Monday, May 27, 2013

Bryan would have loved brunch

It has been 2 years...exactly 2 years today...since our great friend Bryan died unexpectedly. It is Memorial Day today and the anniversary of his death and it feels like I can finally talk about it without crying. Typically we would have had him and Susan and the girls over for a holiday bbq and we would have swam in the pool and drank celebratory amounts of beer and wine. The grill would be going and he would have arrived with a cooler full of food and drink, probably brats and who knows what else. Bryan could make anything and everything funny and a rousing culinary event. The kids would be making lots of noise and the dogs would be barking as the kids jumped in the water and squirted them with mega-blaster squirt guns. General merriment would be the order of the day.

That was our regular routine. How fitting Bryan should exit this world, staking his memorial claim, on a weekend known for BBQs and relaxing with friends. We all know what Memorial Day is really- paying tribute in memorial to those who have served our country, those who have died to protect the very life we have here. For me, Memorial Day will always also be about remembering our dear friend. We miss him greatly. So in the very spirit of all that is Bryan, today we cook and enjoy each others company. And spend time with the kids. And splash in the pool. And drink mimosas. And eat good food!

We were lucky to have Susan here today with the kids. And I believe Bryan would have loved brunch. We had tacos inspired by Rick Bayless' Chorizo Potato taco recipe and fruit salad and bagels with cream cheese, lox and tomatoes. I started with Rick's recipe and veganized it and added some other touches. It was yummy! Also, Rick Bayless makes tomatillo and avocado salsa from scratch and I use a jar of organic tomatillo salsa from Sprouts. It's the lazy way but, hey, it's the holiday and the mimosa's and pool are calling...

Vegan Chorizo Potato Tacos:

Vegan Chorizo from Trader Joe's (fantastic! You would not know it is soy- tastes amazing)
2 large sweet onions
One package frozen hash browns (I use Trader Joe's 20oz. frozen bag)
flour tortillas
zucchini (how every many you like, I roast a tray of about 6 small-medium sized ones at a time)
garlic powder
Tomatillo salsa
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Sour cream if desired (I use vegan sour cream- Follow Your Heart or Toffuti)

First I roast the zucchini. Cut them into quarters the long way then about 1/2 to 3/4 inch chunks. Mix with some olive oil. Spread on a pan, sprinkle on some garlic powder and sea salt if you like and roast at 400 degrees for about 12 minutes.

While the zucchini cook I start one pan with a little olive oil and slices of sweet onion. Saute the onion. As the onion browns and gets more dry, add a little water to help it cook and soften. I keep this onion separate as a topping for the tacos.

In another large skillet, brown the other onion which you've chopped/diced into small pieces. As the onion softens, add the soy chorizo (without the casing) and mix. Once heated, remove the chorizo and onion mixture and add a little more olive oil to the pan. Add the frozen hash browns and cook till they are browning and cooked through. Add the chorizo mixture back into the pan with the hash browns and mix together. This is your taco filling.

For tacos, let people layer in as they like. We make them with the potato/chorizo mixture on one side of the tortilla, add roasted zucchini, sauteed onions, tomatillo salsa, avocado and cilantro. Fold the tortilla over (like a hard shell taco looks). Add sour cream if you like.