Happy Thanksgiving! What did I serve?

Let’s eat!

This year for Thanksgiving I became an adult, well, in a way. After a lifetime of attending holidays, sitting at the kiddie table and being the girlfriend/daughter/wife who brought her own main entree because turkeys as food are not in my vocabulary, I hosted a holiday this year. Not just any holiday, the grand poo-bah of food holidays in America. Thanksgiving is about eating until you burst and I’ve never been a fan of that much excess, but I’m a fan of food. I’m happy to provide an excess of food and you can choose how much to (over) eat. I’m very blessed to have in-laws that were willing to make the trip over the mountains and through the woods to Portland to not only spend Thanksgiving with us in our new house, but to have a turkey-free Thanksgiving. I told people if they couldn’t live without the bird, it was their responsibility but everyone was happy and willing to try the seitan animals. We even had special guests at our table this year, the famous Tofu Phil of Small Planet Tofu and his girlfriend. Most people arrived Thursday morning, which meant by default that I did most of the cooking. I was excited to plan a menu for 12 and I went a little overboard. Hey, culinary school ruined me. I can’t just serve three courses and be satisfied. I was a little worried things wouldn’t turn out right but my husband and I worked on some dishes a few days leading up to the big event so the day of we were able to play a few rounds of hearts while the casseroles were in the oven. Everyone helped in the kitchen and I’m happy to say that the food was all hot at the same time, and I’m flattered that everyone ate their fair share plus some.

The savory spread

Let’s talk about what we ate, which is the meat of this post. For snacking there was a wide variety of hummus (even though that’s the stereotype of veg*n food, I do enjoy hummus and was happy to have a million kinds on the table plus chips and crackers and a veggie platter for dipping). The main meal was as follows: (excuse the poor lighting, we were hungry and setting up a light tent was not in the best interest of the group)

  • Apple Sage Seitan Creatures (recipe here)
  • Maitake-Shiitake Gravy
  • Roasted Garlic Mashed Yukon Golds (I used almond milk this year, yum!)
  • Green Bean Casserole, courtesy of FatFreeVegan
  • Garnet Yam Casserole with Brandied Raisins and Walnuts (this year’s Gourmet holiday issue)
  • Roasted Butternut Squash with Rosemary
  • Roasted Brussel Sprouts off the stalk with Garlic
  • Fresh Salad with tomatoes from our garden (yes we still have some on the vine)
  • Dressings: Raw Caesar (ED&BV) and other bottled options

Dessert Station


  • Pumpkin Cheesecake (SweetPea recipe, can not share, top secret) with Gingersnap Crust
  • Apple Crisp (Mom’s top secret recipe, email me if you want it)
  • Apple Cranberry Pie with Crumb Topping (easily veganized)
  • Pecan Pie
  • Strawberry Rhubarb Pie (courtesy of MIL)
  • Truffles, 2 kinds. One had orange extract and chopped cherries mixed in and the other had banana liquor. They were rolled in toasted coconut, cocoa powder or ground pistachios. I used almond milk and 70% bittersweet chocolate as the base and agave as the sweetener

Apple Sage Seitan Animal-free Creatures

Here are the seitan creatures as they hit the grill pan. I didn’t take many pictures this day as I was focused more of cooking and feeding than blogging or pictures. Thanks husband for snapping a few shots so I can share how much we ate. My advice for people that want to have a big holiday (there were 12 of us) is to definitely prep the casseroles a day or two in advance. Also, make the mashed potatoes ahead and reheat then in a crock pot to save counter space. I did all the desserts the day before and assigned truffle rolling the morning of Thanksgiving to other people. I made most things ahead, especially the seitan, but we seared it off right before we ate. So if you want to know what I did the day of (with help): toss salad, make salad dressing, bake off casseroles, roast brussel sprouts, sear seitan, roll truffles, set up appetizers and reheat everything else. Once the food was set up for the buffet, I put the pies in the oven to reheat so they would be ready.

