Sunday, November 15, 2009

success is sweeter when shared

There are a few ways I know my dinner was a success. One is when Mister goes back for thirds. Another is when he exclaims, only one spoonful into his soup, "This is really good!" Both of those things happened tonight.

I made Potato Corn Chowder from The Accidental Vegan. It was great the first time I made it, but I think it might have been better tonight. Other than being very vigilant not to over-blend with my favorite kitchen appliance, I can't think of what I might have done differently. I did manage to keep myself to only two bowls this time - it may have had something to do with the cake, cookies, and fruit I had happily scarfed down earlier today.
So earlier today, I was surrounded by oodles of [very loud] family at my cousin(-in-law)'s baby shower. She looks great and got tons of adorable baby clothes, and my mother-in-law convinced herself that I'm softening up about having a baby of my own and tried to convince me that I was in denial....merely because I acknowledged that tiny little baby clothes are, in fact, adorable.

I could not eat the vast majority of things offered at the shower, but I more or less gorged myself on a huge fruit bowl and a diverse and well-made salad, as well as a few brownie-cookies and a piece of cake that was much better than I thought it would be. I guess you kind of have to eat cake when it celebrates something. I managed to get only half a piece when I swore I needed room on my plate for cookies and half a fruit tart. Have you seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding? It's all true.

As long as we're going back in time, let's roll back the clock another 12 hours or so (maybe more, I'm bad at math). When I got home from work last night, Mister informed me that an old friend of ours was in town and would be coming by. I went from feeling frustrated about the extraordinary amount of time it took me to find parking (45 minutes again) to ecstatic - this was the first time in a looooong time that I we would have a guest for dinner! In fact, last time we shared a meal with a friend, he had to take it to-go! So I happily set about my washing and chopping and steeping and simmering and got to the sizzling part just as the doorbell rang!
look at all those nice browned chunks of tofu!
It didn't run away this time.

After the sizzling, the three of us all sat down together and ate a few bowls of Five-Spice Vegetables and Tofu on Green Tea Rice. All of it - the tofu was there and I used the 5-spice powder instead of cloves. It crossed my mind while I was cooking that our friend might not be a big fan of tofu. Then I remembered that he is one of those precious few people who are merely grateful that someone cared enough to make them food. He ate every last bite and thanked me a few times for dinner. It was just so nice to share a meal with someone so close to our hearts!
One last thing - click here for the recipe, but let me add something. In order to expand the dish a little and ensure there would be enough for the three of us, I used two large carrots, cut on the bias, and then I made apple fries! I had a Granny Smith apple in the fridge that I had intended to turn into half of an apple and brussels sprouts salad, but since I roasted the brussels sprouts and never got more, I decided to cut it into french/freedom fry strips and added them to the stir-fry. Let me just say that Granny Smith apples are most certainly sturdy enough to stand up to a vigorous stirfry and they really absorbed the five-spice and tamari I sprinkled on during cooking.

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