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Hello?!

Hello, dear blog, hello…
I’ve completely fallen off the face of the earth in the past week and a half or so…so sorry, dear blog.
Husband and I just finished a 400km move away from the Big City and back to our relatively small home-town. It went well; if not exhausting! We’ve spent since last Thursday just organizing, unpacking, settling in, and sleeping. I just haven’t had the energy or time to post…nor have we been eating anything even remotely blog-worthy as of late.
I’m hoping that I’ll do some major cooking this weekend and have some “real” posts ready for next week. Thanks for the patience, dear blog (and readers!)….I’ll see you very soon.

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thanksgivingOne of the best parts of a big Thanksgiving feast is the leftovers. I’m one of those people who goes into “phases” with food. I’ll have a toast phase or a tempeh phase or a green grape phase where I’ll only want to eat that one food for weeks on end. So, leftovers are like winning the lottery for me…I sit back and the delicious food just keeps filling me up!

Husband and I had our little feast a tad late but it was worth the wait, for sure! And even more worth it to eat heaping plates of Thanksgiving fare again this evening!

I tried all new recipes this year instead of going with my standard holiday feast of vegan turkey (Bryanna Clark Grogan’s recipe has never failed me), roasted garlic mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy, and steamed green beans. On the menu: caramelized onion-butternut roast with chestnuts, herb-scalloped potatoes (both from the Veganomicon), sautéed apples, fennel, and radicchio with Calvados, cranberry-pear relish (both from Fields of Greens), and some simple roasted brussels sprouts. Oh so delicious!

The butternut roast was spectacular…creamy and rich with a sage-kissed crumb topping that browned perfectly in the oven. And can I just say…am I the only person left in the world that never thought of caramelizing onions in the oven?! Genius, Isa and Terry, pure genius! The potatoes were some of the nicest scalloped potatoes I’ve had. The only thing I’d change next time is to layer the herb mix with the potatoes as well as scattered on the top; I love tonnes of herbs saturating everything.

The apple and fennel sauté was a dish I could eat every day! Fennel was tossed with bitter radicchio and sweet-tart Granny Smith apples until the radicchio wilted and the fennel was crisp tender. They were then glazed with reduced apple juice (I left out the Calvados) and a smidge of Earth Balance. It truly was a decadent side-dish! The cranberry-pear relish was also very nice. The cranberry sauce I normally make is similar in that they are both flavoured with orange juice and zest; the addition of pear into the cranberries was welcomed with open arms. It offered a nice texture contrast and wonderful flavour.

Just thinking about it again is making me salivate. I wish I had more leftovers!

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On Sunday afternoon, I finally convinced Husband to come to see Julie & Julia with me after weeks of pleading. on my knees. with my hands clasped in front of me. and pouting. and giving him puppy-dog eyes. My Mom and Dad had been telling me for a while that I needed to see it and that I would love it and that I just HAD to go and see that movie and finally, Husband agreed. And you know what? He freakin’ loved it. He hated that he loved it; but, he couldn’t help falling in love with it.

I have had a torrid love affair with Julia Child since I was too young to know what a torrid love affair was. For one, no one was or ever will be as adorable as Julia Child. The gargantuan woman was an absolute delight to watch/listen to. Secondly, and probably most importantly, she just loved food so passionately. She loved to be around it, she loved to get her hands dirty in the kitchen, she loved to feed mouth-watering dishes to friends and family, she  was enveloped by her sense reactions to food and most of all, she loved to eat. I find that kind of passion (for anything) inspiring and striking.

Granted, she was nowhere near vegan-friendly in her diet but that isn’t important to me. I could care less how many ducks she boned, how many pounds of butter she used a day (okay. that’s not true. i do find it a little nightmarish. i could not even fathom the hellish aroma of a calf’s foot boiling down in a pot. *puke*) or whatever else she did with various animal carcasses. I ignore that because her passion speaks volumes, and it speaks  universally. I have the same passion in the kitchen. I understand how she could get so excited about her soufflé coming out of the oven perfectly-puffed. I squeal a little when my vegan brownies come out of the oven just as I’d imagined…dense and chewy and fudgy and…*sigh*….perfect.

Going vegan was a personal choice for me. I don’t judge people who are dirty omnivores because I don’t want them to judge me. I don’t want people to assume I eat nothing but leaves and twigs because what else is there when you take out the cow. I am hurt every time someone rolls their eyes at me because I’ve asked whether the rice that comes with my meal is cooked with animal stock or butter and I wouldn’t want to make someone else feel bad about their life decisions.

The easiest way I’ve found to get people to understand my food choices is to show them my passion. Tell them about the wonderful meals I make. Offer them a perfect brownie. Show them photos of the mouth-watering plate I put on my table the night before. When people see how excited I am about what I’m eating/cooking/baking, they tend to react in a more positive way. I guess what I’m trying to say is, people respond to passion. Show someone why you do what you do, and they want to know more.

For example, earlier this summer, a friend invited Husband and I to her family’s annual potluck and bonfire. I decided it would be the perfect time to try out Isa’s lemon squares. I lovingly made a big batch and showed them off on the dessert table. I was the only vegan present at the potluck, and Husband was the only vegetarian. I was telling a few guests about the lemon squares and how delicious and lemon-y they were and when they tried them, they were all over me for information. How did you make the curd without eggs? What do you mean there’s no gelatin to help it set? What do you use instead of butter in your crust?  I showed them how much I loved them and they, in turn, showed me their interest in learning to bake using vegan alternatives.

When you show passion for food, it doesn’t matter what you put on the plate, it will be delicious and those you share it with will keep coming back for more.

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