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I’ve had better days than today. I planned to make black bean soup, but I didn’t have the drive or the energy to do anything more complex than lay in my bed, drinking orange juice and watching The Office. Eventually I got around to frying up some pumpkin fauxsage and eating it as a sandwich on a vegan rosemary bagel with Tofutti cream cheese and hot sauce. I also put together a jar of green tomato fridge pickles for my friend’s birthday party tomorrow. But nothing, you know… photogenic. Blog worthy. So in the interest of keeping the MoFo momentum going, I present a small handful of dishes involving pumpkin which have caught my eye in the Veganmofo world over the past few days.

Breakfast seems like a good place to start, don’t you think? While I’ve made two types of pumpkin muffins in the past couple of weeks, Trinity at haiku tofu branched out in the baked goods world to make Pumpkin Cinnamon Scones.

The young lady at bakery manis has a charming Little Pumpkin That Could from her garden, which she plans to eat in a simple fashion.

Vegetabull is working through a massive quantity of pumpkin puree and featured pumpkin bread on Day 3 of the MoFo, but in the interest of including something savory I chose her other pumpkin dish for inclusion in the mini round-up: Pumpkin and Chanterelle Soup, which she adapted from a recipe in the Moosewood Cookbook. I love pumpkin soup, but I always make it straight—pumpkin, broth, coconut milk, onions, pureed until smooth. I’ve never even considered adding anything in a co-starring role with the pumpkin, but this soup looks and sounds amazing.

Also in the savory category, there is a mouthwatering Thai Green Coconut Pumpkin Curry at Beans and Greens, from a recipe in the Millenium Cookbook (linked from her entry).

My friend is having a birthday party veg potluck tomorrow themed around “foods we wouldn’t have without colonialism,” so I promise that tomorrow’s entry will be more stimulating than today’s. There will be cupcakes.

I love Sunday breakfast. For many people, Sunday breakfast is when the whole family sleeps late and then tucks into a traditional spread together. Or they go out to brunch after church. Or they host their own brunch for their friends with pitchers of mimosas. I eat Sunday breakfast alone. Friendboy is out of town today, but even when he’s here he sleeps until the middle of the afternoon on the weekends.

Yesterday I made pumpkin fauxsage using the recipe at Have Cake Will Travel, and then realized that I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do with a massive one pound log of fauxsage. This morning I decided to recreate a dish that I loved as a child:  corned beef hash. If you’re thinking of the mush that comes in cans from Hormel, that’s not what I’m talking about. That stuff is just one processing step away from being dog food. I’m talking about made from scratch, and I feel somewhat pleased that, having made my own “meat,” my hash is made-from-scratch-ier than any omni hash that isn’t cooked up by a cowboy.

I cut up some red potatoes into tiny cubes and boiled them in salted water until just tender, then drained them and set them aside. I reserved about three tablespoons of the cooking liquid. Then I diced the pumpkin fauxsage, a portobello mushroom cap, and two giant cloves of garlic. I melted some Smart Balance Light in my large frying pan and added a tablespoon or so of vegetable oil to keep the Smart Balance from burning off. I sauteed the garlic just until I could smell it, and then added the fauxsage and a generous sprinkle of kosher salt. When the fauxsage started to look nicely browned on one side, I added the diced mushroom and stirred until they softened. I turned down the heat, pushed all the fauxsage and mushrooms to one half of the pan, and added the potatoes to the other half with a couple more pats of Smart Balance. I cracked black and red pepper over everything, stirring the potatoes in their half of the pan until they were coated with Smart Balance and spices. I then stirred everything back together and let it sit, coming back every two or three minutes to stir things around. When the potatoes started to look “fried,” I poured the reserved tablespoons of cooking liquid over the hash and let it sit over low heat until the liquid had absorbed and the fauxsage had begun to dry out again.

