Wow, temps climbed into the 90s for our most recent supper club, but thousands of native plants, a stiff breeze and amazing food helped stimulate our appetites for the great veggie dog taste test (winners described below). Most talked about items included: Bob Hazen’s roasted beet ice cream, Medha Kosalge’s moong bean bread with peanut salad, and Geoff Fields’ Bibimbop with his specially-formulated ‘Axis of Evil’ sauce. We hope to post some of these recipes soon, but rely on the goodwill of the cooks! Since we were all scattered hither and yon, I don’t have complete information about anything, really. I know you will forgive me and enjoy the photos, courtesy of Bob Hazen and Roger Gilles. If you would like to attend a supper club, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You don’t have to know the first thing about cooking, but you do have to be nice.
We finished our gravel patio, with the help of Ryan Stailey! Thank you, Ryan. Guests Todd, Katie, Kevin, Geoff and Meribeth immediately gravitated to it (and said they felt like they were in Tuscany).
Though there were other equally charming locations to be found, from tents under the mulberries to old stone benches…rumor has it that’s where Leslie, Ann, Marge, Jan, Jamie, Anna and Shane were camping out. You’ll see Kathy, Chris, Miles and Amanda below.
Before dinner, we encouraged walks around the property. Below, Chris, Kathy, Sue and Trish swap smoothie recipes in the garden.
Tillie kept a watchful eye over all, performing regular perimeter checks for invaders, including chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits and bees.
We had a surplus of salads…
And delicious desserts. As you can see, Morgan’s bundt cake did not suffer the ill effects of the weather, though she was found in the kitchen doing a little ‘cake doctor’ after the trip over in a 90 plus degree car.
So, who won the contest and which dog should you be putting on your plant-based grill (or thrilling your vegetarian-vegan friends with)? First, let me point out just a couple of things about faux-meat products. 1) They are not all healthy! In fact, some have an ingredient list of unrecognizable chemicals that would rival the most processed product. So read the label. 2) They are not all vegan. If you want your veggie dog to be completely plant-based, you have to read the label. Morning Star, for example, almost always uses egg whites. For our test, we chose four completely vegan dogs. They were, clockwise from top-left: Yves Veggie Cuisine Good Dog, Tofurky Italian Sausage with Sun-dried tomatoes and basil, Light Life Jumbo Smart Dogs and Tofurky Beer Brats with Full Sail Ale.
3) So much of eating is experienced with the eye. Which one of these would you want to eat? Some veggie dogs look plastic and unappealing. Do not grill these and give the rest of them a bad name. 4) While all will tout their fitness to be grilled, it’s not true. Most often Roger will steam or microwave veggie dogs or brats, which helps to retain their moisture and helps to approximate the juiciness you want in a dog. Last night, following a 60 second twirl in the microwave in groups of four, Roger put them on the grill for just a few minutes of medium heat, turning them regularly. 5) Loading up the dogs with your favorite condiments will elicit comments like Ryan Stailey’s: If you hadn’t told me, I would have thought it was a brat.
And the winner is the one you would assume: Tofurky Italian sausage with sun-dried tomatoes and basil, which we purchased at Harvest Health for $5.19 for a pack of four.
The other winning thing we did was achieve our goal of a zero waste party by composting all the food and unbleached napkins. We always use real dishes, glasses and silverware and wash them the old-fashioned way. Thank you Marge and Ann for marshaling the forces!