Tapas Night

Rather than chowing down on a big entree and a couple of sides, tonight's dinner was more of a "small plates" kinda thing. I'd been working on this Pepper-Crusted Cashew Goat Cheese from Vegetarian Times for days:

The cashews must soak for six hours, and the nut cheese mixture has to rest for another 12 hours. Then it's baked and chilled before serving. So when this cheeze log was finally ready, I decided to make dinner out of it.

I served it on some Crisp 'n' Light Wasa Crackers (the best flavor!):

This was phenomenal! The log remains pretty soft, so the cheeze is spreadable and it really melts in your mouth. And it only has a few ingredients — cashews, tahini, lemon juice, and oil.

I could have eaten the entire "goat cheese" log for my dinner, but instead I created these Sweet 'n' Sour Notballs for my cookbook's appetizer section:

They're basically bean and TVP balls simmered in a sweet 'n' sour barbecue sauce. It's the kind of typical Southern fare you might find lurking in a Crock Pot at some redneck church potuck. Always a fan of white trash cookin', I knew I wanted some classic trailer park-style appetizers in the book. These balls would also be tasty served atop spaghetti with marinara.

I also made a quick Citrus Broccoli Salad using local farmer's market broccoli:

It's really quite simple — lightly steamed broccoli seasoned with a little lemon zest, oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. A light, refreshing way to enjoy broccoli on a hot almost-summer day. I was going to use it for the cookbook and then realized that the idea seemed awfully familiar. That's when I remembered Bryant Terry has a Chilled Citrus Broccoli Salad in his Vegan Soul Kitchen book. His has a few more ingredients and sounds even better, so I won't be using this recipe in my book. I'll just give it here.

Citrus Broccoli Salad

1 head broccoli, florets cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 Tbsp. agave nectar
salt & pepper to taste

Steam broccoli for about 4 minutes, until slightly tender but still pretty crispy. Allow to cool, and then stir in other ingredients to combine. Chill for several hours.