This was the second year I entered the Tennessee Equality Project Gumbo Contest, which went down at Bridges on Sunday afternoon. TEP is the statewide lobbying group that fights for pro-LGBT equality legislation and against anti-gay bills (and trust me, we have to fight off a lot of anti-gay bills here in Tennessee). This annual Mardi Gras party and gumbo contest is a fund-raiser for TEP. Teams pay to enter, and attendees pay to sample and vote for their favorite gumbos in the People's Choice Awards.
All of the gumbo teams except mine served meat gumbo, but I put my vegan gumbo up against theirs. I didn't win, but I did get lots of compliments from meat eaters. It's not about winning for me. It's about spreading the news that vegan food is delicious.
My team is "Who Dat Crunk Vegan?" And this year, it was made up of my friends Greg (on the left) and Andy. They didn't help cook, but they were handy for running errands. I totally forgot to bring a ladle, but they ran home and got me one just in time to serve the judges.
Here are my friends! Greg, Diane, Andy, and Jabonn.
This year, I made Bryant Terry's Gumbo Z from Vegan Soul Kitchen. But I added my Creole Steamed Seitan Sausages from Cookin' Crunk. Here's a sample sized bowl, like the ones we gave out to the judges and attendees.
Gumbo Z is Bryant's take on gumbo z'herbes, a traditional vegetarian gumbo that was served to Catholics who couldn't eat meat during Lent. It has kale, collards, mustard greens, and spinach. Plus, there's celery, onion, and bell pepper. It's so good! I made Bryant's recipe once a couple years ago and loved it, so I knew this would be the type of gumbo I'd make this time around. Last year, I made my own recipe for Tempeh Gumbo from Cookin' Crunk, but I like to mix things up every year.
Overall, we had a great time. My entire weekend was consumed by gumbo though. Shopping on Friday, six hours of prep and cooking on Saturday (I had to make two gallons for the contest!!), and the competition today. Kinda glad it's over, and I'm even more glad that I saved myself a bowl at home to eat for lunch tomorrow since I didn't get to eat any gumbo at the contest today.