Monday, May 19, 2008

Sunday Dinner Party!

I love Sundays.  It's the only day of the week when I don't have to work, and I recreate to the fullest extent.   I threw a vegan dinner party a few weeks ago for my friend Jason and his visiting friend Ashley (see the Cashew Cheese post).  Apparently, Jason liked it so much that he hyped my culinary skills to our mutual friend Aviva.  Aviva had a friend visiting this weekend, and wondered if I would like to have a vegan dinner party with them.  Hecks yes I would!  I always require that my dinner guests bring the wine, and Aviva definitely didn't falter.  She picked up a delicious organic wine from Vinoteque, and it was one of the best bottles of wine I've ever had.  Although this one time my friend and I were left alone at the Grgich Hills Vineyard in Napa, and given free reign over all food and drink on the property.  Now THAT was a Sunday.  Anyway, on to the menu:

  • Home-made Whole Wheat Baguettes with...
  • Eggplant Caviar
  • Warm Spinach Salad with Fresh Mint and Lemon Dressing
  • Tofu Scallopini
  • Garlic Quinoa
Here's some recipes.  Eat your heart out.

Warm Spinach Salad w/ Fresh Mint and Lemon Dressing

Ingredients: Spinach Salad
  • 1 lb Spinach Leaves
  • 1 small Red Onion, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 Heirloom Tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1 TBSP Chopped Fresh Mint
  • 5-6 TBSP Olive Oil
Ingredients: Fresh Mint and Lemon Dressing
  • 2 Medium Lemons
  • 4 Sprigs Fresh Mint
  • 2 teaspoons sugar (preferably C&H because it's vegan)
  • 2 TBSP lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup Apple Cider vinegar
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper
For the salad...
In a large bowl, mix everything except the olive oil.  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, add all other ingredients to the skillet, and toss in the olive oil for about a minute. As the spinach leaves are just beginning to wilt, immediately remove from heat and place in a serving bowl.  Toss with dressing, and voila!

For the dressing...
Remove the lemon rind on both lemons.  Try to take as little of the pith (white part) with the rind as possible.  Take a food processor, turn it on, and drop the lemon rind and mint down the chute.  Once they are both finely chopped, add the sugar, lemon juice vinegar and pepper.  Process until well mixed.  

Tofu Scallopini

Ingredients: Marinade
  • 2 TBSP Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 Cup Mirin
  • 1/2 Cup
  • 1/2 Cup Water
Ingredients: Scallopini
  • 3/4 block Super Firm Tofu
  • 1 1/2 cup Unbleached Flour
  • 2 tsp. Salt
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Cups Sliced Mushrooms
  • 1 Small Yellow Onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp. Rosemary
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 3-4 Fresh Parsley Sprigs, chopped 
  • 3 oz. Pinot Grigio
  • 6 oz. Vegetable Broth
Drain the tofu VERY well by placing 3-4 paper towels on each side of the block, and resting a heavy object on top (try a cookbook with a few canned goods on top).  Allow the tofu to sit under the heavy objects for 1/2 hour, then flip the tofu over and place the heavy objects back on top.  Allow it to sit for another half hour.

Take the drained tofu, and slice it into large triangles.  Place all of the marinade ingredients in a bowl, and place the tofu in the marinade.  Allow it to sit for 20 minutes, stirring the tofu around after 10 minutes.  

Take flour, salt and pepper and mix together in a bowl.  Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  One by one, remove the tofu triangles from the marinade and dip them in the flour mix (so that they're fully covered),  then place in the skillet. Once all the triangles are golden brown on both sides, add the mushrooms, garlic, onions and rosemary.  Saute for 3 minutes.

Add the white wine, and saute until it reduces by 1/2.  

Add the vegetable broth and lemon juice, and simmer until the sauce thickens.  Garnish with fresh parsley, and serve over couscous, rice or pasta.

And just in case you're not drooling yet.....