vegan feast

a few weeks ago one of my best friends, amanda, asked if i would be willing to cook a vegan dinner for her and her family. duh! so last night i did.

we made a noodle dish with mushrooms and red onion; a quinoa salad with baked rosemary eggplant, tomatoes, cucumber and roasted peppers; pan-fried tofu with a peanut sauce; and a blueberry vanilla cheesecake for dessert.

i brought strawberries, raspberries and cherries from the farmers market. they were so juicy and delicious. we put some on the cheesecake but i ate most of them for my dinner. amanda's family was a little confused as to why i had spent hours cooking an amazing vegan feast but then didn't eat any of it... being raw can be like that. anyway i did have some quinoa salad and it was SO GOOD. amanda and i are great team-mates.

as usual, every recipe was improvised BUT i will try to recall what we did, so i can share the deliciousness with you. amanda's family said it was super amazing, and her grandpa told me the cheesecake may be the best dessert he's ever had!

quinoa salad with tomatoes, cucumber, baked rosemary eggplant and roasted red peppers: serves 6-8

2 cups uncooked quinoa
1 eggplant
1 cucumber
4 tomatoes
3 roasted red peppers
handful fresh mint leaves
peanut sauce
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup water
4 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp lime juice
3 cloves garlic, minced and crushed
4 tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon each chili and cayenne powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar/agave syrup or other sweetener

follow the quinoa's cooking instructions, then leave it somewhere to cool down.
for the eggplant, slice into circles and put on a baking sheet. rub with olive oil, some salt and lots of chopped rosemary. bake it for about 20-30 minutes until the slices are  "mushy" and have soaked up the oil. chop the cucumber, tomatoes, red pepper, mint and eggplant slices and add to the quinoa.

for the peanut sauce, blend all ingredients until smooth. done! serve with peanut sauce.

blueberry cheesecake: makes 1 pie

1 cup walnuts
1 cup almonds
1 cup dates
1/2 teaspoon each of salt, cinnamon and vanilla extract

2 packages silken tofu
3 bananas
2 tablespoon melted coconut oil
2 cups raw cashews (preferably soaked for a few hours)
1/4 cup agave/maple syrup/honey
1/2 cup dates
3/4 cup blueberries
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 cups berries
3 tablespoons maple syrup/honey
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 

for the crust: put all the nuts into your food processor and pule until they're crumb-sized. add all other ingredients and pulse until it sticks together. press into the bottom of a pie pan and refrigerate.
to make the filling, blend all ingredients until smooth. taste it and see if you want to change anything. when it's the way you like spoon it into the pie pan and refrigerate for 3 hours or until it's set. for the topping, mix all ingredients together gently and let sit in the sun or somewhere warm for an hour to let the juices out. you might have some filling left over by the way, but this is not a bad thing.

we used the same peanut sauce recipe (with a bit of added spice and soy sauce) to pan fry the tofu with and that turned out awesome, if not a little messy.

for the noodle dish, you can just google vegan pad thai and use any of those recipes - there's some good lookin' ones out there. we went in our direction and added chives, carrots and mushrooms and onions sauteed with basil, salt and pepper. not exactly traditional but apparently it was well-received!

everybody wanted seconds of every thing, and her aunt and grandparents took leftovers home. it was a ton of fun and i want to do it again soon! making food for people is so rewarding and enjoyable for me.