Andy and I flew to Elk Grove, California to see my side of the family for the holidays-- which was pretty exciting for me for several reasons. One, he would get the chance to know my family better, plus he never got the chance to meet my older sister. And two, I got to show off my new semi-culinary expertise that I've recently acquired-- no longer being the once kitchen-impaired, unable to make a frozen dinner Tracy they once knew. Christmas dinner [[my family does it Christmas Eve]], I pretty much had to make all the sides for everyone eating [[which included my mom, step dad, sisters, and some family friends I had never met]] and my own protein for Andy and I. Beyond the fact that I was cooking for strangers, trying to prove my vegan side dishes would be edible, and cooking for more than my ordinary two people -- my mom gave me a glass of champagne that was stronger and bigger than I had imagined [[plus a few glasses of Pinot Noir, but who's counting?]]. So, my slightly inebriated self with help from the amazing Andy and my also inebriated and kitchen-illiterate older sister made some sautéed mushrooms and green beans [[a recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance]], garlic mashed potatoes, and the most amazing Tempeh Rubens [[Also from Vegan with a Vengeance]] I have ever tasted [[to be fair, I never had a Ruben before, but with a little shove from Andy, I hesitantly made them and am better for it]].
The dinner was a success. My mom's crappy oven undercooked my cheese cake, but it didn't matter. The sides turned out great, the night was fun, and the Tempeh Ruben was to die for. And although everyone else had chicken, those who tried the Tempeh Ruben were astounded by it's delicious-ness.
From the time we got there, we were constantly teased by my family-- and never has it been more sweet to shut someone up with a Tempeh Ruben and a lemon bar. I highly recommend it.