Tuesday, October 11, 2016

VeganMoFo 2016: MiniMoFo Challenge


Here we go again. November 2016 will mark this year's Vegan Month of Food, or VeganMoFo. I am quite excited, as always, but also a little weary only because my full-time job is exhausting and will most likely require me to bake more pumpkin and pecan pies than I have ever imagined I would in entire my life. But, alas, VeganMoFo is one of my favorite things to participate in and I can only see myself trying as hard as possible to stay involved in the challenges every single day.

I have participated in MoFo for the last handful of years on a few different blogs. Here you can find all of last year's blog posts (more were on Instagram). In 2014 I stuck to an Amelie theme but those posts were on a blog that is now defunct. Here you can find some of my many prior uses for a gigantic apple haul (from 2013). Here you can find my recipe for the best tomato soup I've ever eaten (also from 2013). During VeganMoFo 2012 I did not participate because had recently graduated from college and returned to my hometown for prolonged medical care and to figure out what to do with myself and my life.

I found out this morning that The PPK (Post Punk Kitchen), Isa Chandra Moskowitz's primary website for as long as I can remember, will be shut down and replaced with her more 'professional' website. I 100% completely understand the thought process behind this, but I wanted to take this opportunity to muse a little bit about The PPK.

The summer of 2010 was when I first really began my love affair with Post Punk Kitchen and Isa and Terry's cookbooks. I decided to buy Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World via Amazon and bake cupcakes for me and my college roommates and friends. I really enjoyed sharing my delicious creations with others and so this led me to buy more cookbooks and further explore vegan cooking and baking. I honestly believe that the style and ease of Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and The PPK are what have led me to where I am today - getting paid to bake.

Cupcakes from August 2010.

My baking in 2010 was abruptly halted due to severe head injuries I sustained in late August of that year. The night before the car accident that changed my life, I baked cupcakes: banana cake with chocolate mousse, topped with berries and almond. They look messy to me now, after having gone through culinary school and my experience working in bakeries, but I can still recall how they must have tasted. I still remember being proud of them and sharing them with my best friend.

Thomcord grape cobbler.

I have only emailed Isa once. Let's be clear: I have never met her. I closely missed seeing her on her Isa Does It book tour when I moved from California to Portland, and I have plans to visit her restaurants, but I have never met her. A handful of months ago she visited Portland and was literally a few blocks away from my apartment eating dinner (I only knew this because she posted about it on Instagram); this is the closest I have ever physically been in proximity to her. I kind of fear the day I finally meet her if only for the fact that I would have no idea what to say or do. I admire and respect her a lot and her recipes have helped me to learn and heal and try new things and contributed to how I have shaped my culinary style. I can be incredibly awkward when interacting with new people so I know when we meet I'll have to really think about what I could say to her that will convey that I am more grateful than, say, obsessed

Anyway, when I emailed her, I sent her the above picture and explained that I made her blueberry cobbler recipe with thomcord grapes instead of blueberries and it kind of blew my mind and baked up beautifully. She responded to my email and it made me feel good.

The PPK and VeganMoFo are important to me because thoughtfully preparing vegan food is important to me. Being in the kitchen helps me to decompress, and the community aspects of the PPK forums and MoFo are an added comfort. The only thing I wish was different? I wish I had more personal time to dedicate to these pursuits. 

The current preliminary MiniMoFo challenge is as follows: Make something to welcome autumn. This fortnight, make something using that fresh autumnal produce. We’re hoping to see lots of squash, pumpkin, maybe even some Halloween treats!

I am currently working on a little project in which I 'finish' Isa Does It; I'm trying to make all of the recipes in the book before The Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook is released. After today, I have 20 recipes left & 30 days to execute them. So, naturally, tonight I chose to make one of those recipes: Sweet Potato and Red Curry Soup with Rice and Kale.

As soon as cooler weather rolls around, I feel like I can't start making soups and stews quick enough. The fresh produce I utilized? Onion, ginger, garlic, kale, sweet potato, and lime juice. To me, nothing says 'fall is here' like walking in from the cold weather to make a big pot of hot eats with fragrant spices that fill the house with warmth and hunger.

Sweet Potato Red Curry Soup with Brown Rice and Kale,
garnished with seared tofu and sriracha.