Saturday, September 7, 2013

VeganMoFo Day 7! Feliz Cumpleaños a Mí

The season of Virgo has arrived once again, and with it comes another birthday for this happy vegan. I'm not a big fan of celebrations for me. I used to be, but for quite a while mostly the festivities are forced upon me... others just won't let me forget the day. Since I've been living down here, I've seen a birthdays of various high and low key status. One of our first years here, we had  HUGE bash at the inn, with live music, food (catered by the Cafe!), and friends bearing gifts of glitter, home grown mangoes, and other wonderful lovelies that are totally up my alley; there was the birthday bash a couple years ago where a bunch of us went to Aqua in Key West, and I apparently consumed enough alcohol in 2.5 hours to last me to this day (my wing-gal was busy consuming her own vast quantities of alcohol that same evening... the last thing I remember is dancing on a box on stage next to her with glow sticks flying everywhere. It was 3 days before I was back on solid food after that, and an entire week before I began to feel human again). Of course, there was the last birthday our friend Kevin was alive (a fellow Virgo and partner in chocolate crime) where we had a potluck at a friends house, and I baked Kevin that giant chocolate ganache cake that he had to saw through. Kevin, complicated, endearing, beloved Kevin. I think of him so much, but especially during the season of Virgo.

So, yes, my season is here, and I'm putting this post up now because the actual day is (thankfully) over. We spent part of my birthday in Key West doing business. That actually took up half the day. The other happy vegan and I tore our closets apart and scraped together official business-looking clothing (suit jackets were involved for us both, don't ask me WHY we still even possess such items, but apparently we do!) and hit the road pretty early. After the morning's non-festivities, we were hungry. I got to pick the place since it was my official birthday, and where else would I possibly go for lunch than the Sugar Apple for, what else, the best sandwich in the Universe.... their tempeh reuben. I'm not going to wax all poetic here because Sugar Apple is going to get an entire post for VeganMoFo, but I will say that it was a perfect place to be for my birthday lunch, my sandwich was perfection on a plate. I reminisced all day about my sandwich after it was eaten, it was that good.

Dinner was a different situation. I didn't want to eat out again. We were up so early because of those official obligations (everywhere we went in Key West all in our business suits, we got comments.  Mind you, we were in several places we usually go looking, um ... islandy.... aka bedraggled, but we saw quite a few people in town that we are friendly with, and everyone wanted to know "who died." Both of us have never been spotted together wearing suits at the same time. If the question wasn't "who died," it was "were you in Court?" or "wow, what are YOU doing today? I didn't even recognize you guys!.... " So, we were up early, traipsed around in uncomfortable clothing, had eaten the best lunch in the Universe, and I just wanted to come back home. Be with my cats. Be in my own house. Be where there are no cruise ships, trolleys, scooters, or noise.  We came home, and I set to doing chores, while he set about making me dinner. Neither of us were really hungry (those reubens go a very long way!) but he made a vegan "4-cheese" macaroni which was unbelievably good. He took pictures, I'll get them up another day. When either of us were hungry, we picked at small plates of the mac and cheese, and called it a day.

On that trip to Key West, we stopped at Publix and bought every last bundle they had of their broccoli rabe. For my birthday dinner, I wanted Italian food. Sadly, ZaZa has closed, so now LaTrattoria in Key West is mandatory for good Italian food. I couldn't bear going back down to Key West for dinner. I said let's do dinner a different day. That's how the vegan 4-cheese mac and cheese came to life. Plus, here in the Keys, Italian food is not a big deal. I think it's because people are so seafood oriented. Every restaurant thinks that's the thing to serve. You know how I feel about that.

