The Vegan Jackpot

If such a thing as a “vegan jackpot” existed, I would have hit it tonight on my impromptu trip to the store.

Perhaps I should begin this story at the beginning….

Once upon a time, a young girl lived in a tall, brick tower in a land far, far away. This girl was studying many things in this far away town — mainly English and journalism. In her spare time away from her books and her papers, this girl enjoyed cooking and eating. Especially eating. On one night where the girl was feeling especially lazy and had delicious ethnic leftovers, she decided to make more naan for her daal.

Okay, I’ve had enough writing in that voice. You get the gist. The daal makes six servings — in other words, that’s a lot of daal and I now have dinner for basically the remainder of the week. My daal-to-naan ratio was way off balance, meaning I did not have nearly enough naan for the rest of the daal. Plus, since it is homemade, it really only stays fresh and mold free for a day or two. I had some spare time before a meeting tonight after dinner so in that hour, I made naan for the next two nights. Not only did I desperately need some naan, I wanted to try my hand at the recipe again since I would be more prepared. I was bound and determined for the bread to rise this time, so help me God.

Well, it didn’t. But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t have some of the most delicious, beautiful naan you ever did see.

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I have no idea why the dough didn’t rise but they spread out and cooked up so toasty and beautifully. I’m glad I saved the recipe — it’s easy, makes a lot and tastes like it came out of the tandoori at an Indian restaurant.

After I put all of my dishes away, I could have kicked myself that I didn’t pick up any herbs earlier to make mint chutney for my naan and the rice. Chutney is really easy — you can buy it at the store or you can make it yourself by processing mint leaves, cilantro, a few spices and water until you have the desired consistency.

That’s when I decided I was going to go to the store tonight after my meeting to pick up fresh mint leaves — I had all of the other needed ingredients and I knew it would take this dish to the next level.

So that’s how I found myself at HyVee at 9:30 p.m. on Labor Day (oh yeah, happy Labor Day!) As luck would have it, there was no fresh mint! I wanted to throw a tantrum and I nearly just gave up and left when I thought I’d try my luck in the aisle where the oriental food is. Normally, there are a few Middle Eastern staples mixed in there. Sure enough, CHUTNEY. However, no mint. Only mango. Not one to be picky, I grabbed it and went on my merry way.

I’m not sure what possessed me to do it, but I went down the health food/vegan/gluten free aisles (they are VERY large at this store). I meandered down an aisle and when I saw it, I nearly screamed for CPR. There it was:

I died and went to vegan heaven.

I died and went to vegan heaven.

Tofurkey. Vegan Cheese. Veganaise. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. I screeched when I saw all of the vegan goodies before my eyes. I definitely know where I will be frequenting much more often.

So I walked in to get mint leaves and walked out with mango chutney, coconut milk, vegan cheddar cheese slices and an microwavable chana masala (yeah don’t judge)….and no mint leaves.

All in all, what I would call a successful trip to the store.

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