Last night was an amazing success. It's so funny to me how much I planned to make only to realize that, for seven people, it would be ENTIRELY too much food if I didn't shave down the menu a bit. It was hard to decide what to include. I so wanted to wow everyone with things I knew to be sure hits. I was going to make up a really cute menu but found that my printer would not cooperate and settled on the above....which I totally left back by the computer never to be seen by our guests. :)
Everything went over really well. We all were having so much fun that I almost forgot to snap a few pictures of the food here and there....almost.
We began our feast by munching on some Seitan Nuggets with Agave Mustard.
As usual, these were gone in a flash, and I barely got a pic before they were all gobbled up! Not the healthiest item on the menu by any means, but soooooo tasty and a nice treat.
Of course I had to offer up my Tempeh Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms as another appetizer.
They truly are the best thing ever. I just make the Tempeh Sausage Crumbles from VwaV and then add a Tbs of Vegannaise, a Tbs of Toffuti Better Than Sour Cream, and a ton of nutritional yeast to bind it all together to a great consistancy. I stuff the shrooms and in a 425 oven they go for about 15-25 minutes. I love that I now have a wonderful stuffed mushroom recipe reminiscent of what I grew up with but containing no meat or dairy. Rocks! I didn't cook all that I stuffed last night but saved a couple for grandma at dinner tomorrow who is always up for trying something yummy and vegan. Can't wait to share those with her!
The final appetizer was the Tempeh Pate from the Native Foods Restaurant Cookbook.
I got my hands on some really wonderful dill so this was extra good this time around. I love their general preparation of tempeh and it really lends itself nicely to making a pate. We spread it on some whole grain crackers. yum!
Our feast's main course consisted of my now infamous Vegan Caesar with Brussel Sprouts 'n Sundried Tomatoes,
Green Goddess Potatoes, Spaghetti Squash and Raw Zucchini with Lemon Artichoke Pesto, Hempseed, & Walnuts,
Exquisite Broccoli Bisque (from the Nutritional Yeast Cookbook),
and my friend Marlo's AMAZING tempeh dish, Oh My Goddess Tempeh (recipe follows).
I was originally bummed when I went to two local grocery stores to find that, between them, they had but one single teeny, round spaghetti squash, but when I opted to shred some zucchini and mix it (raw) with the warm spaghetti squash before adding the pesto I hit on something really fresh tasting and wonderful. I will certainly do that again!
Other glitches were things like, no matter that I heated the potatoes in the microwave twice before serving, they still managed to end up on everyone's plates just cooler than room temperature....and only noticed it when we all sat down and I finally made it on my plate to them. Everyone ooh'd and aaah'd over them anyway so they either weren't so bad not piping hot or I just have reeeeeally wonderful friends. I'm thinking it's a bit of both :).
Also found that the soup, while crazy good, was just maybe too much food as it's truly a tasty meal on it's own. It's made from cooking broccoli, potatoes, onion with tarragon and veg broth, then blending with soy milk, nutritional yeast, and almond butter. very rich, creamy, thick and such a wonderful flavor. the almond butter is really unexpected and yummy. move over broccoli cheese! we've got this one covered! ;)
For dessert....I had planned to make a couple so people could sample but ended up just making one reeeeeally good one, VwaV's Ginger Macadamia Coconut Carrot Cake.
One word: wow.
A couple other words tho: what's up with that recipe? It says in the book to serve it with coconut icing but then there is no recipe for the icing anywhere. Am I nuts or is that true? I ended up making a simple vegan cream cheese frosting that works really well but was bummed that I didn't have something new to try. I could have searched around, but I was in a time crunch.
Either way, this cake is dense full of flavor and texture and out of this world yummy. I highly recommend it to all those who love carrot cake.
And here I share with you the tempeh recipe that will surely knock your socks off. It was truly perfect. Thank you so much to Marlo who came over and graced my kitchen with her culinary prowess and provided us with an entree that just plain wowed us. I was going to make the Revolutionary Spanish Omelet from VwaV but now am going to do that to bring to dinner with the fam tomorrow (thanks again Marlo, for helping out a crazy hurried vegan in the kitchen :). Without further ado....and in her words....
Marlo's Oh My Goddess Tempeh
1. Open a dry bottle of white wine, your choice. Pour yourself a generous glass as you prepare meal below.
2. Take frozen tempeh and cut into strips (1” x 4”). Place in once inch of softly boiling mushroom stock. Simmer on medium heat until liquid is absorbed. Throw in a splash of olive oil and shake tempeh around to coat. Brown gently, and throw in a couple of healthy splashes of lemon juice.
3. Once juice has absorbed, and tempeh has browned, take out of pan; set to the side for later. This may be extremely dangerous. While only a step in this dish, the tempeh is, in fact, scandalously delicious at this point. I had to make a second batch because I couldn’t resist munching on it as I made the rest of the recipe.
4. In the same pan (less clean up, yeah!) add some more olive oil, along with whatever fresh green herbs you have that need to be used up. (I had parsley and rosemary; I feel like the rosemary is particularly crucial.)
5. Sauté herbs, then add sliced crimini or baby bella shrooms.
6. Don’t burn your hands as your reach in to taste that perfectly browned shroom.
7. Add a pinch of flour or arrowroot powder as a thickener for the sauce.
8. Slowly mix in generous amounts of white wine and lemon juice.
9. Add freshly cracked pepper and sea salt to taste.
10. When sauce has thickened, pour over tempeh.
11. Serve with favorite green veg. ( I did Bry’s garlicy Brussels sprouts.)
12. Go back for seconds.
SO GOOD! I should stress here that if you are fortunate enough to have access to fresh tempeh in your area? always buy that rather than the aseptic packaged variety. The flavor is a thousand times better. And when you're feasting on as much tempeh as we do and did (did you catch that? we had tempeh three ways!) you'll savor every bite of the fresh stuff. Miss Marlo brought hers from home where the resident tempeh guru is much beloved by everyone across the land...myself included. So thank you, Tempeh Jose, your tempeh rocks!
While all the food was incredibly good, if I do say so myself (and i do!), having our friends around enjoying it all together is the most amazing thing in my life I have to be thankful for. They are all truly the best friends a girl could ask for and I can't wait to make this an annual tradition!