Wild Foods: Cattails

Cattail rhizome and shoot

Cattail Flower

I have joined John for another adventure, one I was a little apprehensive about doing but excited nonetheless. This class was all about learning to extract one part of the well-known cattail for edible purposes. We focused on the rhizomes, apparently there are many parts of the cattail that are edible, but it depends on season what part you can eat. The ideal time for rhizome consumption is late fall to early spring. You can eat the leaf bases in late springs and the flower head in early summer. Late summer brings us to pollen season, where you can use cattail pollen as a flour supplement or thickener, which I think is fascinating (gluten-free folks, take note!) It’s a Native American staple and learning about all the edible and medicinal uses of this plant which provides year round nourishment, I think it’s interesting we don’t really know much about this plant other than that it dries up wetlands and takes over. On second thought, I do know why we don’t harvest and process it in our modern ways, it’s labor intensive! you need a group that works together well! it takes a lot of work to extract a small amount of food. I’m glad I learned all about cattails but once again, it is a food source I wouldn’t seek out. Picking mushrooms is much easier and the woods don’t smell like a swamp.

Rhizome in the dry swamp

The day we set out to gather the rhizomes, we were unsure of the conditions. We were warned we might be chest deep in mud (which means I should bring a life jacket because I’d be under water). I packed a lot of clothes and the day was crisp and chilly. We geared up and headed into the swamp only to find that it was dry. It was more comfortable to sit in the dirt and dig out the rhizomes but it was much more difficult to get at the rhizomes themselves. It was like weeding on a large scale but you are digging underneath big tall cattails, trying to separate the rhizomes, which grow horizontally and criss cross over each other in multiple directions. The hard part was not just pulling these guys out with brute strength, we had to be delicate because there’s a lot of bacteria in swamp mud dirt and if that has contact with the inner starchy layer we were going to eat, there’s a chance of sickness. I think if it was muddy the rhizomes would have been easier to expose and separate, but that was not in the stars for us today.

Peeling away the outer layer

Cattails reproduce by sending out their rhizomes in a horizontal fashion, upon which new shoots grow vertically. In a way, they are cloning themselves much like aspens do. The new shoots are edible and taste somewhere between a water chestnut and celery. The part we were after was the rhizome, which we harvested as best we could and then washed and rinsed and washed and rinsed as well as we could. Once it was more or less clean, we had to peel away the outer layer, leaving us with a fibrous inner core that involved even more labor. A long slow process, we separated the starch from the fiber and dried the starch (it reminded me of arrowroot). Since we were all amateurs, a lot of fiber ended up with the starch, which means that upon pancake party time, there were some hairball pancakes.

Cattail Pancakes!

The pancakes John made for us were gluten free and he used the cattail starch instead of flour. The batter was a little thin and delicate, like crepe batter. The addition of tapioca starch helped a little with stability. But I have never had GF pancakes before, I’ll have to give them a try now and see if there’s any tweaking that can be done. Watch out, I’m going to open a food cart and sell cattails: 10 ways. Isn’t learning fun? Especially when eating is involved. I can’t wait for John to offer the seaweed identification class next year, I’ll be first on the list for that to harvest up some kombu.

Wild Foods: Acorns

The elusive acorn

A few months ago I had first heard about John Kallas and I went to his website and realized he has all the knowledge that I want to have. I must meet and learn from this man. Finally the stars aligned (and work schedules) and I attended his acorn extraction class. Now we all know that acorns are a nut. The nut of the oak tree. There are many species of oaks and to my knowledge they are all somewhat edible. Not edible raw, I must stress. They have lots of tannins and don’t taste good (or are nutritious?) until after a laborious process. But I love slow foods, as long as I’m not starving and have the time and patience for it. So this class was right up my alley; something new to learn about that combines my favorite things:

Photo by mstoy
  1. nature
  2. trees
  3. foraging for food
  4. cooking
  5. eating.

Grinding the acorns

Now I’m sure most people have heard tales of acorns being edible but that’s as far as the myth goes. How to eat them, what to do with them, these are the questions I needed answered. John’s classes are very informal and the acorn laborers who paid for this class were a motley crew varied in age and background. And we all came together to eat acorns together; it was a beautiful thing. We took a walk around his neighborhood and we talked about identifying oak trees and types of oak trees. White oak acorns have less tannins than red oak acorns. Some acorns have very little nutmeat and aren’t worth the effort. We didn’t gather acorns that day, but the walk was nice and we lucked out with the weather, even if it’s finally too cold to wear my Chacos as my main shoes. People who had access to acorns brought them and we spent a good portion of the day with hammers and rocks, peeling the nut meat away from the shell. It wasn’t too difficult but it reminded me of holiday times sitting around the bowl of nuts trying to open those Brazil nuts with all my might. Hammers do the job pretty quickly and we only had a few acorns that were infested with larvae of some creature.

