Sunday, May 29, 2011

Vegan Fourth of July Menu Musings: A Brainstorm

It's getting all summery all around and the red, white and blue have been popping up all over the stores as we prep to remember on Memorial Day and unofficially ring in summer on the fourth of July.

We plan to host a little get-together on Independence Day and two complimentary urges popped into my head:
1) To plan ahead and make plans for vegan dishes that I can have for myself and have to share in addition to the non-vegan dishes we'll have.
2) Calm the pangs wedding withdrawal by planning this event!

I've been jotting down some dish ideas and will share them with you along with links to inspiring recipes. I am attempting to have all-American-ish ingredients and dishes while keeping things fresh, fun...and nutrient-dense? Well, let's see:

  • Chili. Based off this go-to recipe we slightly adapt but looking for alternatives. I want to use something other than tortilla chip to eat this with. i was thinking of a bread but not sure what... I'd like some slices of avocado for garnish to this. I l-o-v-e avocado.
  • Grilled romaine with Caesar dressing and croutons. Hey, it's something grilled! I tried grilled romaine at a restaurant recently and loved it! I finally found a good vegan Caesar dressing, too, which is great because in the past year or so, I've become obsessed with Caesar salads. I never ordered them before and I'm not sure why I ordered it the first time but I'm glad I did! It's basically not vegan so this PPK recipe was a gem when I made it a while ago. It tasted odd at first but after letting it sit in the fridge for a bit, it was awesome! That was a carb-alicious weekend...I ran out of lettuce so I ended up eating all of the dressing with a loaf of Italian bread! Speaking of bread, I'd plan on making the croutons, too.
  • Grilled corn. Duh.
  • Watermelon. Duh, part 2. Just the fruit or a watermelon "cooler".
  • Fresh lemonade.
  • Homemade iced tea. Not sure if I want to do the black tea, which I love, or an iced green tea, which I made once and loved. Or an iced ginger/licorice tea...mmm.
  • Jack and ginger. IZZE ginger (yum!) and a Tennessee whiskey.
  • Peanut butter mousse mini tarts. Using the peanut butter swirl recipe on Healthy Happy Life. Thinking of how to incorporate chocolate or bananas, maybe.
  • Jel dessert. I was so happy when I found a Jello-ish dessert that is vegan. This photo was an inspiration and I prepared a similar preparation for a dinner party once with the orange flavor (orange jel in martini glasses with suspended raspberries). I feel like I should prepare the strawberry flavor but I like the orange flavor so much more. Well, I can make another strawberry dish and the orange will rep Florida?
  • Homemade sorbet or vegan ice cream. Just broke out the ice cream maker this weekend! the freeze bowl is in the freezer at the moment so I'll test out my skills in a bit here. Thinking of a strawberry sorbet. Something smooth. I have a recipe for blueberry sorbet but for some reason blueberry sorbet sounds weird to me! Thinking of rhubarb, too. Not sure if it's "in season" in July but I had rhubarb sorbet yesterday and it was DELISH!
I'd like to incorporate these elements if I can think of something simple/clever to do with them:
  • avocado
  • strawberry
  • blueberry
  • cupcakes (minis perhaps?)
  • chocolate chip cookie dough...er...I mean, cookies?
  • mini tarts
  • root beer
  • cherries
Any thoughts, ideas, tips?