During the last stage of cooking the hash, I whipped together some waffle batter. I usually make waffles with Ener-G egg replacer, but I’m out, so I took a bit of a gamble and stirred in some applesauce in the place of an egg. The applesauce sub works fine in muffins and quick breads, but I didn’t know how it would work out in waffles. Verdict:  absolutely fine, they didn’t taste much different from the waffles I make with Ener-G. My waffle iron smoked a little more than usual, but the waffles themselves were not burnt. I regret not taking a picture of the waffle iron. It’s a battered old warhorse and is older than I am–my mother passed it down to me when she got a new, prettier model. My waffle iron has no safety features to speak of, the internal cooking surface is cast iron, and it weighs a ton. I hope it never stops working, I love it.

My waffles covered in three-berry preserves, surrounded by a moat of fauxsage hash. The waffles were good, but I am ADDICTED to the hash. Between this plate and all of the “tasting” I did, I ate half the pan by myself. It’s salty, starchy, and delicious–just like hash should be.

It’s true. Like many of you, I grew up in an omnivorous family. I became a vegetarian at age twelve, and after that my awareness of what meaty tidbits my family ate on a regular basis becomes a little dim. What I’m getting at is this:  I don’t know what omnivores eat on the nights when they’re tired and it’s late and they haven’t planned anything and they need to clear some things out of the fridge, but I do know what vegans eat in this situation. Stir fry. A concoction that often features Eastern flavor components like ginger, soy sauce, and sesame oil, the contents of stir fry are often based entirely on what is at hand and have only the most nebulous relation to anything found in Asian cuisine. The abuses that we, as a group, have committed against the concept of “Japanese food” in the name of using up some fast-fading vegetables are numerous and surprisingly tasty.

There are times when a stir fry is planned in advance and executed brilliantly, and then there are stories like tonight’s. I fell asleep, and woke up at 8pm both hungry and unwilling to put forth hard work. “Stir fry!” I said to myself, thinking of half a packet of carrot udon noodles in the cupboard. I rummaged around in the fridge to see what lucky vegetables would be included.

Looks like tonight’s winners are some impulsively purchased green beans, the last quarter of an onion, a portobello mushroom cap (I feel like this is not an Asian mushroom), and a stalk of green onion. Unbidden, my mother’s voice comes to my mind:  “What about protein?” But then out of the freezer, like a bat, flies a bag of frozen edamame. Veggies, carbs, protein–this is beginning to look like a perfectly healthy meal. There is a hitch. I am completely out of both soy sauce and sesame oil, which as far as I am concerned come standard in stir fry. It’s too late, I’ll have to make do with crushed red pepper, cayenne, garlic, powdered ginger, and powdered onion soup mix. I fry everything up in vegetable oil, which does the job just fine even though it lacks the savory kick of sesame oil.

On the side I have a pile of “fridge pickles,” which are just slices of cucumber, radish, and green onion which have been marinating in vinegar and salt in the fridge. Don’t be fooled by their simplicity, they are a sign from the gods that we, the people of Earth, are loved.

I spent the whole afternoon cooking, although none of it showed up in my dinner. I tried to make oatmeal bread in my bread machine, which became a long and chaotic story and ended with finishing the loaf in the oven. It is quite edible but very unattractive, so I doubt that I will ever post a picture of the actual loaf. Simultaneously, I made the pumpkin fauxsage from Have Cake Will Travel using the pumpkin leftover from Thursday’s pumpkin muffins. I made one giant log of fauxsage, but in retrospect I should have broken it up into smaller links. It is tasty, but enormous and a little more spongy than I would have liked. The fauxsage will be featured in more detail during breakfast tomorrow, but I’d like to close with something that will probably not show up on any other blog during Veganmofo.

That is a slice of homemade oatmeal bread topped with a layer of Tofutti “cream cheese,” a piece of fried and salted pumpkin fauxsage, and horseradish preserved in beet juice. Sometimes my tastebuds channel Eastern Europe in very strange ways.

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