Acorn Meal

Once we exhausted ourselves separating the nut meat from the shell, we ground them in a meat grinder. The desired consistency is like grape nuts. The next step requires us to dry out the meal for a minimum of a week, but since we weren’t staying at his house for a week, we had last year’s class grind ready for us. We had to do a second grind, and it’s amazing how much kids like to work if it’s not considered “work.” Most of our grinding was child labor, but I guess it’s legal if they are not getting paid for it? The second grind was with a stone grinder (he had an attachment to the meat grinder) but somehow the stones got too hot and we started making acorn butter, which is not the desired effect. We want to make a flour and keep the fats intact. So we turned to modern machines and pulsed it up in a food processor which worked quite nicely.

Pudding…what’s left

Then we had to soak the flour in water to leach out the tannins. We experimented with different methods but the basic goal is to keep changing the water until it runs clear. Squirrels and birds that cache acorns do the same thing with acorns, except groundwater percolates through them and by the time winter comes, their meal is ready. Once we had relatively tannin-free acorn mush, we made pudding! Acorn meal has a relatively high fat content and can spoil easily so we used it the same day and ate it the same day. The flour can be used in breads and puddings (I wonder how it would work for gluten free goodies?). The pudding was sweetened with lots of sugar but there is no need for a thickener because as the acorn flour cooks up it becomes deliciously thick on it’s own. The most common way of eating acorn mush is as a cooked gruel, which I think wouldn’t be bad at all with some berries mixed in. The flavor reminded me of almond meal, but not so almondy. I liked it but I think if I had to go through all this trouble to eat acorns, I might as well not have a job or house because it would take up a greater part of my time. I’m really glad I took the class and it was fun and informative but I’m happy to leave the acorns to the woodland creatures.

I love foraging

This is what 6# looks like with bad lighting

I can’t hide my feelings of excitement towards foraging. I’m not afraid of what others think because honestly, I wish we all could have these skills. We once used to, you know. I wish we could all band together and share knowledge and time and excitement around this connection of food and life. And I wish I didn’t sound so crazy saying things like this. But I am happy to know I’m not alone and there are plenty of other people out there who may have the same feeling about walking through the forest and wanting to know every plant that is in your path and whether you can eat it or not. Or what foods to best pair it with. I don’t want to go out and live in a tent, I like hot showers, too. But I find this passion of mine that centers in food and nature is not waning. It scares me sometimes but I’m glad I still have a desire to learn more, know more, cook more, and eat. And share!

My dog is my current foraging buddy and we had our first mushroom hunt together. She was a little confused when I walked off trail; apparently she is used to the trail and likes the trail. She’s happy to sniff at the edge of the trail or go check things out, but the trail is safe to her. She knows that’s where we belong. Most of the time. I ventured off into rain soaked ground cover (not ivy, not salal, not ferns…sort of if ferns and holly hybridized, that’s what it would be) and my dog waited for me by the path as I went off looking for the impending motherload of chanterelles I would find that day. I must mention that Ubu is my first ever dog. And I love her. I have had goldfish (who never appreciated me reading books to them as an 8 year old) and parakeets that I pretended were puppies (I had one who would fetch dimes and run around the house with a dime in his beak. Seriously.) But I’ve always wanted a dog, a hiking buddy, someone that’s happy to see you when you come home, no matter how grumpy you are or how long you’ve been gone. She’s been a great hiking buddy lately and I thought maybe with that nose of hers she could be my truffle pig. She sniffed the first chanterelle I found but it was not interesting to her so she didn’t offer me much help during the day except to remind me where the trail was occasionally and that she wanted to move on. Regardless of her desire to hike far and long, and despite the random rain showers, it was a great day to be in nature and a great bonus to find as much as I did. I tried to find the spot where I found a cauliflower mushroom last year, but couldn’t. That’s fine because I ended up with six pounds of chanterelles and one monster lobster mushroom.

The biggest chanterelle I have ever seen

Luckily, chanterelles last pretty long in the fridge in a paper bag. I add a damp hand towel to maintain some moisture and it’s been about a week and they still look good. I froze about half of my bounty using the dry saute method, which I’ll outline below. Chanterelles have a high water content so it’s best to give them a dry saute before freezing or using since so much liquid comes out of them and we don’t want slimy gross mushrooms for dinner.

