It took an invitation to a neighbor's, Bob and Diana, little potluck and fantastic presentation of their recent Russian tour of St Petersburg, Moscow and the river Volga to finally throw one together.
Diana had made a wonderful vegan chili, knowing I was vegan, to round out an omni spread.
I was totally unprepared for the scale and variety of St Petersburg's architecture...incredible! We got to watch a wonderful DVD with Bob's own great photography, short videos and even live background music of local musicians...and hear Diana and Bob's personal experiences along the way. Loved every minute of it !
But dang, basics that we take for granted...restrooms, food( let alone vegan food !), water...were hard to come by even for tourists. It was a great reminder of the privilege us Americans have in this world at this time and made me want to use that advantage and voice to help awaken people to the joys of veganism.
And a nice animal-free Seven Layer Dip is a good start.
Recipe to follow soon !
Update, December 31st, 2013 :
The "recipe" ! With so many ways to layer things for a dip, I hesitate to call this a recipe. Basically what you want is just alternating layers of thick, dip-able goodness topped with shredded lettuce and a not-too-juicy salsa. The instructions may look complicated ( waht with all the notes and links...) but it's not, and if you are pressed for time, you can use all purchased and canned/jarred ingredients. The amounts are approximate...use what you have and spice things up the way you like. Oh, and I've got only five layers...I left out the 'traditional' shredded cheese and ground meat layering, not bothering to replace them with their vegan counterparts, but you could add those, using your choice of perhaps some browned up Field Roast Chorizo Sausages or Tofurky sausages or one of several brands of vegan crumbles. IF I was going to add shredded vegan cheese I would use Daiya brand. Again...it's not that complicated, trust me :)
From the bottom to the top:
1 can Amy's Blackbean Refried Beans
1 cup of cooked brown rice
1Tablespoon of chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup purchased or homemade salsa
Mix all together and spread into the bottom of a 9" pie plate.
2 cups or so of guacamole...homemade, purchased or make some Cheapamole from Robin Robertson's great cookbook, Vegan On The Cheap...that's what I did.
Spread out the edges of the dish.
2-3 cups of vegan sour cream or plain vegan yogurt, homemade or purchased.
Spread out to the edges of the dish.
If using purchased yogurt, make sure it is not "plain" with sugar added ( it'll mess with the end flavor of the dip ), but truly PLAIN. As of this writing, Whole Soy has still not recovered from their factory shutdown and move, but ought to be available by spring...we hope ! And there seems to be a general shortage of vegan yogurts has occurred. This shortage started months ago and forced me to finally start making my own damn yogurt...and I have to say, it is SO MUCH better than any store bought variety I've ever had, and super easy, once you get over the seemingly complicated process and thrill of actually nurturing a living process ( the yogurt culture critters ! ). It also keeps well...I've got some in the fridge right now that is 24 days old and still great. I'll post on that adventure another time :)
2 cups or so of Salsa, either homemade or purchased....but not anything too runny. Drain off some of the excess juices if you need to, otherwise it'll make your dip soupy.
Spread out to the edges of the dish.
2 cups or so of shredded lettuce and cilantro then more salsa or some finely chopped fresh tomatoes.
Scatter the lettuce and cilantro across the top and decorate with more salsa and/or fresh tomatoes.
Serve right away or chill for a few hours.