John and I celebrated our 2 year wedding anniversary with this lovely dinner. I did most of the prep work the day before (Sunday) so I could have it on the table at a decent dinner time (Monday). The meal included:
Cashew Nut Loaf stuffed with Garlic and Mushrooms
Silky Chickpea Gravy
Butternut Coconut Rice
Green Beans with Truffle Oil and Sea Salt
Lemon Macadamia Nut Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting
So, the loaf is excellent. My mother-in-law made if for Christmas dinner last year and John specifically requested it for this meal. Instead of making a stuffing (an option in the recipe), there is a layer of sauteed garlic and mushrooms in the middle (assembly process shown below). I have always shied away from nut loafs because of a previous, bad experience. Fortunately, this one has turned me back on to the concept.
I used a combo of almonds, pecans, and cashews. For the bread crumbs, I used a combo of panko and crushed spelt crackers (I didn't realize that I didn't have enough crumbs until it was too late to go buy more! But, it worked out very well.)
The gravy is rich and thick and salty and sage-flavored. It went nicely with the loaf.
I do not have a link to the Butternut Coconut Rice, which is a complete shame because it was the highlight of the meal! I am not a huge fan of rice, but I will make this recipe any and every time I can find a butternut squash at the grocery store! It is a combo of garlic and ginger along with sesame oil, shallot, lime, red pepper flakes, and topped off with creamy coconut milk. We also sprinkled toasted coconut on top. It is addictive stuff! And even better, the recipe is from Appetite for Reduction.
The green beans were sauteed in a touch of truffle oil and sea salt.
And finally, the dessert! I bought new cupcake liners (silicon) and was really excited to try them out. They worked very nicely, left no paper waste, released the cupcakes very easily and in perfect shape, and were easy to clean.
The recipe is from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. The cupcakes are tangy and fruity while the macadamia nuts are crunchy and delicious! I did substitute almond meal for the macadamia nut meal and, in the frosting, coconut oil instead of shortening.
We also had Tofutti Strawberry flavored icecream. Unfortunately, we were very disappointed. The flavor was so bad we are considering writing the company. John even suggested that we somehow got a 'bad batch' because of how awful it tastes. It is reminds me of some horrible chemical strawberry flavoring. It is organic and I am usually not disappointed with the brand (LOVE the icecream sandwiches). But, in this case, we will never buy this product again!