This is trash

illustration by Kyle Shine

Here’s an interesting social experiment: Make unpalatable food for a potluck, put a sign on it saying, “This is trash,” and see who will actually eat it. That’s what happened recently when a recipe I found online for vegan cashew-cream stuffed balsamic dates turned sour: The dates were oversaturated with vinegar. To my surprise, people tried them anyway. Most politely agreed they were too strong, but a few liked them. A better way to get that vinegar tang is to make a balsamic reduction and drizzle it over the stuffed date. Specifically, a Medjool date, sliced lengthwise with its pit removed, stuffed with cashew cream (puree 1 cup cashews, 1/2 cup water, 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt). You could even top it with coconut flakes or stuff it with pistachio puree (1/2 cup shelled, salted pistachios, 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, 2 tablespoons water, a pinch of cinnamon) for less trashy results.