Andy's birthday was yesterday. I had to tutor for 4 hours in the earlier part of the day, and Andy ended up staying at uni till after 5. (His honours thesis is due in a week and a half, so I think there will be a few long days coming up.) I wanted to have a nice dinner for him, but didn't want to spend all night cooking and cleaning, so I decided to make something simple.
First, I made some simple stuffed mushrooms. Andy loves mushrooms, but we rarely buy them fresh ($9 a kilo... yeah). So on the way home I stopped at the shop and picked up some flat mushrooms. I pulled out the stems and chopped them up finely. I sauteed them with two cloves of garlic, one tomato minced up, and some italian herbs. To that, I added bread crumbs (made from stale crusts) and veggie stock, and heaps of black pepper. Just enough veggie stock to make the bread soggy and stick together. Then I scraped out the gills from the mushroom caps and filled them with the stuffing. I made these a few hours ahead, and left them sitting in the griller/broiler (not turned on) until I was ready to heat them.
The mushrooms went along with some gnocchi (store bought) covered in pesto. The gnocchi is great because you just boil water and they take less than 2 minutes to cook. The pesto was pre-made on Saturday. We bought a bunch of beets which were starting to go wilty, as well as a small bunch of rocket (a spicy herb). These were chopped up in the mini-chopper and combined with some garlic, olive oil, and pre-ground LSA (linseed aka flax, sunflower seeds, and almonds).
I also stopped at the bottle shop to buy some wine on the way home.
Neither Andy nor I are wine connoisseurs, but we both seem to like Semillon Sauvignon Blanc. This is Yellowtail, a vegan Australian wine that is pretty widely available in the US.
Dessert was tricky, since Andy insisted that he didn't want a cake. I looked through some cookbooks, and settled on the Coconut Mango Bread Pudding from Vegan Planet. I had never eaten bread pudding, so I didn't know what to expect, but we have a fuckton of frozen mango so I thought it would be good.
It was really simple to prepare--cut up bread, pour over coconut milk. Blend together more coconut milk, brown sugar, vanilla, mango and soft tofu. Pour over coconutty bread, and bake. It came out of the oven 10 minutes before Andy got home, so it was the perfect temperature for him to eat straight out of the pan as soon as he walked in the door.
We shared a bowl after dinner, topped with tofu-whipped-cream (also from Vegan Planet) and some raspberry coconut sauce I made last weekend as a pancake topping.
I gotta say, I wasn't super pleased with the whipped cream recipe. I may have done it wrong, but it just didn't seem to come out right. It was more the texture of pouring cream, but it still tasted nice.
Andy gave himself the gift of an evening off from working, so we watched a few episodes of Grey's Anatomy. Presents and birthday phone calls made a nice end to a quiet night.