Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Vegan Valentine's Dinner!

It was a very enjoyable Valentine's Day!  Jordan and I didn't have the funds available to go out to a restaurant or fundraiser this year.  But we more than made up for any imagined loss. 

Before stuffing our bellies we went on a four mile walk together.  It was such a nice day; it seemed a pity to spend all of it being indoors!  And I must say, it was a good thing we did burn a few extra calories, because we ate far too much later on!  :)

It took us hours to get our holiday dinner on the table; we went all out, tonight!  But it finally came together beautifully... 

I prepared an organic tossed salad of red leaf, red kale, and baby spinach, and all the organic trimmings: tomatoes, avocados, red cabbage, cucumber, carrots.  Oh and I can't forget the dressing of equal parts organic flaxseed oil and fresh-squeezed lemon juice, with a dash of Bragg's Liquid Aminos.  It was a dense salad, yet so sweet, flavorful, and refreshing! 

Days before, we concluded that a whole-wheat spaghetti dish would be dinner's main course.  But what kind of sauce would we choose? While cruising the blogosphere many weeks earlier, I chanced upon a tantalizing Alfredo recipe, courtesy of Matt at "My Veggie Kitchen".  And tonight seemed like the perfect setting for Pasta Alfredo!  The only problem was I'd never made this before!  We decided to give it a try anyway.  I quickly pulled up the recipe for easy reference.  It was then I belatedly realized that we didn't have half of the listed ingredients.  Oh well.  We forged ahead without them, forced to make some adjustments on the journey.  Matt's recipe called for cashews, but all we had was walnuts or hazelnuts.  We picked walnuts.  We didn't have shallots, but we an ordinary onion, which we utilized.  We didn't have unsweetened soymilk, but we did have the "original" variety, so we used that.  Lastly, we didn't have the wine.  We didn't sub anything for that.  After all our changes to the actual recipe, it's doubtful that our version tasted anything like Matt's!  But we still liked it!  We did note that it was missing something in it's flavor and texture.  But it WAS missing something--a lot of somethings!  :)  Yet it was warm, creamy, and fun to eat; a buttery, saucy dish, completely out of the ordinary for us! 

We hardly ever bake breadsticks.  But tonight was special so we did!  We followed my sister, Marcy's recipe.  It was fun!  We took turns kneading the dough, and stood at the counter together rolling it into traditional snakelike shapes.  But then I had a brilliant idea...  Bend the breadsticks into hearts!  I pinched them in just the right places and Voila! Breadstick Hearts!  They looked so cute!  Unfortunately, that's about as great as they got.  The recipe originally called for white flour and we used all whole-wheat.  And since we don't bake bread very often, we have little understanding of the repercussions of swapping one flour for another.  In hindsight, we probably should have added more liquid to the dough and slightly shortened the cooking time.  Maybe the yeast never activated.  Still, I'm still not sure that any of these ideas would have been the correct solutions.  Sadly, the end result turned out to be quite heavy instead of light and fluffy; they never really did rise properly.  And they were much drier than we'd have liked.  But we managed to enjoy them.  I remarked to Jordan that they would have made far better pretzels than breadsticks!  At least they looked appealing!  :)

We also added "Wagon Wheels" to the fare!  Jordan peeled and cut the carrots, and set them on the stove to cook.  They almost met a sorry demise, as we did not add adequate water to steam them for the allotted ten minutes; the "wheels" started scalding to the sides of the pan!  Luckily, Jordan smelled smoke and we managed to rescue them before the whole pot of carrots turned black!  Gratefully they still tasted yummy, even after that extra dash of drama! 

To top everything off, with no help from me, Jordan whipped up his specialty dessert, "Jordan's Chocolate Cake"!  Yummy!  He actually baked the cake before our walk.  He frosted it after we got back.  He works so efficiently!  (Unlike me!) 

After working in the kitchen for nearly three hours, the meal was at last ready!  I took pictures, Jordan lit candles, we said a prayer, and then finally,

...we stuffed ourselves silly!  

It was a long time coming, but it was worth it!  Good food and good company!  What more could we ask for?! 

I was so happy to be spending the evening with my very own Valentine!  Jordan always works on Sunday night, so it was extra special of him to take work off to be home with me!  And even though he didn't buy me a sparkly Hallmark card or boxes of chocolates or even flowers, none of that was what I really wanted--just him.  His presence made the very best present!  With Jordan by my side, walking and talking, cooking and eating, my evening was complete! Thank you, My Goo! I love you! 

I hope your holiday, at home or abroad, was just as grand, or more so, than ours! 

 Happy Vegan Valentine's Dinner! 


Vegan Epicurean said...

The heart shaped bread sticks are absolutely adorable. I wish I had thought of it. Too cute, and I love it!

Sounds like a much better V-day than going out for dinner.


Vegan Valerie said...


You are so kind to me! Thank you!

Jordan and I did have a wonderful time together! It was as good, or better, than a night on the town! :)

Anonymous said...

That looks like an awesome, beautiful dinner Valerie!

Vegan Valerie said...

Thank you, Andria!

It WAS very tasty and a lot of fun! And people think vegans don't eat well--bah! SO not true! :)

VivaciousVegan said...

Oh Valerie, how cute, even with all the drama that happened to your meal! I wish Chris would cook with me. But, he hates to cook. Everything looked good! Especially Jordan's cake!!!!!!! Yummy!!!! I wish I had all the ingredients to make
My Valentine's Day sadly was less than stellar...

Vegan Valerie said...

Brandi! Hi!

I finally posted some recipes and meals and such! Hooray! There was drama over that Valentine's meal. I am just grateful that we had a good time and the food tasted good. It's always a little scary to try new and unpracticed recipes, especially for special occasions. :)

I am sorry to hear that your holiday was less than stellar. That is very sad. You deserve happiness, always. Your stromboli meal looked delicious! So I just assumed everything was great. But not so?

Sometimes blogs, like our lives, look beautiful on the surface, but really mask a sense of loneliness and pain. I admit to using my blogs as an outlet for my own loneliness at times, making everything look beautiful and sound appealing, but not actually feeling that way myself.

Blogging is therapeutic for me, whether I'm downhearted or happy. I'm sure you feel the same way.

I love you, Brandi! And I love hearing from you! :)

Sarah @ See Sarah Eat said...

Valerie, thank you for the sweet comment on my blog. I am always glad to find other vegans as well and I look forward to reading more of your posts :)

Vegan Valerie said...

Hi Sarah!

You came to visit me?! Thank you! :)

I hope I can type a few more posts in the future that entertain, elucidate, or inspire you! I'll be back to see you again soon! :)

dirtyduck said...

that plated valentines dish is gorgeous!!! how clever!

Vegan Valerie said...

Thank you "DirtyDuck"!

It's great that you came to visit me!

Mary said...

Hi Valerie,

Thanks for you kind comments on my blog. I love your heart-shaped breadsticks. So cute and creative! Vegans know how to have fun, don't we?

Vegan Valerie said...


Hi! I'm so glad you came to say hello! I'm glad you liked my heart-shaped breadsticks, too! We vegans DO know how to have fun! I agree! :)

Artichoke Zine. said...

Heart shaped breadsticks!!!
They're so cute!

Vegan Valerie said...

Thank you, Artichoke Zine!

Hearts are totally my thing! It looks as though they may be your thing too, based on your extremely cute profile pic! :)

Gauri Radha गौरी राधा said...

Everything looks marvelous!!!

Especially that chocolate cake :)