Sequestration Meal #149

This photo does not do this meal justice, in part because I took it after dark. You are probably going to see more after-dark dinners in the coming months, though, because in winter the sun goes down really early around here. Maybe I should get some better lights.

This is far more effort than I've put in with a meal in a long time, but fortunately all of this was worth the effort! I was using cooking as a means to avoid painful realities, I think, but hey. Avoiding painful realities is sometimes the healthiest thing to do.

I made Chewy Blackened Tofu Steaks from the recipe at My Darling Vegan, Vegan Scalloped Potatoes from the recipe at Nora Cooks (I cut the recipe down by a third, so it made 4 servings instead of 12--I like scalloped potatoes, but not enough to eat it for 12 meals in a row), and Best Sauteed Spinach from the recipe from Crunchy Creamy Sweet (using vegan butter and cutting it down to make one serving). Everything was so flavorful. I could have served this at a dinner party, if we could have dinner parties. I think nobody, even the most skeptical of omnivores, could have resisted this meal. Scalloped potatoes will lure almost anyone to the table.

First, the steaks: Wonderful, savory, and smelling intensely of rosemary. I baked them as suggested rather than grilling, since I didn't feel like grilling each steak individually on my tiny grill. (It's tiny, about the size of a hamburger.) I also used dried rosemary, so mine may have been slightly woodier than intended, but it didn't matter. It was really good.

Next, the scalloped potatoes. Remarkable. I think next time I'll try adding cheese, because I'm a cheese fiend, but you don't actually need it. All those creamy, potato layers--it was worth putting in some extra effort over just mashing the potatoes as per my usual default.

Finally, the spinach! So simple and yet I immediately wished I'd made a full batch. I did do one thing a bit differently, since everything else was in the oven for so long: I let the onions caramelize for about 25 minutes over low heat before adding the garlic and Earth Balance butter. I think that made a difference. I can't wait until I get to have this spinach again.

This meal made me think about what I'd said a while ago about how quarantine grocery shopping is like new-vegan grocery shopping. My newbie vegan self would never have even thought about making such a meal, but I'll admit my more experienced vegan self wouldn't have, either, pre-quarantine. If I were putting in the effort to make scalloped potatoes I would never have also made tofu steak. I'd have defaulted to a ready-made meat substitute. But this is just as good, and doesn't require any specialty ingredients other than vegan Worcestershire (which I'll shortly have to learn to make on my own), and are not at all difficult--plus they can bake alongside the potatoes. And unlike most of the prepared vegan meat substitutes, this is gluten free, so I could share this with more people. A lesson for me for the future, perhaps. But now I want to have a dinner party.


  1. This looks lovely! I would be very happy attending your dinner party.

  2. This meal looks incredible! I think you'd throw an amazing dinner party!


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