I may want to revisit Thanksgiving at some point and write a bit about how that all went down (quite well), but at the moment I want to write about a tradition my family started this year: Flesh-Free Friday. From now on, my immediate family will go vegan for the Friday after Thanksgiving (I will do all the cooking, obviously). This time, we brunched on three dishes from Vegan With a Vengeance: Asparagus, Olive and Mushroom Frittata (page 14), Baking Powder Biscuits (page 26) and Tempeh Bacon (page 23). We dined on two from Veganomicon: Caesar Salad with Roasted Garlic Croutons (page 81) and Tomato-Rice Soup with Roasted Garlic and Navy Beans (page 137). We obviously love garlic.
My mother loves biscuits. Almost more than she loves her children. When I first started cooking and baking, her reaction was almost "Pretty cupcakes are great. Yeah. Whatever. Can you make biscuits?" So when we decided we were all going to finally sit down and have a vegan meal together, I knew I had to include biscuits. She loved these babies before they even went in the oven. She just sniffed the raw dough and deemed them worthy (by comparing them to a memory of the Pillsbury dough, I believe). By the time they were ready to come out of the oven, she and my brother were practically dancing around in front of it waiting. They weren't disappointed. She said these fulfilled her biscuit craving perfectly, while my brother deemed them "professional quality". My father liked them as well.
Not only are they tasty but the texture came out absolutely perfect and they're so easy to make they're almost impossible to mess up. Fast, too. And you don't need a food processor or blender or anything. I think I'm going to make them with whole wheat flour soon (I like to follow recipes exactly the first time I make them, if possible).
Tempeh isn't bacon. However, after being marinated per the VWAV instructions, it's damn tasty. It's also thick, chewy and definitely "meaty". Almost the entire plateful disappeared before I finished making the frittata!
Speaking of the frittata, I lost my tumeric so I made it without. I also kept it in the oven quite a bit longer than indicated. I baked it in Pyrex and just kept it in the oven until bubbles stopped coming up the sides. My family likes things very well done. So well done that I have a friend who used to joke that because of how I prepared food, he thought the only way to give kosher, vegetarian food flavor was to burn it.
I made it with asparagus, fresh cremini mushrooms and black olives. My brother is deathly afraid of mushrooms, but he finished his portion anyway. He said it was the first thing I'd made that wasn't fantastic (but it was still edible, so I consider that a victory). My father said it was a winner (it was his first time eating olives) and my mother loved it and would like to eat it again.
Just like with the biscuits, the bacon and frittata are incredibly easy to make (but take a bit more time) in addition to tasting fabulous. It's the sort of food that people will assume you totally stressed out over, which earns you points when you don't feel like taking out the trash.
My brother loves Caesar salad almost as much as my mother loves biscuits. He's had it in so many different places, I consider him a bit of a connoisseur on the subject. He loved the strong dressing and the spicy croutons, doing everything but lick his plate to get the last of it. My mother is still raving about the croutons. I'm just angry at myself for serving it with romaine lettuce only; my spinach was old and I thought my arugala was basil.
I've already discussed the soup, so I won't go into much about that here, but just know that my family absolutely inhaled it. I swear, I dished out the soup, blinked, turned around and all the bowls were empty and mouths were smiling.
So yeah, if you're ever looking for a few easy, omni-approved vegan recipes, look no further. Here's your salad, your soup, your protein and your carb, all in one place (well, two books, really).
Seventeen biscuits go into the oven:
I take them out, blink and there are fourteen left:
Extremely well done frittata: