I'm going to start off by saying that I'm not a club girl--I think clubs are a waste of money and I don't like being charged the same amount for alcoholic drinks when I just order a club soda with lime. My preferred way of meeting people is at quaint dinner parties, which brings me to to divulge about the delectable feast I enjoyed at my friend Jaclyn's apartment last night. Since she just got back from a free trip to Israel sponsored by the infamous Birthright organization (for those of you gentiles out there, it's basically an organization that sponsors various free trips for young Jews between the ages of 18 and 26 who've never been on an organized trip to Israel as they believe that it's every Jew's birthright to visit Israel). A lot of colleges and universities' Jewish clubs such as Hillel and Chabbad send students but there are also themed trips not affiliated with any institution, such as the one that Jackie went on, which was a culinary tour of Israel. Afterwards, Birthright will pay you to host a small dinner party with the people from your trip, and even though I did not go on the culinary tour (I went 7 years ago after my freshman year of college at Syracuse with a group from the university), Jackie knows about my blog and invited me to her party anyway, which I thought was especially sweet considering there's a limit to the amount of dinner guests you can host. Therefore, I obviously had to bring some side dishes, so I brought two vegan and gluten-free dishes (nobody was a vegan but I thought, what the hell, some of us can't have dairy or wheat, and there was already going to be meat and chicken dishes). I also wanted to show people that eating vegan food is not as scary as some people make it out to be, and my dishes were a huge success, with the people I met there begging for the recipes! I took pictures of the whole spread (which included Jackie's Israel couscous salad, a mixed green salad she made, her meat-stuffed eggplant, baked brie and goat cheese, and roasted chicken from a local Mexican joint. I forgot to take pictures of the desserts which consisted of banana bread, chocolate toffee bark and Egyptian kanafeh). So take a look and enjoy:
Israeli Veggie Tofu Salad Mediterranean White Bean Dressing
Makes 8-10 servings
1 c. chickpeas
1 c. green chickpeas
1 orange bell pepper, chopped into ½ inch pieces (about 1 cup)
1 red bell pepper, chopped into ½ inch pieces (about 1 cup)
4 palm hearts, sliced thinly
1 medium cucumber, chopped into ½” pieces (about 1 cup)
1 c. yellow cherry heirloom tomatoes, chopped into ½” pieces
1 c. kumatoes (that’s a fancy word for brownish-green tomatoes), chopped into ½” pieces
1- 14 oz. can artichoke hearts, with the hearts separated from the leaves (these are the “bottom stem part” that you can chop off)
½ block light extra firm tofu
Mediterranean White Bean Dressing :
Makes about 4 cups
3/4 c. Bobbi’s Tuscan White Bean Dip
½ c. Tofutti sour cream
2 bunches of fresh parsley
2 bunches of fresh cilantro
1 c. light silken tofu
2 tbsp lemon juice
5 slices of sun-dried tomatoes
6 kalamata olives, pitted
leftover hearts from canned artichoke hearts
1) Combine all the veggies and legumes (beans) in a large bowl.
2) Slice the tofu into 1/4 inch strips and toss into the salad.
3) Place the dressing ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
4) Pour the dressing over the salad and mix together with a large wooden spoon.
5) Place in the refrigerator to marinate for several hours (can be made the previous night) and then serve immediately.
Enjoy and Bon Appetit!
Super Protein-Packed Quinoa Salad
Makes 8-10 servings
2 c. quinoa (I used tri-colored organic quinoa from Trader Joe’s)
1 c. sunflower seeds
1 c. chopped walnuts
1 c. slivered almonds or sliced almonds
1 c. unsweetened coconut flakes
2 c. golden raisins
1 c. white onions
½ vegan spicy sausage link (I used Trader Joe’s Soy chorizo and they also have “Sausageless Italian sausage—both are extremely tasty, and are gluten-free, unlike a lot of vegan sausages, which use wheat gluten)
½ c. water
½ c. Balsamic vinegar
½ c. coconut vinegar (yes, they make coconut vinegar and it’s actually popular in Southeast Asian cuisine)
1/4 c. unsweetened almond milk
¾ c. coconut water
1 tbsp agave nectar
1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2) Dump the quinoa and golden raisins in a large pot.
3) Pour in the coconut water, almond milk, water, Balsamic vinegar and agave nectar and stir with a large spoon.
4) Turn on the burner to medium-high heat and cook the quinoa and raisins for about 5-7 minutes, until most of the mixture has boiled off, stirring occasionally with a large spoon.
5) Turn down the heat and let the mixture simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the quinoa plumps up.
6) Meanwhile, grease a small skillet with Pam olive oil and cook the onions on medium heat until they look translucent and then stir into the quinoa mixture.
7) Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil and spread the coconut mixture and the slivered almonds onto one sheet and the sunflower seeds and walnuts on the other sheet.
8) Toast in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until they look lightly browned and then stir into the quinoa.
9) Cut half the vegan chorizo and crumble it into the mixture as well and stir for a couple minutes.
10) Turn off the heat and place the salad in the refrigerator to marinate for a couple hours (can be made the night before) before serving.
Enjoy and Bon Appetit!
My Quinoa Salad (L) and Israeli Tofu-Veggie Salad (R)
Jackie's Baked Brie with Apricot Jelly (L) and Baked Goat Cheese With Fig Jelly (R)
The Spread with Jackie's Israeli Couscous Salad (L) and Mixed Salad (R):
The Mexican Roasted Chicken (Well, some of it)
Jackie's Meat-Stuffed Eggplant: