I’d never made Runzas before, but I’d always wanted to try. When I wasn’t eating meat, I often had a craving for the sandwich, and when I started eating meat again, one of the first things I had was a Runza. I made the mistake, though, of ordering my first Runza at Memorial Stadium during a Nebraska game. It was smooshed. And lukewarm. And not that great. (For those who are saying “what’s a Runza? Try one when you’re in Nebraska. But in the meantime, click here.)
So when my friend Quentin asked me to try making a meatless Runza for our most recent pot luck, I really wanted to give it a go. I’d seen a recipe for vegan Runzas on the Post Punk Kitchen and decided to use it. Technically, my version of the sandwich wasn’t vegan, as I couldn’t find soy yogurt. I used regular yogurt and regular milk.
The Runzas turned out great. I did bake them for an extra five minutes, so they’d be golden brown. I was nervous to cut one open at the party, but when I did, they looked just like the picture on Isa’s blog. The bread tasted very similar to an actual Runza, and the filling had lots of flavor and a nice bite.
They were a huge hit at the party, and something that I’ll definitely make again.
I hadn’t kneaded dough in years — in fact, since I worked at a bakery when I was 17 — but I remembered how to do it just fine. (Though I will say my wrists and hands were super sore the next day.) The dough didn’t rise all that much in the bowl, and I was a bit concerned, but the Runzas rose fine in the oven and turned a lovely shade of gold.
Quentin played host to our January pot luck last Sunday. The theme: comfort food. It was delicious, as usual. At his request, I tried my hand at Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s vegan Runza recipe. I’ll do a separate post about making them, but all you really need to know is that they turned out delicious.
I got so busy eating and socializing that I didn’t take as many photos as I should have. Quentin set up a great little bar for making hot tea, hot chocolate and hot toddies. Food included vegetarian enchiladas, biscuits and gravy, scalloped and mashed potatoes, mulligatawny soup, baked brie, sweet potato hummus, two types of cookies, a fruit crumble. The list goes on.
Our November pot luck was last night, and this month’s theme, as set by friends Ben and Annie, was breakfast for dinner. It was over the top. Ben made plum clafoutis and scrambled eggs studded with scallions from his garden, and the rest of the pot luckers did not disappoint, either: homemade pumpkin butter, savory and sweet casseroles, baked oatmeal, quiche, banana bread with chocolate chips and homemade scones.
As for my dish, I made a recipe from a new cookbook that I’m really excited about: Vegan Holiday Kitchen by Nava Atlas. Though the pot luck crowd doesn’t include any vegans, it does include a fair amount of vegetarians and one gluten-free friend. I’m always on the lookout for food I can bring that meets everyone’s needs, and the Baked Tofu Tortilla Extravaganza was a prime example. It’s vegetarian, gluten-free and could be easily prepared vegan if you used vegan cheese and sour cream. It turned out better than I could have hoped for. I foresee using this book a lot during the holidays this year.
For more than a year now, a loose group of my friends have been having monthly pot lucks on Sunday nights. These gatherings dwindle during the summer and pick up in the fall, when people feel most like gathering together to eat and talk. Our group is blessed in that it’s filled with people of good humor who also happen to be excellent cooks. Last night, friends from Lincoln, Courtney and Michael, came to Omaha to cook the group authentic Chinese, which they learned how to make while living in the country. Courtney briefly worried there wouldn’t be enough food. I told her not to fret, and it turned out fine; we’ve got rice in our fridge for days.
Forgive the quality of some of my photos. I need to invest in a better camera, that much is clear. This is the first time we’ve documented our pot lucks; count on future posts about them here.