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Vegan Dinner Party Ideas please :)

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I'm not normally a vegan, but my hubby and I are eating vegan food for a week as both a health experiment, and to make for something a bit different on my blog.

I'm finishing off this week with a vegan dinner party, and I'm in search of some yummy ideas (particularly for dessert) that don't involve to many whacked out processed soy products (I'm discovering that I love food in its natural state but really fake "meats" "cheeses" and "milk" really really really don't do it for me.

So, this is kinda what I have had in mind...

Appies - Garlic and Herb Brazil Nut "Cheese" (from 2007 Jan Vegetarian Times - looks really tasty)
Tofu Scallion Rolls (also from 2007 Jan Vegetarian Times)

Salad - I thought I would do a pretty traditional salad with vinaigrette dressing, but add maybe craisins and walnuts for interest

Soup - not sure if it's a necessity....this is not really a vegan challenge at all, as it just involves using vegan bouillon instead of chicken.

Main - I'm torn here. I don't know if I should do just one entrée (like vegan stuffed peppers) or if I should try to do three or four and do it buffet style. Keeping in mind this is a dinner for only six people and they are all women (i.e., don't necessarily eat that much). I'm not sure what I want to make. Ideas?

Dessert - I am having one heck of a time finding a yummy vegan dessert. The best I've come up with on my own is something like an apple crisp, but with margarine (blah). I also was wondering if there might be like a sweet crust wild blueberry tart that could be made dairy/egg free and still actually taste good.

Ideas? Thanks!!!!!!

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  1. This chocolate cake is vegan and is really delicious. I don't have a vegan frosting recipe, but it would probably work well with a cocoa/powdered sugar/water glaze. Others may have better recommendations for a vegan frosting.

    Note: make the cake a day in advance -- it gets moister and yummier.

    EASY CHOCOLATE LAYER CAKE

    1 package (8 oz) semi-sweet baking chocolate
    3 c. flour
    1 1⁄2 c. sugar
    2 t baking soda
    1 t. salt
    2 c. water
    2/3 c. vegetable oil
    2 T. white vinegar
    2 t. vanilla extract

    Melt chocolate in microwave, stirring once or twice during heating. Cool slightly. Grease and flour two 9 1⁄2” round baking pans (be sure to grease the pans very well – the cake is so moist that it can be difficult to turn out). Stir together dry ingredients. Add melted chocolate and remaining ingredients. Beat on medium speed until thoroughly blended. Pour into pans. Bake 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely. Frost with whipped chocolate frosting or as desired.

    2 Replies
    1. re: TorontoJo

      Just did a quick search and found these two recipes for vegan frostings (I can't vouch for either!):

      ============================
      Chocolate Frosting

      * 1 c sugar
      * 6 tbl corn starch
      * 4 tbl cocoa
      * 1/2 tsp salt
      * 2 tbl oil
      * 1 c water
      * 1/2 tsp vanilla

      Mix sugar, cornstarch, salt, and cocoa in a medium sauce pan. Whisk in the water. Heat over medium until it gets thick and starts to boil. Boil for 1-2 minutes. (Make sure you don’t boil too long, or it will set like taffy.) Remove from heat and stir in oil and vanilla. Cool and spread on cooled cake. Enjoy!

      Makes: enough frosting for 1 cake

      ====================================
      Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

      1/2 cup soy margarine, softened
      1/4 cup soy milk, rice milk, or other non-dairy milk of choice
      3 cups Veganized Powdered Sugar
      1 1/2 t. vanilla

      Using an electric mixer or in a large bowl with a hand held mixer, place the soy margarine and soy milk, and cream them together. Add half of the sugar, and beat well to combine. Add the remaining ingredients and continue to beat the mixture until light and fluffy.

      *Note: For a Berry Frosting, add 1/4 cups mashed fresh or frozen berries, such as raspberries, strawberries, or blueberries.

      For a Chocolate Frosting, add 1/2 cups cocoa powder or 1/3 cups melted vegan chocolate chips.

