I'll admit I'm not much of a schmoopy, romantic comedy type-of-gal. Usually, I'm not one for pink sparkly hearts. But.... okay, I got a little caught up in things this year. I made schmoopy cookies. And a lot of them, at that. This weekend, I hosted a full-on Valentine's dinner party. What's with all the schmoopy-ness, anyway?
It must be a vegan thing ;-) . I made so many desserts, we would have needed an extra 10 people to finish them all (although I did send everyone home with a little bag of cookies). Here's a sampler of my third (successful!) vegan dinner party:
Appetizer: A variation of CCK's cookie dough dip (a chick pea based dip that tastes like cookie dough -I figured hey, let's start things off sweet, right?!)
Main: Roasted Beet Salad with Plums & Figs in Balsamic, based on this recipe, and a Cauliflower, Butter Bean & Asparagus Bake that uses the white sauce from this recipe - both of which turned out to be total keepers (see notes below).
Desserts: Sugar cookies from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, and two variations of vegan "cheesecakes" - chocolate and plain cashew creme with fresh fruit and raspberry sauce. Yep, I really made that many desserts...
We had 7 people total for dinner. Yes, I know I went overboard. I blame the genes I got from my mother. But... it was just too much fun. I was like the Grinch turned good, but Valentine's version. And this is what we got.
I must admit, roll-and-cut sugar cookies usually really annoy me. They are a lot of work for something that is not my favorite dessert. But, these were really yummy, and not as sticky/hard-to-roll out as I've experienced in the past. Plus, I actually did have some fun decorating these guys:
Like I said, I made A LOT of them:
Ok, back to the recipes:
Cookie Dough Dip:
I changed CCK's cookie dough recipe a little bit, but overall stuck to the basic recipe... it was good, and did taste reminiscent of cookie dough. I actually think it's a little odd to serve as an appetizer; it would be better as a movie night snack or something.... but since it was for V day, I was ok with starting off sweet. I served it with graham crackers, and people liked it.
Roasted Beet Salad:
KEEPER. I cut the red beets (about 4-6 of them) in small chunks, wrapped them in tin foil, drizzled with 1.5 tsp of olive oil, and cooked in the oven at 375 F for 40 minutes. YUM. I also chopped the plum and figs and wrapped them in tin foil, and cooked them for about 5 minutes at the same temp. I simply used the juice from the beets & roasted fruits, along with a mix of 2 Tbsp of balsamic vinegar and 2 Tbsp olive oil, and baby arugula, and it was awesome.
Butter Bean & Cauliflower Bake:
YUM. This bake was an altered version of the red & white cauliflower bake from Vegan Yum Yum, but I only used the white sauce and the cauliflower from that recipe. I added 1 can of butter beans, which worked deliciously, and fresh spinach, and some sliced, steamed asparagus on top. It was absolutely delicious. To prepare, steam cauliflower and make white sauce as in original recipe. Mix the white sauce, cauliflower, and can of drained, rinsed butter beans, along with about a cup of fresh baby spinach, and spread in a large pan (I used 8 x 12; 9x9 could also work if you want deeper slices). If desired, top with some bread crumbs. Bake at 400 F for 20 minutes. While baking, slice asparagus in half lengthwise and steam until just tender (slightly under is ok). Add the asparagus slices to the top of the bake, sprinkle with some chopped fresh thyme (optional) and a little salt & pepper, and cook for another 5 minutes.
I stuck to the recipe in the book for the sugar cookies & glaze (which was so easy to make and use!). My sister in law makes awesome glazed sugar cookies, and I'm happy to say these were an as equally yummy vegan version. Also, for some of the little cookies, I sandwiched them with either the glaze or some melted Dandies marshmallows. For the cheesecakes, I drew a little bit from some recipes I found online, including the Hungry Hippie and Pure 2 Raw, but I changed a fair amount so plan on doing a "cheesecake" post in the future with my recipes! Both versions turned out yummy, and were really easy to make.
Another successful vegan party! Sadly, we didn't have any of that cauliflower bake left over. Actual words uttered by my husband: "Mmm. This tastes cheesey." Yes, he said that. ;-)
Happy Valentine's Day!
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