Saturday, November 6, 2010

a whole bag of ducks

Quote of the day:  I got a whole bag.  What am I gonna do with a whole bag of ducks?

As much as I would like to let that go and just babble about dinner while you're only paying half-attention since it's killing you to know what the heck that means....I think I'll just tell you so I know I have your undivided attention for my very important dinner babbling.

Today, Mister and I successfully navigated the public transportation system from Philadelphia into the heart of Delaware County in order to attend a co-ed baby shower for Angst's aunt and uncle (aka, kitty-sitters), who are expecting their first baby shortly.  It was a lovely shower, held in a banquet room at Anthony's Ristorante in Drexel Hill.  They had a delightful salad, roasted red potatoes, string beans steamed with onions and bell peppers, and eggplant parm along with some kind of chicken dish.  I made pan bagnat with a dinner roll and that salad and filled my plate with those tasty potatoes and green beans.  While chowing down, I had the pleasure of watching my three nephews making fresh lemonade, using sliced lemons (meant to garnish drinks, but sometimes you need to amuse the kiddos), ice water, and sugar packets (and when they ran out, with Sweet 'n' Low, which horrified me but I bit my tongue - they're not my children).

In any case, the happy, expectant couple apparently has an affinity for rubber duckies, so all of the centerpieces were a candle-floating bowl, half-full of blue-tinted water, with 5 rubber duckies of differing sizes floating happily on top.  That pretty picture lasted just until the kids (all 8yo and under) got bored enough to play with the leftover wrapping paper from the opening of gifts.  Then, ducks were plucked from the bowls, dried on cloth napkins, and distributed to the younger set.  After gifts, the party favors were distributed: homemade cookies, frosted with a baby theme, and tied with ribbons and a mini-ducky.

Who are you and what are you doing on my pillow?

Mister gave his ducky to the sole niece present and we took mine home to play with Angst.  As you can see, he wasn't as enthusiastic about his new friend as we were.

Um...what IS that?

Another cousin, who has a little boy and an infant girl, was given a whole bag of ducks to take home with her so her son could play with them.  The real-life quote that began tonight's post comes from her.

*poke* *poke*

I think Angst is pretty relieved we only brought home one little ducky.  I don't think they're going to be friends.

That provides a better segue than I might have guessed into our dinner experiment tonight.

When I was at Whole Foods last week, they were having a sale on Gardein products.  I've heard a lot of positive noise about Gardein, so I thought I would give them a try.

The Tuscan Breasts I chose are low cal and low fat, and since the protein is made completely from vegetables, I could feel good about my purchase.  One of the reasons I don't frequently buy meat substitutes is because despite the fact that blood never flowed through these chunks of protein, they are normally pretty processed, still, and I try to avoid that.  It's not holier-than-thou - I've found (by experience) that I feel better when I eat that way.

I'd be lying if I said this wasn't mildly disturbing.  I'm sure it could have been worse, after all, seitan is pretty gross in its pre-cooked state.  It was just the screams "Processed Food!"

Once they started cooking, I started to relax and believe they might actually turn out well.

I served them over Basmati rice, accompanied by a generous pile of roasted asparagus.

They looked attractive on the plate and we had an Italian color theme going on.  Mister and I had a few sheepish moments in which we realized that we so infrequently eat food that requires a knife, neither of us remembered which hands hold which utensils.  At the conclusion of our meal, I asked Mister what he thought.  After some discussion, we pretty much agreed on the following:
  • we were glad we tried the Tuscan Breasts
  • we were glad I bought them on sale
  • we agreed that the "chicken" was mild in flavor, to the point of being bland.  Mister postulated that the breasts themselves might work nicely in a mock Chicken Divan recipe, where the "chicken" itself is not the main focus of the meal.  Having recently stumbled upon a recipe for Mock Chicken Divan, that's good to know.
 I constructed my new menu from cookbooks I adore and fear I won't be able to look at again until 2011, in favor of my "express" recipes.  Aside from #6, they are all recipes I have made before and love.  Without further ado, here's an appetizer-sized taste of future dinner adventures:

1. Snobby Joes from Veganomicon

2. Chickpeas Romesco with Garlic Saffron Rice, also from Veganomicon

3. Seitanic Red and White Bean Jambalaya, also from Veganomicon

4. Clara's Pasta e Fagioli from The Urban Vegan

5. Tunisian Soup also from The Urban Vegan, and probably accompanied by another round of attempts to make a perfectly gooey vegan grilled cheese.  I picked up Vegan Gourmet Cheddar at Whole Foods this afternoon.

6. Red Cabbage with Caraway Seeds from The Urban Vegan, served with Tofurky Kielbasa.  I've been wanting to make this recipe because I've learned in the past year or so that I actually like red cabbage quite a bit (it must be the Irish in me?) and the discovery of caraway seeds remains one of my most astonishing culinary memories. 


  1. I agree with you on the's a little funky right out of the package. Cute kitty and quote, by the way!

  2. Thank you for making the trek! It was so lovely to see you and the Mister.

    The ducks were a surprise. I think it is the default animal that people go to when you decide that you don't want to find out your baby's gender in advance. My personal tastes run a little bit more, hmm, dark and modern, but that's not everyone's cup of tea.

    Angst's Auntie