Sadly our 9 days of celebration have come to an end. Part of me is really sad about it because we were having so much fun and eating so much delicious food. But, the other half of me is really happy to finally go back to eating salad, like... just salad... till like.... the end of time. Ha.
Our last hurrah was quite the meal indeed. It had everything you could ask for in a grand dinner. A salad, a hearty main course, a decadent dessert, and a bottle of good wine.
We started with the Italian Chopped Salad from Chloe Coscarelli’s book “Chloe’s Italian Vegan Kitchen.” Now, if I’m being honest I wasn’t expecting much from this salad. I made it because it had a nice picture and it was super easy and I had everything called for on hand. I figured after a week of vegan meat and decadence we could use a little veg. But man, oh man was this salad fantastic! Seriously, it was about 1000 times better then any Italian Salad I’ve had in any Olive Garden type restaurant.
The salad contains romaine, tomatoes, green onion, kalamata olives, basil, chickpeas, salt, pepper and crumbled tofu. The dressing is a simple mixture of olive oil, red wine vinegar, agave, salt, Dijon mustard, and garlic. It sounds so easy but you wouldn’t believe the flavor. Normally I don’t like raw tofu in my salads but I liked this a lot because it was just 7oz and it was just enough to give the salad a texture of cheese. If I didn’t have a main course that needed digging into I would have eaten this entire salad myself it was that good.
But speaking of main courses, for our final celebratory meal I chose another dish from Alicia C. Simpson’s book “Quick and Easy Vegan Celebrations.” Truly the Fusilli in Cabernet Sauce with Portobello Brisket sounded too good to pass up. There are a few steps involved in making this meal and I ended up not evening getting started until after 8:30pm but surprisingly the whole thing came together really quick.
First things first, make your portobello brisket. Lucky for me sometime in the afternoon I went over the recipe and saw that while you could get away with only marinated the shrooms for 20 minutes it was best to do it longer. So I think I ended up letting these marinate on the counter top for about five hours. Turning them over occasionally. The marinade is made with olive oil, red wine, garlic, shallot, Dijon Mustard and tarragon. Once you’re done marinating you roast these guys in the oven for 20 minutes then slice them up when they cool down a bit. The smell is heavenly.
While your shrooms are roasted make your sauce. It’s fairly simple, shallots, garlic, Cabernet Sauvignon, agave, basil, red pepper flakes, rosemary, salt, stock, crushed tomatoes and tomato paste. Combine all that in a pot, then let it simmer.
That’s the hard part, once all that’s done you plate your pasta, drench it in some sauce, scatter some sliced shrooms on top and serve. I actually decided to drizzle a little of the extra mushroom cooking liquid over top of my pasta. The marinade sauce was too good to go to waste and when combines with that meaty, earthy mushroom liquid that seeps out during cooking - OH MY! My husband and I really had to control ourselves and not go back for seconds because we knew a great dessert was in store for us.
For dessert I went back to “Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen” and made her Tiramisu. This was actually a super last minute decision that kind of hit me for no reason. I was just flipping through the book and the picture looked so good, and I thought it might be a nice finish to our celebratory week and I just happened to have everything on hand - except the ingredients to make the coconut whip cream but I did have a tub of So Delicious Coco Whip in the freezer! - The thing is, it’s strange that I would want to make a Tiramisu in the first place because it’s never been a dessert I was crazy about. Sure I’ve had plenty of non-vegan versions in the past and thought they were so-so. I’ve made a couple of vegan versions myself and thought they were better then their non-vegan counterparts but still kind of hum-drum. Chloe’s Tiramisu though, is out of this freaking world! No lie. Probably, hands down the best tiramisu I’ve ever made and ever eaten anywhere! My husband who’s also never been a huge fan of Tiramisu agreed completely and had we not already been so full from dinner we might just have finished off the entire bowl.
I love how ridiculously easy Chloe’s version is. You make a vanilla cake, cut it in cubes soak it in coffee and rum, layer some whip cream over top, dust it with chocolate and repeat. She says to leave it in the fridge overnight - which we did. - and then it’s ready to eat. Of course I used store-bought whip so it might taste different with home-made, but I’ve been using Chloe’s book for a while now, and I don’t think I’ve ever had a recipe fail from her. She is amazing, and she is especially amazing at dessert. Seriously, this girl should be right up there with Vegan Cook Book Goddess’s such as Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, Isa Chandra Moskowitz, Terry Hope Romero, and Joni Marie Newman.
So that’s it, I hope y’all have had as much fun following our celebration as we did creating it. I’m definitely sad it’s over, but don’t worry, I have a few more cool posts planned in next week and a half before I leave for Europe.
PS: And incase anyone was curious though we loved every meal of the past 9 days our favorites were. Coq Au Vin. Osso Bucco. Seitan Parmesan with Garlic Green Beans, Potatoes with Germolatta and Red Velvet Cupcakes and Italian Chopped Salad, Fusilli in Cabernet Sauce with Portobello Brisket and Tiramisu. In no particular order, they were all fan-freaking-tastic!