Thursday, November 28
OK, I guess it was Thanksgiving for everyone else, too. Except the turkeys. They were not thankful – they were sad. Anyway. We usually head in different directions on Holidays – Seth to visit his mom in Tennessee and me to most of my family in NC. We have a system for this – I make a bunch of stuff the day before and we both take some of it with us. For Seth and his mom, this is the entire meal, which is pretty cool since she’s not vegan or vegetarian. Seth took a Field Roast with him for their main dish, and I made the rest. I took a mushroom to roast at my parents’ house and some of the other stuff I made. I cooked mashed potatoes (I don’t use a recipe) and Happy Herbivore brown gravy. This is the easiest gravy in the world to make and we love it. My gravy-hating omni niece even tried some and loved it so much, she asked for more. I also made some collards (ick – those all went with Seth). I also don’t use a recipe for those, but here’s the basic outline: chop up an onion and some garlic. In a big pot, sauté the onion in a little olive oil for a few minutes until it’s softened, then add the garlic and cook for another minute. Chop up a bunch of collards (or two bunches or just buy a bag of pre-chopped or mix in other chopped greens like mustard and turnip or whatever you like) and add them to the pot. Cook for a few minutes until they reduce a bit in size. Cut a turnip, potato and a couple of carrots (or a parsnip or any other root vegetables you like in any amounts or combinations) into big chunks. Once the collards have softened a little, add a few cups of broth (enough to just about cover the greens) and toss in the root veggies. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low or medium low and leave it alone for at least an hour. Yes. An hour. Southern greens must be cooked into mush. Add salt & pepper as needed to taste. Serve in bowls with some of the broth, and add balsamic vinegar to taste.
Anyway. Since I can’t seem to stop baking bread, I made some dinner rolls for Seth & his mom (my sister was already planning to make some bread). The recipe I used was Rustic Dinner Rolls from the Williams-Sonoma website and was, I’m reasonably certain, accidentally vegan. It didn’t call for any sugar in the yeast, but mine wasn’t frothing as much as I expected, so I added a pinch (like less than 1/8 teaspoon) of sugar. Which, made for some interesting results. The first rise was fine – the dough roughly doubled in size as expected. I divided it into eight pieces, rolled them into balls, and placed them in my round deep dish baking stone for the second rise. After half an hour, they were GIANT. Hoping that they were not going to get any bigger, I popped them in the oven. They were done a little sooner than expected and they were also the size of softballs. Huh. Guess it didn’t need that sugar after all. I sent a few with Seth and put the rest in the freezer, with the growing mountain of other kinds of bread. My mom made some roasted veggies and a tomato salad for me, and my sister made a vegan green bean casserole and I was stuffed.
My niece requested chocolate cupcakes, so I made a double batch from a recipe I found in Vegan Chocolate. I sent some with Seth to his office, some to his moms, left a few for our awesome cat sitters and took some to my parents for my nieces. I got a little frustrated with these - I don’t know why the frosting wouldn’t thicken, but it wouldn’t. No matter what I did. It tasted great, but that kind of wasn’t the point. Anyway. My cupcake liners were a little too big, and once the cupcakes cooled and settled a bit, well, they looked kind of flat. This actually worked out well, because it kept the runny frosting from dripping everywhere. The frosting ended up getting a little more firm overnight, which was good. My nieces were both over the moon for the finished cupcakes and asked me to make more for Christmas, but I thought the consistency of them was way too dense – more like brownies than cupcakes. As long as the kids are happy…