Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Day 26: Meet the Neighbors

Sunday is the day we like to either have people over for dinner, or go over to other's houses for dinner.  Without family in Austin, it's nice to have friends to break bread with on a regular basis, and Sunday is always a good day to spend cooking and hanging out with those that you love.

I ran into our neighbor on Saturday while he was walking his dog and it was the perfect opportunity to invite him and his wife over for dinner on Sunday.  We always seem to see them when we are out gardening and we've talked to them a few times at our property owner's association meetings, but we wanted to get to know them a little better.  After all, we're going to be living next to them for a while, so we should probably get to know, and hopefully like each other.

Unfortunately for my wife, this added a little stress to our evening, as we want to make a good impression, so the house needed to be clean and we needed to make some extra special goodies for dinner.  To add to that stress, I went golfing on Sunday morning with Steve, so I didn't get back home till after 2.  Even worse, the roast that we picked up at the farmer's market was still frozen and needed so long to cook that we wouldn't be eating till Monday morning.  Oops.

She called me after my round of golf and asked me to drop by the store to get basically a whole new menu for dinner.  Needless to say, it's a bit nerve racking to not have a menu for dinner at noon when you have people coming over.  I think it all turned out well though.  Of course, she's the one that did pretty much everything, I got home after dropping by the store and mowed and trimmed the lawn.

I think it all turned out well though.  Casey found it amusing that he'd never grilled ribs before, and here was the vegan out there with three huge slabs of meat, grilling it up.  I found that even with the meal we were making, it was pretty easy to substitute things for myself.  Bruschetta was made with vegan mozzarella, cole slaw with veganaise, margarine on my corn, and my favorite apple sage sausage instead of ribs.

Of course, with new people always comes the question of why I'm a vegan.  I think every time I answer that, I get just a little more clear.  When first asked, I had thought about it a lot, but never had to articulate it in a short period of time.  Now it's getting easier to boil it down to 3 points: animal welfare, the environment, and the moral implications of excess.  Basically, I don't eat meat because animals are treated poorly in the process, CAFOs are basically toxic wastelands which pollute the water supply and lay waste to air quality, and if we instead ate vegetables, we would have enough food to end world hunger tomorrow.  I of course, wasn't that succinct, but with time maybe I'll be able to transmit this message more clearly.

I think they understood though, and Lauren and Kevin are really nice people.  It was great having them over and I hope that they enjoyed themselves.  I felt a little bad about dinner being so late.  We had appetizers at 6, but didn't get everything on the table till 8.  I felt bad, because Kevin needed to walk Walter after dinner, and it was getting pretty late.  It was good getting to know them a little better.  I just hope that we didn't scare them off.  Though who can resist a neighbor with a keggerator in their garage?


Protein shake

Cliff Builder's Bar
Protip: Don't leave these in a golf bag, they get uber melty.

"Bologna" sandwich


So simple, just dice tomatoes, toss in balsamic vinagrette and olive oil, lay over sliced bread with a slice of vegan mozzarella and broil till the cheese melts.  So tasty though.  We made ours with yellow, orange and red tomatoes to add color.

Field roast apple sage sausage with sauerkraut
Corn on the cob
Cole Slaw
Baked beans
2 pints German Mai-bock

Indian mango

Found this a Central Market over the weekend.  They suckered us in by giving us samples, which were so freaking good.  This was the best mango I've ever had.  It was perfectly ripe, juicy and full of flavor.  If only they weren't so expensive.  This is a rare treat if you can get it.

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