To paraphrase and change the words of a famous quote from The Princess Bride, (which is only the best movie in the entire world), I Shall Never Eat Again.
The preparation for the meal began on Wednesday, when my mom called to see if I had any special requests. Oh shoot, I wasn't prepared. Ummmm either Gigi Seitan, which is a a hazelnut encrusted seitan that I got off the internet somewhere, which somehow was renamed to my mom's nickname, Gigi, or seitan stroganoff. What else? VEGAN MASHED POTATOES. I can not live without vegan mashed potatoes. For dessert, something either lemony, coconuty or peanut banana buttery; cook's choice! Chocolate could show up, but only in a supporting role; I'm not a huge chocolate fan. I typically shoo it aside.
Fast forward to Sunday at 2:30pm, and the whole lot of us (3 teenagers, Stephanie and me) were barreling down I95 towards mi mama's ready for an afternoon of cooking, eating and family revelry. Puff Kitty tried to sneak in the car to come too (he heard there would be fish on the menu) but we booted him out, as there weren't enough seat belts.
Vegan items on the menu:
Seitan Stroganoff: So, seriously, stroganoff has got to be one of the most comforting foods in the world, next to mashed potatoes and mac n cheese. This version starts with portabello mushrooms, onions and flour-dusted seitan chunks sauteed in a goodly amount of oil, til done, about 5-10 minutes. About half way through, add sherry (about half cup?) and cook til reduced. Add several go-rounds (go-rounds are travels around the pot) of vegan beef powder, add a few more splashes of sherry, and saute some more. Add as much vegan sour cream as you want, stirring in to create a creamalicious sauce. Season to taste.
Roasted beets with chopped herbs, red pepper, red onion and balsamic: I truly don't think I've ever met a beet I didn't like. Raw beets, roasted beets, cooked beets. They taste like the earth to me, which is in a weird way, serves as a very spiritual eating experience. My favorite way to eat beets is to roast 'em, slice 'em, and slather them up in a horseradish vegenaise dressing. YUM. PS, mom I might have gotten the ingredients wrong on this one.
Stuffed pan-fried rice packets: My mom got this recipe from a blog somewhere. She didn't print it off, but she remembered enough of it to mom-ize it. Here's the deal: Savory asian filling , stuffed into a softened rice paper wrapper (easily obtained from an Asian grocery store), folded into little rice paper packet jewels, and pan-fried. My mom stir fried coconut-ginger tempeh (store-bought) with a chopped onion. I softened the large rice paper sheets one at a time in a shallow pan of water. You put a few tablespoons of filling in the center of the rice paper sheet, and fold burrito style; sides in, top side over, and then bottom side under. Heat some vegetable oil (we used Grapeseed Oil), add the packets and pan-fry until golden on each side. We made some wasabi-mayonnaise dressing as a creamy topping. Delicious!
Sour Cream 'n Chives Mashed Potatoes: Mashed potatoes are heavenly and divine. All the clouds in heaven will be made of mashed potatoes, I am certain. I have a direct line to God, and I was informed as much. These were simple: boiled, drained and mashed with a goodly sized amount of vegan sour cream, some Vegenaise for good measure, (because everything is better with Vegenaise) and a generous handful of chopped organic chives. I could really eat these mashed potatoes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, forever. Except that I shall never eat again, so there's no need.
Bunny Carrots roasted in mustard oil: So this is truly a Gigi special; 3 bunches of baby carrots with tops (she sent the tops home with me so I can make my newest favorite side dish; Sesame miso carrot tops!)
Macaroni Salad: Cold squiggly noodles of your choice, tossed with cans of peas and kidney beans, drained and rinsed, chopped celery and red onion, with a Vegenaise dressing. Very simple, very fast and makes a ton! I had the leftovers for breakfast this morning.
Braided rustic bread: My mom makes the best homemade bread. It is always the best complement of textures: crusty on the outside, warm and chewy on the inside. This was delicious! Boy child finished it off as a snack tonight. (Eschewing the bhagala polo, which will be tomorrow's blog)
Banana bundt cake with peanut butter frosting: One of my favorite cupcakes, turned into a cake! Very moist, with a faint touch of chocolate in the batter and studded with chocolate chips. Great birthday cake! Unfortunately, I had to shovel the bites in and coax them down, since I ate probably the equivalent of 3 pounds of food before dessert. Still, it was worth the mild discomfort.
All in all, an amazing family dinner. Thanks mom; can't wait til the next one!