Monday, June 16, 2008

Vegan Food for Meat-Eaters

We threw a graduation party for Mariah on Saturday, and I put her (mostly) in charge of the menu. Since she's been vegan since about September, she wanted to provide food that was 1) food she could eat and 2) food that would prove to meat-eaters that vegans can eat well. I think she satisfied both conditions.

Here's what we made (sorry, no pictures--I was running late and it was all I could do to get the food on the table within the first hour of the party!)

  • raw veggie platter (grape tomatoes, cucumbers, baby carrots, sun-dried tomatoes)
  • grilled veggie platter (zucchini, asparagus, red peppers, mushrooms--Mark was a hero, standing over the grill in the hot sun so we could eat)
  • home-made sushi (carrot and cucumber rolls)
  • samosa-stuffed baked potatoes (from Mariah's favorite cookbook, Veganomicon. These were a huge hit.)
  • chips and salsa
  • home-made hummus (also from Veganomicon) and black bean dip
  • pita crisps
  • sesame tempeh (also a big hit)
  • fresh fruit: grapes, cherries, strawberries
  • chocolate-chocolate chip-walnut cookies (yes, vegan ones, also from Veganomicon, though we used pecans instead of walnuts)
  • chocolate-raspberry cookies (ditto)
  • chocolate cupcakes (one recipe of crazy cake makes two dozen cupcakes; I used balsamic vinegar instead of plain to fancy them up a bit, and I bought canned frosting which has no dairy products. Next time I'll look into vegan icing...)
I also forgot to put out the broccoli florets on the raw veggie platter, and the watermelon and canteloupe with the fruits. Oh, well.

The sesame tempeh is so delicious, and so easy, and so "meaty," that I thought I'd post it here. The sauce is from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone; I got the technique from my sister and brother-in-law, but I don't think they've ever posted it. So here it is:

Tempeh with Sesame Sauce

2-3 packages multi-grain tempeh (2 packages serves four generously as an entrée)

¼ cup toasted sesame seeds
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
6 tablespoons soy sauce
4-6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed (or already chopped)
1 teaspoon ground ginger (either fresh or dried works)
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Cut tempeh into slabs or chunks

Combine the next 9 ingredients in the blender and puree until smooth. Pour the sauce over the tempeh slabs/chunks in a shallow saute pan that holds all the tempeh without too much overlap, and heat until almost boiling. (I think you could also stand the tempeh on end in a saucepan if that's what you've got, but I like to have the most surface area possible getting caramelized at the end.) Reduce heat and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, turning the tempeh so it caramelizes a bit on both sides. You can do this ahead of time and then barbecue the tempeh briefly, or simply serve it as is. The longer you let it sit in the hot pan the more sauce the tempeh will absorb. You can serve this hot or at room temperature; it's tasty and filling either way.

1 comment:

FreshHell said...

I've been a vegetarian for 20 years and only had tempeh once. That recipe sounds good (and I've got that cookbook) - I'll have to try it.