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UPDATE:  I don’t have any pictures because I got to the potluck and realized that my camera was still on my kitchen counter. ARGH. This also means that I have no pictures whatsoever of the cupcakes, soup, or tomato relish because for some reason, I didn’t take any shots of them in my kitchen before I left. So this is a tragically photo-less post. I will make it up to you later. With, umm, whatever I cook tonight. And I’m not sure what that will be, because I don’t have anything planned. Bear with me.

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No pictures for this yet, I’ll add them after the potluck, because I want pictures of all the other delicious veg foods, too.

So my friend and former roommate, S, is turning 23 and his roommates are throwing a party themed around colonialism. It’s a potluck, and the guests are kindly requested to bring veg dishes which we would not have been able to make if it weren’t for the long history of European colonialism. Yes, they’re kooky kids, but I love them all dearly and S really is abnormally fascinated with colonialism.

I’ve made two dishes:  peanut butter cupcakes with bitter chocolate ganache, and black bean soup with spicy green tomato relish. The peanut butter cupcakes are the ones from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, with a couple of very small changes–dark brown sugar instead of molasses, banana instead of flax as the egg replacer, and the addition of pumpkin pie spice. I’ll add pictures later, but here are the recipes for the bitter chocolate ganache and the spicy green tomato relish. They’re both too simple.

BITTER CHOCOLATE GANACHE
1 cup vegan bittersweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons spiced rum
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

Melt the chocolate chips and rum together in a double boiler. When they have formed a sauce, stir in the peanut butter until thoroughly combined. Makes enough to top twelve cupcakes.

SPICY GREEN TOMATO RELISH
10 oz green tomato, chopped into large pieces
1/4 cup pickled green jalapenos
1 green onion stalk, chopped
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
apple cider vinegar

Place first five ingredients in a container with a lid. Add enough apple cider vinegar to cover, and refrigerate overnight. When you’re ready to make your relish, drain the vinegar and place all the solids in a food processor. Whiz it about until everything has been diced into uniform small pieces. Can be served with chips or any Mexican food–I’m putting it on top of black bean soup.

PARTY RECAP
The potluck was fun, and the food was delicious. Also on the table:  sticky rice, pumpkin pudding, fried spring rolls, a green salad with avocado and pepitas, burritos, tortilla chips, corn salsa, and straight gin. The cupcakes and relish were both big hits, and someone asked me for the tomato relish recipe for inclusion in a vegan cooking zine that is coming together in the area. After the feasting was over, we cleared out the kitchen and my other former roommate, T, set up his turntables and crates of 45s and DJ’d a set. I walk-of-shame’d my way back home at 7am. Moral of the story:  vegans party really hard.

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I didn’t do much cooking yesterday or today–I went out to lunch with a friend, and then had pizza for dinner (and then for breakfast, and then for lunch). But I DID indulge in one of my favorite activities:  baking. I made some vegan chocolate and butterscotch chip cookies. If you live on the East Coast, the super-generic butterscotch chips sold at Food Lion (they’re just called “butterscotch morsels”) are vegan.

The basic recipe is Happy Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies from VegWeb. I added 1/2 cup of butterscotch chips, 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice, and I substituted 1/2 cup of plain light soymilk for the 1/4 cup of water called for. The cookies came out with a nice crunch on the outside (probably due to the turbinado sugar) and a chewy center, and they aren’t overwhelmingly sweet. Friendboy praised them extensively (between these and the pumpkin muffins I am “the best baker [he] knows,” even ahead of his ex-gf and her peanut butter cup cookies) and I sent him home with a generous bag of them to share with his roommates.

I’m going to use the rest of the butterscotch chips in butterscotch-pear muffins later this week, to further indulge Friendboy’s love of sweets, affinity for muffins, and admiration of my baking skills.

I’m sure this seems ridiculous, but of all of the things I cooked over the past couple of days, I was most excited about blueberry pancakes. Not because I had a surplus of blueberries kicking around and not because I am particularly fond of blueberry pancakes, but because I have never IN MY LIFE successfully made pancakes before this week. They always came out lumpy, thin, translucent, burnt, or rubbery, no matter what recipe I followed. Scratch? Failure. Boxed mixes? Failure. Who messes up making boxed pancake mix? I do, every time.

But the stars aligned on Thursday morning, and I pulled off perfect light, round pancakes. Accompanying these blueberry-cinnamon pancakes are a cup of Greek yogurt topped with three-berry preserves, red grapes, and Gimme Lean vegan sausage.

Next up are vegan chocolate chip pumpkin muffins. The recipe:
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 16-oz can of pumpkin puree, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, Ener-G egg replacer (2 eggs’ worth), 1 1/4 cups vegan cane sugar, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp ginger, and 2/3 cup of vegan chocolate chips.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/tonguetrip/3957097056/in/photostream/

 

At Whole Foods the other day, I discovered that Gimme Lean (my favorite vegan sausage) also comes in a beef-style version, so I bought some to make meatballs. I thought about just serving them with spaghetti, but my friendboy had a meatball sub for lunch and it sounded good to me. “Meatballs” browned in olive oil, served on a toasted sesame bun with tomato sauce and an Italian six-cheese blend that my roommate uses for pizza. On the side are braised brussels sprouts with carrots and onions and a green salad with grape tomatoes.

I was not in a good mood today, so I went with something very lazy and comforting for dinner. The recipe comes from the Jif peanut butter website and is called “Easy Peanut Pasta Twists.” One of my former roommates used to make this dish, and while the ingredients seem kind of like a strange combination (peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, chili powder, crushed red pepper, garlic, ketchup), it’s spicy and creamy and delicious. I didn’t even bother to plate it, I just ate it out of the serving bowl with a tall glass of orange juice and a Law and Order marathon.

Veganmofo III is about to begin in October. While I didn’t have a blog until this year, I followed Veganmofos I and II. I am an ovo-lacto vegetarian, not a vegan, but I will be going vegan for the month of October to participate. I was a vegan for several years, and I “reverted” to vegetarianism after a period of serious illness during which I lost a lot of weight. I wasn’t gaining weight back fast enough on a vegan diet, and so I returned to eating eggs and dairy. It bugs me a lot, but I feel… fallen? Disgraced? Strangely religious language to use, but lacking a religion, veg*nism is an important part of my ethical views and I feel like I’ve let down myself and factory farmed animals by falling off the vegan wagon.

So I’ll be a vegan again for the month of October, eating and blogging exclusively vegan food every day for thirty-one days.

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