I just got to wake up Valentines Day and have a chocolate-cherry-creme cupcake! Why, you ask? Because I am waiting tables tonight, and therefore made a Valentines feast for my fam and some friends last night. (My bf, unfortunately, was unavailable.) Amazingly enough, this meal turned out truly great. Seriously. I very rarely concoct a dinner and have everything go off without a hitch, but this really was delicious... not one of the non-vegans had anything left on their plate.
For an appetizer I made little mini heart-shaped pizzas. I used the Joy of Cooking pizza dough recipe I love so much, but divided the dough into four balls, rolled them out, and shaped them vaguely into heart shapes before brushing with EVOO. While the dough had been rising, I roasted two heads of garlic in the oven at 350, and marinated some sliced heirloom tomatoes in EVOO and salt and pepper. When the garlic was all roasted, I squeezed each bit out of its crunchy shell and into a bowl, where it was mashed with a little more EVOO and set aside. Finally, I caramelized a few sliced shallots. (To be fair, I had some time on my hands while the dough was rising to get all this inspiration.) To put it all together, I rubbed the garlic paste onto the pizzas and topped it with the tomatoes, shallots, some sliced roasted peppers (from a jar), and some red pepper flakes. I then cooked it for about 15 minutes at 425. They turned out really flavorful and delicious. This may be my new go-to pizza recipe.
I also made a simple strawberry salad with some spinach, sliced strawberries, hazelnuts, and a homemade dressing recipe I got from Vegetarian Times. I can't find it online right now, so let me just tell you, you combine:
-1/2 c. sliced strawberries
-3 T. Sugar
-3 T. Balsamic Vinegar
-1/2 a shallot
-1 clove garlic
... in a food processor or blender, then slowly add in 1 c. EVOO. The dressing is really creamy and thick, and the balsamic complements the strawberries perfectly.
For the main course, I made an old standby: grilled portabello mushrooms over mashed potatoes with asparagus. The mushrooms were marinated in some steak seasoning, EVOO and soy sauce before grilling and the asparagus were similarly coated in some Earth balance and salt and pepper before going into the oven at 375 for about 10 minutes. To make things EXTRA decadent, i made a "port wine reduction" for the shrooms, which is just a fancy way of saying "boil 3 c. wine in a saucepan until it reduces to a syrup." It was sooooo good over the potatoes too. But be forewarned- it takes longer than you think, so get started way before any grilling occurs.
To finish off, I made my absolute favorite cupcakes from VCTOTW. Since I was in such a hurry to get everything else cooking, I didn't have time to make these as pretty as they were the last time I made them. But trust me, they were still decadent and delicious.
Mmm. Especially for breakfast.
Have a happy Valentines Day!