Saturday, June 18, 2011

the dinner that almost wasn't

Would you believe I nearly changed my mind at the last minute?  Would you believe, after all my odes of affection and volumes of sonnets for the wonder that is Punjabi Peppers and Tofu, that I nearly pushed it aside tonight in favor of something completely different?  Choices, choices - a divine Indian dish created by two Canadian vegans who make edgy non-leather purses or Texas BBQ?  And what disparate choices they are, aren't they?

I'm sure you'll be relieved to know that I made my old favorite instead of doing something adventurous and intrepid (and far more blog-worthy).

But it's just so good!  Besides, I was a little too brain-drained to come up with something creative and worthy of my prize.


I have mentioned before (at least a few dozen times) that I work for a weight loss company.  If you have any Google skills at all, the information I'm about to share will tell you what I wont (that is, which company).  There are two parts to the story - the first one, I may have mentioned, is that this week was devoted to employee appreciation so there were little events and giveaways all week.  The second part is that last December, we started working with a group of chefs from all over the nation - Miami, my beloved Tahoe, Texas, New York City, and of course, a local fellow representing Philadelphia.  All of these chefs have been on Bravos Top Chefs and Masters programs and they have all been acclaimed as outstanding in their field - in fact, the Philadelphian chef was just awarded "Best Chef Mid-Atlantic" by the James Beard Foundation.

He's very friendly, too.  I know this because today I had the privilege of meeting him, as well as the other four chefs who make up our culinary council.  They came to "visit" on the last day of Employee Appreciation week and cooked up a storm of low-calorie, healthy, delicious food and then let us eat it.  The offerings were still weighted in favor of eating animals, but here is what I could eat (and did, with gusto!): a sprout salad with fresh peas, radishes, broccoli sprouts, broccoli slaw, and a bunch of herbs (there's nothing quite like biting into an entire leaf of fresh cilantro), tahini hummus, grilled vegetables (mainly peppers), grilled pineapple (unbelievable!), and fresh salsa with tortilla chips.  Can you believe there was a ton of meaty "delights" in addition to all that fun?

Another part of employee appreciation has been little tokens of thanks, mysteriously appearing on our desks each morning.  It's a fun thing to walk into, I'll admit.  I'm a little sad that all I'll walk in to see on Monday is my desk and all the work I have to do.  Anyway, apparently, they were saving the best for last because today's little thank you took the form of a bottle of barbeque sauce.

It's not just any sauce, though - it's all natural and made by one of our celebrity chefs in Texas, where they definitely know BBQ.  There were three flavors distributed throughout the company: I got Ancho Chili (and I'm a little worried about the heat, but we'll see - tofu has a very fortunate heat-calming property that should balance it out), but others got Peach or Teriyaki Honey.

People at work were intrigued by what I would possibly find to put BBQ sauce on.  They relaxed a bit after I shared that it goes very nicely with baked tofu, sloppy joes, and beans and that I have been in the habit of making my own BBQ sauce so I shouldn't have any trouble finding something to do with it.  Quite the contrary - I'm so excited about it (allow me five minutes of company pride) that I nearly ditched one of my favorite meals in order to play around with it.  I finally decided that I wanted to specifically design a meal around it and that I was way unprepared to do so tonight.  Mister and I think it might be fun to hang onto it until July 4th and then do something really spectacular with it.

Good thing July 4th is two weeks away, because I have absolutely no idea what that will be...


  1. My m.i.l. has lost over 90 pounds! I keep telling her she needs to write in so she can do a commercial with one of the celebrity chefs.

    You'll have to let us know what you make with that BBQ sauce. I think it's really cool that your company gets you stuff for employee appreciation week.

  2. on our program? Jackie, that's wonderful to hear. She can actually enter her before&after shots and her story through the website, so please, encourage her to do so!

    According to plan, the first taste of that sauce will happen sometime in this week's dinners. I'm going to make sure I spread it out a little, because I still have this little fantasy of coming into possession of a grill pan between now and July 4th, and heaven only knows the ridiculous fun I can have with that + tofu and veggies + BBQ sauce.

    Thanks for commenting - sometimes it's easy for me to forget the phenomenal success of some of our clients. :)