Friday, November 30, 2007

Stockpile of VeganMoFo Intentions!!

Well, I found out about VeganMoFo... I thought it was cool. But, it wasn't really my month. You know... not my best month for leisurely blogging in the evenings. Then, I thought maybe I would have a grande finale this last week of the month. But, my enthusiasm for typing was greatly reduced by the 5 stitches and giant bandage on my left finger. Sigh! So! Here it is... I've gone 40 minutes left of VeganMoFo & I am gonna crank it OUT!

"Braised Seitan with Brussles, Kale, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes" from Veganomicon.
GREAT flavor. I used the Seitan Cutlet recipe for the seitan, and I must say it did NOT work out. Musty and I are both big seitan fans, but we ended up picking it all out. It was totally mushy and just had an unforgiveably gross texture. I am sorry to report that it was deemed unusable in the end. All the same, I give the Brussel Sprout recipe a definite thumbs up. I will certainly make it again, though I can't say the same thing for the cutlets!

Here's a nice big feast we had recently. One thing you'll be seeing a lot more of here is food I cook for my grandpa. He is a delight to cook for... very agreeable and always hungry. My cousin and I made up a big meal so that we could have one last big meal together before she and her husband had to go back to Florida. I made the *giant* double batch of the "Chickpea Quinoa Confetti Casserole" from "Eat Drink and Be Vegan." I added in a handful of sliced green olives which was nice. This was a simple, easy and tasty recipe. I definitely recommend making the "Balsamic Maple Sauce" to go along with it, as she suggests - it's a lovely combo!
This week, my mom was elected Vice Mayor. Santa Cruz is not a huge town, and being vice mayor doesn't actually give her any more special powers than she already has as a member of the City Council, but it's still special! Of course Musty and I showed up to help celebrate. The party was at a new restaurant in downtown Santa Cruz called "Vida."

Let me tell you about my Bread Rule.

When I eat out, I really put a lot of weight on the quality of the bread. In fact, I have been known to leave a restaurant before ordering after having a bite of their sub-standard bread. If the bread is good... it's a good sign. Bad bread... a big bummer. It's the first impression they give you, they ought to care about it... that's my rule.

So, Vida scored a big big score of optimism. GOOD bread. I was so pleased. I love bread so much, as though it were my first born. I love it so much that I rarely allow myself to buy it. I have no self-control in the presence of bread. We had to get a second platter of it that night. And I had a wonderful salad! Chickpeas, cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, spices, a light vinagrette, on a bed of local lettuce. LOVE it. We'll definitely go back there again. The service was great and they were very helpful about getting me yummy vegan options. This was the small version of the salad, but I could have gotten a large too.
GUAVAS! What fun. I don't think I've ever even had a guava before. Yesterday morning I read an article about all the great antioxidants in guavas and thought to myself "Hm. Guavas?" Then, one of my sweet yoga students brought me a big bag of guavas!! How delightful. I guess she's got a super productive tree, but doesn't really like them. Well, I do! I've been gobbling them up. Can you cook with guavas?

This one's really old! From the week before Thanksgiving. My friend Sandy had a Second Annual Friends Thanksgiving. It's a chance for us to celebrate Thanksgiving together with our friends. There was tons of food and plenty of vegan choices for me. My friends are so kind and loving. This festivity ended up being the day after my grandmother's service. I was tired, and also had many family members in town... so I didn't bring anything. Still my friend Kristy made sure that one of her scrumptious pies was vegan, and as you can see, I had lots to eat! thanks, special friends. I felt especially grateful for having such love and support in my life.

Last week we went out with our fun friends Laurie and Gil. We ended up at Jumping Monkey, a simple but wonderful little South Indian restaraunt in Santa Cruz. All veg, mostly all vegan, totally delicious. I had a dosa, a small bowl of sambar, and a super yummy samosa. If you are ever in Santa Cruz, I *highly* recommend it. I love this spot. I was happy because Musty liked it too... which he didn't last time. So maybe he'll go back with me!

Here's a great dinner we had this week - it's our version of Thanksgiving Leftovers. I made some barley, reheated the extra tamale fillings, some leftover blackbeans, roasted some butternut squash, and made some brocolli. I tell you, it was as good at Thanksgiving! What a feast!

This was our wonderful dinner last night. "Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Seed Rice Paper Rolls" from Veganomicon. I made both the soy dipping sauce and the cranberry-chili sauce. Wow! These were fantastic. A light, healthy, filling, and delicious meal. Musty was nuts for these! I had all the ingredients on hand, because I had intended to make these for Thanksgiving. But as you know, I lost a couple hours in the emergency room... so these were easily deprioritized. :) Anyhow, I was grateful to have all the ingredients around for such a tasty meal.

