Tag Archives: friendsgiving

Friendsgiving 2010: Part Two


Jackie sets a beautiful table. Because she actually has a dining room (and a really lovely one at that), she agreed to host, as well as prepare the core ingredients to any Thanksgiving feast: turkey, mashed potatoes (vegan), two pots of gravy (one vegan, one regular), stuffing (vegan) and carrots.

The spreadsheet I had made to keep track of who was coming and what they were planning to bring ended up coming handy in order to know what we needed at last-minute, but there were very few gaps. We ended up with just enough space to accommodate all the dishes brought, not to mention just enough place settings and seats for the dozen people who RSVPed. Continue reading

Friendsgiving 2010 – Part One

As I’ve gotten older, Thanksgiving has become a problematic holiday. When I was a kid, the holiday meal rotated through the families annually, meaning one year at Aunt Nancy’s, one year at Aunt Patty’s, one year at Aunt Connie’s, etc. This tradition started to come apart late in my college years, as my generation of the family got older and started their own traditions, and the various jobs I had kept me tethered to the city for both work on Thanksgiving and its evil sister, Black Friday. So most of the family still gathered in one way or another, but I was mostly with one or two members of my little corner of the immediate family.

It’s not that it’s been bad times. Far from it. But I’ve missed the big sit-down dinners from Thanksgivings of my youth. Last year at Aunt Nancy’s, half the guests didn’t even eat because they were going to my cousin’s dinner a few hours later in the day. I hate to deride a family get together because everyone didn’t eat together… but come on, it’s freaking Thanksgiving. We can’t all sit down and eat? What’s the point of having a big meal then? Why not just everyone agree to show up already having eaten dinner and just enjoy some pie together?

Scheduling-wise, it just can’t seem to work out smoothly with family. Leading up to Thanksgiving, a thought occurred to me: the best sit-down big dinners I’ve been a part of this year have not been family gatherings (sad to say) but get togethers among friends. Keeping that in mind, myself and a bunch of friends decided to plan our own dinner, a few days before Thanksgiving, and dubbed it Friendsgiving. Having the nicest dining room (as those who looked at her Harry Potter setup can see), Jackie agreed to host, as well as tackle the key elements of the Thankgiving dinner: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy and carrots. It would be an almost formal potluck. Everyone invited was asked to bring something, whether it was an entrée or side dish, dessert or beverage.

I admit, I was excited. Continue reading

Stew! Stew! Stew!

Harvest Pumpkin Stew from VeganJoy

Oh boy oh boy! Do you feel that chill in the air? That bite in the wind? We’re in serious November weather territory now. It may get up to the fifties today and tomorrow, but it’s a steady decline into 40, even 30-degree temperatures. Soon that gray rain will be white snow. Makes me want to do a little dance of joy! And eat some stew!

I’ve had disagreements in the past on what distinguishes a stew from a soup. I tend to go with the Supreme Court-esque opinion, “I know it when I see it.” Or, rather, I know it when I taste it, cause looks can be deceiving. If pressed, I’d say that a stew should have about fifty percent less liquid than soup. Usually, you want a viscosity that is far thicker than your average soup broth, but not all stews are made the same. One man’s stew may be another man’s soup, but it’s not for us to judge. It’s (hopefully) for us to eat!

Enjoy your November rain a little more by trying out a few exceptional stew recipes:

- Nicole over at Cooking with Nicole tries out an Eggplant Stew from Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian. It actually reminds me a lot of the gypsy stew I make, but with eggplant and mushrooms and made much, much quicker. Love the shot of her veggies simmering. Makes me want curry and eggplant right. now.

- Seitan is my Motor offers a decent way to use a slowly aging head of cabbage by making a flavorful, almost-goulash Cabbage Stew. Looks amazing, and as served over rice, is guaranteed to be belly filling. Time I went out and got some cabbage.

- VeganJoy has given me an excellent idea for what to prepare for the upcoming Friendsgiving with this delicious and adorable looking Harvest Pumpkin Stew. A little involved, yes, but looks like it’s worth the time investment in sight and taste.

Chickpea and Green Bean Stew from Vegan Awakening

- Vegan Awakening serves up a perfect pantry-cleaning Chickpea and Green Bean Stew. I almost always have a can or two of chickpeas in the cupboard, as well as a bag of frozen green beans. This looks like a fantastic stew to whip on days too cold or rainy to leave the house for supplies.

- Finally, yes, a meaty stew. Mike teaches us how to make the Korean stew, Doenjang jjigae.  Yes, it also has tofu and veggies, but there’s more than enough beef in there to satisfy you meat-lovers. Plus, Mike recommends adding fish and poultry, so if you so desire, this can be a meat free for all.

Stew! Stew! Stew!

Oh, and yes, for musical entertainment and because it’s about as long as it takes to make a stew: