Fancy Vegan dinner party
This vegetable wellington on epicurious is on my list to try, but I have yet to get to it (bub olive oil for butter when sauteing shrooms)
The stuffed baked acorn squash on Chow is very good. I left out the pecans, and you could swap olive oil for butter
I have been hooked on a simple eggplant stew lately, you could serve this in individual bread bowls. If you want the recipe, let me know.
I wonder if it would help for you to narrow down a theme like Asian, Mediterranean, French, or something else.
In Laurie Colwin's "More Home Cooking" she describes a vegan dinner birthday that she hosted for her cousin Joel the health nut, and it was based on cranberry bean puree in a bechamel that she made with oil and stock, I believe, with green salad, cucumbers, baked potatoes and asparagus. It actually sounded good the way she described it, and you could certainly take it as a starting point for other ideas: lotta ways to fancy alll these ingredients up with nuts and vegetables and fruit juices and cashew butters and coconut milk. Just a thought.
I think I'd pick some sort of theme or Cuisine first.
If you're really ambitious, try a menu based on Imperial Court Cuisine of the Qing Dynasty (I went to a restaurant based on this and the food was fantastic. I didn't know what half of it was, but it was really good).
Or Indian - there's a ton of good Indian vegan cuisine. Try, for example
Appetizer; papadums with coconut-cilantro chutney and Indian pickles
Main Meal; Dhal (spiced cooked lentils), curried potatoes and cauliflower, curried eggplant, chapati, saffron rice
Dessert; fresh fruit
Salad's pretty easy- a lovely salad that I had recently included field greens, roasted beets, cubed pears, toasted pecans, and a maple vinaigrette.
As a main, I think that I'd make a saute of wild mushrooms with tons of thyme, garlic and wine. Then serve over homemade potato dumplings made with just potatoes, flour and salt.
Serve any green veg alongside- maybe some roasted green beans and cherry tomatoes, for color.
Dessert- I'd go with a fruit granita and/or a chocolate sorbet (just make sure that if you're using a recipe that include chocolate to choose a vegan chocolate that does not include milk).
What about a vegan lasagna with bechamel sauce? With some fancier apps and desserts, it could be great. Here is the recipe I developed:
Vegan Lasagna with Béchamel Sauce
For the marinara sauce (or use 4 1/2 c. of your favorite marinara sauce)
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 28-oz can plum tomatoes in puree (undrained), chopped or squeezed with your hands
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 c. chopped fresh basil
For the vegetables:
2 T. Extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 lbs. mushrooms (I used a mixture of cremini, oyster and shiitake), sliced
1 large bunch of green Swiss chard, center stems removed and leaves well chopped
For béchamel sauce:
5 T. organic canola oil
8 T. all-purpose flour
4 c. unsweetened almond milk (make sure it’s unsweetened – you can find this in a non-refrigerated carton)
1 t. salt
1/4 t. freshly grated nutmeg
Black pepper to taste
12 whole wheat lasagna noodles (or 16 if you’re using the smaller variety, such as Bionaturae brand)
To make the marinara sauce, heat the 2 T. oil in a large pot. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add all the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Add the basil and remove from heat.
To prepare the vegetables, heat 2 T. oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes. Remove to a bowl. Add the Swiss chard to the pan and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. (You can add a little additional oil to the pan if it seems dry after removing the mushrooms.) Combine the mushrooms and chard and set aside.
Prepare the béchamel sauce soon before assembling the lasagna. First, heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon, and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. You don’t want it to turn a color. Remove the pan from the heat and add a cup of the almond milk. Use a whisk to make it smooth, then return the pan to the burner and add the rest of the almond milk gradually, whisking with each addition. Cook for about 4-5 minutes, whisking constantly, until thick and velvety. Remove from the heat and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Cook the lasagna noodles according to the package directions and drain. Place 1/2 c. of marinara sauce in the bottom of a 13 x 9″ pan. Cover with 3 lasagna noodles, and top with 1 cup of béchamel sauce, 1 cup of marinara and a third of the vegetable mixture. Repeat with a second and third layer of noodles, sauces and vegetables. Finish with a final layer of noodles, and top with a cup of marinara and carefully spread about 3/4 c. of béchamel over the top. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 10 minutes more. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
Do you have the Millenium Cookbook? It's the perfect resource for this kind of event.
I love the other suggestions given.
For a fancy dinner party, I'd want to think about courses - some sort of appetizers (before sitting down), a soup course, a salad course, a main dish, and a dessert.
For the main dish I would consider individual filo pouches filled with flavorful veggies, and served with a sauce.
Beet salad with beets three ways -- steam some, roast some slices, and fry some chips. serve together with a light balsamic.
Vegetable terrine - http://www.food.com/recipe/aubergine-... sub olive oil for butter
Zucchini parmesan (or eggplant if you don't do terrine) - use nutritional yeast instead of parmesan
Spaghetti and "Meat"balls - make meatballs from tvp and use ener-g or flax seed to replace egg as binder, along with some finely diced onion and garlic; simmer in tomato sauce
Tofu or Seitan Marsala (or cacciatore if you don't make another tomato dish)
Tiramisu - use a soy cream to make the cream for layering
The below suggestions, do not include any meat or dairy substitutes, just plain good food.
Salad with asparagus and tomatoes, sea salt, oil and vinager
spring rolls with a apricot jam, that you made spicey by adding some chili to
entree wild mushroom risotto, drizzle with a truffled oil
lime sorbet, with mango slices