Myself included, of course.
Saturday marked the culmination of Vegan Week 2007. A week of deprivation (or was it depravation....he). As you've already read, I celebrated the end of this event by inviting over a group of non-vegan friends (found five willing guinea pigs, though hubs skipped out and ordered PIZZA) and feeding them a mostly-vegan meal.
Well guess what, it turns out that you can feed vegan food to non-vegans and they will not only eat it, but actually enjoy it.
I can't say I developed any more grace in the kitchen and I continued my previous record of dropping things, spilling things, and a minor grain explosion. Thankfully none of this happened whilst I was wielding the blow torch (more on that later).
Anyway, here is the menu I put together, along with links to the recipe posts. I decided to be brave (or crazy....or both) and create my own recipes as I went. Not sure if it's the best idea for someone who hasn't a lot of experience in vegan cooking, but I went ahead anyway. Read on for comments, pictures, recipes and witticisms.
Apéritif - kir royale (sparkling wine with crème de cassis - I confess to not checking if these particular selections were vegan). I just wanted to ply people with drink in case my experiments went awry.
Appetizer - homemade rosemary fleur de sel foccacia with bruschetta topping
Salad - mixed greens with walnut dressing, dried cranberries and toasted walnuts (no recipe link for this one - basically 2 T canola oil, 1 T walnut oil, 1 T balsamic vinegar, fleur de sel, 1 T dijon mustard, fresh pepper, and mix)
Soup - parsnippity soup with red pepper coulis
Entrée - Veggie lentil phyllo strudel with sweet potato truffle purée, topped with port-braised mushrooms
Dessert - dark chocolate hazelnut torte
It was a feast suited to vegans and non-vegans alike. I was surprised and ecstatic to find out that not only was it good for vegan food, it was actually good food. Period.
So....vegan readers, try one of these recipes next time you have non-vegans coming over....they'll like it and you might even get a convert or two. And non-vegan readers....give some of these a try. You won't die if you don't eat meat for a meal (I didn't!) and they're actually tasty! Never underestimate the power of a roasted veggie. :)
And a few final thoughts and observations on Vegan Week.....
1) Overall, I can see the appeal of a lot of this lifestyle. It's always nice to think that we're lessening our impact on the planet, and if one can do this at the same time as consuming tasty nibbles, all the better. That said, as a non-vegan, it's a little bit frustrating to go to the effort of researching and trying to prepare something....and with nearly every recipe, receiving comments to the effect of questioning the vegan status of a given ingredient. Fair enough - and I'll confess that I didn't go out and buy vegan sugar and I didn't go out and buy vegan margarine (they do exist, but I actually despise margarine and wasn't about to buy a second tub....). It felt at times like an uphill battle. There's a great article on vegetarian diplomacy on the www.veg.ca website. I can't admit to being a perfect, fault-free vegan for a week....but there was quite a bit of effort. Don't knock it!
2) I did quite a bit of reading during the past week about animal impacts on the environment, particularly the effects of factory farming. Now, while I'm happily ensconced in my position at the top of the food chain, and I don't see that changing any time soon....this is definitely some food for thought. If you want more information (not for the faint of heart or stomach), click HERE , HERE or HERE. Again, don't click if you're eating or are planning to eat soon. I really would like to make an effort not to contribute to this sort of thing, and will definitely be decreasing meat consumption (particularly of the fast food variety) and buying more naturally raised meats. If my cows are happy and pastured and content, that's what I'm after. So this was a bit of an eye-opener.
3) I learned a lot about efficiency and food production. It takes 16 pounds of grain to make one pound of beef (i.e., a cow, over its lifetime, will consume 16 pounds of grain for every pound of meat it yields). So....not only is it inefficient, but cows are eating food that could be consumed by humans (and likewise pigs, chickens, etc.). It certainly puts things in perspective anyway. More food for though (is it dinner time yet? I'm STARVING!)
4) I've mentioned before and I'll mention again....meat and dairy substitutes are NASTY. In order to properly and joyfully adhere to a vegan lifestyle, I think it's important to visit offerings of other cultures (many asian and african countries come to mind) to find food ideas. The North American standard of meat, potatoes and vegetables (MPV for short!) just isn't the same when it's only potatoes and vegetables. Legumes are our friends, and I will endeavour to make more with them. That said, I have been devouring cheese like there is no tomorrow ever since first thing Sunday morning.
Make sure to come back for more posts about delicious food, including an upcoming theme week about the food of España, as well as an entry into the Cupcake Round-Up hosted by the Cupcake Blog!. Yum!
Thank you for reading! And, comment-whore that I am....pleeeeeeeeeease comment. :)
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Myself included, of course.