Friday, August 17, 2007

Lotsa stuff!

I just have to share this picture of our little Snoopy. He is little and likes to sit up high, particularly on top of the sofa back. He is currently the apple of my eye... and I just can't stop loving him. Especially now that he has stopped peeing on the floor. Ha ha!

Okay, now that we've got that important business out of the way... I can get on to the food. Last week we had our really good friends Laurie & Gil over for dinner. They are such delightful people, and we are super happy to have them as friends. It was great to see them, and I was excited to have a reason to spend all day cooking!

First I made a fantastic loaf of the NY Times No-Knead bread. Oh, I love that recipe so much! This loaf was half whole wheat pastry flour and half regular bread flower. Isn't it beautiful!?

Here's what I made I made for appetizers:
Fresh veggies cut up. Soaked red lentil hummus (a 100% raw recipe!). Black Lentil & Grilled Eggplant "Caviar". Garlic-rosemary-infused olive oil. Bread!

The dips were both very good, and were both from "The Artful Vegan" - a cookbook from Millenium Restaurant in San Francisco. Musty's mom got it for my birthday last year. To be honest, it's a pretty intimidating cookbook, and not always the easiest to follow. But, having enjoyed a few meals at Millenium - I knew it would be worth the effort!

Here's the entree I made for dinner! It's Grilled Eggplant with Roasted Vegetables, Golden Tomato-Lavender Sauce, & Kamut-Pine Nut Salad. Wow! It was full of fancy stuff. The white stuff is a roasted garlic-cashew cream with fresh herbs. It was a wonderful meal and worth all the work. Musty was in heaven... he kept saying "This is the fanciest meal you've ever made!" and our guests were happy too!

And of course - you gotta have dessert! I wanted to make Susan V's Upside-down Peach Cake... it was tempting me through the waves of cyberspace. As you can see, I used a combination of yellow & white peaches. Oooh, it was delicious! And also a big hit with everyone!

Here's how I served it up... Susan, everyone was amazed that it was fat free! You are a star.

All in all, it was a wonderful meal, and it was fun to really put in some time and make something so special. I don't do that very often. I also got to do some neat new things - like use purple basil, make something with kamut, and put lavendar in my tomato sauce!

By the way... I was remiss in not blogging about this sooner... My friends Sara & Fabrizio came over for dinner a while back... and when we served up dessert - I got so excited that I forgot to take a picture. It's Roasted Banana Ice Cream with Caramelized Walnuts. Whoa! it's rich and amazing - we couldn't believe it. I don't have the exact recipe but it's got bananas (roasted with brown sugar and a tiny bit of coconut oil), coconut milk, and candied walnuts. It's creamy and RICH... totally decadent. (Hi Sara! Where's the link to this recipe?)


Last weekend my super awesome friend JJTWH came down to Santa Cruz for a little visit time. It was so fun to catch up. She's a vegetarian, and a foodie, so we always have fun appreciating food together. We went to one of our favorite spots - the gorgeous, sweet, and always-delicious Black China Cafe. It's an all-vegetarian breakfast and lunch spot... with a few nice vegan options and some amazing vegan baked goods. This is their scrumptious Muffaletta Sandwich, served open face with a red pepper-garbanzo spread, tapenade, avo, & cherry tomatoes. MMMMM.

With vegan baked goods in abundance, we felt obligated to try some. I chose a slice of coconut cake. It was delicious - but in truth I was a little disappointed. There was at least 3x more frosting than cake... which is not my scene. I'd like a little cake with my cake, please! It's probably the only time I haven't been over the moon about one of their desserts. Still, the flavor was insanely great... not one complaint on that front!

JJTWH chose this beautiful and tasty chocolate cupcake with mocha frosting. Mm! We both just shared and poked away at the two treats. It was a wonderful lunch date!


Finally! This Fri-Sat-Sun we are up in Santa Rosa, displaying Musty's guitars at the big Healdsburg Guitar Festival - a huge show of handbuilt acoustic guitars. It's a very fun and very overwhelming event. It happens every two years... and this is only our second time participating. I'm so proud of Musty - his guitars are really beautiful and are really well-received.

I know we've all said it before, and we'll all say it again, but I am feeling SO grateful for my wonderful vegan blogger friends! Here's why... Last time we came to this show, I remember being SO HUNGRY. It's so busy, and it's pretty impossible to get away from the table. Plus, the only food option is barbeque - not really any vegan options. So, I was grateful when I saw Chris' idea of bringing calzones along as a travel food - the perfect solution!

So, the night before we left, I made up a BIG batch of calzones - 4 for us and 2 for my grandparents. They've got tomato sauce, chard, roasted veggies (eggplant, bell pepps, corn, and zukes), a little garlic-cashew cream sauce, tofu ricotta, and a bit more tomato sauce. They are GREAT! Thanks so much Chris... I was so happy to have a healthy, nourishing and filling lunch this afternoon! You saved the day.

Here's something most of you can probably appreciate. Tonight, after day one of the guitar show, we went out to dinner with some of Musty's guitar buddies. By happenstance, we ended up a steakhouse when we hooked up with some other friends who had already settled on that spot. They were all so sweet about it, and though it's certainly not my first choice - I'm willing to be agreeable. Here's what I was able to cobble together - a big stalk of steamed brocolli (that's for you, Diann!), some veggies sauteed in olive oil and herbs, and a baked potato (with ketchup). It was actually a pretty decent little meal. Please note that the restaurant was called "Hunter Steakhouse." whoa!



  1. Your peach cake looks so pretty and fancy. Actually, that whole meal looked fancy and delicious, too!

    A plate of veggies at Hunter Steakhouse - how ironic.

  2. Your steakhouse meal looks better than what most people would be eating there! That actually looks like something I'd have for dinner!

    Ok, and don't even get me started on your fancy-ass dinner- I'm in love! Or in awe! Or both. I can't even imagine what a lavender tomato sauce would taste like. I've never cooked with kamut. I'm enchanted!

  3. Anonymous9:38 AM

    Oh little Snoopy. He's adorable. I just want to hold him and squeeze him.

    You know, you've convinced me to give the No Knead Bread another go around. The last time I made it it was an utter flop. I also burned my hand very badly when I pulled the pot out of the oven so there are all kinds of negative memories associated with it. But yours always turn out so beautiful. Let's see...if I start now....

    You fancy at home dinner looks so amazing. One of these days I hope to be your dinner guest. :)

    Musty's guitars are such a true piece of artwork. I've checked out his site before and remember being so impressed. I guess I thought they were all cranked out in a factory somewhere. I hope you have good luck at the festival.

  4. Wow, look at your fancy dinner! I haven't cooked anything truly fancy in a long time... that looks divine. I'm really interested in the raw hummus--sounds so intriguing! I'm sure your dinner guests felt so honored and special to have you put so much effort into that fantastic meal for them.

    Snoopy looks like such a little sweetie...

  5. Anonymous7:37 PM

    the dog is very cute, the dinners looks so Spectacular!!!

    wow !! what a great friend you are making such amount of food for friends.

  6. Oh everything looks so good.

    I've been thinking I need to work on recruiting one of you bloggers to come bake for me. I certainly suck at it!!

    What a GREAT post!

  7. Anonymous6:35 AM

    What great food! And Snoopy is soooo cute!

    That peach upside down cake has been tempting me too... it seems to be making the rounds on the vegan blogs. We just got some super sweet white peaches from the farmers market yesterday so I think we have a plan now for dessert tonight...

  8. Hooray for the big stalk of broccoli!

    I'm so impressed with your fancy dinner. I have The Artful Vegan and have been a little intimidated as well. I checked out the recipes you cooked from - yum! You did a super job. And roasted banana ice cream sounds delicious.

    Snoopy is so snuggly and sweet!

  9. wow, where to begin?? there's so many great things in this one post!! first off, Snoopy is precious, and I completely understand your eternal love for him; the no-knead bread, especially with all those great spreads and fresh vegetables, looks fantastic!; the entrée has such a lovely presentation, and is perfect for a summer meal; I must say that your rendition of Susan's peach upside-down cake is beyond gorgeous - the combination of white and yellow peaches adds a nice, artistic touch to the cake - looks too pretty to slice, haha; oOo, and that ice cream!! the flavors of bananas and walnuts complement each other so well (I'd love the recipe!); all the food from the Black China Café looks scrumptious (very decorative cake and cupcake! yum!); and last but not least, those calzones sound INCREDIBLE!! sorry for rambling, but everything was so noteworthy :0)

  10. Wow, what an amazing meal you created!! I totally agree with your comment about the millenium cookbook, very intimidating! I don't think I've tried anything from it, sounds good to start simple with their appetizers (although I'm sure they aren't that simple). Your grilled eggplant dish looks so wonderful, very fancy. And your cake looks simply delicious.

    Thanks for such a fun, interesting post. Nice job ordering at the hunter steakhouse, I would have been pretty scared walking in....

  11. your meal looks so fany and beautiful! great post. i laughed at the steakhouse picture. the number of times i have eaten that exact same meal! :D

  12. Aw, Snoopy is the cutest.

    ALl that food looks amazing, but the roasted banana soy ice cream caught my eye.

  13. I was just thinking about Black China Cafe the other day. Everything you had there looks beautiful, of course, the meal you made for your friends looks even better. yow!

  14. yr skills are amazing. i especially love the appetizers for yr fancy dinner. it looks like a meal in and of itself.

  15. wowsers! look at all that fancy food! looks amazing, i bet it all tasted great too!

  16. This reminds me I need to make bread again! yum yum.

    Also, the peach upside down cakes everyone has been making look SO good.

    Roasted Banana Ice Cream?! yes, please! I'd love the recipe once it's tracked down!

    Sadly, I'm not a fan of the Black China cupcakes. I think they're big muffins with inedible frosting, but the chocolate cake slices are good!

  17. Snoopy is adorable!

    I have a basket of peaches on my counter as we speak, so thanks for posting the Fat-Free Vegan's recipes - I'll be checking that out!

  18. Ah what lucky friends you have- being able to come to your house for a gorgeous feast!

    I want to come visit one day!

    And I commend you for being a brave soul going to Hunter Steakhouse- your veggie plate looks pretty good- I'm sure though they wanted to serve it to you with a side of meaty blood drippings...

  19. Anonymous4:24 PM

    Amey, I meant to send the link but I forgot!
    Here is the link to the original recipe:
    I made it vegan by substituting coconut oil for butter and coconut milk for regular milk.
    The caramelized walnuts are a breeze to make, just cook on high in a heavy skillet walnuts with some sugar mixing like crazy for a few minutes.
    Love your blog!



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