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 Post subject: Trapped in a cabin with 5 skeptical omnis
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 3:36 pm 
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I am in need of some serious PPK wisdom. This weekend I'm going to be staying in a cabin with 5 omnivore friends, and I'm going to be the lone vegan. One of them is a professional baker, and the others are all just really, really good cooks. We're handling food potluck style. They're all decided, without my urging, to make at least one of the things they're bringing vegan so I won't be left out.
I'm lucky, in a sense, but I also have to bring something and am utterly terrified. I know the baker in particular has some serious disdain for vegan food and veganism in general, so I don't want to cook anything that uses tofu or tempeh or seitan. I was thinking of making the bakery-style berry muffins from Vegan Brunch for breakfast but baking for a baker is maybe my worst nightmare.
So, I thought, maybe I could handle dessert. Ice cream? I found a very interesting recipe for meyer lemon sherbet, but I've never tried to make a vegan sherbet so that involves its own wrinkle of terror. How would I go about veganizing that, do you think? And does anyone have a stellar recipe for strawberry ice cream?

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 Post subject: Re: Trapped in a cabin with 5 skeptical omnis
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 4:42 pm 
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I think making ice cream or sorbet and getting the right texture would be much more difficult than baking muffins. I don't understand why you feel the need to impress a baker who "has some serious disdain for vegan food"--make something you want to eat, considering most the food is going to be geared towards the rest of the group. I mean, try to make something that represents vegan food well, but if they don't like it, at least you have something tasty for the weekend (and muffins seem like a much better form of sustenance than lemon sorbet).


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 Post subject: Re: Trapped in a cabin with 5 skeptical omnis
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 5:43 pm 
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What sort of meals are you looking for because it sounds like you were kind of gunning for a dessert type recipe. Muffins are pretty hard to mess up and fortunately Isa's muffins always turn out great for me and I not only suck at baking, but I rarely do it.

If I was you, I'd bring the muffins rather than bake them on-site and then bring something that won't be very time consuming for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Maybe you could pre-make a lasagna and just throw it in the oven when your item is "up to bat", so to speak. Or you could make pancakes for breakfast and some fresh fruit. Other than that, I'd be more concerned with making sure YOU are fed, not them. Bring some hummus, soup, fruit, trailmix. Maybe some pasta salad.

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 Post subject: Re: Trapped in a cabin with 5 skeptical omnis
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 6:42 pm 
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something that i make for breakfast, especially if i'm not at home and have to bring everything, is biscuits. they're fast, easy and if you can make decent fresh biscuits (VWAV are great) and some nice gravy and some good jam, well, only real cretins can resist. Lasagna is also almost always a winner.

I'd also not be too freaked about the baker. I've found that a decent vegan baked good is usually enough to boggle a non-vegan baker's mind. The best cooks I know are always just flabbergasted about how good my baked goods are, and keep saying "but how? how????" as they stick cookies in their mouths.

Make something you like, you like to eat, and you know how to make.

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 Post subject: Re: Trapped in a cabin with 5 skeptical omnis
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 7:29 pm 
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how bout cookies or cupcakes?
i dont know any professional bakers but ive impressed many an omni with vegan treats.

i guess if this one friend really is not into vegan food i wouldnt worry too much, it sounds like there will be plenty of other stuff for them to enjoy without you having to try to please them?????

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 Post subject: Re: Trapped in a cabin with 5 skeptical omnis
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 7:32 pm 
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also if you are trying to impress i would recommend staying in your comfort zone of what you know you can make and you know is good.

at least with me if i go outside that box and try to do something new and fancy i end up trainwrecking it.

i tried to make the Gluten Freedom cupcakes from VCTOTW for a baby shower where the mama to be was eating gluten free and i just made such a mess of the cupcakes and an even worse mess of the frosting. i ended up tossing them and showing up empty handed :-/

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 Post subject: Re: Trapped in a cabin with 5 skeptical omnis
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 7:33 pm 
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The scones in VB are amazing! I made the chocolate chip version, and they impressed my aunt who is very leery of vegan baking ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Trapped in a cabin with 5 skeptical omnis
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 8:19 pm 
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LisaPunk wrote:
also if you are trying to impress i would recommend staying in your comfort zone of what you know you can make and you know is good.

This is wise advice!

I would make something I'm comfortable with. How about cinnamon rolls...or East Coast Coffee Cake? I also agree that it's pretty damn hard for people to resist lasagna.

I always serve vegan food when I throw parties, so I really like to make food that is slightly exotic to the area. Everybody around here has had Mexican food all day long, but I try to make Caribbean or Indian or something. And if I make savory things, I try to go with stuff that is naturally vegan (bean and rice dishes especially) and maybe throw in a separate dish made from seitan or tofu in case the omnis feel adventurous.

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 Post subject: Re: Trapped in a cabin with 5 skeptical omnis
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:18 pm 
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LisaPunk wrote:
i tried to make the Gluten Freedom cupcakes from VCTOTW for a baby shower where the mama to be was eating gluten free and i just made such a mess of the cupcakes and an even worse mess of the frosting. i ended up tossing them and showing up empty handed :-/

Oh my gosh, NIGHTMARES. I have nightmares about situations like that, haha.

