This past Sunday afternoon, I received a text message that both pleased and worried me. A friend from work said she was making curry for dinner and wanted to know if my roommate and I would join her, her boyfriend, another work friend, and the latter friend’s son. As pleased as I was to receive a dinner invitation, I was also a little apprehensive. My friend knows I’m vegan, but even so, visions of chicken-laden curries and awkwardness swam through my mind. After a mild bit of panic, I texted her back to accept the offer and to ask if I should bring a vegan option (followed by a smily face, of course). Not five seconds later, my cell phone rang. My friend was calling to tell me that she was making two coconut milk-based curries, one with chicken and one with mushrooms and other veggies.
“No vegan option necessary,” she reassured me.
The cockles of my heart, they were warmed. Full of gratitude and happiness, I knew I couldn’t arrive at the dinner party empty-handed. I had to bring something, an edible expression of my gratefulness for my friend’s considerate and kind behavior. I briefly considered making some sort of Indian-inspired dip and bringing that with some veggies, but I quickly abandoned that possibility in favor of the most timeless, impress-the-omnis, food item in existence. Obviously, I’m talking about vegan cupcakes.
Not just any cupcakes, though. This batch packed a secret punch, something invisible to the eye. That little cupper up there isn’t just your average chocolate-coconut delicacy. Nope, lurking inside this sweet fellow is a surprising blend of flavors.
Yes ma’am, I found a recipe for Garam Masala Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes that helped me create some slammin’ cupcakes. They were perfectly moist, and the garam masala spices added a touch of flavor complexity that complemented the chocolate and coconut surprisingly well. They were the perfect opportunity to showcase the fantastic garam masala I picked up at Penzey’s (which, by the way, is an AMAZING store!). This garam masala features coriander, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, charnushka, caraway, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg, a truly killer combination.
And my friends agreed. The cupcakes were a big hit at the dinner party, the perfect follow-up to the yummy curry my friend made for us. Great success!
Truly, though, I feel so lucky. I’ve met some really wonderful people since moving to Madison. My roommate spontaneously decided to make me a vegan birthday cake when I turned 23 a few weeks ago; she whipped up a Cookies ‘n’ Cream cake that was decadent beyond belief. And my work friends are quite inquisitive about my veganism, in the best way possible. The friend who made the curry is interested in sustainable agriculture and local foods, so we relate well on that level. All in all, things are good here. Who would’ve guessed my move to America’s Dairyland would’ve only made me feel more comfortable and happy in my newish vegan skin?! Life – it never fails to surprise me.
(P.S. I swear the title of this post is not completely random and misogynistic. Anybody get the reference?)