This morning I went to a vegan brunch hosted by Doreen and the Vegetarian Social Network of Westchester at Rain Water Grill in Hastings, NY. A mere 12 minutes from my house.
Although the Rain Water Grill is regularly vegetarian friendly, they made a special vegan brunch for our group with appetizers and entrees.
We all shared appetizers of fried risotto balls with marinara; vegetable flat bread pizzas with cannellini beans, leeks, and black olives; and egg rolls with eggplant, squash, onion, and carrots with a delicious soy cilantro vinaigrette. I got the fried avocado and the mango salsa was lovely. Everyone else was nice enough to let me stick my camera in their food and get a sample as well. You know, for the blog...Tofu scramble. This was really nice on the toast.
Stuffed portabella mushroom. I didn't actually try it, but it looked yummy.And the hit of the day were the blueberry pancakes. Someone was cool enough to order a second helping which we all shared. The manager said even though it's not on the menu they would be able to whip these babies up for brunch anytime and even offered to send someone out to the store if they needed the soy milk for them. That's some vegan love.We had about 12 people in all. Great group of people and a fun brunch event.
Now, I could have just gone home and vegged out with some nice Jonny Lee Miller period pieces (Emma and Mansfield Park or perhaps Byron in case you're wondering...)
but instead I ventured out to the store to pick up some provisions for a pot luck dish for an evening with Farm Sanctuary Campaigns Coordinator David Benzaquen which was kind of with The Westchester Vegan & Vegetarian Meetup Group, though it wasn't an official meet-up.
I successfully procured the fixins' for perhaps the easiest pot luck dish known to man. Four layer Mexican dip.
The Mexican dip is the one near the front of the photo. When I was 23 and vegetarian, this was what I brought when I needed to bring a dish somewhere. I usually make it with vegan cream cheese and vegetarian chili, but this time I used vegan sour cream and refried beans. It's very flexible to substitutions and always awesome.
1 package Tofutti sour cream
1 can vegetarian chili or refried beans
1 container of salsa ( I used the fresh kind from the fridge section, but jarred is OK, too)
3/4 block follow your heart cheddar or enough vegan cheese to cover the top
Layer the ingredients in a pie plate in the order listed.
I usually pop in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes, but this heated up really well in the microwave in about 8 minutes. The cheese got melty without getting dried out.
Trista made a giant pot of chili with Quorn. (This would have been awesome in the Mexican dip.)Trista's mom made this amazing noodle dish with those clear noodles used in Jap Chae. I don't remember the name, but this was lovely.Megan made an amazing lasagna.
Here's everyone hanging out enjoying the food and chit-chatting...And just when I thought I couldn't possibly eat anything else, I just HAD to have one of these fantastic chocolate chip cookies. Trista used EnerG which for some reason I never try and they were chocolate chip perfection.
David gave a nice presentation on what the Farm Sanctuary is all about and this sparked some lively discussions with the few non-vegans in the group.
Thanks so much to Trista and her family for hosting this event (8 minutes from my house.) It was beaucoup fun and hopefully we'll have more events here in Westchester so I won't always have to schlep into the city on a weekend for a vegan fix.
Today I also found out the secret ingredient for the Veggie Conquest next Sunday is potatoes. It has to be an appetizer and I'm trying to think of things I could serve to 80 people that would warm up easily in those catering foil trays with the sterno. One of the guest judges is Alexandra Jamieson who famously slimmed down her hubby Morgan Spurlock after he ate nothing but McDonald's for 30 days in the documentary Supersize Me. Wish me luck. I'm gonna need it.