Every year, there are certain special occasions I look forward to with childish glee. One of them, I’ll admit, is Christmas. Give me carols, decorations, hot apple cider, and anything that smells like gingerbread, and I’ll melt. Another is the first crisp day of fall, my favorite season—the first day you can smell September in the air, and get busy removing your boots and nubby sweaters from storage. The commencement of opera season at the Met is always met with some excitement in my world, and so too is the first blockbuster weekend of summer movie going. I’ll even say that the first day I spot heirloom tomatoes at the Union Square farmer’s market each summer is a cause for celebration: hey, it’s the little things, right?
Another occasion I look forward to all year round is Vegan Mofo, or the vegan month of food.
For those of you who haven’t participated in this fun tradition before, it’s simply a month dedicated to celebrating vegan food around the blogosphere. Over the course of the month, veg*n bloggers write as much as humanely possible about vegan eats. It’s not a scary commitment or major time drain; the idea is merely to show some love for vegan cooking and the vegan lifestyle in print. If you already do this, the idea is for you to write a little bit more, or a little bit better, or with a little bit more energy than usual. In fact, I think all of we vegan scriveners look at it as a reason to update our blogs more consistently than we do – even if that means putting up a photo of the salad we made for lunch. I always participate, and I encourage you guys to think about signing up, too! The blogroll isn’t complete yet, and it’ll grow throughout the month (in fact, CR’s not up yet), but you can see that it already comprises an impressive roster of vegan culinary talent. I think it’ll be particularly fun to celebrate Vegan Mofo during the Thanksgiving holiday this year – who among us doesn’t need more vegan recipes with which to impress our family and friends?
Of course, I never need a reason to celebrate vegan food. I like to think I celebrate it three times daily, when I sit down to eat. As a first photo op for Vegan Mofo, I figured I’d share a dinner I made recently. It seems appropriate to share with you on the first day of Vegan Mofo because the centerpiece of the meal came to me courtesy of one of my favorite vegan chefs, Dreena Burton, and Vegan Mofo is all about sharing mutual admiration (expect to see my trying a bunch of my fellow vegan bloggers’ recipes on the blog this month).
It was a chilly Sunday night, and a football game only minutes away, and I’d yet to decide on dinner. Sunday dinners seem to scream for comfort food, and so I settled on the obvious: baked tofu and mashed potatoes. Dreena’s lemon herb tofu, which appears in Vive le Vegan, is about as cozy and comforting as it gets, and it also happens to be insanely simple to make—just toss marinade ingredients into a baking dish, stick it in the oven, and let it be till serving time. When you do plate it, there’ll be gravy at the bottom of your baking dish. If you can resist drinking it, you’ll definitely want to pour it over the tofu!
Along with it, I served up some mashed potatoes, veganized. These ended up tasting incredible, though the texture was a little funky: I suspect it’s because I used potatoes that had been sitting in my pantry for…well, kind of a while. They were oddly gelatinous when cooked. Even so, the flavor was spot on. Promise.
Vegan Herb Mashed Potatoes (serves 2-4)
8 small yukon gold potatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup almond or rice milk
4 tbsp Earth Balance (I like the soy free variety)
4 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped
4 stalks chives, chopped
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
Salt and black pepper to taste
1) Boil potatoes till very fork tender. Drain, reserving a touch of the boiling liquid.
2 Place potatoes in a cuisinart and pulse till broken down. Add about 1 tbsp of the boiling liquid and pulse again.
3) Add milk and keep pulsing till the potatoes are creamy, but not without some texture (you don’t want them to seem processed!).
4) Transfer potatoes to a bowl and stir in Earth Balance and herbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
In truth, I prefer my raw cauliflower mashed “potatoes,” which are less traditional but more in tune with my tastebuds. Until the boy is ready for raw mash, though, these ‘taters are delicious. Along with some salad, this was a perfect Sunday supper:
A perfect reminder that veganism is a wonderful way to celebrate the senses!
How do you guys plan on celebrating Vegan Mofo? And if you don’t plan on participating, don’t think I’m not already wondering what’s on your Thanksgiving menus. Because I am. Heck, I’m curious about Christmas and Hanukkah meals, too, but I’ll save that till at least the 26th. Tell me all about it.
Happy first of the month!