As a teensy background, I am not comfortable in the kitchen. If I can follow a recipe, I'm fine, but don't ask me to improvise. Most of my foodie friends know this and are not surprised when I leave the potluck contribution to my husband's care. However, for an upcoming NYE potluck party, I had a hankering to make matzo ball soup and found I had all the ingredients in the house. I've never come close to my late grandmother's quality, but I was determined to follow her recipe to give it another shot.
Yesterday, I mentioned my planned contribution on the Facebook page for those who were invited. Andrea, one of the other attendees, immediately asked if I'd make the soup vegetarian. The recipe I have calls for chicken stock and chicken fat (schmaltz). I have no vegetarian broth in the house, and I have found that using canola oil in place of schmaltz isn't as effective. I responded to Andrea, "Unfortunately, I cannot. I already have the chicken stock and schmaltz ready to go, and I honestly have had terrible luck trying to make them vegetarian or vegan."
Today, I was so excited that I had finally started working in the kitchen that I updated my Facebook status that the matzo ball dough was resting and awaiting the soup to boil. Again, Andrea immediately responded, "So, not vegetarian?
" I was quickly simmering faster than my soup stock. No, I hadn't learned overnight how to make matzo ball soup vegetarian without wrecking it. I also couldn't make it gluten-free for my other friend with celiac, but she wasn't prodding me about it.
Instead of blowing my stack, I responded, "Sorry, Andrea, I'm afraid it won't be possible. I have plenty of matzo meal if you want to make a veggie version."
Her response? "Bummer. I think that I am going to bring bread, seeing how much soup is going to be there."
Oh, and at least one of the other soups that has been promised by a guest IS a vegetarian black bean soup. She just wanted mine to be veggie as well.