holiday comedown

it's been quite the holiday season for the sisters kovach. lauren has been working tirelessly selling umpteen cases of fine booze to the thirsty masses, with nary a day off to call her own. i, on the other hand, have loads of time off from my cushy university job, but, despite my desires to not get caught up in all the holiday-inspired madness, have been running around quite a bit more than i'd like to. this year i was invited to, and happily attended, more holiday parties than ever before. plus, being married means double the family obligations! i love spending time with the fam (a facet of growing up that i never would've anticipated), but all the driving and socializing can wear a body down. good food, wine, gifts and conversation help keep it fun, but it's nice to feel settled back in our cozy home.

today, thanks to christmas being a few days behind us and to the truly epic snow storm that dumped well over a foot of frozen precipitation upon our fair city, today has been a good one for relaxing. ryan and i started the day off with an extended snooze and a hearty breakfast. more practical people would maybe use this forced time inside to take down the holiday decorations, but i don't think either of us are all the way ready yet.

another aspect of holiday trappings that i'm not ready to say goodbye to yet is christmas beer. while i don't always crave the sweet, strong, spicy character that holiday beers boast, i found myself taking solace in their soothing caress this season. one of the best i've sampled was rude elf's reserve (formerly known as rudolph's reserve) made by brew works. i feel like every other day i learn about a new craft brewery in our region. hell yeah!! when the roads are less treacherous, i fully plan on scheduling a mini-road trip to tour the brew works in either allentown or bethlehem, pa.
this special bottle was part of a beautiful gift basket given to us by our dear friend and fellow blogger annabell. anyone named annabell is pretty much destined to give adorable, thoughtful presents and just be an all around sweetheart. just saying. anyway, this belgian style holiday ale pours a thin head that gently gives way to a beautiful dark amber color. a strong gingerbread-y aroma follows. i couldn't stop sticking my face right in the glass and huffing the baked-good fumes.
despite the kind of obnoxious art on the beer's label, the flavor is sophisticated and expensive. pure sweetzel's on the nose with a slow, spice burn on the finish. there is a lingering, but smooth alcohol taste long after swallowing, akin to brandy or scotch. if you took a big bite of fresh gingerbread and washed it down with a shot of maker's, it might taste something like this. the beer's beefy 10.5% APV is good for slow sipping and savoring. so good, in fact, that i, a habitual fast drinker, took nearly 90 minutes to finish my glassful. it was my only beer of the night, but an amazing one. the notes of the beer kind of changed as it warmed up, in an incredibly pleasing way. i always like how strong winter beers claim that they "warm" you. insider's tip: that really just means they pack on a killer buzz!

so happy holidays, and don't feel bad if you're kind of happy that they're over. doesn't mean you have to stop quaffing badass bevs!


here's to two

happy 2nd birthday to Vegan Royale! things have changed in both our lives, but sister lauren and i are still committed to ever pursuing adventure and comfort in our tiny philadelphia kitchens. thanks to all who read and follow us. can't wait for 2011 and all it holds.

emily & lauren


bob and weave

where we come from, a lovely little place called delaware, there is a sandwich shop. and this sandwich shop is called capriotti's. to the naked eye, it doesn't look like much. a very no-nonsense interior and a short menu with all the standards: subs (that's what they call hoagies "down south"), salads, chips, et al. throw in some gruff men and ditzy teenagers working behind the counter and you've got your average sub joint.

but look a little closer. is that a vegetarian section on the menu? wait, does that say veggie turkey sub?! veggie burgers and hotdogs, too?!?! if only more mainstream eateries would note the genius of what capriotti's has done here: while they certainly cater to the all-american non-diet, they've stealthily created a cult following of die hard vegetarians fans, who might normally never step foot in their stores. if you make it meatless, they will come (and i ain't talking no cheese hoagie, here). the vegetarian turkey sub is nothing short of amazing, btw - these people really know how to make a quality hoag.

capriotti's has also developed a following around its take on the t-giving leftovers feast: the bobbie. the bobbie (which is trademarked, so don't even THINK about stealing that name), is made with pulled turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and mayo. wowzas. kind of a gross-but-great idea, and if they made a vegetarian version, i'd sure as shit try one. but they don't.

so on sunday, to ward off the ever-creeping cold and vodka hangovas, lauren, ryan and i tried our hands at making a veganized bobbie. or should we say....bauxbie? sorry, just had to.

sissy bought a righteous loaf of bread from claudio (hoagie rolls are hard to find on a sunday afternoon), that we cut into thick, mega rad, texas toast style slices. ryan came back from the whole foods with a delightfully savory hunk of seitan (field roast, WHY do you have to have to be so expensive?), and with the addition of some leftover cranberry sauce & some quick stuffing it was time to get this badass, bastardized sandwich started.

first, the field roast "celebration roast" (which we diced, but would've been amazing sliced, too) and the stuffing went in a 350F oven for about 25 minutes. we added a bit of veggie stock to each pan throughout the baking process, but not too much! don't want it getting all soggy. while these were baking, we made a salad and sipped some brunch-y cocktails.

sadly, tomato juice & vodka was probably the healthiest part of our meal

once all the components were ready, it was time to assemble. capriottis serves the bobbie cold, but we unanimously agreed that this seemed unappealing. so instead of letting the stuffing and wheat meat cool, we toasted up the bread and just went for it. first, a lovely crimson spread of cranberry sauce on one half of the bread. mayo or veganaise on the other slice of bread would be divine. then spread on some stuffing, a generous heap of fake turk, and squish it all together gently...

ladies & gents: the vegan bob

a silence fell over the table as we tackled these sammies. i can only use the words "savory" and "comforting" so many times but damn it if those aren't the exact words to describe the experience of these veeg bobbies. the sage notes of the stuffing, the tartness of the cranberry sauce (we hardly used any sugar while making it), and the complex spices of the field roast melded together into harmonious bliss.

up until eating this, the concept of stuffing on a sandwich seemed odd to me. why add more soggy bread to something already nestled between bread? but i suppose that is the magic of stuffing: it isn't just soggy bread, it is transformed into something so far beyond that. and it is my 2nd new opinion that cranberry sauce should fully graduate to an everyday condiment. it's such a simple, healthy, lovely relish that has the power to complement an array of flavors. toast with almond butter & cranberry sauce, anyone?

Tart Cranberry Sauce w/ Ginger Beer
~makes 2.5 cups~
~take 10 minutes~

1 pound fresh cranberries, rinsed
1/2 cup sugar (this is FAR less than most recipes call for, but it's how we like it)
1/3 - 1/2 cup reed's ginger beer (or water) (or regular beer?!)
1/2 teaspoon allspice (optional)
cinnamon stick (optional)
1 clementine: zest the rind and gently mash up the fruit, keeping the juices (optional)
a few slices of fresh ginger (optional)

- in a medium pot over high heat, combine the cranberries, sugar and ginger beer. stir, and bring to a boil.

- reduce the heat to a simmer, add the fresh ginger, allspice, and cinammon stick if using. add the mashed up clementine, and let the whole thing simmer for 5 to 8 minutes.

- stir in the clementine zest, remove the ginger pieces and the cinnamon stick.

feel the antioxidants flowing through your veins! you'll never go back to canned stuff again, swear.



brisk bisque

soft scarves, cute slickers, twirling umbrellas and humidity-inspired curls in your hair are great in theory, but sloshing through a torrential downpour at 8:30AM on the way to work is not. today was one of those mornings where it feels like the universe has conspired against you, and you'd give like ANYthing to just stay snuggled under the covers, hitting the snooze button until the numbers read double digits.

alas, when you are a grown up ("semi-grown up?" i never really know how to identify myself) with a full time job, this isn't really an option. you gotta face the rain, the crowds, the stuffy public transportation, and haul yourself to the office. when you get there, maybe you have the luxury of drying your socks off on the radiator:

there, that's a little better. i'll take a leap here and say that the food equivalent of putting toasty socks on cold, damp feet is a winter squash soup. there are many ways to prepare this classic autumn dish, and every last one of them feels nourishing. i always feel an extra sense of accomplishment when i use squash and root vegetables - they're kind of the misunderstood loser vegetables, but they're healthy, in season and unparalleled in the comfort department if prepared properly. and, usually priced at 99 cents per pound or below and complemented nicely by some garlic bread made from a forgotten heel of baguette in the back of the freezer, this is dinner on the cheap!

while these kinds of vegetables are often (wrongly, i say) associated with earthy aka dirt-y, less-than-desirable flavors or textures, the recipe below is smooth, rich and anything but spartan! this soup is like a pair of silk stockings, like an expensive perfume. even the word feels good in your mouth: "bisque." is it the "q" that makes it feel fancy?

Pumpkin/Winter Squash Bisque
~serves 6~
~takes 40 minutes~

1 tablespoon oil, butter, or margarine
2-3 pounds winter squash (cook's choice), peeled, seeded and chopped
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 large potato, rutabega, or a few parsnips, peeled and chopped (optional)
2-4 cups of vegetable broth, depending on how thick or thin you want the soup to be
1 can of light coconut milk - make sure you shake it up to mix the cream and the water!
salt & pepper
mixed spices: this is kind of cool - you can steer this soup in any direction. some suggestions are sage + thyme + a bay leaf for a more traditional wintry profile, paprika + cinnamon + red pepper flakes for a spicier, more savory feel, or curry + cumin + garam masala for an indian flavor. start with a teaspoon or two and taste as you go. you can always add but you can't subtract!

- heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. add the onion and garlic, and cook for 3 minutes.

-then add carrots and root vegetables (if using) and saute until it starts to softens up, maybe 6 minutes. sprinkle these vegs with about 1/2 of your spice mixture.

- add the squash. stir it around with the satueed veg mixture and let it cook all together for a minute or two. getting the squash coated in some savory onion juices helps to deepen the flavor.

- add enough vegetable broth to the pot so that it almost covers the squash. raise the heat and bring it all to a boil.

- once it has achieved a boil, lower the heat to a brisk simmer, and cover. stir occasionally and after about 20 minutes, check the squash to see if it's soft. the more tender, the better.

- once the squash is almost falling apart, take the pot off the heat and let it cool down a bit.

- blast that sucker to hell with your immersion blender until smooth. or, puree it in batches in a food processor or blender, being very, very careful not to burn yourself or splatter soup all over your kitchen.

- stir in the can of coconut milk and watch the magic happen. what was just moments ago mere pureed vegetables is now a sexy pot of bisque.

- heat the soup back up. taste it for more spices, salt and pepper. a little hot sauce or lime juice stirred in can add some pop, too!

long neck pumpkin bisque (& a beautiful salad courtesy of Lydia M.)

stay cozy, ya'll.



bistro feasto

sometimes it's fun to pretend you're making dinner in the french countryside: standing over a steaming stovetop, a jaunty apron around your waist, stirring and whisking, humming a little tune, pausing once in awhile to slow dance with someone you love. it really completes the fantasy to be cooking actual french food. creamy vegetable soups, crunchy endive salads, and homey cassoulets are nice, but the frenchie choices for vegetarians, and vegans especially, can be limited. and maybe a little boring.

one of my favorite bistro-inspired dishes, though, is lentils with (vegan) sausages and spinach. there is something about this dish that i will never get bored with. i've made it over and over, and unlike most of my favorite weeknight dishes, i never seem to throw in variations. it is nearly perfect as it is, and just makes you feel wonderful when you eat it. perhaps this is the best definition of french bistro fare: simple but elegant, a sense of refinement but nothing stuffy. after a hard day of work, lauren and i made this along with a lovely composed salad (butter lettuce, feta, pears, cashews and a drizzle of balsamic), and a special beer, brewed with hops grown in philadelphia!

so even while the dingy sidewalks are slick with chilly rain and fallen leaves, you can fluff a tablecloth over your kitchen table, light a few candles, pour a glass of beaujolais nouveau, and and whisper to yourself, "eh, c'est la vie," before taking a bite of this delicious bistro dish.

Lentils w/ Vegan Sausage & Spinach
~makes 4-6 servings~
~takes 30 minutes~

2 tsp oil (olive oil w/ some body is perfect), butter, or margarine
1/2 a large white onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 pound of brussel sprouts, cleaned and quartered (optional)
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
1 stalk of celery, chopped
1 cup of regular brown or fancier de puy lentils, rinsed
2 cups of water or vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 large bunch of spinach or 3 cups of baby spinach
2 vegan sausages, sliced into rounds (if they're homemade, you get a gold star!)

- over a medium flame, heat 1 teaspoon of the oil (or melt the margarine) in a medium pot, throw in the onion and garlic in and sautee til softened, about 5 minutes.

- add the brussels, carrots and celery and sprinkle with salt and pepper. sautee until tender. if the vegetables stick to the bottom of the pot, add a splash of broth (red wine is even better!).

- add the lentils, and stir around with the vegetable mixture for a minute. then add the 2 cups of water/broth, turn the heat to high, and bring to a boil.

- once boiling, lower the heat to medium-low and add the thyme and bay leaf. let this simmer briskly until the lentils are cooked all the way through, about 20 minutes.

- in a separate pan, heat the other teaspoon of oil. fry the sausages until browned.

- once the lentils are done, and the sausages are fried up, add the sausages to the pot. stir the spinach in (you can do this in a few batches if your pot is smaller), until it wilts, which only will take thirty seconds or so.

- stir everything together. taste for salt, pepper, or a bit of spice, if you like. serve piping hot.

- eat with gusto and remember to regret nothing.



a new icon

it's deeply enjoyable to me that because The Cheesesteak is one of philadelphia's edible icons (enough to warrant a televised showdown), the vegetarian/vegan cheesesteak has become another kind of icon for this town. an impressive number of bars, cafes and eateries boast their own version of this copycat sandwich. truly, these seitan beasts are everywhere.

do you know that i've never had a real philly cheesesteak? i have followed a meatless diet for so long, that a pat's, geno's, tony lukes' or whatever else has never touched my lips. this is a fact i'm pretty proud of. however, i have sampled dozens of vegetarian versions. like most popularized food items, some are great, some are bad. most are just okay.

this being said, i feel confident in claiming that blackbird pizza's is some next level shit. ryan and i met for lunch on friday and tucked into these beauties, pausing only to exclaim our delight between massive bites.

the seitan was very thinly sliced, perfectly peppery, and piping hot. there was no skimping on the onions and mushrooms, and vegan cheese was melted (YES - MELTED!) evenly over everything. the roll was crusty and sturdy - a detail so often overlooked in mainstream sandwich construction. i usually like to save half my sandwiches for round 2, but this one was too good and i showed no restraint.

now at $8 and change (and, don't forget to tip the nice vegans!), this sammie ain't exactly cheap - but who can put a price on joy?




this past friday night, we gathered at beloved shot & a beer joint bob and barbara's, for a birthdy throwdown. our bestie Halimah turned 25! so in her honor, we settled in at the city-wide special watering hole for long, solid bar session. you know, one of those nights where you park it at the bar, the hours roll by, the beers keep coming, and before you know it people are talking to strangers, jovially yelling over each other and dancing to the jazz band. maybe a few friends even trade smooches on a drunk lark. the bartenders start to hate you even though you mean to spread love through your tips. i wish i could elucidate this better but it just felt very...philly.

after the majority of the friends had disbanded, ryan, hammy and i stumbled out of the bar and into the clear autumn air. tipsy, but not yet tired, someone proposed a nightcap before turning in for good. we decided to get one more at tattoo mom, mostly out of its convenient location to pizza (eep!) and home. on our bike ride down south street, i proposed a slightly classier option - brauhaus schmitz. much to my surprise, my cohorts heartily agreed to abandon our punk rock destination for the german-themed bar. something about brauhaus has always been tinged with douchiness (is it that boot thing?), or fratiness, or something, but it also has the potential to be really nice. which would it be on that saturday morning at 1:20AM?

blonde, redhead, brunette

thankfully, the meathead contingent had already retired for the evening, and the bar was pretty quiet. yeah, there were still a few questionable looking/acting young men, but we ignored them and ordered our delicious final beers of the night. i can't remember what ry and ham ordered (full disclosure: i think i acheived 2.5 out of 3 sheets to the wind), but i ordered a big, beautiful mug of spaten optimator (the dark beer on the far right in the photo above). yes, 17 ounces of this 7.2%, bottom fermented, rich and roasty malted doppel bock was a bold choice for a night cap. but after a night of mediocre lager, it tasted SO good, and i really took my time sipping. if we'd actually gone to that other bar, i certainly would've ended up gulping yet another crappy beer, and probably would've ordered a second. instead, all three of us lingered, truly enjoying the complex, deep aromas and flavors of our brews. and at $5.50, this heady bev was worth every dime.

ending our night this way felt, well, very adult. adult in the best way - a savvy, relaxing way to spend a little more time together before hitting the sack. perhaps appropriate for a quarter century b-day, eh?



dems the breks

who can pick what their favorite meal of the day is? i'd bet that for most people it's a toss up between lunch & dinner. oh, the lovely parade of sandwiches (cold & hot), sushi, soups, or steaming plates of grains and veggies and proteins that marches through our minds when we imagine mid-day or sun-down supping.

while i have a very hard time choosing my favorite (depends on the day, my mood, and what's in the fridge, i guess...), breakfast was never really in the running. brunch, yes, but that's really just breakfast for lunch with some soothing boozy beverages thrown in, right?

but lately, breakfast - real and true breakfast - has just been so pleasing to me. there's something quite grounding about a morning routine because, honestly, waking up is very often a major bummer. whether you are fighting to shrug off the dark cloak of a lingering dream or are bright eyed as the sun, the moment you swing your legs over the edge of the bed and go from horizontal to vertical - it just kind of sucks. if you have a cozy bedfellow who gets to sleep in every day, and the hardwood floor is newly cold under your toes, it can be even worse! but the promise of strong coffee, a bowl of cereal, a nice piece of fruit...these small bites ease my pain each morning before i hustle out of the house, work-bound.

unlike most of my habits, i eat almost the same thing for breakfast every day: first, a glass of homebrewed kombucha (best on an empty stomach), a small bowl of plain organic yogurt w/ kashi cereal or granola, and a piece of toast with jam, peanut butter, or both. a pear, banana, or a little bunch of grapes usually rounds this out alongside a cup of coffee or black tea. i don't always enjoy repetition, but for breakfast i find it absolutely necessary.

my dad was in town this weekend (yay!), and we had him over for a little brunch on sunday morning. instead of going the eggs/tofu scramble-potatoes-toast route, i decided to steer it back toward my usual AM fare - but with a few extra flourishes, because weekend mornings (especially a beautifully clear fall sunday morning, when one of your parents is coming to visit) deserve a little more luxury than the monday-to-friday treatment...

quartered muti-grain and cornbread muffins (thanks whole foods...didn't have time to make my own), cranberry bread toast (not pictured), sliced nectarines, apples and bananas, ginger granola, 4-fruit jam and cream cheese, and of course COFFEE!!!! comprised this lovely breks. filling, hearty and healthy it was an excellent way to start our day together. we sat in the backyard and grazed and chatted, and (despite a stubborn little hangover on my part), all was as it should be. that is the power of breakfast!




just a quick follow up on the dinner lauren and i made on wednesday. between mouthfuls of this super hearty and excellent southern inspired meal, we cheered on pitching wonderboy roy hallady and the rest of our boys as they soundly beat the saggy pants off the reds.

i'm typing this with my fingers crossed that they can do it again tonight! i'll just be eating leftovers instead of a killer home cooked meal, but there's only so much time in the day...

salt & pepper polenta topped with spicy beans, tempeh bacon & collard greens, and sweet potato fries

Spicy Beans
makes 2-4 servings~
~takes about 15 minutes~

1 can of beans (almost any kind will do, we used roman beans), drained and rinsed
1-2 cloves of garlic, diced
1-2 hot peppers, chopped finely (we used sweet habaneros, but jalepeno or long hots would be great, too!)
1 tomato, chopped (no need to peel, or de-seed or any of that fancy stuff)
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/2 tsp chili powder or cayenne pepper (depending on how spicy you want it...)
1 tsp oil
hot sauce and/or bbq sauce to taste
salt to taste

- in a small saucepan over medium heat, warm up 1 tsp veggie, olive, safflower, or whatever kind of oil you like.

- add the diced garlic and peppers. sautee gently for about 5 minutes, then dust with the chili powder or cayenne.

- add the beans and bring to a brisk simmer.

- add the veggie stock, and turn the heat down to low.

- simmer until most of the stock has absorbed (1o mins), and the beans are starting to break down. stir in the tomatoes.

