At our old house, we had a huge dining room with a stained glass window and an antique chandelier. It was a gorgeous room and one in which I hosted many guests for dinner. Since we've downgraded to a small one bedroom apartment, I've missed that grand old dining room (though I can't say I miss having to clean a huge house). We'd been in this apartment for 8 months and hadn't had dinner guests yet. I knew I needed to fix that!
Last night, I had a lovely dinner date with my cousin. We were very close when we were younger – best friends –, and even though our path's have diverged somewhat, that bond will never be broken. She is moving to New Orleans in a few months, and I want to spend as much time with her as I can. I'm also hoping I'll be well enough to travel and visit her once she's there. I've never been to New Orleans before, and I am not one to miss a chance to visit a new city!
My cousin isn't vegetarian or vegan, but she's an adventurous eater in general. She's always interested in the foods that I make and isn't scared away by any vegan ingredients. If she'd been at my family Thanksgivings, maybe others wouldn't have rejected my vegan foods for so long.You know what happens when one person tries something and their eyes widen with delight? Everyone else wants to try it, too! Being given the opportunity to create vegan dinners for her more than makes up for the isolation that I've felt at past holiday gatherings. I am always honored to have the opportunity to provide healthy-promoting food for those I love.
Let's talk about the menu. It's been a very mild autumn, but winter is definitely letting us know it's coming. The nights have been frosty. Because of the chilly temperatures, I felt that a comfort meal was in order. As the main, I made the chickpea pumpkin seed burgers from LTEV in loaf form and served it with the roasted chanterelle gravy from Crazy Sexy Kitchen. I have to admit that as much as I adore chanterelles, I used criminis this time because they're much more affordable. Sometime when I am able to splurge, I would love to try the recipe with the chanterelles! As sides, I made cranberry sauce and J made his staple as of late, creamed kale. I also made Dreena's apple pie again (3rd time in 2 weeks. Yes, it is that good!) and pulled out the ice cream maker to whip up a batch of toasted cinnamon ice cream. Our wonderful guest brought sparkling pomegranate juice which beautifully complimented our meal.
All in all, it was a great night. We reminisced about the "old days", caught up on the exciting happenings in our families, and parted ways with warm hugs and big smiles. So, what about you? Would you like to come over for a dinner date, too?