Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Food and Friends

Whenever I see a food-related quote I like, it almost always says one of two things: Food is better when you share it with people you care for or food is a great way to show people you care.

Because of this, I try to cook and get people together for a picnic at least once a year. We spend loads of time together doing other things, including eating in restaurants and one another's homes, but it's not the same. Being outside on a nice day makes people happy and enhances the whole experience. It's an opportunity to eat and chat in a completely relaxed environment, without even the structure of table and chairs (if you sit in a different spot on the blanket when returning from the restroom, no one cares, but if you do that at the dinner table, your former neighbors will probably sniff their pits and check their breath).

My favorite type of picnic is brunch. For one thing, I just love brunch foods. I love to make them and I love to eat them. Another reason is that it's probably the most relaxed meal around. You eat brunch because you woke up too late for breakfast and are too hungry to wait for lunch. Late to start the day but eager to start the eating is my kind of deal.
With that in mind, it's no surprise that my friends and I got together for The Brunchening 3.0 back in August. About ten of us met in Prospect Park to eat food, watch people play Frisbee and get grass stains on our pants.

One person's plate:

Clockwise from the thing that looks like it has an umbilical cord coming out of it, we have asparagus muffin, pesto roll, tomato rosemary scone, Swiss chard frittata, cornbread biscuit and puttanesca scramble in the center. Everything except the muffin and roll was from Vegan Brunch. The asparagus muffins and pesto rolls were my recipes (more on that another day).

We also had the VB lemon pepper potatoes:

Not pictured, we had the VB cherry sage sausages, as well as chorizo sausages (definitely better than Soyrizo), horchata and arroz con leche, all testers for Terry Hope Romero's upcoming Vegan Latina, and some fresh fruit (the best thing about summer).

Making the horchata and arroz con leche at the same time was funny, in an ironic sort of way. Horchata is rice based and its spice blend used is very similar to that of the arroz con leche (cloves, cinnamon, a bit of citrus, etc.), so it was almost like making the same dish inside out. The horchata starts out as something ricey, creamy and a little spicey, then you drain it in a cheesecloth. The remaining rice goop didn't look particularly appetizing (I spared you the gross-out picture for once!), but it tasted quite nice and was refreshing on a hot, sunny day. When you buy the book (which you really should), make sure to try the horchata and do something fun with the leftover rice.

You'll be glad you did!

PS: Sorry if a bunch of weird stuff showed up in your RSS feeds today. I'm using VeganMoFo as a reason to finally make this blog look less crappy and have been (and will be) experimenting with some things.