Such was the case on Sunday 17.0, when we were privileged to enjoy the delightful company of Susan and Andrew :)
This evening of epic eating started around 4pm. The plan was to cook and drink and eat the appies as they came out before sitting down for dinner at a respectable time. And everything went swimmingly, with the exception of sitting down for dinner at a respectable time.
Unless you consider 9:30 a respectable time. In which case everything did indeed go swimmingly.
I'm not big on experimenting with recipes when entertaining guests. Maybe some people are all confident in their cooking skills and stuff so they can wing it with guests, but I need to stick with tried, tested and true. So I pulled out my vegan bible (aka The Kind Diet) and got to work on dishes that had received a rating of at least 4 Happy Tongues from Rob the Husband in the past.
We started with Artichoke, Mushroom, and Leek Crostini with Pesto (p. 204). Turned out brilliant.
To be honest, I'd like to find a pesto recipe with a pine nut replacement, as the flavour of the pine nuts doesn't really do it for me in this pesto...but you only need a little bit for the crostini and it goes well with the other layers of this appy. This one definitely went down easy.
While I was preparing the next appy, Rob went ahead and fried up some soy chorizo to slice up. He was out to prove that processed meat substitutes can indeed be delicious meat alternative for those who think they just needzz their meat! In most cases it really does come down to the seasoning, and Trader Joe's brand soy chorizo sausage delivers.
Every time I talk about faux-meat substitutes (mmm...Tofurkey Polish sausage at Easter) I start to twitch and feel a bit defensive and find myself curbing a rant directed at those who question vegans eating processed faux-meat. Must...curb....bitching...and twitching. I got a tad bitchy in my last post on Forks Over Knives...no, not bitchy...opinionated. So this post shall be all sunshine and kittens, and I shall store away the opinions for another day.
So back to the soy chorizo. Both of our guests were thoroughly impressed, the sausage quickly disappeared, and we proceeded to the next course...Waffle, Sausage, and Cheese Panini (p. 153).
While the reviews around the table were good, this one didn't turn out as insanely delicious as it was the first time I made it. I blame Rob, who finished off the apricot jam in the fridge without telling me (how dare he eat in his home without consulting me first?), so I had to use plum jam instead for the sauce. Yah, it wasn't as good. And because I tried to make the dish appy-sized, it made a normally messy dish even more messy. The waffles kind of fell apart, but fortunately I was
CANUCKS ARE GOING TO THE STANLEY CUP!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Real time update there. Hells yes.
Now, where was I? Oh yah, complaining about my waffles...so fortunately I was able to salvage a couple of reasonably pretty ones for our guests.
Come to think of it, these don't look reasonably pretty. Oh well. The others looked pre-chewed, so I served them to Rob. He doesn't do hilarious accents like Andrew or have gorgeous, flowing locks like Susan (whom he doesn't even bother to compliment when she spends a fortune getting her hair done...shame shame Robert), so he was fine getting the waffle that looked pre-chewed.
I will definitely make sure I have the right jam next time.
At this point we were getting pretty full, but still had a whole dinner ahead of us. Fortunately, there was plenty of time to digest while preparing the main course:
- Moroccan Couscous with Saffron (p. 148)
- Caesar Salad (p. 175)
- Cornbread (p. 163)
- Vegan Mac n' Cheese (not an Alicia recipe, but one that Rob found online and tried earlier in the week and it's from a Vancouver vegan chef and you make it with Daiya cheese and it kinda tastes like an Indian dish because it includes turmeric and curry...omg sooo good...for serious).
And of course, dessert.
Chocolate dipped strawberries courtesy of Susan (we have a telepathic connection, because I was totally going to make chocolate covered strawberries, no kidding), and Wild Blueberry Cheesecake also courtesy of Susan (with a little help from Sweets From the Earth). This cheesecake was seriously delicious. The texture reminded me more of thick whipping cream, which I loved, because I've never been a fan of dense, overly-rich cheesecake. Which reminds me, I still have have some in the fridge...I'm totally gonna score a piece. There's another real-time update...almost as exciting as the Canucks winning Game 5 in OT and going to the Stanley Cup.
Yum. That is good cheesecake.
The more observant among you might also notice in the dessert pic some insane vegan marshmallows courtesy of Sweet and Sara...one bite of these and you will find yourself asking why oh why do we need gelatin (aka bone and skin extract) to enjoy marshmallows? Here's a thought...you don't. These are RIDICULOUS.
And thus concluded our epic night of vegan eating...at around midnight. As I was walking our guests out it dawned on me that we pretty much spent the equivalent of a work day eating. But it was good eating.
I do a little happy dance whenever I can demonstrate that vegan food does not equal deprivation...that it is fun and delicious and nourishing and naughty. I know that us herbivores are in the minority, and that most people aren't ready to sell their soul to The Plant. But if I can have a kickass evening with kickass friends and kickass food and know at the end of the night that no animals had to suffer for that evening to be successful, then I'm floating.
And tonight I'm floating twice as high because the Canucks are going to the Stanley Cup HELLS YES!