Monday, April 4, 2011

Chickpea Piccata, Cauliflower Mashed Pototoes (Caulipots), and Romaine Lettuce with Caesar Chavez Dressing

Chickpea Piccata (pg 115) served over Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes (Caulipots) (pg 54)
on top of a bed of arugula and baby spinach leaves
In the left-side background - romaine lettuce leaves with Caesar Chavez Dressing (pg 43)

After a long, busy weekend during which I fell off the wagon a bit, diet-wise, I made up for it tonight with a dinner using three, count 'em: three!, recipes from AFR. And let me tell you - this was a FANTASTIC meal, with rave reviews all around!

But first, a bit about life since dinner last Wednesday night...

On Thursday, the girls and I went to our weekly homeschool co-op meeting, during which we had our end-of-the-month potluck lunch. My dear friend Paula made these amazing Lebanese stuffed grape leaves, and I could. not. stop. eating them. Also, one of the other moms made cupcakes to celebrate March birthdays, which were very thoughtfully vegan (for our family) and gluten-free (for another family). How could I turn down one of these cupcakes?

On Friday, our family attended another potluck, this one hosted by Rip Esselstyn, author of The Engine 2 Diet. While all the food there was plant-strong and oil-free, it was also quite delicious, and I'm sure I ate too much. In addition, someone brought these gigantic chocolate-chip banana muffins, and I ate one of those, too. The whole thing. It was really good. But, beyond the food, it was a really fun event, and we got to meet lots of new people. A highlight was meeting Natala from Vegan Hope. She is such an inspiration!

On Saturday, El Hombre and SweetPotato got up early to make chocolate-chip banana muffins for breakfast, inspired, obviously, by the delicious muffins at the previous night's potluck. Saturday's breakfast muffins were smaller than those at the potluck, but ultra-delicious, and of course, I ate more than one.

And finally, on Sunday, we spent the day adventuring around town and thrift-store treasure hunting. We stopped for lunch at Counter Culture, on Natala's recommendation, and thoroughly enjoyed everything we ate. I had the Jackfruit BBQ sandwich, El Hombre had the Tempeh Reuben, SweetPea had the Philly Seitan sandwich (a big sandwich, for her!), and SweetPotato had the Almond Butter & Apple sandwich. And then, because obviously we had been food-deprived all weekend (um, not really), we sampled the desserts - the raw brownie bites, the donut holes, and the lime-basil cheezecake. Wow!

But back to tonight's dinner...

First, the Chickpea Piccata: I've been trying to make this dish for almost a week now, but someone kept drinking the cooking wine I purchased especially for this recipe! More than one bottle mysteriously emptied while I wasn't looking. I'm not naming names, but I have my suspicions. El Hombre claims it must be the cat's fault, but that doesn't sound right to me. Anyway. One of SweetPea's all-time favorite dishes is seitan piccata, which, while delicious, is not exactly low-fat or plant-strong. So, we were both excited to try this dish. She decided the chickpea piccata is equally as delicious as the seitan version, and even went back for a second helping, along with the cauliflower mashed potatoes.

Which brings me to the Caulipots, or cauliflower mashed potatoes: I was a little wary of this recipe, since I've made mashed cauliflower before and didn't really enjoy it very much. I suppose, then, I was expecting mashed cauliflower to be like mashed potatoes. It's not. But! When you combine mashed cauliflower WITH mashed potatoes, it's like magic! I couldn't really tell the cauliflower was there; it was pretty much like eating just mashed potatoes. And who doesn't love mashed potatoes?!?

And finally, the Caesar Chavez Dressing: Holymoly!!! Amazing! Devine! SO GOOD!!!! Words are not adequate to describe how delicious this salad dressing is. I wished my tongue was long enough to lick the inside of the blender jar. I'm so excited to have more of this on my salad at lunch time tomorrow.

All-in-all, this whole dinner was a winner. Raves all around, from every member of the family. Date-dinner- or dinner-party-worthy. I will be making this again, and again, and again, for sure!

Want the recipe for the Chickpea Piccata? You can get it here, but why not just get your own copy of the book with all 125 rocking recipes, while you're at it? You won't regret it.

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