Sunday, May 8, 2011

Onions n' a Bake Sale Miracle

I am a lifelong hater of onions. I cannot remember a time when I actually liked them. My mom tells me that I used to like onions just fine, until the day, twenty-some-odd years ago, when I sat down at the dinner table and overheard my cousin (who isn't really my cousin but might as well be) say, "Ewwww....onions!"

This, apparently, was the origin of my profound dislike for this layered, bulbous plant. I don't think I believe my mom on this one. Onions are just nasty, and I doubt that one person saying, "Ewwwwwww...onions!" could influence me so much.

Or maybe she could...this onion-hating cousin adores mushrooms, as do I. Hmmmm...

And she came up with the ultimate solution for wardrobe malfunctions, which I also adore. Hmmmm again...

She also has bangs. I have bangs. And our middle names both end in "a"...perhaps there is more to this than I originally thought...

Anyhoo, a lot of Kind Diet recipes involve onions. I should probably admit that I've been subbing in shallots for onions in most of my recipe attempts, which is just dandy because I think I remember Gordon Ramsay including shallots among the top 5 things one must have in ones kitchen. The flavour isn't as intense and they don't make me cry as easily when I peel or fry them.

I have noticed that since I've embraced the Kind Diet and the cooking it involves, my palette seems to be less averse to onions (except when they are paired with something sweet...that's still just beyond nasty to me, though Rob the Husband likes it just fine).

On Tuesday 15.0 I figured I'd tackle this onion thing head-on, and try out a couple of recipes I'd been avoiding because of the prominence of the onions in them...Rice Pilaf with Carmelized Onions (p. 235) and Squash n' Onions (p. 275), both of which happen to be in the superhero section of the book.

To be honest, the rice pilaf didn't sound particularly interesting, but as it turned out, the ginger in it was delicious and made it something special. I didn't have a parsnip so I subbed in an extra carrot, and chopped nuts gave it a swell crunch and kept it interesting. I don't think I'm superhero enough yet to do rice as my main course, but this proved itself a very worthy would definitely work great as part of a dinner party menu as Alicia suggests.

The carmelized onions on top were tolerable...probably because they were easy to pick around. I tried to eat them...honest. But carmelized onions especially SOOOO don't do it for me. That was fine because Rob the husband loved them and was pleased to eat mine.

This dish was good, but for me, when it comes to The Kind Diet rice recipes, Alicia's Hot Rice with Cold Lemon, Basil and Tomato (p. 151) reigns supreme. That one I could definitely do as a main...and there are no onions to pick around.

I chose the Squash n' Onions because I had some butternut squash to use and Alicia claims that of all her squash recipes, this one is her favourite. I had to try it. It's ridiculously simple to make (you don't even have to peel the squash) and very simply seasoned with sea salt and oregano.

I really enjoyed the flavour of the oregano with the squash, but I still found myself picking around the onions, which I also tried to eat and enjoy...unsuccessfully. In small doses they were fine, but a significant forkfull just wasn't happening. The sweetness of the squash especially didn't work for me with the onions, and I wasn't super thrilled about the skin on the squash, but Rob loved it all.

This is why I'm glad to have Rob around....not only can he cook vegan Indian food and rock a tattered yellow hoodie, he also provides a very useful second opinion when sampling these Kind Diet recipes so that my personal anti-onion biases don't sully the reputation of potentially delicious recipes.

I served it all up with Baby Bok Choy Drizzled with Ume Vinaigrette (p. 265), which I have become a big fan of (Rob's impartial), and we had a completely superhero meal.

I will definitely be making both of these again...the Squash n' Onions for sure, as that one was Rob's preference of the two. I'm such a selfless wife.

Rob's rating:
Rice Pilaf - 3 Happy Tongues
Squash n' Onions - 4 Happy Tongues
Baby Bok Choy - 3 Happy Tongues (he likes the greens, not the dressing)

And now the Bake Sale. Even though our cheerleading team had already gone to their Anaheim competition, a teeny tiny oversight on my part (namely baggage check in fees...oops) resulted in needing to pay back our school for covering this cost. So Wednesday 15.0 Bake Sale it was!

Because the reason for needing the bake sale was kinda sorta totally my fault, I decided to chip in and make the infamous Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups (p. 183).

This time around I took the suggestion of one of my cheerleaders (who had gone vegan for a week a while ago) and added brown rice crisps cereal to the peanut butter to give it a crunch, and the pb cups were even more delicious. Is that even possible? This is totally how ima make 'em from now on.

I brought in a couple of batches to see how (and if) they would sell...pretty icing-laden cupcakes make pretty stiff competition for vegan pb cups.

But we did sell them all, thanks in large part to my awesome co-worker, Bad Cop, who took it upon herself to sell a batch for me to the teachers in the staff room at lunch. Why didn't I consider selling to the teachers? Because I'm a short-sighted fool...this batch didn't even make it out to the bake sale table. Score!

And the reviews were awesome...

Double score!

Our previous bake sales this year all had something in common...I caved. I exercised the Paris exemption and ate delicious dairy-laden cupcakes because I wanted to. But this time around, something was different.

Miraculously, I didn't cave. Sure, some of the treats looked AMAYYYYZING, but I was totally fine eating my leftover Rice Pilaf (carmelized onions picked off, of course) while the cheerleaders peddled their edible wares.

Don't get me wrong. If I wanted to cave, I would have caved. I caved the week before on Friday 14.0 when a co-worker brought in cupcakes to work for an afternoon tea to celebrate the Royal wedding (and holy crap Mrs. B, was that cupcake ever worth caving for). But for this bake sale, I didn't cave. A small victory? Perhaps. It could have just been an isolated incident. Or was it? Is this an indication of fewer future caves? Stronger will power? My buddy Motivation getting a bit more balsy? Less appealing bake sale items? A glitch in the Matrix?

Whatever, enough analyzing. That's such a girl thing to do. Or maybe it's just such a me thing to do.

This is probably why my husband tries to avoid eye contact.

Yah, probably.

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