- taste it. how spicy is it? how much spicier do you want to make it? that will determine how much bbq sauce or hot sauce you want to add. if you're not sure, add slowly, tasting in between. that's basically it!

you can customize this recipe by adding other veggies in step 2 (carrots, bell peppers, onions, etc), by tailoring the spices to your likes (some chipolte is nice), or by stirring in some grated cheese instead of bbq/hot sauce at the end. then go ahead and put these frijoles all up in some tacos, on a sandwich w/ avocado, or atop some fluffy grains like we did. bang!



i can't fight this feeling

tonight is the first game of the NLDS, our beloved Phillies vs. the Reds. sissy and i are meeting up after work to make dinner (she's been texting me with some talk of collards, tempeh bacon and polenta - perfect early october meal!), catch up, and watch the game together. i expect there to be lots of of cheering, hugging and occasional cursing at the TV.

while we're not the sportiest gals, lauren and i have both really gotten into the Phillies over the past few years. could it have something to do with the joint crush we've both developed on lil Carlos Ruiz? who in their right mind wouldn't want to go on a dream date with this babe?

daaaaamn, chooch

seriously though, i think i'm beginning to truly grasp how people become unconditionally devoted to their home team, and even how a win or loss can affect their mood for the next day or two. what can i say? the Phillies are a kick ass team with a lot of balls and a lot of heart, and it has been a real pleasure to support them throughout the season. on a different level, it's also pretty cool to feel connected to other Philadelphians through our mutual love of this team. why, just last night i was having a few pints in a cozy neighborhood spot, when i laid eyes on this incredible homemade gigantic cap adorning the fridge:

when i spotted this sublime creation, i felt the embodiment of the expression "oh, hell yeah." i love banding together with strangers! so go Phils, and remember ya'll, yelling at umpires while simultaneously high-fiving your bros and jamming beers doesn't necessarily make you a jock.



pupusas - my new favorite thing to eat

how have i not had these before? how can i not find these ANYWHERE in philly? new york, why do you have to be so awesome all the time? (down with the yankees, btw)

pupusas are an el salvadorian delicacy consisting of a thick hand-made corn tortilla (think a tortilla with a pancake thickness) with cheese, beans, veggies or meat mixed into the batter. wikipedia says: pupusas are typically served with curtido (lightly fermented cabbage slaw with red chilies and vinegar) and a watery tomato salsa. add some weird sort of thin sour cream and jalapenos and I'M SO IN. i got one with beans and cheese and one with loroco and cheese. loroco is sort of like a spinachy green but is actually unopened flower buds. i have to find this stuff in philly.

we went to the red hook mercado, a little hole in the fence joint, fashioned after latin american open air markets. a lovely garden away from it all vibe, picnic tables, lush greenery and all - pair it with insanely good mexican food stands and a cupcake merchant, what more do you need on a saturday afternoon?

well if you throw in a pie at steve's key lime, and a ferry ride out to governor's island to see an art show in the old naval barracks, i guess that would certainly round it out.

oh, we don't "do" slices

outdoor art installation

view from governor's island

weird/creepy/cool art

i watched this little animatronic skeleton move around
for about 5 minutes straight

then we put our bikes on the ferry and it was back to the city!

more pics soon of: farmer's market! the tiniest waffles! roller derby!



mind your b's and q's

we don't need to extol the joys and virtues of outdoor grilling to you all - you probably rocked the coals all summer long! well, to celebrate our recent move as well as the summer's end (oh, and what a summer it was), ryan and i threw a little bbq in our new backyard last weekend! our new place is small, so we couldn't host the rager of years past, but i still think it turned out pretty grand.

the best part? a few hours before the bbq was slated to start, a handful of friends (lauren, michael, halimah and stina) presented us with a wedding/housewarming gift that made our jaws drop: a brand new gas grill! what a generous, thoughtful and rad gift that truly will keep on giving. ryan and michael set it up right then and there, and we proceeded to use it all though the night! it was such a luxury to be able to fire it up for the 2nd and 3rd waves of guests, or when people wanted midnight snacks. that kind of spontaneity just isn't possible with the charcoal grill.

as for the food, we wisely kept it pretty simple: some chips, a few salads (green salad, pasta salad and a guest vegan potato salad from our brother steven!), and grillables. chicken and steak for the meat eaters, and homemade vegan sausages and bbq'd tofu for the vegetarians, featuring BBQ sauce that ryan whipped up from scratch. when that dude's southern roots shine through, they really shine! the sauce was killer, the beers were cold, the mood was high. we ate, drank, told jokes, watched baseball, played cards, and no doubt kept our neighbors up until saturday turned into sunday and we all fell into our beds.

dang, just look at those sexy grill marks! anyway, it really is time to let the summer go, isn't it? the autumn is here, so let's embrace it! unpack your leggings and sweaters, and expect some cozy recipes to come....