And Ouila! We arrive at tonight's dinner. This one was really for Musty, but I enjoyed it too. I found these adorable little circle pastas at Trader Joes the other day. I cooked 'em up and added the TJ Organic Tomato Basil Sauce. That's good stuff, for store-bought sauce. Pasta with red sauce is Musty's #1 meal. I also made a big tasty batch of braised collards, and a big bowl of roasted butternut squash.

Grandpa Pat's Roasted Butternut Squash:

My grandmother came up with this simple, healthy, and tastebud-freaking-tasty way of making butternut squash. Cut off as much squash as you want to roast. Peel it. Cut it into 3/4"-1" rounds or half moons. Lightly spray with a tiny bit of oil. Bake for 30 minutes at 400 F. Flip over, Bake another 20 minutes. Check and see how they are doing. Flip again as needed, until both sides are beginning to caramelize. Eat. Freak out.

It's that good.


Well, I almost made it. Now we're 15 minutes out of VeganMoFo. Hope you made your way through this megapost. I think the stitches come out tomorrow... so typing will be easier! Hoorah! Happy 1st day of December to you all.


  1. We made the Braised Seitan with Brussles, Kale, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes from Veganomicon as well & found the seitan to be too squishy! I thought I may have had too much liquid, but I think seitan just absorbs too much. Ryan thinks we should just make it separately, then throw it on top at the end.

    I HAVE THE SAME BREAD RULE! I am picky picky picky about bread & I *adore* it! We always eat the whole loaf when we buy artisan breads & I like making my own with the sourdough starter someone gave me!

    I'm thinking about coming to SC this weekend to get out of the city. Maybe I should go to Jumping Monkey?! (If you have time, email me your number; maybe we should say Hello?)

  2. Great-looking food! And I love the pasta-- it reminds me of spaghetti Os (but I'm sure yours tasted MUCH better!)

  3. Wow, this is such a wonderful "all-in-one" VeganMoFo post!! Kudos to you for even attempting to participate in the event - you've been through a lot over this past month, and it's great that you are still blogging :0)

    I've had my eye on that Braised Seitan with Brussels, Kale & Sun-Dried Tomatoes recipe, in Veganomicon - it incorporates 4 of my all-time favorite ingredients!! Sorry that the seitan part of the recipe didn't work out too well; but at least the vegetable part was delicious!

    I too cook and bake quite often for my grandfather (he gets a taste of EVERY dish that I feature on my blog) - and I too have made that Quinoa-Chickpea-Confetti Casserole from ED&BV!! I made it for Thanksgiving actually, and it was a huge hit!!

    Congratulations to your mom, for her newly-elected position!! How exciting!!

    Yes, good bread is a MUST for restaurants - good to hear that Vida's bread was so exceptional!! And that salad looks quite satisfying as well.

    **About whether or not you can cook with guavas - I found this resource for you:

    What a lovely feast that you attended with friends, for that pre-Thanksgiving celebration - your plate is filled with such appetizing-looking foods! yum!

    Your Thanksgiving-Leftovers dish and the Butternut Squash & Pumpkin Seed Rice Paper Rolls from Veganomicon look phenomenal; as does your pasta dinner! mmm, mmm, mmm!

    Congratulations on making the deadline for VeganMoFo - I always thoroughly enjoy each and every one of your posts :0)

  4. You made spaghetti-o's! No wonder Musty loved them. All the food looks just wonderful, Amey. I think your T-day leftovers look especially tasty.

    You certainly do have caring friends and family surrounding you, being so thoughtful during your difficult times.

    I hope your finger is ready to have the stitches removed.

  5. Anonymous11:01 AM

    Glad to hear your finger is healing.

    I just about jumped out of my chair with happiness when I saw your plate of guavas. They're not typical guavas. That variety is called a pineapple guava or a feijoa. It is my favorite fruit and I am so sad they aren't more popular. I am going to get a couple of bushes and plant them even though this isn't really the right growing area (a girls gotta try)! You can read more about my love for them on my blog here.

  6. ooOoo. i gotta try those Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Seed Rice Paper Rolls. the sauces alone sounds amazing.

  7. Ah, I was going to jump in and say that they are fejoas not guavas! Now thanks to Vivacious Vegan I know they are actually very closely related! The wonderful things you learn from blogs!

  8. you are hilarious, Amey! Your last-minute veganmofo kicked some major ass... then again, every month is veganmofo on your blog, so it's all good. =)

  9. Wow, you really hammered it out to end vegan mofo on a high note!! Sad to hear about the seitan from v-con :-( Glad to hear a positive review of the spring rolls though, I was hoping to try them but shyed away at the last minute.

    Congrats to your mom! I love good bread too.... and devour it whenever it's around (hence, I also, never buy it!)


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