Thursday, December 27, 2007

X-mas with the Binges

I always rejected the idea that you had to do something on a particular day.
That was so 20's. Now I mark days like Syba marks hedges and snake grass. And we don't need to agree about what that day means to us. For some it means a birth, to others the marking of winter, and to still others a time of Toys R Us and new books you'll never read. To me it means that the Charlie Brown Christmas special will be on, and I get to watch It's a Wonderful Life and cry. Sometimes, if I'm lucky, I get to sing/scream Christmas songs around the piano. Thanks Durham friends.

It's also a time of cookies, chocolate, and new recipes. It was in this spirit that I asked Rob to pick out a couple of recipes he'd like to try for x-mas eve-eve and x-mas eve, both from Vegan Lunchbox. For eve-eve he chose Fish Sticks. I made some tartar sauce to accompany them out of veganaise, relish, & mustard, as well as some tahini slaw. The recipe made a lot of breading and batter, so I used the extra & made zucchini tempura. It was quite good - though I think I preferred the zucchini to the tofu fish sticks. Next time I'd freeze the tofu first, and marinade & sear it before battering. Or I'd just use vegetables.

Between the two meals, we also received not one but two boxes of vegan chocolate from Rob's kind sister Jamie. Well, one was from her and the other was a bonus. We ate them too fast.

The second recipe Rob picked out was Pot Roast. I was skeptical because I've found the perfect seitan recipe already. But you know, Rob seemed to really want this, and he doesn't ask for much. 'Cept for pumpkin pie, biscuits & gravy, tofu scrambles. OK, so he does ask for things, but I guess I wanted to make it too. Here it is, simmering in the broth for 45 minutes.

I was thinking about how "you were born old" can be both a compliment and an insult. On It's a Wonderful Life, I think it was, someone said "You were born old." But he meant it in a good way - as in mature, responsible, before his time, an old soul. It implied depth. It can also mean death to adventure, however. (Parenthetical comment: I'm listening to Our Life is Not a Movie but Maybe by Okkervil River right now and it is just perfect for fast-typing. Try it.) Someone who is the stereotypical old - inactive, inside, boring. Stereotypical because not all old people are old. It's an unfortunate stigma attached to folks of earth-length. I am sure I'll be fighting this assumption if I live a few more decades. Many aged folks are fun, into contemporary music or books, or conversely, still excited about old music or books, like to go out, philosophize, and have a few glasses of wine. Mind you, these are not the only forms of adventure - they speak to the common premise of being open to something new and continuing to enjoy life. I know folks in their late 20s that are older than others in their 7th decade.

Why am I blabbering on about this? I was thinking about how I should be open to another seitan recipe besides my own cherished version. Otherwise I'd be stuck in my ways like seitan dough sticks to the sides of my bowls. And I'm so glad I tried it. My only complaint was the carrots (and potatoes I added) did not get as soft as I like, so I had to bake them separately with some of the broth on a higher temperature in the oven. But let me tell you, folks, this pot roast was creepily pot roasty. I think Rob actually danced when he ate it. It even looked bloody, which isn't a plus, but there is something thrilling in reproducing life even if it is mimicking death.

When omnivorous types ask why veg folk want to eat faux meat (though some veg'ers do not eat it) I always answer that it's not the TASTE we're against, it's the lifelong imprisonment and killing thing. But a new level of levelness is added when we are talking about recreating meat. You feel a Gawd-like sense of accomplishment. Even though it was a recipe. Anyone can go buy a chunk of flesh...but to reproduce it is a whole other thing. That's why scientists were so fascinated with cloning. For awhile. I haven't heard much on that lately.

Speaking of vegan stuff, Syba was not left out on x-mas and enjoyed this Nylabone of veg origin. Greco got catnip and all was quiet. And I didn't make them wear the bows for too long. Just long enough to be adorable. Rob got biscuits & gravy and I even sprinkled cayenne powder on top for the season.

So it's still the drought here in Durham and much of the SE. Even before the drought we neglected an important aspect of gardening (the watering part) so Rob was surprised to find a lone carrot that survived in our "garden." He was so happy that he plucked it from our dry soil and planted it in a formerly alive houseplant pot.

One tip for lazy gardeners: Kale. Rob only dropped some seeds sometime last spring. We continue to reap, as the gardening term goes, his sowing (sewing?). It's January and we're going to the backyard and scissoring the stuff and using it for lettuce, in stir fries, and in kale-a-kopita. Crazy.

We also got more chocolate and lots of vegan lip balm. We'll be fat and have soft lips. Happy New Year!

Friday, December 21, 2007

i hate pumpkin pie

But Rob loves it. So I made him a surprise pie today. I didn't realize it was supposed to sit overnight to firm up. But we had a warm slice anyway, complete with this awesome vegan whip cream.

Syba's such a good sport. In the background, please note our tree, recreated from last year's, but with more hair. Also note my nephew sitting with Santa.

The picture of Syba was taken yesterday. Today, she took her revenge by disappearing a whole package of Apple Sage Field Roast that I carelessly left on the table. Usually she doesn't high-eat when I'm around, but apparently this has changed.

I only found the paper wrapper on her bed, which was askew, from trying to get the package open, apparently.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007