Thursday, July 17, 2008

Anniversary Dinner

John and I recently celebrated two years of dating bliss. In honor of this anniversary, I made a special vegan dinner. I tried to make things that fit the theme of *sweet hearts* for the occasion.

We started with a "Heart Beet" salad (I am not clever enough to come up with this on my own! I took the entire meal from a different blog. She was also celebrating an anniversary!) It consisted of romaine lettuce, sliced beets and hearts of palm. For the dressing, Avocado Caesar. Not only was it the cutest salad ever, it was tangy and delicious. The dressing made a ton though, so I froze the left-overs. Not sure how it will thaw, but fingers are crossed!

For the main course we enjoyed Sweet Potato Stuffed Shells in garlic cream sauce. I followed the recipe carefully for the shells, minus the red pepper and curry sauce. Instead of a curry flavor, I sauteed several garlic cloves in olive oil. Next, whisked in soy milk, salt, veggie broth, and nutritional yeast. Finally, arrowroot to thicken it up. I poured the sauce over the shells before baking.

I have never cooked Rainbow Chard before but couldn't take my eyes off of it at the grocery store! It is the most colorful, cheerful veggie I have ever seen! To cook, I simply heated olive oil and sauteed a few cloves of garlic, then added the chard and covered until it had softened. I used both the leaves and the stems for a crunchy/soft texture combo.

Another veggie I had never prepared before: Thyme-Scented Fava Beans. The preparation took a little time, but was very easy. When the beans were ready, I let them marinate in olive oil and fresh thyme.

And, my favorite new side is....seared Artichoke Hearts. The recipe (minus the snow peas) sounds complicated but the time goes by quickly and is WELL worth the simple effort!

Okay, to conclude the meal I made a heart-shaped cheesecake with a chocolate crust; one of John's favorite desserts! I was very nervous while it baked because it appeared to be cooking on the sides, but never in the middle. I used a spring-form pan; that might have been my mistake! Next time, I will use a pie dish. Anyway, cut and served with blueberries, it was so fabulous. The perfect way to end a romantic dinner!

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