To dry saute mushrooms:
1. Heat a pan over high heat.
2. Add cleaned mushrooms and sprinkle with salt (this helps draw more moisture out and enhances the flavor)
3. Keep them moving in the pan until they release their liquid and keep them moving around in the pan until the liquid has evaporated (or you can pour off the juices and save for sauces, gravies, or whatever you desire).
4. Once they are dry-ish, add some fat of choice (olive oil, margarine etc.) and at this point I add minced garlic. I like garlic.
5. Reduce the heat to medium and saute for 5-10 minutes. Ideally you want to cook these mushrooms a minimum total of 10 minutes because they are wild and the books say to do it.
6. I tend to lay them out on a cookie sheet and freeze them (then transfer to a freezer bag) at this point or keep in the fridge in an airtight container for as long as you are comfortable (a week if they even last that long). OR, continue cooking and add them to whatever you were working on.

My remaining fresh mushrooms have graced my pasta dishes and snuck into my tofu scrambles. I even made a big pot of cream of chanterelle soup, but I used soymilk in it and wasn’t crazy about it. I think it may need a thick cashew milk or maybe less liquid. It was still delicious but I really wanted it to taste like Campbell’s Soup. Most of the mushrooms were straight up side dish mushrooms and garlic. I intend to go crazy and experiment with them but they are so good fresh and hot that that is the preferred option. I hope to make time to do the fried mushroom dish in Artful Vegan (I think they use oyster mushrooms) but I am always intimidated with the serious time dedication most of his recipes involve. We will see.

Chanterelle Season has begun!

Snack time

It’s that time of year everyone. Last year most of my MoFo posts were about mushrooms because I was finally confident enough to start picking a few types on my own. On a recent hike with a friend, I came across these lovelies which signals to me that it is time! I only found about 5 chanterelles that day but I’m so motivated to get back on the ‘shroom train that I joined the Oregon Mycological Society to better hone my identification skills. Chanterelles are my favorite but I do want to differentiate boletes. That is my goal this year as I enjoy the chanterelle explosion. I did a quick saute of these mushrooms with garlic, which is the best way to try new mushrooms and honestly, the best way to really enjoy the flavor and texture of these guys. The flavor is subtle, almost floral with these mushrooms so I try not to mask their flavor. Plus they don’t last very long in our house. I found these mushrooms under a stand of hemlocks if that helps anyone with keeping your eye out for habitat. I don’t have much to say except that I’m excited for fall and all that comes with it!

More childhood flavors: Philly “Cheese Steak”

D.C. Veg Food Cart

It’s very exciting and overwhelming living in a city where there are so many new food ventures starting up weekly. It feels like every day I’m hearing about a new restaurant or food cart and when you don’t eat out a lot (I really enjoy cooking…and having dinner at home) you start making lists. This cart has been high on my list for awhile now but I am almost never downtown (who crosses those bridges?). But I did go through downtown for a little hike in Forest Park and realized I was hungry and I hadn’t packed any food. Then I remembered the food carts that dominate downtown and relaxed. I easily found the D.C. Veg cart and for the first time, ordered without reading the entire menu.

When I was little, my parents used to take me to D’Angelo’s, which is sort of fast food but not really. It was definitely a chain or a franchise but it wasn’t burgers and shakes. They served everything in pitas and it was cooked on a griddle. The place smelled of onions and peppers and I used to only want the steak and cheese melt. As an adult, I had forgotten all about cheese steak sandwiches. I knew they existed but they were inhabitants of another planet and I no longer thought about those far-away flavors when I stopped eating meat at 15. I don’t know why I never thought to just make it at home with seitan, but that is besides the point. This cart has reminded me that you can still enjoy flavors of childhood. Maybe it won’t be exactly the same, but I think close is not a bad thing. Trying to veganize something doesn’t have to be all or nothing. No matter how hard you try, nutritional yeast will not taste like cheese, but it still tastes good. So I say kudos to the D.C.Veg cart on SW 3rd and Washington for making a mouth-watering, greasy delicious sandwich that I would order again and again. They even make their own seitan, which I am proud to report is juicy and is seasoned just right. It’s not rubbery and blah like some we all have tried before. They have it on the grill? griddle? so the outside is seared and the peppers and onions…well, that’s my weakness. There was a nice sauce that went over everything, sort of nayo-naisyish but better and there were slices of vegan cheese. My only improvements would be to maybe grate the cheese because it didn’t really melt as slices. So for me to only have one change to a sandwich is a pretty high compliment. YUM! I saved a little for my husband to try and all he can talk about lately is when we can make it there, but since they aren’t open for dinner, we might have to save it for a holiday or sick day.

Childhood Food Favorites-improved!

