Monday, October 4, 2010

Food-ful Weekend

Some weekends, I cook a lot. Some weekends, I take it easy and we go out or eat leftovers. This weekend had a major focus on food.

First, Saturday morning, I went to Books by the Banks at the local convention center. This is a celebration of books and authors with a several discussion panels, and the authors were available to talk and sign their books.

I had the pleasure of meeting Tamasin Noyes of Vegan Appetite, author of American Vegan Kitchen. I attended her panel, where she and three other cookbook authors talked about their books and answered questions. I was really pleased to see that when the moderator opened the floor for questions, the first few questions were for her – even if they were “what’s the difference between vegetarian and vegan?” and “my vegetarian friend eats fish and chicken.”*

My favorite part was when the moderator (a chef himself) asked Tami to talk about the flavor gap between meat and vegan dishes. Tami responded, “Good food is good food.” The moderator looked disappointed and unconvinced, but I think the audience’s curiosity in veganism showed his disappointment was unfounded. I loved her answer. She was a great representative for veganism in the Porkopolis.

Saturday night, we had a special visitor – Alex’s sister came into town. Being around this much family is absolutely spoiling me. We talked about going out, but we decided to eat at home instead. She was happy to have some home-cooked food and was amenable to me wanting to use up my produce bin. My wish was my punishment, though, because I stayed at home cooking while they were out playing.

013 Roasted butternut squash with whole wheat orzo, basil, pine nuts, and lemon.

I had a butternut squash and some collard greens I wanted to use, so I did a quick search through my Reader and found that many blogs have mentioned butternut recently – including some non-food ones! I made two recipes straight from the blogs.

First up: Lemony Orzo with Roasted Butternut Squash and Pine Nuts from Clean Eats in the Dirty South. I love roasted butternut, and this seemed like a filling main dish and it did not disappoint.

I made a side of collards with garlic, dried cranberries, and pine nuts, and I still let them cook for almost an hour (cranberries and nuts added at the end). Alex’s sister mentioned that she doesn’t like vegetables that are cooked for too long, but I made these collards for me. This is what happens when you marry into a family from a different part of the country. No kidding, when I getting ready to move to Philadelphia my grandfather told me not to fall in love with a Yankee. True story. Plus, I had never eaten green beans that were still crisp until I had the ones their mom made.

021 My plate: equal parts greens and squashy orzo

Also: Curried Squash Hummus from The Kuntrageous Vegan. I used some of my butternut and also an acorn squash, along with some chickpeas and copious spice and heat. This actually got hotter after I tasted it, so this was a pretty fiery dip. But delicious. I was digging in on this before Alex and his sister got home. We ate this with some delicious fresh bread from Shadeau Bakery.

020 Curried squash hummus. I popped this in the oven to keep it warm and it developed a delightful crust on top.

This was a great weekend, and fall has arrived. Saturday I had a big butternut, and now I have plenty of squash leftovers to enjoy.

*I know this isn’t even a question.


  1. Good for you for cookin' those greens for an hour. That's how it's supposed to be done! If there's one thing we Southern girls know, it's that a proper batch of collards should be slow-cooked for a long time. Also, the hummus sounds yummy! And how cool that you got to meet Tami! I love Tami!!

  2. SIL can't complain about being under-nourished at your house. Let's see dessert!

  3. Good food **is** good food! That's how I always tried to explain it to my meat eating friends when I was a vegan...they didn't really get it (but that's not surprising given how lackluster many restaurant vegan options are. pooh on them). Your butternut goodness looks amazing! I love the fallness of it!

  4. YAY! I'm glad you made the hummus and enjoyed it <3

  5. Sounds like a interesting discussion. It's always a challenge to relieve the common conception that vegan food is boring or bland.

    That orzo/squash dish looks beautiful. All the flavors and textures sound wonderful together. I've never tried cooking collards that long, but now you've convinced me to try...I imagine the flavor becomes more subtle and cabbagey (?)

  6. Well this Yankee sister-in-law thoroughly enjoyed all of the food including the greens! I almost stole the hummus to take back with me, but will just have to make it on my own. Thanks Jessica!

  7. Sounds like you had a busy, but fun weekend! The squash dish looks delish!
    I still haven't cooked collards the long, proper way...ha.
    I need to try that hummus! It sounds great!

  8. Hello,
    I love this recipe.
    I am an hummus addict!