I suck at failure. I've been an overachiever for pretty much all of my life. Well, actually I guess it started in fourth grade, the first year I ever made straight A's. From then on out, I aced my way through high school (valedictorian) and college (graduated with the highest GPA in the journalism department!).
When I do fail at something, I get pretty upset. I'm like Jessy Spano in that episode of Saved By the Bell when she gets a B and freaks out and says, "What's that funny looking letter by my name?!" Yep, that's me. That's how I felt tonight when I totally failed at Potato Pancakes:
I was trying to veganize a few wartime dishes for my new Vegan Through the Ages cookbook project, but I added too much liquid to the potatoes. And then I had to add way too much flour to make them hold together. The result tasted like flour with some potatoes in it. So I'll work on that. I don't like taking no for an answer. Don't worry. I'm not gonna be all Jessy Spano and pop a bunch of caffeine pills to stay up perfecting potato pancakes ("I'm so excited! I'm so excited! I'm so ... scared! ... god, I love that episode). I'll get back to these at a later date.
I did, however, have one success tonight — Cauliflower Cheese with Tempeh Bacon:
This is actually a British recipe, and it dates way back before the 1940s, but I got the idea from a cool blog called the 1940s Experiment, on which blogger Carolyn Ekins lived on 1940s rations for a year in an attempt to lose some weight. She posted a recipe for cauliflower cheese with bacon on her site, and then I poked around the internet some more and found several other versions. My vegan version is loosely based on all of those, taking inspiration from several. (Interestingly, it appears Carolyn has gone vegan since she began the 1940s Experiment. While many of her recipes from the blog's early days contain meat, now she's posting about lentil sausages and vegan cheesecake! Score!).
The photo really doesn't do this dish justice, but just trust me when I tell you it's tasty. Basically, my version is steamed cauliflower topped with homemade tempeh bacon, sauteed leeks and garlic, and a nutritional yeast-based cheese sauce. I also added breadcrumbs, but I may leave those out in the final version. The crumbs seemed to absorb the cheese sauce and make it not as creamy as I wanted. Nonetheless, I was pleased with how this dish turned out. It's hard to go wrong with tempeh bacon, cauliflower, and nooch sauce, right?
Anybody got any advice on perfecting tater pancakes?