Monday, July 23, 2007


Best Blog Tips

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)

Mixed Salad

Bulgur Pilaf (bulgur wheat cooked with onions, herbs and veggie broth)

Fresh Lemonade with Mint Leaves (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)

Servings: 6
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 vegan butter (or olive oil)
6 cups reconstituted Soy Curls (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 parsley
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 vegan butter or olive oil 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 Facts
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.

Serves about 6-8
I adapted this from a recipe from "Amea Recipes". (Update: the 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.



Brandon said...

Just a question of dinner party protocol. If a friend knew you were vegan and invited you to dinner, would you expect them to provide acceptable vegan dishes?

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

A friend-- yes. They would ask me if they had any problems about that. If it's someone I don't know, I usually tell them ahead of time and offer to bring a vegan main dish if it will help. When you get there, then, you can just enquire about the side dishes quietly, and eat what you can, but you'll have your dish to eat anyway. Sometimes you have to be specific about items-- many people assume that seafood is 'vegetarian', for instance. But I don't make much of a fuss-- even if you don't get much to eat, the idea is to be with friends.

Anonymous said...

WOW! You really know how to throw a dinner party. All of the food looks yummy :]

I meant to ask you, do your "Chicken" Cutlets freeze well?

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Julie, yes, the cutlets freeze really well. You can put pieces of parchment bewteen them, to keep them from sticking together. All seitan freezes well, BTW.

Anonymous said...

Good to know-thanks!

Kate said...

What a pretty spred.

Joe said...

One heck of a dinner party! The last picture of the tofu-cashew cheesecake is simply stunning.

Candi said...

Beautiful! I'm excited to try these recipes out. :)

I am SO happy with your newsletter that I just subscribed to! I went out tonight to get a pan for the angel cake recipe!! I will make it tomorrow, and I'm so excited. :) Thank you for all the great ideas and amazing vegan food. You are an inspiration!

Anonymous said...


Your recipes are the absolute best! How do I subscribe to your blog?

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

paula, you can use the buttons down near the end of the sidebar on the right-- the orange feedburner one, or the add to yahoo!, google, or aol buttons. Thanks!