Food for Love

Food for LovePerfect love is rare indeed - for to be a lover will require that you continually have the subtlety of the very wise, the flexibility of the child, the sensitivity of the artist, the understanding of the philosopher, the acceptance of the saint, the tolerance of the scholar and the fortitude of the certain. Leo Buscaglia

Valentine's Day has always been associated with love and romance. Whether you will be celebrating it over the weekend or Wednesday 14th, at home or in some romantic setting, it is one time in the year to let your hair down, forget your day to day troubles and make it the most romantic occasion possible.

In non Vegan homes the meals often include so called aphrodisiacs like oysters, caviar, strawberries and chocolate. As a Vegan you can still have your Vegan chocolate and strawberries but not only that there are many other foods with the same effect. Veggies and fruit like asparagus, arugula, avocado, fennel, truffles, raspberries and figs. Even some herbs and spices are mood enhancers like liquorice, ginger, garlic (make sure you both eat it though),aniseed,basil and coriander. Almonds and pine nuts can also be added to these. A good bottle Vegan wine is also great to serve with your meal, to set the mood and relax your troubles away but do not overdo it.

Treasure the love you receive above all. It will survive long after your gold and good health have vanished. Og Mandino

If you are celebrating at home, there are many great websites that you can find food that you fancy to eat on Valentine's Day or you can take a look at some recipes I have selected at the bottom of this posting.

Valentine's Day Links:
Chery's Vegan Recipes

Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT'S relativity. Albert Einstein

Warm Poached Figs with Fresh Raspberries
From the Vegetarian Times
Recipe adapted from Breakfast in Bed (HarperCollins, 1997).

2 cups apple juice
1 cinnamon stick
3 whole cloves
Large mint leaf
8 very ripe fresh figs or rehydrated dry
1/2 pt. fresh raspberries or organic frozen
Juice of 1 large lemon (4 tbsps)

In large saucepan, combine apple juice, lemon juice, cinnamon, cloves and mint leaf. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Cook, uncovered for 10 minutes, reducing liquid by one-third. Add figs and simmer, covered, until very soft, about 10 to 15 minutes. With slotted spoon, remove figs to serving bowl. Strain the juice and return to pan. Reduce it by half over high heat until it becomes somewhat syrupy. Top figs with raspberries and drizzle with a little of the reduced syrup. 4 servings.

Asparagus and Citrus Salad
from California Asparagus
4 oranges
1-1/2 lbs asparagus trimmed
2 tbsps finely chopped shallots
1 tbsps Balsamic vinegar
1 tbsps dry sherry
2 slices ginger chopped
3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
4 tbsps coarsely chopped, toasted walnuts

Combine shallots with vinegar and sherry. Zest 1 of the oranges. Finely chop zest and add to the shallots. Squeeze 1/3 cup juice from zested orange and add to the shallots. Slowly whisk in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper, set aside. Cut asparagus spears in half and steam for a few minutes until crisp-tender, drain well and remove from pan to cool. Toss the vinaigrette with the cooled asparagus. Cut the ends of the remaining oranges and peel. Slice the peeled orange horizontally into 1/2 inch thick slices. Arrange the orange slices and asparagus spears on salad plate. Top each serving with 1 tablespoon toasted walnuts.
Serves 4

Vegan Asparagus & Avocado Cream Soup
from HarvestCo-Op

1 1/2 cups asparagus, ends trimmed, stems peeled, and sliced
1 1/2 cups cremini mushrooms, ends trimmed, and sliced
1/2 cup shallots, diced
1/3 cup green onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsps freshly chopped parsley
3/4 cup water
2 avocados, peeled, pitted, and diced
2 tbsps Sesame-Flax Dressing (see below)
1 tbsp tamari, soy sauce, or Bragg Liquid Aminos

In a food processor, place the asparagus, mushrooms, shallots, green onion, and parsley, and pulse for 30 seconds to roughly process the mixture. Add the water and process for 1-2 minutes or until the mixture is smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and process the mixture for an additional 1-2 minutes or until smooth. Serve immediately or chill, if desired.

Artichoke and Avocado Salad
from Cherry's Vegan Recipes

2 oz rocket
1 red pepper
2-3 sundried tomatoes - halved
4 artichoke hearts - halved
2 tbsp black olives
1 avocado
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil

Finely slice the pepper. Divide rocket leaves between two plates and arrange pepper slices, sundried tomatoes, artichokes and olives on top. Just before serving slice the avocado and arrange around the plates. Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the salads.

