Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The way to my heart...

…is most definitely through my stomach.

For Valentine’s Day this year, Andy and I didn’t do much. Neither of us likes buying things, and we’re both quite tricky to buy for. Most of the VD regulars are unappealing to me, what with most flowers coming from chemical-intensive sweatshop-like greenhouses in developing countries, chocolates often containing milk, and diamonds (as well as other gems and precious metals) often bloody, or at the very least, only available through an incredibly invasive extraction process. Sure, there are vegan, environmentally friendly and socially conscious alternatives (green jewelry, vegan chocolates, and organic flowers, for instance), but I’m just not interested enough in these things to bother (though I do love chocolate, don’t get me wrong).

And who says that gifts are the only way to express one’s love? Andy cooked instead. First, he cut this little Japanese pumpkin in half. I thought it looked really pretty.

Then, he made an entirely original stuffing—cranberry, orange, mint and chunks of bread. He pushed rosemary down into the pumpkin, to let it infuse with the orangey flesh. And the whole thing was baked at 180 for one hour.

Alongside the pumpkin, he made Chickpea Broccoli Casserole from Vegan with a Vengeance. With a few substitutions. Instead of oil, he used a little bag of roasted capsicum which were packed in herbed oil (reduced to clear at the shop earlier that day). Instead of bread crumbs, he used polenta. And as a topping, he mixed some dry polenta with a bit of oil and sprinkled it over the casserole before it baked.

The result was a delicious and filling dinner. I thought the casserole was bland at first bite, but it grew on me really quickly. Andy smothered his in tomato sauce (I really think sauce, and not me, is the love of his life). The pumpkin was perfectly cooked, tender but not mushy, and the flavours of the stuffing went beautifully together.

The next night I reciprocated by making Spanikopita, based on the recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance. Though, the end result was probably pretty different from the recipe. Our filling was 500 grams of tofu, one package of frozen spinach, diced fresh broccoli, shiitake mushrooms, shallots, and the spices from the recipe. This was my first experience working with phyllo dough, and it was tricky but I think it worked out all right. Just next time, we might mix a thick cream sauce through the filling to make it a bit less dry. Since we had the oven on, I threw in some tater tots, and Andy made a quick plate salad with cucumber, beetroot, and green olives.

I know it's not the sexiest picture, but this was yummmm-tastic.

Is there anything more romantic than sharing a nice, warm, vegan meal on a rainy Valentine’s Day? I don’t think so.


pleasantly plump vegan said...

gotta love a man who cooks! yr dish looks pretty amazing as well. i love tator tots!!!

sandy winz said...

Hi! I have orderd from this place twice and am very pleased to share. They have great kosher organic and natural food products.
Here is a link http://www.wholeandnatural.com
p.s. I used a code try if it works for you bldc08

Romina said...

The standard Valentine's Day stuff is absolutely revolting. It's refreshing to see you two enjoy a beautiful meal together. There's nothing more romantic and beautiful than bonding over food. Food is fantastic, and when you can be creative and put your love into it and share it with others, to me, this is the ultimate. Can't get much closer to love! Glad to hear you had a great V-Day. =) Cheers to the many more to come.

Amy said...

Love is all about nurturing, right? Looks like a great V-Day celebration!

the little one said...

Can't say I'm too surprised you're not in love with V-Day ;) Everything looks delicious here. Love is sure yummy!

VeggieGirl said...

mmm that Japanese pumpkin and the casserole are MUCH more appealing than the "traditional" VD fare - looks tremendous! yum!

wow, that was your first time working with phyllo dough?? you're a natural!!

David J said...

what a feast!

Ashasarala said...

Haha It seems to me like 95% veggie bloggers hate the traditional V-Day celebrations!

That really looks like an awesome feast, though. I know I admit to loving candy hearts and wearing red & pink, but I really do believe that doing something unique that's true to the couple in the relationship is the best way to celebrate the day. I would have cooked, but I had no time! Ah, next year, next year. :)

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

I'd take your vegan feast over a blood diamond ANY day! I've just begun to find out the horrible truths about our so-called "precious" stones... they definitely don't belong in a day that is supposed to be about love.

Veggie said...

I've been meaning to try that Spanikopita recipe, I had totally forgotten about it.

I like to have a special dinner though with a nice dessert and chocolates of some sort. The peanut butter cups on vegweb would be perfect.

We can't have flowers here, my cats knock them over and eat them!