I often peruse food blogs looking not only for appetizing or inspirational ideas, but for things that make me mad. I know, it’s weird.
But what I mean is the widespread misuse of language. This bothers me in regards to many areas of life, be it real or internet conversation (“invite” is not a noun; what you mean to exclaim sarcastically is “Thanks for the invitation!”, and I probably didn’t invite (see? It’s a verb) you because you insist on expecting an invite instead of an invitation), or in advertising (using adjectives, like “happy” or “awesome”, as nouns). I was once asked on a dating site, “Do you use the word slut to refer to women?” to which I answered, “No. I use it to refer to sluts.” But that’s another story.
Nowhere do I get more worked up about this stuff than in food language. There are rules in cooking, and your language should express your knowledge of this. For example, knowing when you have a jam, chutney, compote, marmalade, etc. Or for a much simpler—and therefore tortuously more offending—example, knowing when you’ve made a crème brûlée or not, which I grieved over in an older post. https://fetchwillneverhappen.com/2015/03/05/creme-brulee-carmenere-cara-mia-no-grazie/
Then I happened upon this (http://bibbyskitchenat36.com/petite-flour-less-chocolate-cake-vegan-ganache/), a dessert recipe featuring the words “vegan ganache” (** see below). I clicked it, read it, disagreed, got mad, and set to pouring my frustrations out in my daily rage journal, also known as Facebook. That “vegan” “ganache” contains honey and is then pointlessly used with a non-vegan cake. My uninhibitedly vehement rant included phrases like “BURN YOUR KITCHEN TO THE GROUND” and discussed the ongoing debate of honey’s place on the vegan-friendly menu.
I had to make a vegan ganache. A real one. So I did. Now let’s talk about how.
I splashed roughly a 1/3 cup of almond milk into a saucepan and started heating it. I was treating this step like making a basic “people like myself who love consuming animal products” ganache, same as I’ve done a million times at my job; heating the cream, in this case the super healthy dairy-free happy hippie almond milk, to just-before-a-boil. In another pot I started melting two (totaling 6 oz by weight) broken-up bars of Endangered Species dark chocolate. Dark chocolate already contains “little to no” dairy, and none in this case. But there is a statement on the label, “Produced on equipment that also processes product containing milk, peanuts and tree nuts.” You know, being chocolate made in a chocolate factory, maybe by tiny men with no civil rights, I would imagine this much. However, these particular chocolate makers claim to donate 10% of net profits “to help support species, habitat, and humanity.” Fair trade, y’all.
I continuously stirred the chocolate pieces as they melted, also holding the pot off the heat for the majority of the time. These are non-negotiable actions you must apply when doing this kind of thing, because scorched chocolate can’t be recovered, and, in the paraphrased words of Alton Brown, “…is certainly not…” and he raises his finger to implore us to finish the sentence for him; CUT TO: Opening credits sequence of Good Eats. The chocolate smoothed out and I added the hot milk, stirring to blend.
Are you doing this too as you read? Good, so now you have a really thick mixture and you need to thin it out. So gently, carefully, little-bit-at-a-time-ly, add more almond milk. Sure, cold. Sure, straight out of the carton. See, I’m telling you my exact process of making this ganache, not locking myself away in trial-and-error hell until I have a perfect, precise recipe to spoonfeed you. Recipes don’t make good cooks, they make meals. Mistakes, mis-pours, mis-measurements, mis-timed and wrongly executed techniques, downright disasters, and recovery make good cooks.
There, now you have vegan ganache and you can do with it as you please. I suggest topping an actually-vegan dessert of some kind, if you’re into that sort of thing. I went with strawberries (pictured above, not below).
** UPDATE: Literally as I was typing this post and having trouble with my links, I clicked back to Ms. Bibby’s recipe. To my blood-boiling chagrin, she has edited her blog to rename her ganache as “glossy” instead of vegan after she was educated by a commenter. While I’m happy that Bibby learned something new, I am displeased that she did so just in time to render everything you have just read utterly pointless. I’m not even vegan, lady! I was doing this for language!