Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Cue Them from Mission Impossible

yesterday around 5:15 PM, I made the afternoon shift change with The Feared Redhead, taking helm of the car and possession of the diaper bag while she headed off to work. She reminded me that I needed to pick up and/or prepare a dish to contribute to last night's going away party for a coworker of hers. She reminded me that said coworker is allergic to the following food items:


And that she's also vegan.

Of course, she is.

With that knowledge and the limited pallette it left me, I set out to pick something up at Fred Meyer. I settled on fresh fruit and a chocolate dip. Do you know how many chocolate products contain either milk or soy lecithin? Finally I decided to make my own sauce. Armed with a bit of advice from a local wine expert, I put together the following recipe on the fly:

Port in a Chocolate Storm

2 1/4 cups tawny port
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup corn starch
1/4 cup Dutch cocoa powder
1 vanilla bean
1/2 Tsp cinnamon

in a small saucepan, dissolve 1/4 cup sugar in 2 cups tawny port, leaving 1/4 cup of the port to the side. Slice vanilla bean down the middle, scrape pulp into the port, and add the bean. Slowly heat to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. While the port heats, slowly stir in and dissolve the cocoa powder. After the mixture has come to a low boil, strain it through a wire strainer to remove the bean and any grit from the vanilla pulp, return to the saucepan. Make a slurry by thoroughly mixing the corn starch with the remaining port. Stir the slurry into the saucepan. Add in 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, continuing to stir constantly until the sauce returns to a boil. Remove from heat, and let the sauce cool until thickened. Serve with fresh fruit for dipping.

I thought the sauce was pretty good. TFR's coworkers disagreed, thinking I underestimated it -- they went nuts for the stuff. As it turns out, the coworker in question isn't vegan, or even vegetarian -- just allergic to beef. But I still managed to prepare a dish she could enjoy without fear for her allergies.

So within the space of 2 1/5 hours, I managed to deposit TFR's paycheck, shop for my ingredients and a quick bite to eat, feed and change The Lad, make a delicious dessert, shower, change, and get out the door to pick up TFR for the party.

Iron Chefs?


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