      For a Coffee Frosting, substitute cold coffee or espresso for the soy milk in the recipe.

      For a Mocha Frosting, substitute cold coffee or espresso for the soy milk in the recipe and add 1/4-1/3 cup cocoa powder or 3-4 T. melted vegan chocolate chips.

      You can also stir in chopped nuts, chopped vegan chocolate, shredded coconut, or chopped fruit into the basic Vanilla "Buttercream" Frosting recipe to create additional variations.

      1. re: TorontoJo

        This is a super simple vegan chocolate frosting recipe and it's amazingly delicious. And there's no shortening or margarine in it, so it's not greasy. (Bonus!) I was skeptical the first time I made it (tofu in frosting?), but it's great. I made a 3 layer vegan chocolate cake for a mixed vegan and non-vegan dinner party, and everyone was happy. (The 3 layer cake is pretty impressive too -- let me know if you want that chocolate cake recipe-it uses cocoa.) I can't remember the exact original recipe, but this is pretty much what I do:

        Approx 12 oz or so dark chocolate
        1 package firm or extra-firm silken tofu (Mori-nu brand - light is ok)
        1 tsp vanilla

        Chop chocolate into chunks. Crumble tofu into a medium-sized sauce pan and add chocolate. Heat gently until chocolate is very soft, but not melted. Dump everything into the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Cool until frosting is a spreadable consistency, then slather on cake.

      2. Chocolate tofu mousse! You said no "processed soy products" -- which would seem to rule out tofu -- but I assume you meant fake milk or something.

        Here's a typical recipe (http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/recipe_m...). I made just the mousse part of this, and it was fantastic. I included some concentrated orange juice and zested some orange rind on top. Mint would be good, too. Make sure to use the silken tofu (I used soft, which came out a little . . . granular). And I just used std chocolate chips. Obviously, better chocolate would be mean better results. People will be shocked--SHOCKED--that it's tofu.

        I also have a recipe for spicy apple-nut cake that is vegan. I used the recipe below. I made a couple of changes -- walnuts for pistachios, half whole wheat flour, and double the ginger (by accident). On the whole, it did turn out pretty well. Dense and spicy and apple-y.

        Apple Pistachio Spice Cake
        2 cups all purpose flour
        1⁄2 tsp salt
        1 tsp baking soda
        1 tsp baking powder
        1 tsp ground cinnamon
        1⁄2 tsp ground ginger
        1⁄2 tsp ground cardamom
        1/3 cup vegetable oil
        1 cup brown sugar
        1 cup applesauce
        1 1⁄2 cups peeled, diced apple
        1⁄2 cup roughly chopped pistachios

        Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 9- or 10-inch bundt pan.

        Sift together all the dry ingredients into a medium bowl. In a large bowl, whisk together oil, brown sugar and applesauce. Stir in dry ingredients gradually, adding apples and pistachios just before the batter is fully combined. Do not overmix.

        Batter will be thick. Spoon the batter into prepared pan and smooth out the surface with a spatula or knife. Bake at 350F for 32-38 minutes, until a tester comes out clean and the cake springs back when lightly pressed.

        1. Leek & potato soup is quite good on its own, no need for bouillon cubes.

          Pears poached in wine? Orange slices in fancy syrup?

          1. I posted this menu a while back in response to a similar request, but in case you missed, there might be something here you can use.

            APPS:
            Individual multi-grain pizzas w/ artichoke hearts, chickpeas & chipotle coulis
            Herbed olive assortment
            SOUP
            Spicy carrot-tomato w/ basil chiffonade
            ENTREE
            Golden winter squash medallions w/ sweet-sour onions
            Escarole, chicory & rapini w/ walnuts topping wild rice & roasted red peppers
            Moroccan bulgur & lentil pilau, preserved lemons, roasted garlic & cinnamon
            SALAD
            Arugula, fennel & red oak lettuce w/ red currant vinaigrette

            DESSERT
            Caramelized pineapple w/ orange-honey mousse
            Chambord pears w/ toasted almond crunch

            1. Funny you said no fake cheese, but your first appetizer has it!

              I have heard that dense chocolate vegan cakes are very good. I've especially heard good things about the Cafe Beaujolaise cake.
              http://www.vegan-food.net/recipe/961/...

