If the internet world of vegan food was a high school, I think Kittee of Cake Maker to the Stars would be part of that awesome alterna-crowd who so daunted me at age sixteen. They ate not the boring cafeteria, but beneath the shadiest, tallest, most majestic live oak on the school grounds. They knew about all the best bands before they hit the radio, they always knew where to score perfect flared jeans and vintage print house dresses, and they always glided into the best parties effortlessly swinging a six pack of Zima.*
I mean, they were just SO COOL. How could I ever aspire to their level?
Kittee's recipes inspire the same kind of wonder in my baby-veggie soul. All of them - and I mean ALL of them - have turned out beautiful and tasty. I made her banana cake for my daughter's first birthday (magical!). I made her happy patties for a rainy day lunch (instant sunshine!). Her red beans and rice are a staple in my house, and even the omni members of the family scarf them gladly (New Orleans in a bowl!). The most amazing thing about all of these is that they stayed amazing, even when I manage to royally foul up the recipe on all of them.
And I mean ALL of them.
My attempt at Kittee's smoky, savory cheez ball was no exception.
As you can see, the ball part never happened. I missed the whole part of the recipe where I was supposed to throw my newly pureed nut cheez into a cheesecloth girdle and squeeze the living daylights (and moisture) out of it. When I tried to form my sloppy paste into a ball and failed, I merely decided that I'd somehow managed to make it too wet and decided to have a cheez spread instead. So into a greased casserole it went, and I tacked on some extra baking time to further dry it.
Well, folks, as you can see I ended up with more a dish of cheez crumbles than a smooth, creamy crock of goodness. But with enough effort, you can force anything onto a piece of bread. Or a pretzel, in this case.
And you know what? Even badly made and overcooked, it's still damned good. A fine snack for any occasion (although if you're one of those benighted souls who hate Brazil nuts, you won't like it, properly made or not).
And in case you're wondering, using a Snoopy knife does make it taste better. Please try to contain your jealousy that I have a Snoopy knife. Some of us are just gifted.**
You know what? I may never have recipe genius like Kittee, or her divine personal style. And I'll never be able to score Pearl Jam tickets to a sold out show.*** But I have a Snoopy knife, and a crock of very fine nut cheez. I have two kids who will willingly eat plant food. I have the will to give this whole veg thing another go. So I'm going to be satisfied (if still slightly awed). And that deserves another cheezie pretzel.
*Remember Zima? Now there was a gateway product if ever one existed. Mmmm, I can taste that alco-pop goodness right now!**With a mother who saves EVERYTHING from my childhood. Yay, Mom!
***Alas and alack!