I'm back with a vegetable vengeance!
Lindsey, the only member of the Secret-Secret Geography Club who is a vegetarian, is constantly butting heads with certain members of the group on her choice to eat and prepare only meat-free dishes (*ahem, cough, cough...Steve and Dan). We were brainstorming upcoming dinner party ideas for the Geography Club one night when Dan and Lindsey got into a rift about the presence of meat in our food when Lindsey said "I'd love to prepare an entirely vegetarian meal for you and have you eat your words when you can see how delicious and satisfying an entirely vegetarian meal can be!"
That's when the brain child for our next dinner party was born.
Just to set the stage for you, we live in the middle of what is called "Feedlot Alley"; an area 500km x 500km with the highest concentration of cattle, pigs and chickens in North America. Needless to say, there is no shortage of meat around here.
We of course had all the Secret-Secret Geography Club members there, which consisted of my husband Steve and myself, Dan & Lisa who hosted and Joel & Lindsey who did the cooking. My good friends Shanna, Tara and her husband Jon drove down for a surprise visit and so ended up joining us for the meatless festivities. Tara and Shanna almost peed their pants they were so excited to be a part of our infamous geography club :)
Lindsey prepped and slaved over her meal and recruited us ladies as her sous chefs for some last minute preparation while the guys talked in the other room about MEAT.
I kid you not, I kept overhearing a drawn out 20 minute conversation about what kind of meat products they could consume as soon as our dinner was over.
"Let's go out and order chicken wings!"
"Yeah like 5lbs of chicken wings each."
"We should have brought pre-dinner appetizers....you know....like sausages wrapped in bacon or something."
While the men discussed animal flesh, we ladies were chopping shitake mushrooms, heating up a tomatillo-green chile enchilada sauce and combining sweet potatoes and black beans.
The ladies of the evening were absolutely fine with consuming a vegetarian meal, in fact, both Lisa and Tara WERE vegetarians at one time. The men on the other hand were a different story. Jon kept talking about bacon, while Steve and Dan thought our dinner was a waste of time. "I plan on being hungry an hour later" Dan said.
Yeesh. Tough crowd.
Lindsey took it all in stride and quietly but confidently prepared our first course. A lovely green Spinach Coconut Soup.
This soup was rich with coconut milk, spinach and hits of fresh ginger and lemon grass. Sauteed shitake mushrooms were served over top as a garnish and added body to the soup (recipe to come later this week).
Everyone's reaction to the soup: pleasantly surprising.
The general consensus as everyone slurped and gulped was that the soup was delicious. The lemongrass and ginger added a nice freshness, while the shitakes provided the sense of "meatiness". Yes, even the men were pleased (although Dan's face would suggest otherwise in this photo).
For the main course, Lindsey had prepared Sweet Potato & Black Bean Enchiladas with Spicy Avocado Salad. This my friends was freakin' incredible.
The enchiladas were hearty and yet creamy at the same time with the combination of the black beans and sweet potatoes. The avocado salad was the perfect compliment. I loved the cool, creamy avocado with the spicy dressing. Praises went around the table as we heard exclaims of "WOW" and "Oh my gosh, this is REALLY good."
People went back for seconds and licked both their fingers and their plates clean.
The combination of flavors in this meal were outstanding and perfectly paired.
We moved onto dessert and had a nice refreshing lemon sorbet topped with a raspberry sauce.
As we finished up our vegetarian meal and looked around the table at all the satisfied faces, Lindsey and I thought it was time to let the group in on a little secret:
"Yep. And you LIKED it!"
Dan, probably the most skeptical of the night, said it was the best vegetarian food he'd ever had, but of course modified his statement by saying it was "moderately freaking epic." Steve piped up and said a few times that he never knew vegetarian food could be this good and Jon thought the night was incredible and an eye-opening experience into vegetarian food.
Lindsey's mission was a success!