Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Sunday Dinner

 I now know what my mother always meant by "slaving in the kitchen." I spent hours in my tiny kitchen cum foyer alone while I let my pals entertain themselves.

I often try out new recipes for the first time when cooking dinner for guests – I like to live on the extreme.

Four good buddies of mine came over for my Sunday dinner: The Budding Entrepreneur, the Expert Trainer, the Restaurateur, and the Fast Food Athlete. I had a girlfriend of mine film the whole thing, Irish Annie.

I had this terrific veggie lasagna recipe that I started preparing about :30 minutes before my guest were to arrive. Rookie mistake, but I had two things going for me – I was not trying to impress anyone so a late dinner would not be detrimental, and there was plenty of booze.

When I cook I get very intense, and when working in a miniscule kitchen I am forced to have all 9 things going at once, so my friends sat and drank and played to the camera, and I just cut and chopped and cooked.

Appetizers were crackers with VBites cheese – all were very surprised it was vegan. The interest ranged from “different, but not bad,” to “this is good.” I also made my guacamole which got rave reviews. When someone said that they were getting full I let them know it was OK as I nervously eyed the clock and realized I would be serving dinner 2 ½ hours after I asked them to come by.

Then the shots of moonshine whisky came out, so all were felling good and carrying on as I juggled the construction of the vegetarian lasagna.

Irish Annie interviewed my friends with questions about my endeavor and if I had “changed” as a person (none thought I did as a person, but agreed I bettered myself in spades). Between the good natured ribbing, they all had moments of profundity which I was flattered to hear, such as “As he got smaller, he became a bigger man.”

Besides this group of guys who can make each other laugh hysterically, the entertainment was my iPod. Now, having your personal music selections on your iPod for all to hear is risky business, and Murphy’s Law being what it is, even though I have a great and eclectic compilation of songs, the iPod started to taunt me. As my friends got drunker and became restless with the time it was taking to serve them, my iPod on shuffle decided to make every third song either Alanis Morrissette or Jewel which greatly enhanced the verbal assaults.

Dinner is served!

I must say the lasagna with its kaleidoscope of vegetables, and sweet potatoes looked terrific, and it smelled “amazing.”

The only thing that bothered me was that there was no binding agent so the lasagna squares fell apart a bit. But, I thought it tasted quite good. The Lass loved it, and the boys thought it was good enough. Although they all preferred “regular” lasagna, every plate was cleaned – not sure if it was the booze or the taste, but either way, my guest were fed and they were happy. By the end of the night all had dipped their forks repeatedly into the casserole dish (especially the half-asleep restauranteur) and it was virtually gone.

The most interesting part of the evening was our 2 hour serious discussion about health, nutrition, veganism, etc. All five of us guys played college sports, and I was the only one who let himself go over the years. We all agreed on the basic tenants of what is healthy, and the sad state of the average American’s diet, but since Irish Annie grew up on a farm in Galway, and the Fast Food Athlete, although taut, ate at McDonald’s frequently there was a spirited defense of animal products.

Dessert was awesome -- cookies and cakes from the vegan bakery BabyCakes and that was the biggest surprise for everyone that this was vegan food.

It was a great night all around, and though I learned my lesson about making proper time for prep work, I think I have established a bit of a tradition and will have my friends over for more vegan and vegetarian meals long after my vegan quest ends…in three days!


Vegan Epicurean said...

I love that nutrition came up as a conversation after dinner. The same thing happens with us and our friends. :-)

On your lasagna falling apart problem I seem to have figured that out. The secret is adding a few tablespoons of whole wheat flour to the tofu so it will firm up while baking. There is a Neopolitan Lasagna recipe on my blog is you want to check it out.

The after shot of your kitchen looks like mine every night after dinner. ;-)


Terrence said...

Great advice, thanks

Terrence said...

In case anyone is reading this...I married "Irish Annie" on September 30, 2016!