Thursday, September 2, 2010

Food for Hippies

I have this hippie friend Jenn, who is awesome.  She's like a ray of sunshine.  She goes to hippie shows and spins and spins.  I don't know how she does it without becoming dizzy, but she does.  The gal can spin.  Plus, she's, like, incapable of lying, super-supportive, and earnest.  She's also a vegetarian, and, although not entirely vegan, at least has not eaten cheese for years and years.  Her weakness is sweets, because she doesn't bake herself, which you've gotta do if you want to eat vegan and eat sweets.

She was at the Philly Folk Fest with me, and she really kept me in the couscous.  Seriously.  She brought all this couscous, had a little boiler plate or something (truth be told, I don't know how she cooked it), and she fed me lots of it, which I appreciated so so much.  I wanted to pay her back.  So I had her over to dinner.
Jenn and Asa worshiping the Folk Fest gods.  She'd absolutely hate this picture, but it's the only one I have, and also, I kind of love the picture, because it's ridiculous.

Turns out, though, that the girl has some dietary restrictions.  Garlic and onions give her really bad, hospital-visit-inducing heartburn!  Whaaaaat???  No garlic or onions?  I think I'd just freakin' kill myself.  I mean, if I couldn't eat garlic or onion, I think I'd probably be eating cheeseburgers or something.  I don't know.  How can you even avoid garlic?  I don't think that's really possible.  She and I and some other friends shared a cheese-less pizza about a week ago, with spinach and extra sauce -- did that sauce not have any garlic in it?  Well, maybe, because Phoenixville's XPress Pizza is not exactly the most highbrow of pizza places, and I really wouldn't be surprised if they got their sauce from a can.  But still.  Garlic is in everything.

I had gone food shopping before I found out about these dietary restrictions.  The plan: Veganomicon's Braised Seitan with Brussels Sprouts, Kale, and Sun-dried Tomatoes, along with Poppy Seed Polenta.  OK, it doesn't have onions, but it does have shallots.  She didn't say no shallots!  I reduced the amount, though.  And the garlic?  Well, I cut it in half -- 2 cloves instead of 4.  She was still pretty freaked out about it though, but I told her that there was NO WAY that she never eats garlic.  Garlic is in everything that is tasty, pretty much!  Two cloves in the whole recipe was not going to kill her.  Also, I didn't tell her this, but there was garlic in the seitan I'd made as well.  

Now, I had chosen this meal carefully.  I wanted to feed her something truly amazing.  Something that would knock her socks off.  Generally speaking, I find that if you want to blow someone away with a meal, you make something that has some wine in it.  Wine makes sauces incredible.  I had made this recipe before and knew that no one could not like it.  You'd be insane not to like it!  You should probably be committed against your will if you don't like it!  It's, like, the greatest thing ever.  If this were served at a restaurant, people would stand in line to eat it, I'm pretty sure.

And, you know, she did love it!  Now, she's nuts, she puts tons of salt on everything, on every bite (including that cheese-less pizza we shared), but, covered in salt, she ate it all, exclaiming that it was "One of the best things [she] ever ate, ever" and went back for seconds.  I think, also, I've turned her on to the joys of polenta, which is good, because a gal cannot live on couscous alone, which, I suspect, she mostly does  AND, no heartburn!  So, yeah, I guess shallots are fine.  And two cloves of garlic never hurt anyone, except vampires.

In other news, I finally made Vegan Yum Yum's Mini Baked Donuts, which I've been talking about making ever since I bought the petite donut pan in Pittsburgh's Strip District (an amazing place filled with food markets -- extensive ethnic markets, veggie stands, and also a renown fish market, which I'll try to ignore because, more than anything, I'm against the eating of fish -- it doesn't really bother me if people eat chicken or beef of whatever, but eating fish is just environmentally inexcusable).  I glazed them all, then dipped half in good, old-fashioned sprinkles,
and half in toasted coconut.
They look so pretty and cute, but I didn't think they were that great.  They'd be better dipped in coffee, because they're not as sweet as, like, a Krispy Creme or something.  Next time, I want to make some chocolate-dipped ones and some maraschino cherry-glazed ones, because that would increase the sweetness factor.  Plus, I'd make them a bit smaller (put less dough in each donut alcove), because, again, that would increase the sweetness since the glaze to dough ratio would be higher.  I ate a few, but I brought most of them to Phoenixville's Sunstone Studios/Lighthouse Lounge, for their Wednesday night open jam/mic (hippies again!).  Nicest people, most casual place.  Every one got eaten and appreciated.  I'm definitely my own harshest critic.  It's just like, if you bake enough, you get to be a little picky.  Why make something that is just ok if you can make something that is amazing?  But people like things that look pretty, so they were hard to resist, which I totally get.  Plus, you know, free homemade donuts!  Who is gonna turn that down?

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