Your Kitchen Overlord is sneaking away a great train caper. Rather than leave you hungry in my absence, this week I’m reprinting five of my best vegetarian recipes in honor of the fact that I’m traveling from the hipster enclave of Austin to the hippie rainforest of Portland in a retro-futuristic style the Victorians would’ve admired.
Today, we use the magical powers of prayer, insanity, and root vegetables to create a very special hero formerly unknown to the worlds of man.
On the island of Themyscira, the mad Queen Hippolyta, driven insane by a combination of loneliness and whatever the high priestess was using to poison her food, sculpted herself a statue of a daughter. It was pretty good when measured against other mad, drug inspired, royal art, and so she insisted everyone treat it as her own flesh and blood.
This actually worked out pretty well for the Amazonian island’s senators. The silent heir never went on publicly embarrassing benders, couldn’t mess up trade deals by sleeping with the wrong ambassador, and always showed up on time for all her ceremonial duties. She was perfect.
The gods couldn’t have that.
One day, the same deities who thought seducing girls in the form of a swan, tsetse fly, or golden shower made for a rollicking good time, decided to bring the statue to life. Princess Diana was born.
The crown’s PR department gave it their best spin, but let’s be honest, as soon as she was old enough, they got the creepy magical super powered heir the heck off the island and out of their hair. Go be a hero, they said. Save the world, they said. Stop pretending a teenager knows anything about the delicate balance of economic policy, they said.
Upon arriving in America, Princess Diana took on the incredibly humble name of Wonder Woman and proceeded to become an inspiration to generations of girls. In fact, I was inspired to make this edible homage out of winter vegetables and good intentions. Here’s hoping the gods don’t drunkenly decide to animate my edible sculpture. The cops will never believe I didn’t hack up a Wonder Woman cosplayer before harvesting her organs to sell on the black market.
If you’re brave enough to risk amusing the gods, making your own Wonder Woman is disturbingly easy.
3 pounds beets
3 pounds purple/blue sweet potatoes
2 pounds orange sweet potatoes
½ cup butter, melted
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 tsp Herbes de Provence
1 tsp kosher salt
5-6 slices mozzarella cheese (optional)
Scant handful spaghetti or angel hair pasta (optional)
You’re going to need a mandolin for this. Put down your round bellied string instruments. You’re making a tribute to Wonder Woman, not Mumford and Sons. What you need is the kind of slicer that can rip through freshly peeled root vegetables like a mystic sword ripping through an enchanted alien robot. Yes, mandolins are that good.
Peel your beets, sweet potatoes, and purple sweet potatoes. The beets will be her heaving bosom of justice, the orange sweet potatoes her mighty, crown-like belt, and the purple sweet potatoes will become the base of her star spangled panties. Purple sweet potatoes are an incredibly brief seasonal item mostly found at Farmer’s Markets and Whole Foods in the early autumn. You can also use blue potatoes, which are equally pretentious but have a longer growing season. If you go with the blue starchy potatoes, stick with the savory option.
Once all your veggies are peeled, crank your mandolin down to it’s lowest setting so it creates paper thin slices. Slice like the fate of the world hangs in the balance.
Once you’ve transformed your root vegetables into neat stacks of veggie slices, it’s time to season up your butter. I went with the savory, earthy flavors of garlic, Herbes de Provence, and some kosher salt, but you can always try the sweet variation at the end of this recipe.
Either way, it’s time to start building yourself a princess.
Get your biggest pan. Spread it with a generous layer of your butter mix. Now take a good, hard look at Wonder Woman. Doesn’t she look delicious?
Lay down a single layer of star spangled blue panties, heaving red beet bosom, and a thin connective belt to bind them together.
Now use a pastry brush to moisten that with your butter mix. Add another layer of potatoes then paint them, too.
Keep building your imaginary woman. Every few layers, lay a sheet of waxed paper on top, flatten it out with a cutting board, and pile that down with something heavy. I used a twelve pack of beer, because I like to keep it classy. Pressing the layers down for five minutes or so makes a huge difference in the final texture.
Once you reach the final layer, carefully carve some spare orange sweet potato slices to make the eagle-like crest on Wonder Woman’s bustier.
Once more, add the waxed paper, cutting board, and something heavy. This time, you want to weigh it down for a good half hour. Trust me.
After half an hour, remove the waxed paper and replace it with aluminum foil. Pop your princess into a 400F oven for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and let her keep baking for another 20 minutes.
When you pull her out, she’s going to look disturbingly bloody from all the butter and beet juices heroically leaking from her body. Grab some paper towels and carefully mop up as much of the overflow as possible.
Before inviting her to the table, she’ll need a little time to both cool off and stop bleeding all over the place. While she’s getting her act together, you should make her lasso of truth.
Simply boil the noodles according to package directions. Angel hair is fastest, but honestly, spaghetti or linguini will work just as well. Use whatever you have on hand. When the pasta has boiled and cooled, shape it into a lasso and attach it at her hip.
While the pasta boils, unwrap five slices of mozzarella cheese. Either use a cookie cutter or a small bladed knife and all your patience to cut out some star shapes. Once you’ve cleaned up all the excess butter and beet juice, carefully add the stars to her panties.
You’re now ready to show off your very own heroine homage. Have fun deciding what part of her body to eat first.
Substitute olive oil for butter and soy cheese for mozzarella. Increase the salt by 1 tsp. You’ll get a slightly different texture and a somewhat crispier top layer, but the end result will still be quite carby and delicious.
Instead of garlic and Herbes de Provance, mix your butter (or vegan olive oil) with 2-3 tbsp brown sugar and 1 tsp vanilla. Also soak 1 cup of flattened prunes or dates in orange juice while you’re slicing up your veggies. After every 2 layers of potatoes, add a layer of dried fruit.