Saturday, June 16, 2012

More Cooking For Non-Vegans

Let's start off with the spread, shall we?

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!
For no other reason than I wanted to try out my new julienne tool, I made whole wheat wraps with almond chickpea pate, fresh spinach, and julienne carrots.

I admit it; I transported this carrot butterfly from Soy & Sake
I thought I'd invented a Mexican quinoa salad out of thin air, but then I suspiciously found the California Chipotle Chop with Agave-Lime Vinaigrette (p. 49) lurking in the new Chloe's Kitchen cookbook by Chloe Coscarelli.  My variations included sauteing the onions, adding corn grilled with cayenne, and omitting the cilantro; it was amazing and I can't wait to try some of the other recipes.

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 pecan fudge frosting (p. 147) from VCTOTW.  Note: the frosting recipe makes enough for two batches of cupcakes.

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.


  1. what a spread!! those wraps look delicious! and so does the cali salad! and those all around great meal! thanks for sharing!

  2. That is just a wonderful looking spread. There's something about fresh-baked bread that says you're making a special effort. I'm not surprised people were asking for the recipes - I'd be asking for a doggy bag!

  3. Well done! Food is such a powerful and effective activism tool. Everything looks great!

  4. You've become a chef right before our eyes! I can see why the guests were impressed — who wouldn't be? You're making me feel so lazy. I'm going to look up the recipe for quinoa salad and make it (or something like it) for my guests tomorrow.

  5. It looks like you really did an incredible job. You're on a roll. I can't believe you made the loaf of bread, even! I usually keep things very low-key when cooking for others because there's more room to screw up and not have others notice. Did you eat the pignoli cookies anyway?

  6. glutenfreehappytummy- it turned out great; glad you enjoyed the post.

    Joey- I was eating leftovers all week!

    Amanda- I agree.

    Andrea- I can't say enough good things about that salad. I want to explore the book some more, but I'm taking a break from cooking this week!

    foodfeud- No matter what you make, the bread always turns heads. I find that cooking like this for non-vegans a) convinces them you eat like this all the time and b) makes them think they can do it because everything is so fresh, tasty, and recognizable. I didn't eat the pignoli cookies because I was (true story) mad at them, but my parents did!


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