So, this is it, what we finally ended up having on the big day. We started off with a bang - did you expect anything less? - I got home form work Saturday morning to find my husband had decked-out my desk in all sorts of Valentine’s Day love. A bouquet of flowers, a Valentine’s Day balloon, a stuffed skunk holding a heart, some heart-shaped decorations strung up across the desk and the bookshelf and a card. I really did marry the most amazing, thoughtful man in the world. After I marveled at his little surprise I set about making breakfast.
Crepes were on the menu, Chocolate Hazelnut crepes to be exact. The recipe comes from the French chapter of Mark Reinfeld’s book “The 30 Minute Vegan’s Taste of Europe.” I am not a skilled crepe maker. I love to eat them, but they always fall apart on me. I like to say it’s because I don’t have a proper crepe pan, but that’s just an excuse. In the end though some of my crepes fell apart I at least got enough good ones out of the deal for a halfway decent picture, and broken or not they were all freaking-delicious! Also, much easier then one might expect crepes to be. The batter comes together quickly and because they’re so thin they cook up fast too. The chocolate hazelnut filling is simply made with hazelnut butter, cocoa powder, soy milk, and sweetener. I thought these might be too nutty for my picky husband but he loved them. They were just perfect. Really the recipe should have been served with strawberries, but I was fresh out and so I used blueberries instead and I think it worked just as well.
So that was it until dinner. We went French for breakfast and decided on Italian for dinner. For our feast I used Alicia C. Simpson’s book “Quick and Easy Vegan Celebrations” which I’ve come to realize I don’t use often enough! And I made the Seitan Parmesan as well as the Garlic Green Beans from her chapter on Valentine’s Day. I chose the seitan Parmesan because it sounded sexy, and Valentine’s Dayish, also because there was a time when my husband loved Chicken Parm. Personally I have never really liked Chicken Parm, I’d never eaten it until I moved to Chicago and I wasn’t particularly impressed. I made the non-vegan version a couple of times on my husband’s behalf but I was never crazy about it. Holidays though - at least for me - are about making things you don’t normally make, and about finding something special to cook for your loved one. This seemed to fit the bill on both counts and so I was curious to try the recipe out.
First you need to make a seitan ‘chicken’ which Alicia provides a very quick and simple recipe for making. Actually this is probably one of the simplest ‘boil’ version seitan’s I’ve made, and probably one of the most delicious too. Seriously, the broth SMELLED like chicken. I also loved that her recipe only called for water and seasonings unlike so many other boil recipes that call for 6 cups of broth. Honestly, I don’t have the money to waste on using 6 cups of broth to make a few chunks of seitan. This is probably one of the most economical recipes I’ve made.
So, once that’s done you bread your seitan, bake it, then cover it in sauce and vegan mozzarella, bake some more and voila! Amazing! Seriously, dish wins second place in my favorite for the week, and actually, might even tie for first place. It was incredible! Trust me when I say the price of the book is worth this recipe alone!
Of course the green beans were damn good too, but then I have a soft spot for sauntered green beans. She uses garlic, oil, shallots and almonds in the recipe as well, only I left out the almonds since my husband is not a fan. I have to say these were super flavorful and a good accompaniment to the seitan.
I also decided to make the Roasted Potatoes with Germolata from Chloe Coscarelli’s book “Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen” these were super simple and yet super delicious. It’s just potatoes roasted in olive oil, salt and pepper, then once cooked they’re tossed with a mixture of minced garlic, parsley, oil, grated lemon peel, and more salt and pepper. It sounds simple, but these were some of the best potatoes I’ve ever had.
For dessert we had the Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting also from Alicia’s book “Quick and Easy Vegan Celebrations” I can’t tell you how good these were, the cakes were super moist and so full of flavor I loved every bite. However I had a bit of a problem, actually I had several problems all day. 1) I didn’t have enough gluten to make a full recipe of Chicken Seitan, so it’s a good thing I always keep seitan on hand in the freezer. I used a chub of Mediterranean Seitan from Terry Hope Romero’s “Vegan Eats World” for the Parm. In the picture the Big cutlet is Alicia’s and the two small cutlets are the chub from the freezer cut in half. 2) I didn’t have any lemon so my husband had to go to the store on the way home. 3) I ran out of powdered sugar. I thought I had enough but I was wrong. So instead of cream cheese frosting I had a cream cheese glaze - still delicious though. 4) I also ran out of cream cheese! I thought I had enough and I might have only when I opened the container it had got moldy! So instead of cream cheese I used vegan sour cream, it may not be exactly the same but similar enough that an unsuspecting pallet may not notice. In any case it turned out and none of these problems are any fault of the authors.
To wash everything down I made the Ginger Champagne Cocktails form Alicia’s New Years Eve chapter. These were super good. Loved the ginger bite!
And that was our Valentine’s Day. Of course Valentine’s should have been the last hurrah but I started cooking my 9 days a little late, so I have 2 post Valentine’s meals to talk about. Check back tomorrow to see Day 8.