Broccoli Casserole

I’m sure it’s noticeable that I am blogging with more frequency lately. I have more time recently to dedicate to my blog, which kept slipping to the bottom of my list of things to do. Now the blog is back near the top of the list, especially since it is October and I have joined the ranks of the Vegan Month of Food, where all bloggers, regardless of any sort of discrimination, are encouraged to blog about anything and everything vegan-friendly. Kittee is maintaining the list of all the bloggers participating (there are over 360 this year!); so head over there if you want to discover some new blogs to read. There’s also a daily roundup if you are overwhelmed by lists and enjoy summaries, which I do. I know I don’t have time to read a million blogs a day but last year I ended up finding a few new blogs that I still follow.

Today will be a brief tribute to the food that brings us back to family gatherings, comfort food. I grew up in a very food-oriented family. Not the type that went out to eat a lot or ate from the pages of Gourmet. We were the family that ate together every night, gathered around the table eating what my mother put in front of us. It was usually home-cooked, simple and delicious. My parents maintained an impressive vegetable garden in our yard so we ate seasonally before it became a fad. Waiting for the asparagus to pop their tips out of the ground made it that much more special to eat it. Playing silly games as a child where I harvested as many green beans as possible to put in my little schoolbag as my energy storage chamber which was pinned to the clothesline. I would die if I didn’t go back often enough to refuel on beans. Yes, that was me. I still remember the light layer of peach fuzz that were on our green beans and how satisfying it was to crunch into them. I can only find that taste in freshly-picked beans. Some foods have been ruined for me because of my access to fresh produce as a child. I hate buying tomatoes in the store, they do not taste right to me. And that’s okay, I really don’t need to eat tomatoes in December. My fascination for food has grown into an obsession as time passed. I enjoy cooking to the point of exhaustion. I love to look for new and exotic recipes to try, with fun flavor combinations or interesting ingredients. But I usually find myself craving dishes that were served in my childhood. There is one dish that sticks out in particular that I haven’t had since I was a child. Broccoli casserole. My aunt used to make it and we only went to her house once a year, making it that much more special. They had a pool and a dog, what more could a child want for? This was her signature dish that we came to rely on and expect at gatherings. It was basically a crustless broccoli quiche with bread crumbs on top. I don’t have the original recipe but this one tastes pretty close. It wasn’t very firm like some quiches can be, it was soft and eggy and full of broccoli. Perfect for tofu to sneak it’s way into. I modified the broccoli quiche recipe a bit from Vegan Brunch, adding broccoli stems (cut fine), removing the crust layer, covering it with bread crumbs and voila! Instant childhood memories. I love this quiche for a number of reasons, mostly because it’s fatty from the cashews so it’s not just tofu-y, which tends to bore/annoy me. I have tastebuds for salt and fat and nuts help fill the void. It tastes great cold, too, which is how I ate most of my leftovers as a child. Apple crisp for breakfast tastes best straight out of the fridge, trust me. So thanks again, Isa, for taking the guesswork out of veganizing an old family favorite. Now I can just eat it and enjoy it along with the attached memories.

More pickles: Lotus Root

Raw, sliced lotus

Since I have been on a pickle kick I must share these lotus root pickles. The recipe is from The Artful Vegan, a beautiful cookbook with amazing recipes. Unfortunately, most recipes take about 4 hours to prepare which I am not willing to put into dinner lately. The few things I have made from this cookbook have been amazing but laborious. I picked up some lotus root at FuBonn down the street, which reminds me of a small Uwajimaya. I was there looking for yucca since my neighborhood grocery store doesn’t sell it. The yucca I found was covered in wax, which seems very strange to me. It must be imported from somewhere far away. The only other time I had yucca was in Ecuador where we were staying on a farm that grew it and you dug it up when you needed it. Anyways, I’m trying to talk about lotus root, which is so beautiful cross sectioned. It looks like a flower. Sliced thinly and deep fried, it’s just like potato chips with a mild flavor. I tried to bake it but it was not a success. I think it needs a LOT of oil and I wasn’t willing to dump a whole bottle of canola onto my baking sheet. But I did discover a fun new way to eat lotus root: pickled.  It’s not fermented, just a straight-forward vinegar pickle which produces a nice, crispy pretty pickle to serve at parties or force on visitors. I love pickles but I have a hard time incorporating it into my diet since it’s more of an appetizer or snack, neither of which is common in my house. But I’ve found that with balancing two jobs some nights it’s burger night and it’s great to have some pickles on your plate to eat along with your meal. If anyone has any interesting uses for pickles, please let me know. I’m always trying to incorporate pickles and kraut more in my diet.  So all in all, it’s beautiful but expensive as fries or pickles.  I’d rather just use potatoes (fries) or cucumbers (pickles) but it was a fun experiment.

