Wanting to make a special dinner for Mr. Fish yesterday (it was his fête, or Saint Day, I told you, holidays, albeit little ones, all the time!), I felt a bit strapped for ideas. I try very hard to be an organized person, properly rotating dishes to vary the nutrients and tastes, eating in season, having the correct ingredients on hand…but frankly, it’s a bit of a full-time job to do it all 100%, so I just do what I can (that being said there is a great little article in the recent VegFamily newsletter/website on meal planning
which describes a great idea, which I just might try).
When I went to the marché on Friday with the Guppy we bought about 500g/1lb of brussels sprouts because they looked so tasty. We eat brussels sprouts fairly often, but I would like to point out that before living in France I could not stand brussels sprouts: their geeky-pallor, hideous aroma- YUCK! Alas I was, as are many, victim of boiled-sprouts syndrome, which is unfortunate, because fresh brussels sprouts are amazing, and so good for you. Frozen just can’t compare, though I am not against frozen veggies at all, on the contrary they are often better and more accessible than fresh, but frozen sprouts lose part of their delicious soul, which is dommage. My favorite way to cook sprouts is to roast them, which is sooo easy it’s crazy, and they are so darn good you’ll be nibbling them off the serving dish. Yes, you will. Vegan With A Vengeance (one of my favorite cookbooks) has a nice simple recipe for roasting them with garlic so you could opt for that to begin. Once you start, you’ll be making them all the time and your friends will threaten to no longer eat over if you don’t make something else.
Anyway, needed to cook the sprouts, which left me thinking, “OK, great, you have your vegetable, but where is your MEAL???”, which is when I had this sort of magic infinity-moment where all was right with the world, I saw myself sitting down to a Clever family Sunday dinner and tried to envision what would be served next to the steaming platter of brussels sprouts and then it hit me- meatless loaf! Hourrah! I love tofu loaf! It’s such an easy main dish to throw together in a flash, and makes you feel like you’ve invited an old friend to your table (even if you’ve never been partial to loaf!).
A good tofu loaf is really a subjective thing- a good base-loaf recipe for you to use if it’s uncharted territory is the “Tip-Top Tofu Loaf” from Sarah Kramer’s La Dolce Vegan!. Recently a friend asked me for my tofu loaf recipe, and because it is never the same I suggested this recipe (because I just sort of do it “by ear” or au pif, by nose). I’m glad I did because it gave me cause to flip through it- I’m just not a big fan of this book because of its presentation. I get weirded out by all the pictures of Kramer prancing about. I don’t know why. There are, however, some great basic recipes for newbie vegans trying to find good transition comfort foods- or for folks like me who often make vegan meals for omnivores.
Rather than go with the traditional mashed potatoes usually found lurking around loafy-dishes, I made some brown rice, and no loafy-meal would be complete without a delicious gravy, so I made my family’s favorite “Mighty Miso Gravy” from How It All Vegan. Delish!
I did, however, make too much rice, so I’ll be searching for a good rice pudding recipe later today…
(In a moment of incredible dorkiness, I found that if you look quickly at the above picture it looks like a man wearing a monocle is smiling at you!)