My pictures are almost liberated from the camera that was simply too smart for my poor desktop. Never again shall I shoot in RAW files. Unless someone wants to buy me a state of the art computer for the sole reason of taking ridiculously giant photos of food…Yeah, not even I would do that. JPEG, you are my partner in crime, for now. What this means to you all is that in a few weeks, I will post a holiday baking bonanza while we take a stroll on the vegan side of life with one of my best friends, Victoria.
I enjoy cooking with Victoria not only because she’s great company in the kitchen, but because she’s willing to try pretty much anything to see if it will work, which comes in handy for her because she’s been vegan for over a year. Therefore experimentation with the chemistry of cooking is useful in expanding her vegan-legal repetoire. For me it’s more a mental exercise as I happily tear into red meat, but I definitely appreciate seeing the inventive ways Victoria works vegetables and the rather exotic vegan substitutes into her meals.
Usually she just cooks out of several good vegan cookbooks she owns, like Vegan Brunch and Veganomicon. But sometimes there is just a recipe that is too good to not try to adapt, and one of those is Gypsy Goulash. This is one of my favorite meals ever in wintertime (it’s so filling and heavy that it’s not incredibly appetizing in summer), but until last week, I only got to eat it every other year or so, when my roommate Gabrielle would throw her holiday party. Usually the day before or after my cookie party (post to come later), we go to Zoo Lights and pile into her living room to be fed by her father, Andy, who is an excellent cook. Then we loll on the couch in front of a holiday movie, too stuffed to move, imitating the nurse sharks we had gawked at hours earlier.
Unfortunately, Gypsy Goulash is cubed beef stewed in red wine and sour cream. Victoria enjoyed a green salad and some steamed cauliflower while I gave myself over to a short period of gluttony. Feeling guilty for my out and out food lust, she and I began to chat about how we would go about adapting the goulash and if we thought it would still be tasty. Victoria suggested mushrooms instead of beef and soy yogurt instead of sour cream. This sounded acceptable to me, even though I am not particularly pro-soy; I don’t like the powdery aftertaste. But what to serve with it? The traditional goulash is served with spaetzle, a kind of cross between a dumpling and an egg noodle – not vegan. I served up some cauliflower to my own plate to feel a little more healthy and discovered that the goulash gravy actually went fabulously with it. Our plan was born. Everyone else at the party gave us the skeptical eyebrow and in the case of Gabrielle, stalwart insistence that to tamper with the goulash was to upset the course of nature, but Victoria and I charged ahead, subverting the establishment…And enjoying our overdramatization.
Continue reading ‘Further vegan adventures with Victoria’