Sunday, November 29, 2009

My Return and Cyndi's Goodbye

To any readers out there (if you do, in fact, exist), my apologies on my absence--I broke my foot and subsequently gave up cooking for the last few months. Here's a pic (courtesy of my husband who is a little obsessed with documenting everything).

Luckily, I recovered in time to send off my good friend Cyndi to LA the right way (no, not karaoke--that was a few nights earlier).

No, the final send-off was a vegan dinner party--which, if you are Cyndi, is awesome.

As I've alluded to before on this very blog, a vegan meal can have a bad connotation to us meat-eaters. But I was determined to create a tasty meal that all of us would enjoy, with or without meat and dairy. And, not to toot my own horn, but a tasty meal it was.
We started with a salad of celery, pear, and roasted hazelnuts. I combined two recipes, one of them being from Food & Wine. Instead of the cider vinegar, I used white balsamic vinegar, and I eliminated the whole grain mustard. Also I used olive oil instead of hazelnut oil, as Pathmark is not always my friend and partner in gourmet-type foods. Check me out rubbing the skins off my freshly roasted hazelnuts.

Next I cracked open Giada's Everyday Pasta and found a rigatoni recipe with roasted red peppers, almonds and breadcrumbs. It was a hit. Here I am roasting almonds. Seems to be a common theme in my trials of vegan cuisine--roasted nuts. (I could insert a vegan joke here, but I will spare it for the sake of offending my non-meat-eating friends, of which there are many.)

Ok, here's the gratuitous shot of the table. If you know me, you know that I am obsessed with pulling out the "good" china. So, I couldn't help myself here.

Following dinner, we had a toast of prosecco to properly send off Cyndi to the West Coast. We will miss you, Cyndi! There will always be a spot for you at the Weehawken Kitchen dinner table.

You know it's a good dinner party when your friends end up missing the bus and sleeping on the couch. I'd say my return to cooking (and blogging) was a success!