Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Dinner for a hot summer night

I thought it'd be nice to make a pesto spread from my new Vegan cookbook, Veganomicon (I am doing a meal for a vegetarian group in September, so I splurged on some new cookbooks). And I had a giant cauliflower in the veggie bin, so I thought I'd make roasted cauliflower with a little bit of curry spices thrown in. And I had two blackening bananas, so I decided to make the Cordon Rose banana cake as cupcakes.

Everything turned out too salty, or too sweet, or both, except the cake .... the pesto spread called for maple syrup, which seemed like a good idea, along with a high proportion of walnuts, walnut oil, garlic, and a bit of lemon zest (no cheese; it's vegan). I think because I used honey maple syrup rather than 100% (the recipe did say "pure") it came out sweeter - just a little too sweet. For the cauliflower, I was remembering a trick from Cooks Illustrated, to sneak just a tad of sugar into roasting broccolli or cauliflower to help them caramelize; I used a teaspoon of sugar, and a teaspoon of salt, and it was just a tad too much.

And I though it would be pleasant; I'd have this appetizer-y spread, and "people" would come by and pick at it. I had an extra clove of dry roasted garlic (my speed way of making roasted garlic; toss a few cloves into a dry cast iron skillet over high heat, and shake them a bit until the skins are blackened in spots) and I mashed it into olive oil with some cheese. But I ate my pesto & bread & olive oil while I was cooking the cauliflower and mixing the cupcake batter, and when Mark came in from his run, he wasn't very interested.

The warm cupcake I ate while I watched the repeat of last night's Weeds was perfect, though - I got dozy during the first run of Weeds and was going in and out; it's always funny to see how much and also how little you've missed when you're nodding.

And I think that slightly sweet pesto will be great on crostini with a little goat cheese to even out the sweet - the next time I make appetizers for my invisible friends.

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