Hello everyone!  So sorry I was MIA yesterday.  I was busy giving my husband this, receiving a beautiful new succulent and amazing necklace from Anthro from the Mr., cooking this, this, and this, watching this, and then passing out into a food coma.  I told you it would be romantic.

Anyway, it's the time you've all been waiting for:  the update from our Café Gratitude dinner!

To begin with, I'll let you know that overall, it was a success!  However, that's not to say it was easy.  Or uneventful.  Or filled with the occasional disaster.

First of all, I'll tell you about our meal.  First, we had Marinated Kale Salad, and it was delicious.  Here's what it looked like:

Yes, it may look like a bunch of slop in the picture but in actuality, it was a delectable mix of kale, cucumbers, carrots, seaweed, and shitake mushrooms, mixed with a marinade of Nama Shoyu, orange juice, and rice vinegar, among other things.  It was flavorful and filling and sweet and salty and beautiful.

Our next course was Mac Nut and Not Cheese Alfredo Sauce.  It was absolutely amazing.  It was a play on Fettucine Alfredo and it was right on.  The veggie noodles were just like al dente pasta.  The sauce, made with macadamia nuts, almond milk, garlic, nutmeg, white pepper and scallions, was so similar to a creamy cheesy sauce, it was just downright weird.  It was delicious and really easy to make I was told and the ingredients were easy to find.  Here's what it looked like:

Then it was my turn to bring out the dessert.  This was my course to make.  So, let me tell you about the process first.

Here's where it gets hairy.  I mean almost literally.  First of all, let's talk irish moss.  Here's what it looked like while soaking (hairy):

Yeah, looks appetizing right?  And here's what it looked like close up (my apologies for the blurry pic) (I did not use the brown pieces in cooking, just the clear gummy pieces):

Irish moss is used in raw cooking (oxymoron, no?) as a sort of gelatin, to bind things together.  So I needed it for my Lemon Meringue Pie.

First, I set off making the Meringue topping.  This consisted of irish moss, coconut meat, coconut milk, agave nectar and vanilla.  Let me start out by asking, have you ever tried to crack open a coconut by yourself before?  It was not pretty.  I was hacking away at that thing for half an hour before it broke just enough for me to jam my knife in and get some meat out.  Plus, there were shards of coconut shell flying all over our kitchen.  We're still finding it lying around.

My biggest fear throughout the "cooking" process was that the irish moss would not do it's job and nothing would set up.  Well, lo and behold, here's what the meringue looked like after it sat in the fridge for a while:

It was creamy and thick and amazing!  Completely set up, just like real meringue!  So at this point, I'm feeling good about the irish moss.  I'd even go a step further and say, cocky.  Maybe that's where I went wrong.

Anyway, then I ventured into the pie part.  First, I made the pie crust.  Which was amazing.  Not only because it ended up being delicious, but just the process.  I literally threw a bunch of macadamia nuts into the food processor and before I knew it, I had dough.

Then to the lemon filling.  I began by blending lots of freshly squeezed lemon juice, agave nectar, a pinch of turmeric and of course, irish moss.

Then I poured the filling into the beautiful crust and into the fridge it went to set up.  Just like the meringue had done.  To an amazingly beautiful jelly consistency.  I hoped.  And prayed.

Anyway, let's just get to the point.

The lemon pie filling did not set.

It remained a liquidy bunch of tart lemony goodness.  But goodness nonetheless.  It was delicious.  But it was more like lemon/agave nectar soup rather than any sort of pie.

So, we sucked it up and scooped out the meringue topping with an ice cream scoop, covered it with some of the crumbled up pie crust and poured over some of the lemon filling like a sauce and ate it that way.

There is no picture of this.  I couldn't bring myself to photograph the failure.

But, even though it was not a pie, it was a delicious dish of coconut meringue "ice cream", covered with macadamia nut pie crust crumbles and lemon sauce.

So, overall, I'd say it was a success.  And it was an amazing night with amazing friends.  I highly recommend doing this yourself sometime.  It's a great experience to put on your life resumé.

See you guys tomorrow!

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