Do you follow "Mouthwatering Vegan Recipes" on Facebook? If you don't, you should. Miriam (that's her page, and she has a cookbook, you should buy it) posted a vegan tiramisu recipe a few months back. It looked simple, and got really good reviews. I have my own recipes, one of which takes 3 days to complete, and I just wasn't feeling the love of spending 3 days to make a plate of tiramisu when I only wanted 1 slice of it. So, I spent part of my actual birthday making Miriam's tiramisu. All told it took me maybe 30 minutes to make, not including chilling between steps. All I wanted was salad, pasta with broccoli rabe (the recipe I posted on Vegan Recipe Monday in August on my Facebook page), a glass of red wine, tiramisu, and vegan cappuccino. Simple, so simple.

A few people who knew I would be making my own birthday dinner were aghast. I explained I wanted what I wanted, when I wanted it, and this was the only way to make it happen. I also knew I could do all this in shorter a time than it would take me to drive to Key West, let alone read a menu, have to order and wait for the food, then drive back home. Oh, and let's not forget..... NOBODY MAKES VEGAN TIRAMISU IN THE ENTIRE FLORIDA KEYS EXCEPT ME! Ka-pow to that.

Here is my birthday dinner. I nixed the salad, and made vegan milkshakes instead. Since I'm falling off the sugar wagon, I needed to maximize the fall for the day. Besides, I'm only gonna turn 29 this one time (STOP LAUGHING!)

Let's go to the videotape:

First course: Salad Chocolate Milkshakes w/shaved chocolate!

This is one of my favorite things of all time... pasta with sauteed broccoli rabe.
I posted the recipe on our Facebook page on or about August 19. Get some!

This is the tiramisu I made using "Mouthwatering Vegan Recipes" from Miriam.
It's not as authentic as my other recipes, but then again my best tiramisu recipe
takes 3 days to create from start to finish. This one? 30 minutes, give or take
not counting chilling time between steps.
I can dig it.

A gremlin went into my fridge last night and sampled the tiramisu.
24 hours later, somehow a candle got jammed in, and I found myself
being subjected to an off-key version of Happy Birthday.
As much as I dislike my birthday, the alternative is much worse, so
I guess I'll stop complaining about the singing.
Plus, I'm getting some really cool new shirts from Herbivore!

I used the wrong kind of cookies in the tiramisu, but in all honesty, this recipe was still really good!

Ok, I had to take a picture of this.
I love good Italian coffee, espresso and cappuccino.
For the longest time, I didn't have things to make them at home.
Look what I bought at a local thrift shop.
I paid $1 (yup, ONE DOLLAR) for that Made in Italy coffee pot, and
$3 (THREE DOLLARS!) for the hand operated frother.
I know people who have spent close to $1000 (ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS!)
on their fancy coffee makers.
I spent $4, and I get to make darn excellent vegan lattes, caps, and
anything else I want, whenever I want.

This hand operated stainless steel frother is one of the best things I've ever gotten
at a thrift shop! Look at that foam!!!!!

Hello lover!


This blog has been around long enough for you to know how much more I love and appreciate food since choosing to be vegan. In the last 5 years or so, there has been an explosion going on regarding vegan offerings both in markets, and also restaurants and such. It's been one of the greatest things I've born witness to in my life.

My birthday is over, and already I'm getting comments about next year's festivities (or hopefully lack thereof). I had a mini-crisis a couple days before my actual birthday when I had to fill a form out and realized the number I would be writing would be changing soon, and I guess what apparently it's supposed to represent. I don't feel old(er) except when I'm at the gym and struggling to get up and down off the floor between sets. I am just as immature a thinker as I've always been, I enjoy ridiculous childish humor, and find myself still grappling with many of the same issues I did when I was so much younger. But, the calendar tells me I am older, so I made the best of the situation, and that is with food. I broke every self-imposed "rule" for this milestone and will not have a moment of regret. Tomorrow will be a different story, I'm so sure, as there will be a longer run, plus kicking the sweets and wheat back to the curb.

VeganMoFo happened to fall this year during the season of Virgo. When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. When life hands you birthdays, make (vegan) tiramisu!

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