Thank you all for the great advice. I should just buck up and stop being so self-conscious about my cooking. Fork 'em.

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 Post subject: Re: Trapped in a cabin with 5 skeptical omnis
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:43 pm 
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mixmaster_mo wrote:
And if I make savory things, I try to go with stuff that is naturally vegan (bean and rice dishes especially) and maybe throw in a separate dish made from seitan or tofu in case the omnis feel adventurous.


Same. Especially if people are really skeptical. I'm not trying to replace their grandma's lasagna, just trying to show that vegan food can be yummy, not just unseasoned brown rice and steamed broccoli.. Baby steps.

For a really omni heavy crowd (like my boyfriend's family in Nebraska), I like to serve flavorful lentil soups, pasta dishes with beans, and that sort of thing. Now that they've found that most things we put in front of them are delicious, they are more likely to try tofu, seitan, or cheeze, but it wouldn't have worked if we had started out with those things.


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 Post subject: Re: Trapped in a cabin with 5 skeptical omnis
PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 9:54 am 
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If you are looking for a dessert dish and have access to an oven in your cabin, my all time impressive but EASY dish is:

1. Take a rectangle of pre-made puff pastry (one small per person).
2. Layer peeled & sliced cooking apple pieces, leaving a border around the apple (brush it with soya milk if you like).
3. Sprinkle with cinnamon/brown sugar mix.
4. Bake for recommended length of time on the pastry packet.

Take some fancypants vegan vanilla ice cream and put a dollop on top fresh out the oven. This is always a big hit and I never even mention the ice cream is dairy free. It might be non bready/cakey enough to get past your baker friend too!

Good luck :D


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 Post subject: Re: Trapped in a cabin with 5 skeptical omnis
PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 2:44 pm 
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Thank you!! I ended up throwing together some strawberry ice cream for dessert, am going to make the tortilla soup from AFR for dinner, and the bakery-style berry muffins from VB for breakfast. Phew.

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 Post subject: Re: Trapped in a cabin with 5 skeptical omnis
PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 4:03 pm 
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I think those will all go over really well! Have fun!


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 Post subject: Re: Trapped in a cabin with 5 skeptical omnis
PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 6:31 pm 
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how about a loaf or two? banana, pumpkin, zucchini... they're so moist that nobody misses the eggs or butter.

also if you're going for a meal for yourself... the white bean, quinoa & kale stew from AFR (also on PPK website) is so easy to make, freeze, and bring... and in my experience omnivores really enjoy it!


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 Post subject: Re: Trapped in a cabin with 5 skeptical omnis
PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 7:38 pm 
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I brought the giant chocolate chip skillet pie from Vegan Diner to an open house a few months ago. Of course the host announced to everyone that it was vegan, so I knew the pre-judgement was set (thanks, Tina), but everyone LOVED it. To top it off, there was a fourth year pastry student from Johnson & Wales Culinary school there, and she was really impressed. I guess that could be my closest thing to making sweets for a professional baker.

Do you have to prepare the dish there, or bring it along?

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 Post subject: Re: Trapped in a cabin with 5 skeptical omnis
PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 7:43 pm 
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That choc chip skillet pie from Vegan Diner is dinerlicious.


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 Post subject: Re: Trapped in a cabin with 5 skeptical omnis
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 12:22 am 
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Quote:
For a really omni heavy crowd (like my boyfriend's family in Nebraska), I like to serve flavorful lentil soups, pasta dishes with beans, and that sort of thing.


Yes! The Arabian Red Lentil & Rice Soup in AFR is incredibly good and cabin=soup + biscuits for me.


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 Post subject: Re: Trapped in a cabin with 5 skeptical omnis
PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 5:16 pm 
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I understand the desire to impress. I get a special thrill from feeding vegan food to omnivores. It doesn't help that my husband is an omnivore and I love pleasing him. Woah that sounded dirty!

Anyway, baked goods can sometimes be fun, but to be more fun I like to do things that are different, but not too far out of the comfort zone. Why not figure out your favorite recipes and start with them?

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 Post subject: Re: Trapped in a cabin with 5 skeptical omnis
PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 8:56 am 
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I impressed the hell out of some skeptical omnis and even a couple of vegans last night with the lemon coconut bundt cake from Veganomicon.


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 Post subject: Re: Trapped in a cabin with 5 skeptical omnis
PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:25 pm 
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Reporting back to let you all know everything was a huge hit. Everyone loved the tortilla soup and every single muffin was eaten between the six of us.

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 Post subject: Re: Trapped in a cabin with 5 skeptical omnis
PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:30 pm 
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Quote:
I impressed the hell out of some skeptical omnis and even a couple of vegans last night with the lemon coconut bundt cake from Veganomicon.


this recipe is amazing!! i made it for new years and it was SO GOOD!


glad your friends enjoyed the delicious food!

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 Post subject: Re: Trapped in a cabin with 5 skeptical omnis
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 11:47 am 
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molly wrote:
I impressed the hell out of some skeptical omnis and even a couple of vegans last night with the lemon coconut bundt cake from Veganomicon.

Such a great recipe. I took it to a family dinner and my aunt couldn't stop eating it and raving about it. Everyone else loved it too, but she's really into lemon, so it was perfect for her.
Congrats on your successful cooking Kate!

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