Fancy Mock Fish Fillets
from Fishing Hurts
Serve these tasty cutlets with a dollop of tofu tartar sauce (see recipe) or hot sauce or use them to make extraordinary sandwiches.

1 lb. firm tofu
Egg replacer equivalent to 1 egg
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp dried basil
Dash dried thyme
Oil for frying

Cut the tofu into 1/4-inch thick slices. Wrap the slices in thick paper towels and pat to remove excess moisture.
Beat the egg replacer and soy sauce together in a small bowl. Combine the wheat germ, cornmeal, paprika, basil, and thyme on a plate. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Dip each slice of tofu into the egg replacer mixture, then coat both sides in the wheat germ mixture. Fry the slices until golden brown on both sides. Serve with tofu tartar sauce (see recipe below) Makes 4 servings

Tasty Tartar Sauce
This tangy sauce enhances any fake fish dish.

1/2 lb soft or medium-firm tofu
1/4 cup safflower oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon (1 to 1 1/2 tbsp.)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. prepared mustard
1/4 cup sweet pickle relish

Blend together the tofu, oil, lemon juice, salt, and mustard in a food processor until smooth. Stir in the pickle relish and serve. Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Vegan Goulash with Portabella Mushrooms
from GulfCoastRecipes

2 large sweet white onions, chopped fine
1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp marjoram
6 or 8 portabella mushroom caps, cleaned and chopped into large chunks
juice of half a fresh lemon, or 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
5 heaping tablespoons of fresh quality paprika
1 small can of tomato paste (about 1/3 cup)
1/4 cup each nutritional yeast, soy sauce and liquid sweetener
8 cups water or vegetable stock

Heat the oil in a large pot and add the onions and garlic. Sautee for a long time, until they are just starting to turn golden, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and add the paprika and stir it in well. You do not want to fry the paprika as this will alter the taste. Add the water or stock, the chopped mushrooms caps, tomato paste and all other seasonings except for the lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Return to heat and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow it to simmer on low, uncovered, for at least one hour. The longer the better, however. The sauce should reduce by almost half and become quite thick. If you prefer your goulash to be more like a soup, you can thin it with extra water or stock but I prefer it to be more like a very thick stew. After at least an hour of simmering, taste and adjust the seasonings as you like.

Goulash is served any number of ways. Some people cook tiny dumplings in it. Some serve it thick over noodles or cooked grains. Some like it with a dollop of sour cream and some black rye bread for dipping. Also, don't be afraid to play with the recipe. It would be fabulous with chickpeas or seitan or tofu in place of the mushrooms. Or try different kinds of wild mushrooms - boletus or chanterelle come to mind, especially. Eggplant would also be fantastic. Many traditional/authentic goulash recipes omit the tomato and add potatoes and other veggies in varying amounts. Just keep the goulash base, with the paprika and seasonings the same, and you can get as creative as you like. This will serve six people as a main course.

Amaretto-Spiked Vegan Chocolate Mousse
from 101cookbooks

1/2 cup organic chocolate soy milk (for this recipe I like to use Vitasoy Rich Chocolate Soy Milk)
9 or 10 ounce bag of semisweet vegan chocolate chips (I've had good success with Tropical Source or Sunspire Brand all-natural brands, NOT carob chips)
12 ounces silken tofu
1/4 cup Amaretto or almond-flavored liquor
1/4 teaspoon natural pure almond extract (I use the Flavorganics Almond Extract for this recipe)

Pour the chocolate milk into a small pot and bring to a simmer. Remove the milk from heat and let cool a bit while you melt down the chocolate chips. You can melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler or if you are like me, and don?t own a double-boiler, you can cobble one together using a tiny saucepan set under a larger mixing bowl. Fill the tiny saucepan with an inch or two of water and bring barely to a simmer ? place the big mixing bowl with the chocolate chips on top of the tiny saucepan and let the heat come up and gently warm the chips while you stir occasionally until completely melted. Remove from heat. Add the soy milk and silken tofu to the melted chocolate chips. Process with a hand or regular blender until completely smooth. Stir in the Amaretto and almond extract. Taste and adjust for flavor, adding a bit more extract if needed. Chill in the big bowl (or in individual bowls) for at least 1 1/2 hours, the longer the better. The pudding will set up nicely as it cools. Makes 6 decadent servings.

What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined together to strengthen each other in all labour, to minister to each other in all sorrow, to share with each other in all gladness, to be one with each other in the silent unspoken memories? George Eliot

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