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This weekend, skitten and I headed to her parents place to celebrate a (late) Thanksgiving. skitten volunteered us to cook for Saturday night, and her father requested a shopping list on Friday so he could pick up the ingredients we needed -- which meant I had to come up with a menu.

I decided to make three dishes, while skitten would handle the salad. I planned Savory Stuffed Mushrooms, Asian Noodle Soup, and Cassolet, all from the Moosewood Low-Fat cookbook. We were concerned that some of the more exotic ingredients for the meal (like tofu, miso, and soba for the asian noodle soup) would stump her father, but he hada grand time shopping for it and asking for help and all that. If he could only have remembered to get the things we forgot to put on his list...

I decided that I'd get the seitan called for in the cassolet here, and I wasn't going to send her teatotaller father to pick up sherry (for cooking), so Saturday morning before we left we stopped by the wine shop (it closes at 9pm on Fridays, which we discovered at 9:28) to pick up sherry and Wegmans to pick up seitan. sheherazahde suggested I get a white sherry, but it's hard to tell through the dark bottles. I ended up with "osorosa", which is sort of light-brownish, but cheap ($9/750ml). The two recipes which call for wine called for a total of about 160ml, so I have lots of sherry left over, but the only half-bottles they sold started at $20/375ml. I couldn't find lumps of pepperoni seitan, so I substituted sliced barbecue seitan, which I figured was a better substitute than, say, the curry seitan.

We got there at close to 4, and I immediately started cooking. It didn't occur to me properly that the three recipes all called for things to be baked: garlic at 400F for 20 minutes, mushrooms at 450F for 30 minutes, cassolet at 350F for 45 minutes, so juggling cooking around the oven and serving times was a bit of a failure -- by the time the cassolet came out, people were full. But while there were minor glitches (how much is 4 cups shredded bok choy? it turns out it's about half a bunch put through a Cuisinart. I found this out after putting 7-8 cups into the soup), the mushrooms and soup came out together.

Despite the weird ingredients for that household, everything was enjoyed. I do understand better now why professional cooks drink after work, though. I ended up with a half-glass of sherry with my meal.

There were left-overs: a couple of servings of soup and almost all the cassolet, both of which disappeared in the morning for "breakfast".

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I just succeeded in finding the Moosewood cassoulet recipe online. Conveniently, most people who post recipes on the Internet don't much care about silly things like copyright. ;-) While it doesn't sound much like cassoulet, for obvious reasons, it does sound like a delicious, hearty stew!

The leftover sherry will also be good for cold sesame noodles, if you're into that sort of thing.

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