Forecast for the Future

"Every individual without exception bears a potential writer within himself. The reason is that everyone has trouble accepting the fact that he will disappear unheard of and unnoticed in an indifferent universe, and everyone wants to make himself into a universe of words before it's too late. 

Once the writer in every individual comes to life (and that time is not that far off), we are in for an age of universal deafness and lack of understanding."

- Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Week 15, Day 4 Veganism: Friends Make It Better

Genuine doghead draft

Here's the first of many overdue updates of the past few days of veganism.


Ms. Sweeetheart Fever, Almond Queen

Wednesday was a great day. I came home after work looking forward to a lovely evening of deluxxx vegan stylings in the company of great friends. Among the many friends joining me for dinner was my favorite Californian, Ms. Sweeetheart Fever, who planned to not only eat but also cook our fantastic meal (check out her own foodblog here and linked to the left). But first, a great story about the day.

The day was in and of itself pretty solid, but it was brought to a level of beautiful ridiculousness around 1 pm, when I received in the mail a box of bacon I had special-ordered from a farm in Tennessee. The hilarity about me getting this bacon is probably obvious, working on a number of levels. It came from Benton's Smoky Mountain Country Hams in Tennessee, a family-owned business producing some amazing meats through a prep process of pork "slow cured using salt, brown sugar, and sodium nitrite and typically aged 9-10 months." I am without doubt a bacon epicure, and I found out about Benton bacon when at Ben D's house a few weeks ago studying photography. Of course, despite my love for cured pig, I have never in my life ordered or even considered mailordering for it, so the facts that I a) went ahead and ordered it, b) had it sent to my office, and then c) received it smack in the middle of a week celebrating non-animal product foods is really just too much. The meat-loving coworker with whom I share an office already thinks I'm crazy for doing this entire project, and she thought my vegan efforts this week were even more so; but nothing else so far has topped the look on her face as she watched me tear open the cardboard box on my desk and begin pulling out pack after pack of juicy, luscious bacon. I spent the rest of the day in half-anguish over the fact that I wouldn't be able to eat any of it.


Fuck Midtown. My day on Wednesday was pretty busy, with meetings all morning and afternoon, and for lunch I couldn't be bothered to be creative or exciting about my choice, so I went with a rather flavorless salad, again from Global Kitchen. Ingredients: spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes, green peppers, mushrooms, balsamic vinigrette. Boring.



Sooooz came directly from work and brought along the "Worm Condo" she'd picked up during work to begin her summer composting.

Carrying the box of bacon on the train home was almost too much, and by the time I got there my brain was overrunning with craziness. Luckily, my friends began arriving soon after and I relaxed a little and got excited again about vegan pleasures.

When discussing food choices for the night with Ms. Sweeetheart, she stressed an important point which I'd largely ignored during my previous Hyperliving week of cooking in February: "We should just make some easy one-pot sort of stuff, because the more time we spending eating / talking / laughing about stuff the better. A twenty minute meal should be plenty." My therapist had me pegged when she told me that I should constantly remind myself that I should always expect that things will take about three times longer than what ever amount of time I think they should take, and Hyperliving Cooking Week was the best example of that, where, with the exception of one night, every meal began late and took ridiculous amounts of time to complete. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but when you're having friends over to share the evening, it's definitely better if you aren't tied up in the kitchen the entire time.

Here is the meal Ms. Sweeetheart chose, from the 101 Cookbooks blog (which she highly recommends that any foodies should check out).

"Tasty Asparagus with Red Quinoa"
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 or 2 14-ounce cans of chickpeas, drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1-inch segments
3 cups pre-cooked brown rice >> 3 cups red quinoa
1 cup almond slivers, toasted
fine grain sea salt

Ms. Sweeetheart decided to make a few substitutions to the recipe. One change, as you see above, was substituting the brown rice for red quinoa, which was a nice choice given that I'd never had quinoa before and it was a food staple recommended to me by many vegans in preparation for this week. The other change was more accidental: the recipe calls for seasoning the asparagus with a tahini sauce, which would have been great, but unfortunately, even after a city-wide search tahini sauce was nowhere to be found. Seriously! Sweetheart and Doorknobs canvassed grocerias in Manhattan and the 'Burg but no one seemed to be carrying our sauce backbone, so Sweeetheart and E-bad put their heads together to improvise an alternative based on the meager seasoning possibilities available in my apartment. Ultimately they settled on a mix of lemon juice, nutmeg, ginger, 3 cloves of garlic sauteed in soy "butter", and two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, and it turned out great.

Also joining us for dinner were Becca and my great friend Sooooz, who brought dessert and did much of the sous chef preparation.

Here's some photos of the process:

Red quinoa cooking on an open fire--went on first as it takes about 15 min to cook

Soooz at work on garlic

Asparagus, chopped by Soooooz

Onions, also chopped by Soooooz

A little lonely garlic clove

Pre-sliced almonds, preparing to be toasted

Almonds, post-toasting

Chickpeas, beginning to cook

Fully-cooked red quinoa (weird right? Looked to me like wooly-mammoth fur)

Nearly completion: asparagus and onions mixed in with the chickpeas

And finally, the dish (served best with canned Budweiser, of course)

Chatting post game on the question of meat or not meat

Doorknobs definitely prefers meat


Dessert, as I mentioned, was prepared by Sooooz, and it was fucking GREAT. She made vegan cupcakes and, honestly, they were incredible. I was shocked at how moist and delicious they were and all 12 of them disappeared almost immediately. Yay to Sooooz for giving the perfect ending to a special meal.

The last cupcake standing

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1 comment:

sweeetheartfever said...

huzzah huzzah! 'tis spectacular! i will tell you when mine goes up, haha. can we do this again? is "make dinner with cassie every night" even ALLOWED to be a hyperliving thing?

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