Recently, when I found myself cooking for yet another group of non-vegans, I realized that I tend to take the food-as-activism tome very seriously. Is it just me, or is it typical for vegans to feel that when they have an opportunity to cook for non-vegans, it is a once-in-their-lifetime chance to knock their socks off with healthy, delicious, meticulously-prepared vegan fare?
I started out with a loaf of fresh bread, sans accouterments.
Because I never make it for just myself, I was happy to use my guests as an excuse to whip up a batch of lentil-walnut pate. This was the best batch yet and was perfect for spreading on the loaf above, as I don't generally serve substitutes such as vegan butter to non-vegans. I prefer to replace rather than mimic; as long as they're questioning food, might as well turn all of their instincts on their head. You're not "missing" something if you're enjoying something else in its place.
Since I'd picked up a great deal on zucchini at the farmer's market, there was also zucchini spaghetti with raw red pepper and basil sauce. This sauce came great this time as well; must have been home-grown basil. Tip: if you make this ahead of time, just keep the sauce and spiralized zucchini separate to avoid a watery mess.
|I was all about the garnish!|
|I admit it; I transported this carrot butterfly from Soy & Sake|
To accompany, there was kicky cucumber lemonade.
And, for dessert, a minor panic when I absolutely ruined the pignoli cookies by forgetting the baking powder (I was all cooked out at this point).
Out of almond paste, in their place I made pistachio-rosewater cookies (p. 233) from Veganomicon. Camera-shy...
And, lest you think I neglected to make anything chocolate, behold the toasted coconut cupcakes (p. 87) with coconut
Also, cherries: in my cute, new dish.
The meal and the evening was a lovely success. Not only did everyone ask for a list of the dinner recipes, but since I made just about everything in my Magic Bullet, 2 guests have already purchased one (each) as a result! Another already purchased a spiralizer, and 1 more is considering doing the same.
Although not the purpose of the gathering, all in all, I'd say my food-as-activism was a raging success. Perhaps when a non-vegan guest tells you that her good friend used to be vegan, it's not the best choice to retort, "They say if someone 'used to be' vegan, they were never really vegan at all"...and then nervously follow up with "Never trust an ex-vegan" as if they're familiar with the snarky phrase, but I think I'm getting better at this.