Saturday, May 14, 2011

Dinner for Four-Girls Night In

It is great when you like the people you work with. I happen to work with a number of interesting, talented, diverse women at the vet clinic. And as part of getting my cooking mojo back, I invited them to dinner last night.

The Menu:
Mushroom-Walnut 'Pate' with crudités
Onion Pie
Asparagus wrapped win phyllo tied with chives
and for desert: vanilla cake with chocolate buttercream frosting.

I actually had a bruschetta planned, but it was obvious there was going to be plenty for food and I gave myself a break.

Jenn brought a chickpea & potato curry  that she found on, which was not only her first foray into vegan food, but delicious (she also brought vodka , which was equally delicious), and fruit. Sadie made what I am sure was an amazing pasta dish, but had an encounter with gravity earlier in the day from which her dogs benefited. Victoria brought a lovely bottle of red.

The onion pie was from Vegan Table, one of my favorite cookbooks, especially for company. I've been wanting to try this kind of recipe for a while (my next adventure will be a broccoli quiche) and I was not disappointed:

Onion Pie
It was sweet and savory all at once and the tofu/almond milk mixture set up very well. The nutmeg is definitely the secret ingredient.

I've shown the paella before, but in case anyone has forgotten, here it is again, from a previous dinner:

The asparagus in phyllo tied with chives is a wonderful presentation and easier to make than you think. The trick is to blanch the asparagus for 3 minutes in boiling water and then immerse them in ice water to stop cooking. When baked, they don't overcook. Yes, that is a rosemary-tini in the upper left hand corner. I hereby declare it the official drink of the women of the vet clinic. BTW, this is an 'original recipe.'

Asparagus in Phyllo tied with chives
And for desert, with fruit to assuage our guilt, we feasted on a single layer vanilla cake with chocolate buttercream frosting. I have been a bit baking challenged at this altitude, but am learning the high altitude modifications and getting better each time. This time I used Earth Balance ('faux butter' and non-hydrogenated), rather than canola oil for the fat, and I really liked the way it came out. It takes a little more effort, but I thought it was worth it. The recipe was from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, and I just made the cupcake recipe into a single layer cake. The frosting is from the same book.

Vanilla cake with chocolate buttercream frosting
I'm glad they girls took some home, because as I say "the more you eat, the less I weigh."

And finally, my friends, enjoying it all:

Clockwise from left: Victoria, Sadie, Jenn
A lovely Friday evening.

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