Pickles: Sour dills!

In the crock pre-ferment

You would think with my Polish heritage I would have secret family recipes but I don’t. So I turn to good ole’ Sandor and his amazing fermentation bible for advice and encouragement which never fails. I made his sour dill recipe with a bunch of cucumbers I bought at a farm stand (my cucumber crop was a failure this year! it was in too shady a spot. and I think it would help if I watered it more often). So I followed his recipe and fermented it in the crock that is my slow-cooker, which was the perfect size for a plate to fit on and weigh down the cukes. We are blessed with a gigantic grape vine so I had easy access to grape leaves, which magically retain the crunch on pickles. Oak leaves also do the same thing. Since it was still summer when I fermented them, they were ready in less than a week. These pickles are unbelievable. They are unlike any store-bought pickle I have ever had. They just taste…right. I love how there is no vinegar added, just a salt water brine and some dill and garlic and it’s heaven. I ended up with about 4 mason jars’ worth and have eaten my way through half of them. I must confess I am a bit of a food hoarder so the last jar may hide out in the fridge for a special occasion (or until next cucumber season–but I doubt that). I just found chanterelles from last year in my freezer and realized I should enjoy them since fresh ones are now in season. I just can’t bring myself to have the last bite of food or eat the last bit of something—just in case of who knows what…but it’s definitely programmed into my head.

Ready to eat!

The best bonus of these pickles is that there is a giant pile of brined garlic waiting to be eaten along with the pickles. Crunchy with a pungent spicy garlic bite, each clove is an adventure to eat. It’s so delicious and I just assumed it was pickle by-product bound for the compost. But no, this garlic is great. I haven’t used it for anything in the kitchen except for eating out of the jar. I bet it would be great sliced on put on a sausage-dog with some sauerkraut. Now that’s an immune system boost I could eat every day.

End of Berry Season Hoopla: Blueberry Madness


This summer has been a busy one and my garden has not had the care it deserves. Luckily, my new little blueberry bush provided about a cereal’s topping worth of berries. It’s still better than my blueberry bushes I had in Seattle, which never produced anything except leaves, and those were sad to behold. I adore berry season, especially lately because I’m on a green smoothie kick and we go through berries like they are free. Understandably, my garden crop of berries wasn’t enough to satisfy my blueberry desires this year and I headed out to the other side of the river to a small town in Washington to do some blueberry picking with a friend. My friend was much more ambitious than I was but the enthusiasm was contagious. We ended up with just over 4 flats of delicious juicy berries between us. These berries are much better than any blues I picked on Sauvie Island. I actually read an article once that discussed why Sauvie Island does not have ideal blueberry conditions. I really want to visit Armstrong’s but they are not open every day. Perhaps next year? By the time we got home and got ready in the kitchen, we only had time to jam one flat of blueberries and the sun was down. At least we know for next year that picking should be a separate day than processing so we don’t go insane. At least with this amount of berries. What’s a girl to do with all that extra fruit on the counter?

Berry lineup

I froze about half of it, using the same iqf method I use when I freeze strawberries. I kept 2 pints in the fridge, fresh for granolas and cereal. I made 2 dozen muffins, one lemon blueberry the other blueberry lavender. I made a blueberry crisp, but I realized I was out of oats so I did the coconut crisp topping from VWAV. I made a cobbler using the lemon poppyseed topping from Veganomicon. I made a big batch of syrup for pancakes and the like (oatmeal!) which was basically a simple syrup. And of course I had to make Isa’s amazing berry BBQ sauce. Mine was a little spicier than I desired because I didn’t have chipotle powder, just whole chipotles that I ground in my coffee grinder. I cried immediately after taking the lid off the grinder. I didn’t grow up with a lot of barbecue flavors but it really does make bland food taste amazing. I acquired some blah seitan for free, which was unseasoned and after a quick saute and a toss in the bbq sauce it was instantly tasty. I tended to simmer the sauce a lot longer than the stated time and it didn’t thicken up much. I think if it was blended it would help but I like the pieces of little blueberries scattered on my food. It’s really nice on grilled tempeh as well. I would never have thought to use blueberries in a savory dish, but Isa helps me push beyond my food boundaries. Not only is it possible, but it’s delicious!