Expecting our Little Brother in November!

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Saturday, May 22, 2010


So, last night we had dinner with the in-laws and also brother-in-law and sister-in-law. (I'm going to be annoying and not use their names for this whole post because we got into this huge discussion/argument about facebook, privacy, etc, and I just feel like in the wake of that, I should not use any of their names. Even though BIL is a writer, goddamnit, he should stop censoring me! Okay, sorry, pregnant lady hormones. Anyway...)

My MIL has been vegan and gluten-free (for the most part) for several months now, and has found that this diet very effectively manages her blood sugar. She has even been able to stop taking meds, has lost a bunch of weight, etc.

Now (meat and gluten eating) BIL and SIL are staying with them for a few weeks before they head off to Russia (SIL's homeland) for the summer. So the last few times we ate over there, MIL and SIL made dishes--which were really good but I could tell they are out of their element.

So we are scheduled to go over their house for a co-birthday dinner (MIL's is in a few days and SIL's is in a few weeks, but they leave for Russia on Monday), so I offered to make the whole dinner--both because it was their birthdays and because they both cooked the last few times we ate together and I made nothing.

Now, I love cooking! But my stupor that I mentioned in my last post seemed to stretch on and on into "I am fighting off a virus" sort of tired/nausea/phelgmy throat . . . so on Thursday, in the wake of a huge headache, I made James come with me to the co-op to get all the things I would need to cook, and on Friday I found myself laying on my couch UNABLE to motivate myself.

Finally I managed to clean up my kitchen, and I brought the cutting board and veggies into the living room so I could sit on my couch, cut up veggies, and watch X-Files reruns all at the same time. I figured the X-Files would distract me from my stupor. I started this cutting at 2:30, and I wanted to leave for MIL's house by 4:30, get there at five, and finish the cooking there.

Around 4, I had almost finished the first (main) dish--Moroccan Tagine. It is a red lentil and spring vegetables stew. I have made it before so I knew it was DELICIOUS. But there are a TON of veggies in it, and despite nearly an hour of dedicated cutting, and then another hour of cooking while cutting, I was done with this one dish, and had started the rice (a mix of brown and wild) but had like three more to go.

Finally I broke down and called James. The original plan was for me to show up at MIL's house with the food--some cooked, some to cook at her house, and he would meet us. Around 4, I realized it was not going to happen, hence the phone call.

James: "Hi Honey! How is everything going?"
Me: "Well, I finished the Tagine."
James: "Well, that's good!"
Me: "Yeah but we still don't have cupcake papers."
James: "Oh damn, well, do you want me to get some?"
Me: "Yeah actually, that's why I was calling. I don't think I'm going to be able to get all this food to your Mom's house by myself. I just started the rice and it's going to take an hour to cook."
James: "Oh."
Me: "Can you come home and help me?"
James: "Um, yeah okay let me just finish up here."

We hang up, and I reaffirm my love for my husband, and I start on this sauce. This is a made-up recipe by me that is supposed to go over steamed bok choy. As part of my previous cutting frenzy, I cut up a TON of shiitake mushrooms (this was what took the longest).

So then I simmered ginger in olive oil for a minute, then added the mushrooms, which immediately soaked up all the olive oil. So I added more, and vegan butter (earth balance) and eventually got them stirfrying as well. Then I added cornstarch to create a gluten-free version of roue, then added homemade soup stock. While that simmered/thickened, I food-processed a can of black beans into paste, and added to the sauce. And that was the shiitake mushroom/black bean sauce.

At this point I searched for the tofu that I planned to baste with the sauce, to go with the bok choy, only to find that we ate it already. :-/ Oh well.

Then James gets home. Yay!! He makes gluten-free cupcakes. From a mix. I'm not a big fan of mixes but I am new to the gluten-free baking world and I'm not quite clear on the chemistry of different flours and ingredients yet.

So I'm onto making the last dish. This one is "Braised 3-Seed Cauliflower".

As an aside, when I speak of cooking, you can usually tell whether it is a real recipe or an "Adrienne Recipe" by the name. Compare "Moroccan Tagine" and "Braised 3-Seed Cauliflower" with "Shiitake Mushroom/Black Bean Sauce". If I was naming the other recipes, the Tagine would be called: Red Lentil and Veggie Stew; and the Braised Cauliflower would be called: Cauliflower and Tomato Stirfry.

Anyway, back to the recipe. Both of these actual recipes are from this book: Vegan with a Vengence. It, along with it's fellows: Veganomican, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and others, are hands down the BEST vegan cookbooks anywhere, any time.

So I made the cauliflower and tomato, and it was ready just as the cupcakes came out the oven. But, if you recall before I got distracted by cooking, I'm still in a stupor. I am sitting on a stool in the kitchen--unshowered, wearing dirty sweat-pants and a glazed expression. I pick out suitable transport dishes for the food, go upstairs, change, and report back down as James is loading all the food into bags and we are off to the inlaws.

We eat pretty much right away (well, after I steam the bok choy--that was the last thing to be done), and everyone is in agreement that all the food is incredible. People even like the recipe I made up myself (which honestly, I wasn't crazy about)--but the cauliflower is BANGING and so is the Tagine, of course.

Then we open presents and cards, eat cake (MIL also bought an amazing gluten-free vegan cake from this specialty store. At first I was mad that she was buying her own cake but OMG it was incredible), and argue about Facebook.

See my next post for the conclusion of this exciting tale.

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