Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hipster Ariel Approved

I went into this culinary adventure with the best of intentions. Flavors that I love? New ingredients? PETA friendly? They were all very positive, sunshine-y, and wholesome. I would even venture to say that the Proverbs 31 woman would be proud.

Let me invite you into my thought process. I was perusing my neighborhood Publix, as I often do, mostly looking for things like almond milk -- the necessities. However, in my peripheral vision, I spied with my little eye a box of silken tofu.

I'd seen this mystical ingredient in recipes before. You could magically make so many things that are horrendously bad for you into reasonably good for you without making it taste like shoe polish. (Eww, why did I say that?) And... 2 bucks for a box? Okay, sold. I didn't know what in the world I would make with it, but I am 21 and I try new things. I am not ready to throw in the towel and make the same spaghetti casseroles and peanut butter thumbprint cookies for the rest of my life.

In my (perpetual) food blog wanderings, I realized that silken tofu was part of vegan cheesecake a lot of the time. My heart started beating faster... lemon cheesecake, lemon cheesecake, lemon cheesecake. My favorite kind of dessert, always, without fail, unquestionably, is the lemon option. It's so tangy and bright and beautiful! Lemon bars, lemon meringue pie, lemon poppyseed muffins, they are all food of champions. It was quickly determined: this tofu will be used with lemon, and that is that.

Google did not let me down in my quest. I happened upon this fancy recipe and gasped with joy, a kind of joy that is not common for a college student like me: I have all the ingredients already! So unlikely. Especially if it's a healthy, vegan, or straight up snobby recipe, I often lack the crucial component, maybe some agar agar or coconut milk soy cream cheese. (Made that last one up, btdubs.) But these were things sitting around my super disgusting kitchen!

I made the cheesecakes in my muffin tin because I probably did not have enough tofu for a whole pie, and there's this trend of making things in miniature in the food internet world anyway, so why bother?

Here are those little suckers in the pan. The lighting in the kitchen is horrible, so I thought that maybe tinting the photo all vintage-like would be the trendy thing to do. It kind of reminds me of the easter themes on Picnik.

That's more like it. (I think those are jellybeans?)

Anyways, after baking and chilling those little goobers, it was that special time in a foodie's life -- plating and beautifying the food for a picture. This is where things began to go downhill. Immediately, I ravaged our cabinets, looking for dishes that weren't plastic with hearts all over them from Target, and saw nothing. Nothing classy. Nothing fancy. What will do in a situation like this? I saw my ten cent wine glasses in the corner. Oh, perfect! Lots of people do stuff in glass jars and cups because it's so cute and trendy and hip!

But the little vegan lemon cheesecakes were so plain all alone, and plopping one in a cup was so... anticlimactic. What more could be done to make this more visually appealing? Of course! Strawberries! I microwaved a frozen strawberry and cut it up and put it on top. We'll call the runny juice strawberry coulis.

Yet, this was still not enough! What yawning critic of internet food bloggery would be impressed by just some strawberry on top? I racked my brain to think, what would someone in the know do? I saw some flowers on our dining room table and was so relieved! Leaves! People put mint leaves on stuff to make it pretty! Paula Deen even does that! I yanked some leaves off the flowers and dropped them in, and voila! It was finally complete.

I ventured to my room where there is abundant natural light through the window and set it up all pretty, got my angles going, and all that jazz. And it hit me.


The mouth of this wine glass is way too narrow to get food out! Why would I want to eat something out of this confined little breakable tube instead of a nice, caution-to-the-wind plastic plate or bowl? What's wrong with using normal dishes? Does that make something taste less good?

Why do we put leaves and herbs on things? Are we going to eat them? With my luck, this one is probably poisonous, but even if it were perfectly restaurant-worthy, the heck I'm eating a mint leaf on my dessert! Desserts are infinitely tastier and easier to eat quickly without some relative of grass sprinkled on top.

The least mockable hip part of this dessert turned out to be its vegan-ness. No, it was not the same as a real cheesecake, but if you are an animal rights protector who still likes normal food, you could do a lot, lot worse. Not a raw granola parfait in sight. (Although I love stuff like that! But I digress.)

Anyways, I just had to share my realization: we do weird things to make food look prettier and more delicious, when really, just taste the darn thing. Eat things that taste good!

I'm out of here! Time for something dipped in Duncan Hines canned cream cheese, because your eating habits are not about shame. Peace, homies!

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