Monday, June 30, 2008

The First of Many Vegan Gluten-Free Food Fests

Since my friend Katie just went vegan, and I just went gluten-free, we decided that a gluttonous food fest was in order to celebrate the wonderful food we can still eat and feel good afterwards. Several of us came together, each with a different piece of the meal.

We started with this amazingly delicious Tofu Curry Cheesecake, courtesy of Heidi and Ben. Well, actually, we started with some powerful wine punch (also courtesy of Heidi and Ben), which was accidentally made stronger by the addition of some home-brewed dandelion wine from Justin's uncle (which Katie thought was dessert wine - oops!), so by the time it was time to start appetizing, I know I was feeling pretty ready for some food to be in my stomach! This is a savory cheesecake that is cooked slowly in a crock-pot for anywhere from 4 to, in this case, 7 1/2 hours, and is then served with Mango Ginger Chutney slathered all over it. We ate it spread over Hazelnut Nut Thin crackers. All I can say is, wow. I don't think anyone who is not vegan or gluten-free could possibly complain about a lack of flavor in this appetizer.

We slowly moved on to the main course and salads as we drank wine and chatted. There were two fantastic salads that night. Tracy brought a mixed greens and veggie salad with a balsamic vinaigrette, and Suzuko and Greg brought a quinoa-chickpea salad.

They were both just as good as they look! Tracy's salad was full of crunchy, delicious bell peppers and tomatoes, and the quinoa-chickpea salad was so light and flavorful, I really could not get enough of it.

I brought marinated tofu with a Moroccan dried fruit compote and rice, which was originally a recipe for Moroccan chicken, but I think it transferred very smoothly to be a vegan and gluten-free recipe! The flavors came out nicely, and the slightly sweet flavor of the fruit compote balanced nicely with the spices used to marinate the tofu.

And last, but absolutely not least....dessert. These were divine lemon cheesecakes with sliced strawberries on top that Katie and Justin concocted. This one is the gluten-free cheesecake made specially for me (thanks, Katie!), but the others had little crusts on them. I know the picture is a little blurry (it was getting dark at that point in the evening), but believe me, the photo does not do justice to how good this tasted.

Clearly this will need to be an evening that is repeated often, given all the delicious dishes people came up with even with, and because of, the ingredient restrictions! I can't wait to see what the next one brings. I will follow this post with recipes soon!


Lisa said...

That all sounds really tasty! I'm particularly curious about the appetizer and how a savory-cheesecake tastes. Is it quiche-like, but less eggy more cheesy?

Claire Berman said...

Hi Lisa! Yes, it was more of a cheesy consistency than anything else. It wasn't set as firmly as a quiche would be. I'll make it for you sometime soon so you can taste it for yourself!