Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My first dinner party!

Last night I hosted my first dinner party. It was a lot of fun. In my awkward host-ness I forgot to take pictures of the actually people and only got pictures of the food. I guess my word that people were there will have to be enough. Originally it was only dinner for four (Kristie, Ashley, Ryan, and myself) then at the last minute it became five (Rachael) and it was all the more enjoyable.

As I was the only vegan, menu plans started several days ago, apparently there would be some very picky eaters. Embracing the culinary challenge, I decided to go with some past favorites that have come though time and time again while taking a few risks and trying a few new things. I wanted to make something that most of them had never tried before and impress them with how good and flavorful vegan food can be. Salad and pasta was not on the menu.

I went with butternut squash soup, roasted brussel sprouts, kale chips, fruit salad, chicken fried seitan, ranch dressing, and a mango cheesecake for dessert. The kale chips were over salted but that was purely my fault. Otherwise most of the items were a hit. Brussel sprouts and seitan were both a risk. Most people flinch at the idea of brussel sprout since what they had as children were boiled mushed ovals of sogginess. Not mine! Mine are crisp and crunchy and give that great nutty flavor. Seitan was a risk becuase, well, it is kind of crazy. People hear the name or see the jar of wheat gluten in the cupboard and you can see their eyebrows of skepticism. I was confident enough with both of these dishes to serve them to a room full of sideways glaces and concerned faces.

Mango Cheesecake

1 graham cracker crust (store bought or homemade)
2 ripe mangoes
2 1/2 tubs of Tofutti Cream Cheese
4 units of egg replacer
1/2 cup of water
3/4 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of maple syrup
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla

Pre-heat the oven to 350. Puree the peeled mangoes in a blender until liquid. You can add the 1/2 cup of water, lemon juice, and maple syrup to the mango to help liquefy it. In a sauce pan, pour mango puree, brown sugar, and vanilla. Bring to a simmer and allow the sugar to dissolve, stir frequently so the mango does not burn. In a food processor, add the tofutti cream cheese, egg replacer, and sugar. Puree until smooth and well mixed. Add in the mango mixture and puree until well mixed. The mixture should be richly sweet with a nice mango flavor. Pour the mixture into the crust and bake in the oven for 30 mins. The top should begin to become golden brown and bubble a bit. Chill for 3 hours and serve.

I picked up two dragon fruits to use on the fruit salad. After digging the fruit out, I used the shell of the dragon fruit as a bowl for the fruit salad which consisted of pineapple, dragon fruit, mango, banana, and kiwi. It came out really cool looking.

I will post the recipe for the butternut squash soup tomorrow (along with the picture). I also may post my roasted brussel sprout recipe, even though it is incredibly simple.


Tara said...

How fun! Everything looks wonderful! I especially like how colorful the fruit salad is.

jessy said...

hooray for your first dinner party - that rocks socks! dan & i hae yet to host a dinner party, but i do hope we get to some day soon! having to make tasty vegan eatz for some picky eaters can be a challenge indeed - but it sounds (and looks) like everything was gloriously good & loved by all. your mango cheezecake looks heavenly, i'm really dig'n the dragonfruit bowls, and your chicken fried seitan = the best! i can't wait for the soup recipe, and roasted brussels are my favorite! i'd love to read how you make yours, fo 'sho!

selina said...

your fruit salad is gorgeous. and it looks delicious.
looks like a dinner party i'd enjoy. glad you had fun!

Oraphan said...

That sounds like a lot of fun! Your dinner menu sounds absolutely fantastic! I love dragon fruit so much but it's hard to find it around here.

I'm so interested in your easy brussels sprouts recipe, I hope you will participate in my 50th Post Giveaway by posting this recipe on your blog and let me know.

Millie said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I love the mango cheesecake. It looks delicioso...YUM!


Anonymous said...

Beautiful dragon fruit bowl!! And I would love to hear your roasted brussels sprout soup recipe!

two vegan boys said...

Wow. The food looks awesome. I would have totally come over to your dinner party.