Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday Frolicking!

How I like to imagine the Princesses on their day off.
Well, hot damn, it's Friday! And, miracle of miracles, somehow I wound up with a three day weekend. (Thanks, Schedulers!) Plans for this weekend include a meeting with my dad and the bank to figure out funding for school (he's been running around all week finding me information on loans and grants that I can qualify for), and some cooking!

I found an awesome cookbook that I love, but it's one of those that generally throws in at least one obscure and hard to find ingredient. For last night's vegetable fondue, the random ingredient was white miso paste. Okay, okay, I know what miso is; a deliciously fabulous soy soup served at most Japanese restaurants or sushi houses. But...paste? I spent 30 minutes in the store, trying to find this mysterious ingredient.

First stop, the asian food section. Hey, it's Japanese, right? Maybe I'll get lucky. Scanned every label on the shelf, having no clue what the heck I was looking for. Does it come in a tube or in a jar? Hmph. No luck. Okay, next stop, the soup section. I mean, it's SORT of a soup ingredient, right? Maybe it's stashed with the powdered soup mixes and bouillons? I walk to the next aisle, narrowly missing getting hit by crazy-woman-with-overly-full-shopping-cart-and-no-sense-of-other-people-trying-to-shop-here (oh? She shops at your store, too?), and read every label on the shelf. Closest I got was an actual miso soup. For a moment, I contemplate whether or not the seasoning packed from a to-go soup would be an acceptable substitutes, then decide against it.

Well, good lord! Where the hell is this thing? It's about this time that I start wondering if I should just scrap the whole thing, since I have no clue how it's going to work without this ingredient. One last ditch effort, the nutrition section. Why didn't I go there to start with, you ask? Well, I've actually become more than familiar with everything over there, and not once do I remember seeing any kind of miso paste. But, hey, maybe I missed something, right? So I go through the entire section. Nothing. Nada. But! I did find a vegan alfredo sauce that's new to the department! Woo hoo! If nothing else, I can make some creamy noodles. I add the alfredo to my basket and heave a great big sigh of defeat. I'll probably have to go to the asian market to get this thing, we're probably to mainstream to have it in our local grocer. Bummer, and I was really looking forward to dipping all those veggies in a fake cheesy goodness!

On the way to the front, I remembered that I was almost out of vegan cream cheese, so I turned back to the refrigerated section. And froze. There, pinned in between the vegan sour cream and the vegan cream cheese was...
 Okay, okay, it's not white. It's red. counts, right? And...and how bad can it be?  Holy eyes widened at the price. $6.99? For THIS? It''s tiny! I bite my lip, debating. On one hand, I just want to say screw it and go home to have happy alfredo. But on the other, I just spent half an hour searching for this thing, (or it's distant cousin), to find it now and walk away just feels, well...degrading. 

Fine. Into the basket. I'll suck it up. I'm sure I can find a good recipe for the rest of it, considering I only need a couple teaspoons. Besides, by now I'm starving, and on the verge of some very dangerous hunger-shopping. 

Home I go, where I set about making vegetable fondue...and boy am I glad that I did! The dish was worth every minute I spent searching for this mysterious miso paste! The "cheese" is comprised of light coconut milk and cauliflower, so it's pretty guilt free, as it is. The magic of the flavoring comes from all of the seasonings that are added in, including this deliciously wonderful miraculous miso. Yes, that is it's new official name. Because I said so, that's why. 

Happy Friday, y'all! 
My vegetable fondue with bread and veggies to dip.

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