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Sunday, March 20, 2011

DGCL's CSBS at my house! Almost!

Sometime back around December, as I must have mentioned, I started frequenting the "Daegu Green Consumers League"'s Tuesday-night "Vegetarian Dinner for the Good of the Planet." Each week, we gather at "The Warehouse" (the name of the meeting place), and a woman named Mina cooks a meal for us. There are about five regulars (I now count myself among them) and another five or so who come from time to time. Nobody else - except my buddy/neighbor/co-chef Suzie - is a vegetarian, but everyone tries it once a week in order to reduce the strain they know meat-eating places on the planet.

Last week, Mina went on a trip and wanted to cancel the event, but I wasn't gonna let that happen. Instead, I coerced Suzie into helping me host. So, we invited the League over for dinner. Here's what we made:

An unplanned leftover salad (my creation)! Mini sprouts, baby greens, lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, old bell peppers, a few kinda squishy cherry tomatoes, a beet I didn't know what to do with, and roasted perilla, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds. Dressed with olive oil, white wine vinegar, and some Italianish herb mix so kindly procured and exported by my mom.

Croutons made with multi-grain sesame bread, olive oil, and just a hint of salt and pepper. All credit to Suzie for these.

Suzie's pumpkin/carrot soup, with just a hint of curry.

Potatoes Donatella-style. I learned this from my host mom in Padova in 2005. Just cube the potatoes, swish them around in a mixing bowl with a bit of oil, salt, and rosemary, and then roast them for an hour. Suzie added a little twist: steam the potatoes first, so that they're a little squishier on the inside, but still nice and crispy outside.

I also woke up at 6 that morning to makee a giant pot of chili in the slow cooker - kidney beans, black beans, tomatoes, tomato paste blended together with an onion/bell pepper/garlic/red pepper powder sautee. It came out tasting OK, but was a little ugly, so there's no picture.

For dessert:

Some fresh fruits (yes, unfortunately, mostly imported, but all bought at about 11pm the night before from the shelf of past-expiration date stuff that the store was going to throw out anyway...) that we used to make:

Low-energy CHOCOLATE FONDUE, the heat source for which was just 3 tiny little candles. Amazing.

And here's everyone having a great time:

This was my second time co-hosting the event with Suzie. It's a bit stressful in the moments beforehand, trying to whip everything up in the one-hour gap after work and before everyone shows up, but it really winds up being a blast making good food for your friends - particularly if you can make stuff they're not likely to have tried, even if the ingredients are all available.

Ah, also, the whole meal cost just about 5 bucks a person, and that's counting about five servings of leftover chili, too! I deceive you not!

Mina's out of town next week, too, which means that the 지구를 위한 채식 밥상 is coming to my place.

The menu is:
-Suzie's roast sweet pumpkin appetizer (uncharted territory for me.)
-Indian style cabbage curry (I made a test batch today - easy and delicious^^)
-Thai style curry with potatoes, coconut milk, and whatever other vegetables are available when I swing by the organic shop tomorrow (also going to be a bit of an experiment).
-Mixed-grain rice, perhaps with some sweet potato slices mixed in for good measure.
-And perhaps, if everyone is lucky, my patented peanut-banana-soy milk-powder of roast grain supershakes.

Can I just say, nothing beats food with friends?


Andy said...

I'm glad you are back blogging, unlike that bum over at Undeployed.
I agree that enjoying food with friends is one of the most pleasant activities out there. I think we learned that from our parents. What I still need to learn from them is how to make hosting seem so easy and stress-free. I recently hosted a brunch, which was really fun. Nothing beats mimosas.

Mike said...

Good to be welcomed back!

I also have many a good memory of chillin' and grillin' in either your back yard or mine. Not sure if I appreciated it properly then, but I look back on burgers and garlic-salt spaghetti and your mom's fruit and yoplait salad with great fondness.

I'll add, though, that the experience is even better when the food itself is meaningful to you. I'm thinking of family dishes, themed meals, and of course vegetarian fare.

dk said...

we all know nothing beat's your favorite college meal, hot dogs cut up into and mac 'n' cheese. now THAT's yummy. finish it off with some good ol' gretzky or mario tennis and you have an awesome meal.

yep said...

oh god i can't believe i just said "beat's"

Mike said...

When I get into a conversation abut my love of cooking and fresh, or at least whole, unprocessed food, I oftentimes bring up that very meal (Kraft mack and cheese with deluxe modules) as evidence that anyone can change over to a healthier and more environmental diet. To think, I used to call myself a kitchen baller!

To be fair, our bisquick chicken pot pie was pretty delicious, though...

dk said...

CPP what what!

BTW, "dicsalt" was my captcha. umm...is that organic?

dk said...

oh, and i have a laptop w/ camera now, so we can skype naked. i mean skype.

SandfordWrites said...

Homecooked meal with friends- great.
I'm a big fan of the potatoes in the picture.

Usually, I have homemade Jumok-bap and kimchi in a container stuff into my bag bag. Still better than the fast food days in college. Kraft mac and cheese molecules went through my digestive tract as well as BK broilers. Yet it doesn't make the experience less special. Kraft Mac and Cheese despite what it isn't was delicious. I did enjoy eating it. For selfish reasons I don't want that in my body anymore.

Mike said...

It's not selfish to want to be healthy! Quite the opposite - making an effort to eat foods that are good both for people and for the planet is one of the easiest ways to give back.

Don't let the "foodies are snobs" crap [even if it is true in certain cases] make you feel like you're somehow obligated to eat the cheapest, least nutritional stuff out there. There's nothing more fundamental than the right to clean, healthy food (and air and water).