Monday, July 23, 2007
TWO RECENT DINNER PARTIES WITH FRIENDS
DINNER #1: Last Monday we had some good friends and fellow vegans over for a casual dinner to catch up-- we're both so busy we hardly see eachother! Here's the Middle Eastern-style menu (I know, I've been on a bit of a Middle Eastern kick, but it suits the summer!):
Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini Slices with Taheena Sauce and Parsley
Dajaj ma' Hummous ("Chicken" with Chickpeas, using Soy Curls) (recipe below)
Bulgur Pilaf (bulgur wheat cooked with onions, herbs and veggie broth)
Fresh Lemonade, Palestinian-Style (recipe below)
Almond-Rosewater Rice Pudding (originally from my supscription newsletter, the Vegan Feast; recipe in my new book) with Strawberries
The salad was mixed organic baby greens, marinated artichoke hearts, green olives, sundried tomatoes, and cucumber slices in a lemon/olive oil/garlic/and salt dressing
Printable Recipes (both of them)
VEGAN DAJAJ MA HUMMUS ("CHICKEN" WITH CHICKPEAS, VEGAN-STYLE) (WW CORE PLAN COMPATIBLE)
This was fragrant and delicious! I adapted it from a recipe in "From the Land of Figs and Olives" by Habeeb Salloum and James Peters.
2 Tbs Earth Balance (or olive oil)
6 cups reconstituted Soy Curls (butlerfoods.com) (that's 6 oz., or 4 1/2 cups dry) (see here for info about Soy Curls)
(You could also use "chicken" seitan or other "chicken" subs instead)
2 medium onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup minced cilantro or parlsey
1 can (19 oz or 540 ml) chickpeas (or 1 1/2- 2 cups cooked), drained
4 cups chicken-style vegetarian broth
3 Tbs tomato paste
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
In a large nonstick skillet, sauté the Soy Curls in the Earth Balance over medium heat until they turn golden brown in spots. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Steam-fry the onions in the same pan over high heat until they begin to brown, adding a splash of water as needed to keep from sticking, and stirring often. Add the garlic and cilantro. Stir-fry for another 3 minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients, including the Soy Curls, and bring to a boil.
Turn down the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until it is stew-like. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve hot over basmati rice or bulgur, or with pita.
Nutrition (per serving): 250.9 calories; 34% calories from fat; 9.7g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 60.5mg sodium; 320.4mg potassium; 26.5g carbohydrates; 8.3g fiber; 6.2g sugar; 18.3g net carbs; 15.8g protein; 5.0 points.
I had imbibed the BEST lemonade I ever had at "The Palestine Cafe" on Victoria Drive in Vancouver, BC (Update, 2011-- no longer there, unfortunately) recently, so I wanted to recreate that drink. I found this recipe online and it was delicious!
PALESTINIAN LEMONADE WITH MINT LEAVES FOR 4
Serves about 6-8
I adapted this from a recipe from "Amea Recipes" (update:website is no longer there).
Here is the lovely quote that accompanied the recipe:
"She offered me a chair by the kitchen table and disappeared through the service door that led to the garden and came back with 6 lemons and a small bunch of mint leaves. As she squeezed them and stirred the juice with sugar and water in a pitcher, I found myself trying to recollect when I last had fresh lemonade. She carefully washed a few mint leaves and put them in the pitcher, and from a small bottle that was sitting on a shelf, she added two drops of a sweet transparent liquid. She then sat across from me and remained silent. Before she finally took a sip from her drink, she pointed to mine as a form of invitation, and I had a spurt of the essential quality of what the earth can offer. It was the two drops of essence of orange blossom that made all the difference." -- Christiane Dabdoub Nasser, "Leyla"
Juice of 6 large lemons
organic unbleached sugar to taste (or agave nectar)-- make it too sweet, because you will serve this over lots of ice, which will dilute the sweetness
7 cups water
2 teaspoon orange blossom water
handful of tender fresh mint leaves
Thin slices of lemon
Squeeze the lemons and stir in the sugar. Add water and keep on stirring, making sure all the sugar has dissolved.
Add mint leaves, essence and a few slices of lemon and refrigerate for an hour before serving in tall glasses with lots of ice.
DINNER #2: On another day, we had more friends, another vegan couple and a non-vegan couple, over for a summer dinner. This time it had an Italian theme and vegans and non-vegans alike loved it:
Italian White Bean Salad with Herbs and Miso Dressing (from my book "Nonna's Italian Kitchen") (NOTE: I use miso instead of anchovies in my Italian cooking)
Piedmontese Rice Salad with Roasted Garlic Dressing (I used snap peas from our garden instead of the asparagus in the recipe, and used brown basmati rice)
Breast of Tofu (recipe in most of my books), served cold with my Low-fat Vegan Mayonnaise blended with fresh basil and garlic
Brian's Bread (my husband's homemade bread, mostly whole wheat with some oats and sesame on the bottom)
Sundried tomatoes, marinated artichoke hearts and olives
Tofu-Cashew Cheezecake with Strawberry Sauce from my book "Soyfoods Cooking for a Positive Menopause"
I doubled the recipe and made this in a springform pan, baking it for an hour.