Sourdough 5 spice bread pudding

Disclaimer: I don't actually remember ever eating or making bread pudding in my pre-vegan days, so I have no idea how similar this is to conventional bread pudding. All I know is that it's delicious. I ate both servings last night. The top is sugary and crisp, while the insides are creamy, warm, and gooey.

Bread pudding, makes 2 generous servings
3 1/2 c. cubed sourdough bread (a crusty variety; stale is just fine)
2/3 c. coconut milk
2/3 c. soy milk
1/4 c. unrefined cane sugar + 1 tsp.
1 1/2 tbs. cornstarch
1 tbs. margarine, melted
1 tbs. orange juice
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. 5 spice
1/8 tsp. cardamom

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a large bowl, whisk together the milks, 1/4 c. sugar, cornstarch, margarine, oj, zest, cocoa, and spices.

Toss in the bread cubes and stir/press until they have soaked up most of the liquid. Let them soak while the oven finishes heating.

Divide the bread into two 4" ramekins. You can pack it a little to make it fit, and drizzle in any extra liquid left in the bowl. Sprinkle the tops of each with 1/2 tsp. of sugar. Bake for about 25 minutes until the bread is lightly browned.

They taste best straight from the oven.

Vietnamese-style soup

This was first inspired by my discovery of vegetarian fish sauce:

My life is almost complete.

It is actually a combination of 3 different soups: bun bo hue, bun rieu, and canh chua. I couldn't decide what to make, and I like all of the flavors, so I just combined them all into one delicious amalgamation.

Tasty, tasty soup
8 c. vegetable stock (or water and boullion)
2 stalks lemongrass, cut into 2" sections and smashed a little with the spine of your chef's knife
2 green onions, coarsely chopped
2 medium tomatoes, deseeded and cut in eighths
1 c. chopped pineapple
2 tbs. unrefined cane sugar
1 tbs. ngo om
1 1/2 tsp. tamarind paste
1 1/2 tsp. salt
juice of 1 lime
sriracha to taste
2 tbs. fishless fish sauce (optional, if you can't find it)

Boil everything in a large pot for 35-40 minutes, salt to taste. It's that easy.

Towards the end, throw in some sliced tofu, or other protein, to heat it through and to flavor it before serving.

Serve over rice noodles and generously garnish with additional lime juice, cilantro, green onions, mint, shiso. Also fun, but I didn't have: shredded lettuce, banana flowers, sliced chilis, bean sprouts (if that's your thing...), or fried shallots. This would also be excellent over rice.