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Lunch with Friends!

October 13, 2011

Oh, how I love to cook for people!  Most of my friends know that they can count on me for a good meal, pretty much any night that they want to come over.  We break out the wine, we talk, we laugh, we eat.  I wish I could do it almost every night (I say almost because I do love cooking alone as well)…won’t someone please pay me to cook for you?  The only thing is that no one ever really knows what they’re going to get with my cooking, including me.  As I mentioned a few posts back, the semi-vegan boyfriend says I never watch the same movie twice, and I  never cook the same meal twice.  You know how you’re supposed to stick with what you know when cooking for guests?  Yeah, I don’t do that.  Sometimes it’s a raging success!  But sometimes it falls a teensy bit short.  See, if I was smart (and less daring!), I would go back through my cookbooks and read the notes I wrote on recipes (which I also share here, with you) and make something dependable, or at least make something that I already know needs tweaking.  Alas!  I am a brazen gal, who doesn’t heed the warnings of the past (when it comes to cooking).

What I’m trying to say is that my friend Emily came over for lunch the other day (day date, no wine, alas), and I made two recipes I hadn’t tried yet from Appetite for Reduction, and they were just ok.  I know!  This cookbook (almost) never lets me down!  The fixes I would recommend are easy ones, though.  And even though the two of us weren’t bowled over by the flavors, someone else was.


This is Emily’s totally adorable daughter, Holdyn.  And she loves sweet potatoes, tempeh, and maybe Brussels sprouts.

looks so good!

This is tamarind bbq tempeh and sweet potatoes, and it smelled amazing while it was in the oven.  However, I found that it was not nearly saucy enough!  The recipe for the sauce made just enough to barely coat everything.  Therefore, next time I will make a double batch of the sauce, so that everything gets nice and saucy, the way bbq should be.  And I’ll probably use half the batch to marinate just the tempeh (instead of both that and the potatoes) for at least an hour after steaming, so that the flavor really sinks in.  The semi-vegan boyfriend and I enjoyed the leftovers with more bbq sauce (the bottled kind) and chipotle hot sauce, respectively.  Anyway, the fact that us grownups found it a tad bland was actually perfect for someone with developing tastebuds.


She seemed a little suspicious at first, but ended up loving tempeh and sweet potatoes.  Both her mom and I were pleasantly surprised!


Shaved Brussels sprouts!  Were pretty good!  I liked the different way of serving them up, for a change from regular roasted sprouts.  But don’t you for one second believe that this recipe comes together quickly (even though it has that little timesaver icon).  I mean, it does once you get everything cut up.  But that part takes forever.

Lovely, aren’t they?  (And the source of my new page header, do you like?)  But tedious.  And for a young(ish) lady who just happens to have some arthritis in her hand, doing all of that mincy chopping was a bit much.  It was a pretty side dish, though, and it really did come together in the skillet rather quickly, but next time I have some beautiful fresh sprouts on my hands, I’ll probably just halve them and roast them, the way I like them best.  For the record, Holdyn seemed to enjoy the flavor of the sprouts, but maybe not the texture.  She kept picking them up and chewing on them, and then spitting them out again.  Maybe she’d like them roasted as well?

All in all though, considering a two year old ate my food, I was really happy with the way things turned out.  I’ll make Emily something a bit more flavorful (and, ok, fine, something I know is good) another day.  But for now, I’m happy that this little one had a happy belly after eating my cooking!

10 Comments leave one →
  1. October 13, 2011 12:14 pm

    such a sweet post. Such tenderness in that one photo of her looking sceptically at the tempeh! Also, thanks for the suggestion on this recipe. I was considering it for my upcoming tamarind day. Still in the running, but I’ll double the sauce if I do make it. Of course other options are also tempting me, just a bit more labor! Love the new header for your blog!

  2. October 13, 2011 12:45 pm

    Ahh, adorable! I love that you introduced to her new foods and that she liked them. Vegan win! And oh god, I need to buy some brussel sprouts soon. I love this time of year!

    • October 13, 2011 2:17 pm

      yes, it was super neat! i’ve never fed a child that actually wanted to eat what i made before! and me too, fall is so wonderful.

  3. October 13, 2011 12:47 pm

    I never make tried and true things for parties/friends over either! And sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. The vegan love from your friend’s daughter is great!

  4. October 13, 2011 5:49 pm

    I love cooking for people too, I’ve invited some friends over on one of my cookbook challenge days next week & I’m already really excited!

  5. October 13, 2011 6:59 pm

    Holdyn is so cute, and I love your new header! Both dishes look delicious, even if they weren’t raging successes.

  6. Isabel permalink
    November 6, 2011 10:39 am

    As a 22-year-old with rheumatoid arthritis, I totally feel you on the mincy-ness of recipes. Two things I’ve learned to use almost daily:

    1.) a mandolin. I got mine for $5 from a second hand store.
    2.) my food processor. Also cheap from a second hand store and honestly, ridiculously easy to clean. When I’m done using it, I just rinse it right away. If I’m just slicing or grating things, it rinses clean. Hummus is a different story, natch.

    Cooking doesn’t hurt when I use those things, and I find myself using them for the simplest of jobs. Worth it!

    • November 6, 2011 12:15 pm

      i need to get a mandolin. i have arthritis in my right hand, though it isn’t terrible. it just flares up after i’ve been chopping for an hour. i wish i had a mini food processor for things like ginger and garlic!

      • isabel permalink
        November 6, 2011 12:18 pm

        The food processor I have is actually a mini-prep. I got mine from an uncle (yes! *fist pump*), but I’ve seen them as low as $10 at major department stores. They’re usually on sale when college starts…as if a college student would use a mini-prep. *I* didn’t even use a mini-prep in college.

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