to pique your interest in a book project. It’s not exactly everyday that swearing makes its way into emails, marketing material, and office banter, and is considered a fundamental feature and selling tool of a cookbook.

Just over a year ago, House of Anansi Press acquired the rights to publish Thug Kitchen in Canada. The cookbook had more than one hundred plant-based recipes that were bold and hilarious. For those of you familiar with the Press, this will seem like a logical first cookbook — it’s edgy, unpretentious, accessible, and the recipes are well written and inexpensive. As part of our assessment of the book, I cooked my way through many of the recipes, bringing them in for Sarah MacLachlan, the President and Publisher of House of Anansi Press, to taste. We made an offer shortly after trying the “Grilled Eggplant with Soba Noodles.”

photo 1

As someone who cooks regularly and edits books for a living, which includes acquiring them for Anansi, I can’t tell you how refreshing it was to read a book proposal that made plant-based food funny.

How many of you bring lunch to work? (Hands up my entire office.) And how often do you find reading articles and recipes about healthy eating patronizing and dictatorial? (Hands up everyone on earth.) Fortunately, Thug Kitchen is here to save us all. The recipes are incredibly easy, use supermarket ingredients, and don’t push you to find something if the store or your cupboard is out. Tips like, “White, yellow, or sweet onions will do. Whatever is on sale” or “But for real, you can use whatever flour you use to bake — it won’t make a difference,” percolate throughout the book.

Mixing too much will make your pancakes tough, so just chill the f*ck out sir mix-a-lot.

Mixing too much will make your pancakes tough, so just chill the f*ck out sir mix-a-lot.

Our office is cuckoo for Thug Kitchen. To give you an idea, I walked by the microwave at lunch the other day, and was able to identify our Rights Assistant Jolise Beaton’s “Roasted Chickpea and Broccoli Burritos,” just by the scent. Allison Steele, Anansi’s International Digital and Print Sales Manager, brought “To-Go Breakfast Bars,” on Monday and naturally we snapped a couple of food porn pics. An honourable mention also goes out to the editorial department who made the “Roasted Potato Salad with Fresh Herbs” and the “Moroccan Spiced Couscous” for the company potluck, which roused a lot of surprised, “IT’S VEGAN — VE-GAN!”

Our desire for easy, healthy cooking drew us to Thug Kitchen. I mean, hey, if I had Gwyneth Paltrow’s budget and didn’t have a full-time job, you can bet I’d probably be 100-mile dieting all over the place and making my own everything. (My mom would certainly be happier if I DIY-ed more.) But let’s be real: it’s already hard enough to take care of the 2493834 other things you need to do in a week. Thug Kitchen takes into account that we’re all busy, living on some form of a budget, and just trying to eat a little bit healthier.

Now can someone just tell me why the f*ck Loblaws doesn’t sell tempeh?

Meredith Dees is the Canadian editor of Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook.

Meredith Dees is the Canadian editor of Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook. She tweets at @MeredithDees.

Kathleen Winter Reflects on the Discovery of a Lost Franklin Expedition Ship and Her Own Time Spent in the Northwest Passage

Our ship, twinkling with its flags and decks and portholes 300 dpi

A nationalistic fervor has been reignited after news broke of the discovery of one of the lost Franklin Expedition ships largely intact yesterday. The mysterious loss of the two ships, Sir John Franklin, and his 128 men during an exploration of the Northwest Passage has been an event that has captured the imagination of Canadians, explorers, writers, and musicians for well over a century, including bestselling author Kathleen Winter. In 2010 she embarked on her own northern odyssey as she journeyed the Northwest Passage with a team of scientists, geologists, historians, and Franklin Expedition enthusiasts. There she transcribed her experience into her first work of narrative nonfiction, Boundless, weaving her own childhood journey of emigrating from England to Canada through the challenges, politics, and emotional landscape of navigating the North.

Kathleen shares her reflections on the discovery of the lost ships, and several beautiful paintings that capture her time in the Northwest Passage:

Thoughts on the Partial Discovery of Franklin’s Lost Ships
Kathleen Winter

small file Arctic geese

I have mixed feelings on reading the Canadian government’s press release about finding remnants from one of Franklin’s lost ships. The impetus behind my book, Boundless, comes from a respect for the what the land is saying, not what governments are saying about it or trying to extract from it. The Franklin expedition has been, from its inception during Britain’s colonial expansion era, about patriotic, chest-thumping glory-seeking; and things are no different now. What I experienced on my voyage through the place we call The Northwest Passage, and what I tried to write, paint, and photograph, contains more questions than answers. The message the land gave me was not nationalistic but global. The words I encountered in the North were made not through patriotic symbols but by rock, sky and water—by people who live in the North, and by the profound animals who possess potent languages of their own.

small file Beechy Island polar bear moonlit

Historians call our expedition’s departure point, Greenland’s Disko Bay, the last place Franklin was seen by European eyes. Witnesses claimed they saw him with his ship moored to an ancestral cousin of the icebergs we encountered… had Franklin trusted the ice because of its mass and presence, though it was made of frozen water and insubstantial as a dream? Both ice and ship seemed destined for dissolution. Might Franklin have sensed this at the outset?

Arctic stars 1

Later I witnessed Canada’s military presence around Pond Inlet, Dundas Harbour, and other points on our route, and began to see it as inseparable from historical campaigns whose quiet motivations lay veiled behind stories with more public appeal. Canada set much store on publicizing its expensive search for the Franklin wrecks, while quietly using the same search technology to pursue soundings of the Arctic seafloor for data needed by oil consortiums, mineral concerns, and military interests. But the romance of the Franklin story is what has made news headlines.

On our journey, I began to question my own response to the North. Was the mysterious energy of the land real, or was my perception of it a romantic remnant from Franklin’s day? What right had I to hold on to a romance—a lie of old kings and new leaders—to justify centuries of raid masquerading as an eternal hero’s quest? My passage on the ship placed me inside this question. No matter how well-meaning we are as passengers, could we claim to stand apart from questions of invasion, privilege, and trespass?

Jane Franklin's corset and the lost ship Erebus 300 dpi

Yet I felt a thrill—we all felt it—at being among the few southerners who’d ever set foot in what we call the Far North. The notion of beyond, our Meta Incognita, was still part of our consciousness. We were not Bernadette Dean or Aaju Peter, the two Inuk women on our journey who lived in the North and whose people had done so longer than any British explorer with insufficient pantaloons, lost ships, or lonesome graves. How strange to be “beyond known limits” while realizing this very notion was a dream. Even the word “North” began to dissolve: once you were here, that territory became something unnamed, and real unto itself.

Arctic Campion Lantern 300dpi

We were a moving, borderless collection of our own dreams and imagination, and the territory we call the Northwest Passage acted on us with shifting meanings that altered with the hours. There was a mutability about our time in the tundra, rock, ice: solid forms colluded with each other to act more like thought and water.

Though ancient, the land spoke to us of its own immediate presence, an aliveness insistent and ongoing, until we became part of it. This Northern land, as Aaju Peter and Bernadette Dean tried to explain to me, did not judge people. It treated everyone with the same dignity, and it was up to us to show a reciprocal respect. The earth here in the North, as elsewhere in our world, depends on us to notice this.

9781770893993Kathleen Winter is a novelist, short-story writer and scriptwriter. She lives in Montreal, Quebec. Visit Kathleen Winter’s blog, or read a full summary of Boundless.



What our bodies, our relationships, and our best efforts have in common — a guest post about Chez l’arabe by Janice Zawerbny


In 2013 House of Anansi Press launched Astoria, a new imprint dedicated exclusively to publishing short story collections. That year, one of the first collections to be published under the imprint — Hellgoing by Lynn Coady — won the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the most prestigious literary prize in Canada, beating out a longlist and shortlist dominated by novels.

I joined 9781770894693Anansi three months after the launch of the new imprint, and the first short story collection we acquired was Chez l’arabe by Mireille Silcoff. What first caught my attention was a set of interwoven autobiographical stories about a woman battling a rare neurological condition. The disease leaves the unnamed woman on bedrest for months; she is trapped in her house, in her body, and in her mind. These four first-person stories are a fascinating examination of physical and mental confinement. As a reader, you feel the claustrophobia of the character’s limited existence, the frustration of her complete dependence on others, and her longing for corporeal and psychological freedom
These four stories merge seamlessly into the rest of the collection, which includes the story published on Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading, “Champ de Mars.” In this story, a woman named Ellen must contend with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease in her once-successful husband and her own pent-up rage and resentment. Throughout their marriage, Ellen has lived in her husband’s shadow: he’s an internationally renowned architect and she is as invisible as the glass walls in her husband’s designs. Ellen feels like an outsider in her own body — eating and baking compulsively — and her own family. She has already lost a daughter, and she is rejected once again by her husband, who sits day after day in a subway station he designed, drawing intricately detailed hearts for strangers.

There is a recurring theme of failure in Chez l’arabe: of our bodies, our relationships, and our best efforts. But the stories are always tempered by sharp humour and shrewd emotional insights. Silcoff’s ability to articulate a deep appreciation of the beauty in the world around us is one of the hallmarks of this collection: from a meticulously set dinner table and luxurious old furniture to modernist subway stations and exotic California flowers.

Eudora Welty once wrote: “Some stories leave a train of light behind them, meteor-like, so that much later than they strike our eye we may see their meaning like an after-effect.” That describes the experience of reading Silcoff’s stories: they possess a distinct visual and psychological resonance that imprints itself upon the mind long after you’ve finished reading. As only the very best writing can.

Read “Champ de Mars” on Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading

photo 1Janice Zawerbny
Senior Editor, Canadian Fiction
House of Anansi Press