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Cooking with friends is always fun, so when myself & small group of friends received an email asking if we'd like to cook together, I jumped at the chance. Of course, there was another reason to jump at the chance, the email came from a friend who you may also know, one Isa Chandra Moskowitz of the upcoming Vegan Brunch & a host of other vegan cookbooks.
After a last minute change of plans, the dinner ended up being moved to my house & the emails started flying, brainstorming for menu items. A mention of Matzoh Ball Soup & the proximity to Passover generated a menu & a trip to Rainbow Grocery was in order! We all know I love Rainbow, I think I created another Rainbow lover in Isa, as we easily spent plenty of time perusing the aisles, oohing & aahing over beautiful produce, gorgeous mushrooms, & a million types of dried berries. My stowaway & typical shopping partner Strummer also joined us & Isa also took a great photo of her when she was too happy to stay in her bag!
With oodles of ingredients in tow, we made the trek back to my house & the meal preparation began. Red Bell Peppers were roasted & peeled, then added to hummus flecked with Kalamata Olives & served up with Pita Chips. We roasted Root Vegetables & served them over Arugula with tangy Inca Berries mixed in. The Trumpet Mushrooms we spied earlier were brought home & sauteed to be served with grilled Red Endive with Balsamic Vinegar & Walnuts. Jordan & I had our first lesson in Matzoh with both a Cauliflower Leek Kugel & Matzoh Ball Soup being made.
With so many projects being tackled for dinner, we wanted to keep dessert low-key. A package of Dandies Vegan Marshmallows, the new confections from Chicago Soy Dairy, at our fingertips, we dreamt up "Jewish S'mores"! These tasty treats consisted of pieces of Matzoh dipped in Chocolate, topped with Dandies, drizzled with more dark Chocolate, then finished with coarse flakes of Sea Salt! Simple & amazingly delicious! Needless to say, it was a wonderful meal that came together easily considering how last minute everything was. Read about Isa's account of the night at the PPK blog!
As I mentioned, I managed to get my hands on some Dandies Vegan Marshmallows! I'm sure you've heard the hype about these little guys & believe it, they're downright delicious! Marshmallows were a major love of mine before going vegan, so when I tried these air-puffed little gems, I was thrilled with find they're incredibly similar to the marshmallows I remember! It took all my strength not to keep popping them in my mouth & once I roasted them, OH MY, I was a goner.
The first thing I tackled when the Dandies arrived was a small batch of classic Rice Krispies Treats. I used the basic recipe from Kellogg's, veganized, with bulk brown rice cereal from my co-op. They turned out exactly like I remembered them being; gooey, sweet, & delicious! I can imagine these being turned in to so many treats, butterscotch chip filled, chocolate ganache topped, or even a crust for a crazy layered confection! I ended up having to hide the 2nd bag from myself, so I would have enough to make another dessert for the right occasion!
My grandfather recently celebrated a birthday & as usual, I was the designated dessert maker! Remembering his love for Rocky Road, I decided to use the last of the Dandies & make a big batch of Rocky Road Brownies. I doubled my basic recipe & the end result was uber rich, fudgy brownies filled with Chocolate Chips, toasted Walnuts, & Marshmallows! I made sure to put small pieces of Dandies on top, only to find they puffed up high & made awesome gooey bubbles! To serve them, we decided to top them with Vanilla Bean ice cream & drizzle them with Chocolate sauce for an insanely decadent dessert! Seriously, I thought I was going to have to be rolled home & Ryan found his belly aching after he went back for seconds. Over all, Dandies rock my world & I hope all of you can get your hands on them soon!
Well, I'll off to Chicago! I should be back next week & ready to go with a report on vegan dining in Los Angeles. As usual, if you have places you think I should check out or want to meet up, get in touch! While I'm away, check out Veggie Thing, the new place for major vegan food porn by Citysearch! I'm a "Dictator" there along with many awesome friends & bloggers!