Monday, November 12, 2007

Dinner Before Dining

We've all done it before (ok, let me qualify that, if you are a vegan and reading this, then continue)... you're invited out to dinner at a place where your only choice is some steamed broccoli and a baked potato, so you eat before you go. Tonight, I was obliged to attend a recruit dinner for work at a Steakhouse. And not just any steakhouse, one where they bring out the raw meat to the table to show you their "cuts of the evening". This place went a step further and brought a live lobster on a platter to your table. Talk about an uncomfortable situation for a vegan. I even felt wierd using my steak knife on the vegetables knowing how many steaks they had cut into previously.

So my dinner before dining was using a new vegetable (for me): Thai eggplants! I picked them up at the farmer's market last week and have been trying to figure out what to do with them since. They're almost too cute to cook!

I decided to go with something quick and easy, Thai Eggplant and Chickpeas in Peanut Masala from Fatfree Vegan Kitchen. I made quite a few substitutions for spices and cut way back on the onion while increasing the chickpeas. Here's the eggplant starting to brown...
I served the dish over brown rice sprinkled with fresh parsley and some edamame and potato samosas (from VWAV) that have been buried in my freezer for months (but still very yummy). Some of you may remember that I'm not a fan of eggplant. Thai eggplant seemed to have a milder flavor than it's purple cousins, not quite as bitter. The woman I got them from at the farmer's market suggested using them for pickling.... which I've never done before (so maybe it's time during this Vegan MOnth of FOod).
I think I added a bit too much water to thin out the sauce (the eggplants were taking awhile to soften). In the end the sauce lost much of it's flavor, so this wasn't my favorite dish. But, then again, it was light years ahead of what I was served at the steakhouse....

16 comments:

Celine said...

so this is what a Thai eggplant looks like! interesting...and mouth-watering.

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

Aww, they ARE cute!

Mihl said...

I am sorry about that steakhouse experience. The masala looks good. Do Thai eggplants taste different from "regular" eggplants?

bazu said...

Oh gosh, I'm traumatized just *reading* about that steakhouse... but I totally understand what you mean about dinner before dining. or is that dining before dinner? Either way, it's a super smart strategy. I love your Thai eggplant dish- you're right, they are cute! I felt compelled to photograph them too, last month! They are just so stout and pretty and little and appealing.

Ashasarala said...

I commend you on your bravery. I refuse to step foot inside a steak house. Heck, I won't even go to a pizza place. I tried for so long, but after being fed salad after salad (just watery lettuce, two tomatoes and some onions) with vinaigrette, I decided to end it there. Most people know not to invite me out to eat unless it's a vegan friendly place.

I cringed when you said they brought raw meat to the table. That is so barbaric and disgusting. But I'll stop there. I could go on and on.

Your pre-dinner dinner looks fantastic, even if it wasn't the most delicious to you. I always have to pack lunches wherever I go, so I feel ya! ;)

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

I've done it (dinner before dining, that is). Those Thai eggplants look adorable, even if they weren't the tastiest of things. I'm not eggplant's hugest fan either, although I like it in ratatouille and bharta.

Emilie said...

Well, that sounds awful, but at least you were able to stock up on some beautiful looking food before going. I love Thai eggplant--they're so cute and delicious!

Emmie said...

Uhh. That's so nasty! Not your food, but that steakhouse. Eeeew. I won't go to steakhouses, it's just a NO. I might change int he future if I have to for work, but for no I just refuse.

the pleasantly plump vegan said...

yeah, it would be so hard going to a steakhouse and that one sounds especially awful.

Ruthie said...

Yick VN. I'm guessing you had no input on the choice of restaurant.

My sis and her hubbie are huge ren fest people. They dress up and everything. He even proposed at a ren fest! :) We went for one of our first dates. I do remember eating pineapple on a stick. :) Did you see the Dead Bob show? I kind of remember it being funny (it was 5 years ago though).

Can I say how jealous of you and your eggplant-at-the-farmers market? Our farmers market closed 2 MONTHS ago! And they never even had any eggplant as it needs too much warmth to even grow up here. I see farmers market trips together in our future as fellow-houstonian-vegans. :)

the little one said...

One of my least favorite things about cookedcowhouses (aka steak houses)is the horribly incredible smell. It makes me want to gag.

Melody said...

I have been wanting to try that dish for so long. I'm sorry to hear it didn't turn out so great for you.
Also sorry about the steakhouse experience. I haven't been in that situation yet, but when I first moved to Houston, I got a job as a hostess at a steak house. It was pretty crappy, and I only stayed 2 months. I used to bring my lunch every day, but I could still smell the meat...Good idea eating before hand.

Cherie said...

Oh, no - not a steakhouse! Some of those places even roll the "baked potatoes" in pig fat/lard.

laura jesser said...

I've played with Thai eggplants before, and your post reminds me that I must do it again!

I can relate on the steakhouse experience... When you work in a totally mainstream kind of setting, those things tend to happen. Very brave, indeed!

aTxVegn said...

As cute as those eggplants are, I'm just not a fan either. I did enjoy the eggplant peanut soup from V-con though and I don't mind them buried in really really spicy Thai dishes.

Ah, the good ol' Texas steakhouse. I feel for ya!

textual bulldog said...

i try so hard to like eggplants, but they're generally not my thing, so i feel ya. at least the thai ones are cute, though!