              I also just watched Martha and the owner of Babycakes in NYC demo'd her vegan and gluten free chocolate brownie bites. Martha says they are the best ever and products from Babycakes won a staff blind tasting over other non vegan items. That's enough to want me to try them out. There are some nonstandard ingredients here but nothing you can't pick up at the local food coop or health food type store. I think the garbanzo and fava bean 'flour' is from Bob's Red Mill.

              http://www.marthastewart.com/page.jht...

              1. Also, check out the Post Punk Kitchen website for other ideas.

                http://www.theppk.com/

                1. Thanks so much for all the suggestions! I like the idea of chocolate cake!

                  coconutz - the "cheese" is actually soaked and pureed brazil nuts - it's not a weird chemical product or anything.

                  Here is the recipe, if anyone is interested:
                  Brazil nuts have one of the highest fat contents of all nuts, which gives this vegan cheese its rich and creamy taste and texture.

                  1 1/3 c raw brazil nuts
                  1/4 c lemon juice
                  4 T olive oil, divided
                  2 cloves garlic, peeled
                  1 t salt
                  2 T chopped fresh parsley and rosemary
                  1 T chopped fresh thyme
                  1/2 t ground black pepper

                  1. Place nuts in a bowl and cover with water. Refrigerate six hours, or overnight
                  2. Preheat oven to 300F and coat baking sheet with cooking spray. Drain water from nuts, and placein bowl of food processor with lemon juice, 3 T oil, garlic salt and 1/4 c water. Blend 8 minutes, until smooth and creamy. Line 1 qt bowl with clean kitchen towel. Bring corners and sides of towel together, and twist around mixture, forming into a large grapefruit size ball. Squeeze to extract excess liquid.
                  3. Combine herbs and pepper in a bowl. Carefully unwrap cheese ball and coat with herbs. Place on a prepared baking sheet, and bake 30 minutes, or until ball begins to crack. Transfer to platter and drizzle with remaining oil. Serve warm or at room temperature with crackers and fresh vegetables.

                  Nutritional info (per 1/4 cup) - 253 cal, 26 g fat, 5 g carb, 0 mg chol, 390 mg sodium, 2 g fibre, 1 g sugars

                  Keep the ideas coming! These are great!!!! :)

                  1. The vegetarian times cookbook has a dish for a seder (called stuffed leaves) all my friends have always loved this... very dinner party for any time of year any occasion regardless of creed.

                    1. About the soup: leave out the bouillon altogether or find a very good quality broth. I enjoy Pacific’s mushroom broth, but have never found a packaged broth or soup base I’m crazy about otherwise. Easy soup ideas: 1) Miso soup with a good miso paste, tofu, scallions and shiitakes... 2) Winter squash/apple soup (sautee onions and apples, add roasted squash and herbs and water, cook together, add salt and fresh sage, puree and add fresh black pepper)... 3) Carrot ginger soup (sautee onions with ginger, add carrots – possibly roasted - and a little miso, add water, cook.

                      If I were cooking a wintertime vegan dinner party, I’d make as a main dish a mushroom risotto with mushroom broth, white wine, garlic, shallots, and several kinds of mushrooms sautéed separately with garlic and mixed in at the end. On the side, I’d make roasted or sautéed winter vegetables (squash, kale, etc), a salad with a vibrant, homemade vinaigrette and winter fruits and nuts. For dessert, something involving cooked fruit and maple syrup. For beverage, hot spiced cider.

                      Maybe I need to have a vegan dinner party too, come to think of it.

                      1. For dessert, how about poached pears with chocolate sauce (dark, obviously) and nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts)?

                        1. Ooh - the musroom risotto. You are killing me. Can I come? (I love porcinis in mine.)

                          1. Check out www.fatfreevegan.com. Everything I've tried is great, but the chai cake is to die for.