Environmental Emotional

Small Bites and Tapas, Keeping Dinner Special

In Veganism on October 8, 2013 at 6:23 pm

smallbites_1One thing that’s so appealing about the eating tapas, or small bites style is that it focuses your appetite on a one area at a time and usually each flavor is very separate, making it stand out. Making a dinner with many small courses can take a lot of time. But if you’d to replicate that long, drawn out luxurious way of eating try the simple steps below.

The next time you plan a family dinner try thinking small and special and follow this process:

1. Choose veggies and fruits that are easy to hollow out, stuff, or top, such as mushrooms, celery, tiny potatoes, or grape and cherry tomatoes.

2. Marinate these vegetables and fruits overnight in a variety of marinades. For marinade varieties use flavorful oils like walnut, olive, flax, and peanut. Use six parts oil and one part vinegar. Choose a variety of vinegars such as ume, rice, balsamic, and wine or use reduced spirits in place of vinegar such as mirin, rum, scotch, or rich vegan beers from this list: http://www.peta.org/about/faq/which-beers-are-suitable-for-vegans.aspx  Add a little salt and pepper, spices (curry combos, ground peppers, herbs), garlic, onions, and a bit of ground nuts for texture and body.

3. Prepare a few dips and spreads. Think about hummus and then expand.  Hummus is simply made of garbanzos, garlic, lemon juice, tahini, and cumin. Change the bean from garbanzo to lima or navy and change the nut butter from tahini to walnut, brazil, or pine nut (make your own nut butter in your coffee bean grinder) and now you’re cooking!  You’ll need an element of zing that the lemon juice provides.  Try subbing grapefruit or orange juice and add a little bit of peel zest to complete the flavor balance.  Add an interesting spice and you’ve got something special.  Go to Whole Foods and sample some new ones from the bulk spices section.

4. Make a couple of cups of earthy grain varieties such as forbidden rice, wild rice, or red quinoa. Spice up the rice with lots of creativity, a tiny bit of salt, some herbs, and olive oil or coconut butter.

4. Stuff your new original spreads and grains into the marinated vegetables and fruits and compliment each with artful garnishes of brightly colored veggies and herbs like green onion, rosemary, tarragon, and radish sprigs.

Send me a photo of your tapas dinner and I’ll put it on my blog. Send to cireeciree@gmail.com.  Can’t wait to see your creations!

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