American Wool Series

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Birthday!!!

Today is the Little One's birthday. She's now officially 1! I can't believe how quickly the year has flown. We had an afternoon birthday party with family and cupcakes. I knit her a dress and it fits like a dream. (Dale of Norway book #208 in Dale of Norway Baby Ull, size 0 & size 1 needles) Her favorite gift is a xylophone which she banged away on for the majority of the party. Or chewed on the mallets. She's also entranced by the little accordion and her new set of wheels (Skuut). We had so many well wishes from so many people, thank you so much!!! I can't imagine a better little person to spend my time with and I'm excited to see what happens in the next year! Happy Birthday, Boo!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Thanksgiving Redux

Tonight is Thanksgiving #2 as my first one was, well, unsatisfactory. A bit too stressful, a bit too tardy, and not enough conviviality to make up for it. So the Man and I are having Sister-in-law over for a veggie dinner re-do. My crust is in the fridge chilling before it becomes pear pie and all the fixings are prepped and ready to go. To share in the redux love here is my awesome vegan gravy recipe, great for vegans, veggies, and everybody else too!

Awesome Vegan Gravy

2 Tablespoons cornstarch
3 Tablespoons soy sauce or gluten-free tamari
1 1/2 cups water (you can use stock but I think it makes the gravy too salty)
2 Tablespoons tahini

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk together the cornstarch and soy sauce until there are no lumps. Add the water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until mixture thickens, stirring frequently. (The stirring is really important, if you don't stir frequently enough you'll get gross cornstarch lumpy-burny stuff at the bottom.) Remove from heat and add tahini, stirring until a consistent color and thickness is achieved. This gravy thickens a lot if left standing so you can do it a while beforehand so it gets nice and thick and then reheat and serve.

We've also tried this with the addition of sauteed mushrooms which is quite yummy and adds a little more texture. Enjoy over mashed potatoes, turkey or turkey substitute, biscuits, and anything else that needs some gravy love.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Non-Turkey Rundown

After all the talk the past few days about Thanksgiving food and how good or bad it can be, or actually was, I thought I'd give a rundown of Turkey substitutes. This is the time of year where vegetarians usually get short shrift. My first veggie Thanksgiving, 12 years ago, I had dry vegetarian meatballs, no-gravy potatoes since there was turkey in the gravy, rolls, and green beans. My pie consumption made up for the lack of a tasty main dish but it was disappointing nonetheless. Since then I've tasted most meat analogs (appetizing descriptor, no?) and I've definitely got my likes and dislikes.

Tofurkey - the most famous to non-veggies and perhaps the least appetizing. It's got a tough "skin" on the outside and is rubbery and flavorless on the inside. Not too bad if you have absolutely no alternative.

Field Roast - Local to Seattle, and perhaps hard to find elsewhere, this comes in medium sausage-like packaging or a larger "celebration roast" portion. Made from a blend of grains and legumes, it has a nice texture and flavor. This one is best steamed on the stove top rather than baked since it can dry out quickly. It is also available in sandwich slices and regular sausages (we like the ones with fennel).

Quorn Turk'y Roast - My absolute favorite. You can find it in the freezer section and it comes in a fat sausage shape. This one has the best texture and flavor. It's made from mycoprotein which is derived, somehow, from mushrooms. It's also soy-free. It can go straight from the freezer into a hot oven and is done in about 45 minutes. My Goth ex-roomates, all voracious meat eaters, loved this and declared it "Just as good as turkey". This brand also carries cutlets, chik'n pieces, ground "beef" and a whole lot more.

I think those are the most common ones I see in my supermarket although there are probably more out there. Sadly, most all contain gluten, soy, or eggs or a combination of those ingredients so it's hard to find one for people with food allergies. Family gatherings can be difficult in more ways than just the food, I've found that telling my hosts waaay beforehand that I'm a vegetarian allows for menu mediation and I always offer to bring my own main dish and gravy. It relieves some of the stress from the host and I know I can at least eat something if not everything on the table.

I've got a kick-ass gravy recipe that I'll share in another post. It's gluten-free, lactose-free, and super duper tasty!