Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sunday Night Dinner with Friends

Maya the Sous Chef
This past weekend I spent an inordinate amount of time in the kitchen. It's where I like to be, so I don't mind. I wanted to make a special dinner for a friend who is going through a very difficult time. So difficult, in fact, that she is having trouble eating (she's NOT an emotional eater!). I'm proud to say that she enjoyed the food and was able to eat. Yeah!

Here's the dinner in it's entirety, along with my thoughts on each dish:
Ever since hosting the Plant-strong Pot Luck at our house, I have been wanting to give Terry Walter's recipe for Sweet Potato, Corn and Kale Chowder a try. Everyone was raving about Quinn's take on the soup the night of the party, and Chris L even went as far as saying it was the best dish of the night!
But there wasn't enough to go around, so I, as the host, didn't get a taste. Then Chris-Anna, my business partner, made her own version using white potatoes and brought it to work for us for lunch. Holy cow! The secret is in the use of cashews. This is one extraordinary soup. I followed the recipe exactly, except, of course, substituting vegetable broth for the oil when sauteing the onion. Seriously folks, this is one of the best soups of all time. Get the recipe here.
This Vegan Ceviche could give any salad a run for its money. Consisting of chopped hearts of palm (yum!), tomato, cilantro, red onion, cucumber, red pepper and avocado and dressed simply of lime juice, salt and pepper, it's a new personal favorite. It's fresh, crunchy, and citrusy with a surprise of creaminess from the avocado every few bites. I can't tell you how much I LOVE it, except to say that I'm making it again tonight for my company b-b-q tomorrow.

Want Mama Pea's recipe? get it here.

Next up a salad from Appetite for Reduction called Wild Rice Salad with Oranges and Roasted Beets (p. 39-40). I happen to love beets, so giving this recipe a try was a must for me when my friend Liz said that she had made it recently.

Check out that recipe here.

Did I love it like I thought I would? No. Was it good? Yes. Maybe my expectations were too high based how incredible it sounded.

Actually, I really enjoyed it when using the leftovers, but more on that in a future post.
 Wild Rice Salad with Oranges and Roasted Beets from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Also from Isa Chandra Moskowitz is Baked Falafel (Appetite for Reduction p. 121-122). If you are expecting and craving crispy, fried falafel, this is probably not going to satisfy you. They are extremely dry (I substituted the oil in the recipe with water, so I can't really blame the recipe!), but they went well with the moist salads that I served them with. My oldest daughter has been enjoying the leftovers in her camp lunches and I really like them with a dollop of hummus on top. Recipe here
Appetite for Reduction Baked Falafel

Yum-oh! I tried out a new sugar substitute made from coconut called Coconut Crystals. It's a raw and unprocessed sweetener available at Whole Foods. With half the calories of sugar, I'd say this is an ingredient worth exploring for those times when you do want to bake. You can read all about it here.
Blueberry Cheesecake Muffins from Peas and Thank You

And the best part about spending the weekend in the kitchen cooking for friends? A whole weeks worth of awesome leftovers!

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