A Week of Dinners in Pictures-Day 5

Apologies that this post is coming to you a day late,  but we had a lot going on last night.  Our friends Alli and Val came over and we made a quick dinner together before heading out to enjoy the Gainseville Artwalk,which is a cool event the last Friday of every month when all the art galleries open downtown and all kinds of folk come out to appreciate the local talent.  It was a lot of fun, until we got harassed by a bunch of people who professed to be Christians and told us we were all going to hell. Most everyone laughed it off, but I couldn’t help but get really upset inside that anyone would chose to spend their time in a deliberate effort to upset others.  Because if you had heard the words coming out of their mouth when they saw Johnny and I holding hands, you would know that’s what it was–not an effort to convert, but an effort to shame. And while I will not be shamed, I do not appreciate being harassed on a perfectly beautiful night out with my friends.  Anyhow. Except for those a-holes, the evening was actually a lot of fun. There are some dang good artists in this town. My favorite was this guy who makes paintings of trees by searing cardboard with electrical currents. The lighter currents make little branches, while the deeper ones create the tree texture.  It’s hard to describe, but it was really neat. You should go check him out next time there’s an art walk.  His name was Corey.

Now, to the food, which was art only in the sense that we had to find out how to unexpectedly feed four people with the ingredients at hand. Luckily, my kitchen is well stocked, for occasions such as these. Because one of our guests is a vegetarian, we had a meat-free dinner consisting of coconut rice, curried zucchini and carrots, peas, and my favorite Georgia/SC import–potato Smiles.  🙂

Everything was simple to make. This is a must, I’ve realized, when company comes, because I can’t multitask well at all, so if I try to cook a complex dish I end up either  ignoring everyone or ruining the dish. The coolest thing was the coconut rice, because we made our own coconut milk from unsweetened coconut flakes blended with boiling water and then passed through a sieve. That was the base the rice was cooked in, along with one bay leaf.  We used sushi rice to provide a creamy texture, and added a pinch of salt.  The result was quite spectacular. The picture doesn’t do it justice, but it was really tasty.  As for the rest, the veggies were sauteed with a couple of shallots in organic canola oil, and at the end we added a little bit of coconut flakes (the same ones that had been used for the milk) and a bit of curry powder and salt. Simple and easy.  As for the smiles, those were just cooked according to package directions. Yes, I generally steer clear from processed foods, but smiles are my one exception. They are my ultimate comfort food.  They can’t be found in Gainesville, but I love them so much I take a cooler with me every time I leave Gainesville to stock up in other supermarkets. Trust me, I’ve tried getting the area supermarkets to carry them, to no avail. Why are they so amazing?  They consist of a crispy potato outside, a creamy mashed potato inside, and are, as you can see from the picture below, shaped like smiley faces. The best part is that when you have a bad day, you can press the smiles through the ketchup and it makes it look like, well… your day will just get better. I promise.

Phew! This was a super fast post, so please forgive the less than stellar writing. I’ve got to go get ready for the rest of today, which is going to be awesome because it is a) gorgeous outside and b) spring garden prep day! A bunch of friends are coming over to help out, and I’m really looking forward to seeing them and working the dirt!  I’m sure the next post will be on that! Have a wonderful Saturday, whatever you do with it. 🙂

Jess

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sorry for the crappy picture, but I was trying not be obnoxious at the dinner table.

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