Saturday, January 06, 2007

Greetings from sunny Florida

Hello from Florida where I'm visiting my parents for the weekend (at the green arrow in the picture). It's been over 2 years since I've been here so I was due for a visit, but also I've been helping them get set up with their first ever computer. It's a bold new world for them but so far it's going pretty well.

I've been eating very well too. My parents are far from vegan and that's likely where they'll stay but they do accept my choice of veganism and they're generally pretty accommodating with food when I visit. (There is the cigarette smoke but I won't go there...) My dad has been the primary cook in the family for almost as long as I can remember. I don't remember getting much formal instruction in cooking when I was growing up but certainly his passion for food rubbed off on me. I think he finds it to be an interesting challenge to come up with vegan meals when I visit and I appreciate that.

When I arrived last night he already had stuffed peppers prepared. Typically these would be made by filling green bell peppers with a ground beef and rice mixture, but instead these were chock full of vegetables - yellow squash, eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, carrots, garlic and onions - along with the rice and some bread crumbs to bind the filling a bit. The sauce was tomato based with brown sugar and lemon juice. On the side he made what I suppose you would call a bruschetta - an english muffin topped with onion, zucchini and some canned sofrito that had also gone into the stuffed peppers.
The stuffed peppers were quite good, but tonight's meal got more raves from everyone and it was one of the first times my dad and I have ever cooked together. This one I'd call a ragout over angel hair pasta. It started with cooking a slew of vegetables in olive oil. It was the same veggie mixture as last night - yellow squash, eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, carrots, garlic and onions - and amazingly enough I had found some tempeh in the local mainstream grocery store earlier in the day and my dad was amenable to crumbling that in with the vegetables. After all that cooked for a while we added a small can each of tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. It was seasoned with about a tablespoon of fresh thyme along with a teaspoon each of dried basil and Italian seasoning and of course salt & pepper. Then it was covered and simmered over low heat for almost an hour and served over angel hair pasta. We don't often buy angel hair but it was most excellent with this chunky veggie-ful sauce.


springsandwells said...

Hi Chris,
This is such a sweet post! I've always thought it was so neat how much time you spend in the kitchen... and so it's really neat to hear that you grew up with a dad who did so much cooking. How sweet that you two were able to cook together. Looks like a super tasty meal, too! It's neat that they are open to preparing vegan food while you visit. I hope you have a great time!

kathyF said...

You are very lucky to have such supportive parents, and a dad who's a good cook too! Most of us have the opposite experience from our families.

bazu said...

Hi Chris, that is so cool that you are in FL! I lived there for about a year, so I have great affection for the place. And I agree that it's nice of your parents to be so open and accomodating with their food and cooking while you're visiting. It's so interesting to hear that you've inherited your love of cooking from your father, because in our household, Daiku tends to be the primary cook, and his dad was also the primary cook (and grocery shopper) when he was growing up. I sense a pattern!

Good luck with your travels!

Chris said...

Thanks everyone... I had to say something nice about my parents b/c now they have a computer and can read this blog ;-) Seriously though, at first they though I was off my rocker but now they accept it as who I am.

I have great affection for this place too bazu - I lived here for 20 years. It's good to come back every so often but a little sad too b/c it's changed so much. Almost all the woods I used to play in as a kid are now houses. And today I went to the same beach where I learned to surf so long ago and there were a bunch of high-rise condos where there used to be just sand dunes. But there was also a new park with a very neat hiking trail so I guess it's not all bad.

aTxVegn said...

That's so great that you got to enjoy preparing a meal with your dad! The food looks just wonderful, plus you get to be in Florida!

laura jesser said...

Wow... What inventive vegan meals for a non-vegan to concoct! When I visit my parents my meals usually include Boca burgers and refried bean burritos! (But I still appreciate it anyway!)

Mikaela said...

Chunky sauce (my mom's recipe) is a family favorite. We usually end up eating half of the sauce w/o macaroni, just in a bowl with a bit of yummy bread :)

Happy 2007!

<3 Mikaela

funwithyourfood said...

I love chunky sauce! it looks great