recipes, food snaps, and travel musings

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Back on the Wing

The Geographical Vegan is gettin' all geographical again.

I'm in the Calgary airport, lamenting the uniformly decrepid green furniture, and waiting for my flight to Chicago.

(Stay tuned for updates from my four days in the chilly midwest....)

I was worried that my locally-grown, organic purple kale would go bad in my absence, so I cooked up some non-photogenic food late last night to carry on the plane for lunch today: some sort of cajun-mushroom-black-bean-yellow-pepper-fry-up. It turned out to be one of those recipes that's quite good for you, very edible, but there are so many things about it that were either poorly executed or need correction that it's really not worth mentioning.

I don't know what posessed me to try and convince celery, shitake mushrooms, black turtle beans, a yellow bell pepper, and cajun spices to get along. I think I pictured some sort of oyster-y gumbo. I really must have been tired.

Cooking regrets are the heartbreaking part of this hobby. I remember a couple of years ago, making a vegan peanut-butter boston-creme pie from a cookbook by a writer who claimed you could substitute all the goey eggs, cream, butter, etc. that go into sinful carnivore desserts with healthy and expensive starches, oils, and binders.

She could not have been more wrong. Now while it might be the case that I made one or two crucial deviations from her original instructions that sent the whole piece down the road to tragic failure, but I suspect it was because the premise itself was a little incorrect.

You can't substitute everything. You can substitute butter, you can even substitute whipped cream, you can get by without eggs, but you can't just substitute something unealthy and unvegan with something healthy and vegan.

Ie. custard with whipped tofu. Nobody's going to be fooled! And if it really needed custard, nobody's going to be happy! (There are sneakier ways, people; be creative.)

While the peanut-butter-boston-cream-pie may have been one very expensive failure, it was also a good lesson in baking hubris. Once I got out of my very bad foodie-failure mood (we had to throw the whole thing out!) I got over it.

Now that I've learned my lesson in impromptu midnight cajun cooking (for the meantime), perhaps this is an opportunity for me to make my own personal list of non-photogenic foods. Foods that don't blog well (usually), or maybe require a lot more primping before they're ready for the camera.

Not-So Photogenic Foods

Hummus - hands down winner, always looks pasty, even if it just came back from a week in Cancun

Black Bean Soup - too shiny to shoot while hot, but usually looks greenish-grey when cool

Cocoa-covered Truffles - they look like dusty rocks, or bunny poo

Iceburg Lettuce - the camera reveals its truely diabolical nature

bok-choy and tofu stir-fry - but that often doesn't look good in person, unless you've been hiking in Peru for two weeks and you'd kill for some cruciferous veggies

banana almost anything - I don't know why this is

vegan cheesecake - pasty, usually, but this is up for debate

I'm sure there are others. I'm open to suggestions.

Here are some pictures from a very sexy photo shoot of some oyster mushrooms. Enjoy!

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five said...

Cooking for utilitarian reasons late at night is bound to end in disappointment. It was a nice thing to take with me to work, though it'll be saved tomorrow by a crusty roll - while you enjoy fine Chicago fare.

And vegan cheesecake CAN look lovely! I'll agree with the rest, but not that one.

Vincent Guihan said...

I think one of those mushrooms winked at me! Have a good time in Chicago. I love going back when I do. So much fun vegan food.