Every year for my birthday I have friends over to my place for a little shindig, and this year was a good one. Friends showed up in force, everyone had a good time (I think), and a cop came by to give up a noise warning! You know it’s a good party when the 5-0 arrive. Nevermind the fact that we weren’t being very loud, spent the majority of the party playing board games, and are all well over the legal drinking age…we’re a wild bunch, really. And while I never expect any presents, I received gifts including a couple bottles of nice wine, some Jameison, and My Sweet Vegan!
My friends made my week by showing me a good time, so the least I could do was feed them. Please excuse the flash photography, the pictures were snapped fast since people were already over and eyeballing the food.
VWAV Spanakopita in phyllo cups.
Lettuce wrap bar. Not everyone got the lettuce wrap concept, which is fine because a) I thought it up last minute and had never done it before, b) the lettuce I bought wasn’t as cup-like as anticipated, and c) all the fillings worked just as well on their own. The recipes for all of the fillings are at the end.
Sesame Ginger Mushrooms.
Savory Carrot Salad (the dressing on this was so good, it’s going to be my go-to balsamic vinaigrette).
Veggies, Stacy’s Pita Chips and Pretzel Chips. If you haven’t had Stacy’s Pita Chips yet, get them. Unless you don’t feel like being tempted to eat the whole bag at once.
A trio of dips, starting with Black Bean Dip with Cilantro & Lime. I wasn’t impressed with this, so no recipe. Although everyone seemed to like it okay. I can do better.
VCON Curried Carrot Dip. This was really good, but I almost wanted it to be made from sweet potato or squash instead, because that’s what it tasted like.
Roasted Eggplant & Garlic Hummus from Yellow Rose Recipes. This flew off the shelves like gangbusters. I had to put out seconds, and it was all demolished. And just as easy to make as normal hummus, with one extra step. Get YRR and make this.
And the piece de resistance, the birthday cake I made for myself, as all good vegans do. It’s based on Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked ice cream. Two vanilla layers studded with cookie dough, and a brownie layer, iced with buttercream. I didn’t get to decorate it like I wanted, mostly because I was short on time but also because I didn’t make enough frosting. Extra cookie dough balls did the trick.
And my piece, cut bigger than everyone elses. I could only eat half at first, had to save the rest for later.
If I make this again the only change will be to try to make the cookie dough pieces inside the cake smaller, so they disperse more. The Brooklyn Brownie, Golden Agave, and Buttercream recipes are from VCTOTW, cookie dough from VWAV.
Savory Carrot Salad
4-5 carrots, shredded
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp maple syrup
dashes of salt & pepper
Whisk all ingredients except carrots together until emulsified. Pour over carrots and stir to combine.
3 cups frozen peas, thawed
1/4 cup celery, finely diced
2 Tbs onion, finely chopped
2 Tbs each green bell pepper and red bell pepper, finely chopped
3-4 Tbs vegan mayonnaise
2 Tbs relish
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp paprika
Combine all ingredients, chill before serving.
Sesame Ginger Mushrooms
I made these without soy since a friend is allergic, but 1-2 Tbs soy sauce added to the marinade would be good.
4 cups assorted mushrooms, sliced (I used button, shiitake & portobello)
1 cup vegetable stock or water
1/3 cup cooking sherry
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbs minced ginger
2 Tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
olive oil spray
1 heaping Tbs cornstarch
thinly sliced scallions
toasted sesame seeds
1. Whisk together the water, sherry, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, sugar, salt, dry mustard and red pepper flakes. Pour over mushrooms, cover, and marinate at least one hour, up to overnight.
2. Spray a medium saute pan with olive oil and heat to medium high. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mushrooms to the pan, reserving the marinade. Saute the mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until they have released their juices, the liquid evaporates and the mushrooms are tender. If the mushrooms start to stick, add a small amount of water to the pan.
3. Meanwhile, add the cornstarch to the reserved marinade and whisk to combine.
4. When the mushrooms are cooked, add the marinade to the pan. Continue to cook, stirring often, until the marinade is thickened.
5. Sprinkle with scallions and sesame seeds.
And for those of you who’ve made it through the whole post, here’s an adorable picture of bf being a sad clown.