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Vegan Planet: Valentine Dinner: Part Tradition, Part Inspiration

Friday, February 13, 2009


Valentine Dinner: Part Tradition, Part Inspiration

Okay, coming up with a dessert for Valentine’s Day was easy. The great-looking strawberries in the store, plus my husband’s fondness for my vegan cheesecake, made the dessert choice a no-brainer.

What to make for dinner was another thing entirely. I knew I wanted to make something different while still keeping the whimsical “heart” theme that I try to do each year. Looking in my pantry for inspiration, I noticed a jar of hot red pepper jelly — as eye-catching and ruby-red as it was the day I bought it at the farmer’s market last summer. With the spicy-sweet pepper jelly as the catalyst for inspiration, I decided to make a sauce combining the jelly with sherry vinegar and soy sauce. The flavor reminded me of a tofu dish I had in a Thai restaurant once. I thought the spicy sweet-and-sour sauce would also go great with sautéed cabbage.

Now, I realize tofu and cabbage aren't exactly synonymous with Valentine's Day, but there was no turning back. I sliced a block of tofu horizontally into three slabs, got out my little heart-shaped cutter, and started making adorable little tofu hearts. I made a few out of a slice of seitan, too, and then braised them in the sauce.

In another pan, I braised some red cabbage in the same sauce and cooked up some rice. To serve, I shaped the rice into a heart and surrounded it with red (let’s call it “purple passion”) cabbage. I topped the rice with several of the tofu and seitan hearts for a yummy Technicolor meal. Sure, it’s not the most traditional dinner to serve on Valentine’s Day — that’s why I decided to make it a day early!

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Wow- very red and beautiful!
aww that last picture is so cute! and creative.
That cheesecake looks especially good!

Love the creativity in the dinner plate.
How adorable! And what a great use of the pepper jelly, simple and delicious I'm sure.
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