Sweet Potato Salad
When I cook for a party, I always make too much food. Always. Rick tries to stop me, but I can't help it. I am my mother's daughter. I like to feed people, and I'm pretty good at it. I have 2 favorite vegan cookbooks of the moment, that I flip through often for ideas, but some days I just want to wing it. Reading directions and flipping pages in hot weather with favorite people in the kitchen with me is just too much to ask. But if you need some menu planning guidance, want to add some healthy new dishes to your diet, or want to know why in the world anybody would want to be a vegan anyway, check these books: "The Kind Diet", by Alicia Silverstone, and "The Urban Vegan", by Dynise Balcavage. I love them both.
There were 6 of us for dinner last night, so I decided on 3 hearty salads, telling the meat eaters to bring their own (and keep it out of my kitchen). I was serving up enough protein, fiber, vitamins, and all things good for you to feed the entire campground. Meat was not required, but still, a store bought roasted chicken appeared. I know, it's hard to believe a meal is "real" if there isn't a carcass of some sort involved. But I just keep calmly offering my beautiful, healthy, weird food, and most of the time, everyone is happy.
After the shopping, I got going on the chopping. This was no small feat, as my counter space is only about 2x2 feet. I manage though, and usually make one thing at a time, cleaning up in between and then starting the next one. Most of our meals are of the one dish variety, so it was really extravagant for me to make three big dishes, which then had to be stored in our little fridge in plastic bags, and poured into serving bowls later. I made a Greek salad that was pretty traditional, with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, kalamata olives, pepperoncini, artichoke hearts, and a tangy oil and vinegar dressing with lots of pepperoncini juice and oregano. I went with my daughter Lauren's "recipe", and made sure there was as much "stuff" as lettuce. Nobody missed the feta.
Then I made a version of a favorite rice salad I often take to parties. This time I used quinoa, which I cooked in orange juice and chili power, then added black and pinto beans, black olives, red onion, fresh organic corn, red bell pepper, and a cumin spiked vinaigrette. Yum.
The most unusual dish of the bunch was the sweet potato salad. I used white sweet potatoes, which are a nice change from regular potatoes, and not as sweet and sticky as yams. I added baby peas, celery, green onion, parsley, and red bell pepper. The dressing was a little Vegenaise with olive oil, vinegar, fresh lime juice, and curry powder. I forgot to add fresh ginger, which I think would be great, so I'll mix some in with the leftovers when I serve it all again tonight...
Yes, I made too much food. It's OK. Everything was good, and my prep time tonight will be almost zero. Maybe I'll pull some Smart Dogs out of the freezer and see if I can pass them off as "real" hot dogs. I don't know, you tell me - what's more real? Soybeans and spices, or floor scrapings and spices? Hee hee... I can be devious when it comes to getting people to eat, and love, what's good for them.