We have such a sweet and loving little group of vegan buddies here in Santa Cruz. The funny thing is, we all met each other online at the PPK forums, and then we met up in person. I am so grateful for these friendships - we are all a little different: different interests, different passions, and at first we bonded over our love for compassionate and delicious vegan food - and our friendships have deepened from there. They are just good people: smart, kind, fun, engaged and inspiring. What more could you want in a friend?!
A few years back we started a tradition of having a Friends Vegan Thanksgiving Potluck a week or so before the official holiday. I love this annual party because 1) I am super grateful for these excellent friends 2) It's fun to have one Thanksgiving celebration where I can eat anything and everything on the table, and 3) the food, obviously.
I must say -- as far as the food goes -- this year was the best Friends Thanksgiving ever. The food was delicious, colorful, nutritious and perfectly festive.
I made mini versions of Isa's Stuffed Thanksgiving Burgers (so. darned. good!) along with a batch of homemade cranberry sauce. I made the patties smaller, about 4 inches wide, so that no one would fill up on an entire burger. Filling up is all well and good, but at a potluck you always want room to try all the dishes. Still, at the end of the evening there wasn't a single one left!
"N" made the Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Seared Brussels Sprouts and Tarragon Cream from Isa Does It. OMG. I loved this dish so very much. The flavors and textures together were just perfect. It was creamy and crunchy and chewy, and rich and light and fresh all at once. I went back for seconds, and then I went back for thirds, but there wasn't any left. Highly recommended!
Miss K made this fantastic dish of Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Kumquats. Who ever thought of roasting kumquats?! I must admit that I am not the world's number one Kumquat Fan, and yet I really enjoyed this combo of flavors. Plus, we were all quite pleased to be at a Thanksgiving function featuring two Brussels sprouts dishes. Clearly, we were amongst our people!
"A" brought this Corn Spoonbread, which was so delicious! I'd never had spoonbread before, but I love that name! I would describe it as a very moist and super corn-y cornbread. It was a great component to the rest of the meal, just a little sweet, not too intense, starchy and generally scrumptious.
Here's my whole plate... and you can also see A's delicious golden gravy (I was quite smitten with it!) and on the bottom you can see "S"'s Green Beans and Shallots. I didn't get a proper picture of the green beans, but it was great to have another green veggie and they were just amazing. Luckily, she made tons of them, because I had a few servings. As you can see, collectively, we did a pretty good job of putting together a potluck full of delicious and varied offerings!
And, here are the dessert goodies! I'm sorry this isn't a better picture, but once Dessert Time rolls around, I'm a little less focused on the camera and a lot more focused on the yumminess. S made an amazing Persimmon Sorbet, which was 100% persimmon - so fresh and light and naturally sweet. It was fantastic. "A" made a totally glorious Coconut Pie that was so rich and so decadent and so good. A tiny sliver was all I could handle - but I loved that tiny sliver! Miss K brought Pumpkin Pie with a nut crust and it was delicious and I was glad, because frankly, I am a traditionalist at heart and I believe in Pumpkin Pie on Thanksgiving. Lastly, "N" made a big batch of Chai Spice Snickerdoodles which were perfectly not-too-sweet and not-too-spicy. As you can see in my doodle up top, her littlest boy was just obsessed with these cookies and kept tracking them down and grabbing another one off the platter, even though "N" kept moving them out of sight and out of reach. Ha ha! He had a good time, for sure.
Even though this post is quite overdue, I really wanted to share it because the food was very fantastic, and because I am indeed so grateful to have such wonderful friends to have shared it with. Here's to another year of friendship and potlucks!