Monday, January 7, 2008

Learning Lessons

On Friday night, one of my best friends from high school and her boyfriend joined us for dinner at our home. We hadn't seen each other in almost five years, there was so much to catch up on!! Such an occasion called for a fancy dessert (and dinner, but I've already blogged about what I made in previous posts), the Caramel Machiatto Cheesecake from My Sweet Vegan.

Now you'll notice that there really isn't anything that looks like caramel on this cheesecake.... well, that's because I had a small disaster with the caramel sauce. Not sure if my arrowroot powder was bad, or it boiled too long, or if it was using light brown sugar instead of dark, my the sauce hardened like a rock in seconds. Boo hoo. So, in a pinch I used chocolate sauce from the fridge, so this is actually a chocolate machiatto cheesecake. I also learned a valuable lesson in the difference between regular and instant coffee (forgive me, I'm not a coffee-drinker), luckily just in time. This cheesecake was so creamy and smooth with a moderate coffee flavor. The chocolate cookie crust and the vanilla cream top layer complimented the cheesecake well. Oh, and another lesson ... although I painstakingly took the time to drizzle the chocolate on in an elaborate, fancy design, after putting it back in the fride, it ran all over the place! Next time I'll wait until just before serving to put on the finishing touches.

Needing to use some leftover tempeh (from tempeh nori rolls for appetizers) and celery (yikes! I never use celery, but it's in the chickpea tart I made for dinner), I decided to imitate a chicken salad I used to get from Whole Foods back in pre-vegan days.
The recipe is simple... I just steamed the tempeh for about 13 minutes, added nayonaise, fresh chopped dill, white pepper, chopped celery, red grapes, and walnuts (all in whatever amounts I deemed necessary). This was yummy by itself (as I had it for lunch today), but would probably be good in nestled between toasted whole wheat bread as well.

In other news... we had quite the warm weather here in Houston this weekend. I was tempted last night to turn on the AC. John and I went for a long walk along the bayou and I actually got a bit sunburned on my shoulders (since I had to dig out a tanktop to wear). Guess I should extend my resolution of sunscreen on the face daily to any exposed body part... lesson learned.

24 comments:

Ruby Red Vegan said...

Caramel Machiatto Cheesecake and Chocolate Machiatto Cheesecake BOTH sound delicious! If I had been your guest, I would not have minded either way. The cookie crust looks really yummy!

I've seen salads like yours at Whole Foods with tofu, but never tempeh. I like your version!

Oh! And I baked the nuggets, for a slightly shorter time than recommended for Chickpea Cutlets.

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Oh my goodness, that is one of the prettiest desserts I've ever seen, vegan or otherwise... I can't imagine it looking any more delicious with caramel sauce.

Your best friend and her boyfriend are SOOO lucky!

Of course, the tempeh salad looks good too, but the cheezecake takes the cake (sorry for the dumb pun!).

Hope your sunburn gets better soon... yay for BEAUTIFUL warm weather in January! I love it.

Romina said...

That Cheesecake looks divine! And that salad looks delish. Great work!

bittersweetblog said...

Aw, I'm sorry that the caramel didn't work for you... If it sets up before you're done working with it, you can usually just gently reheat it to make it pourable again. At least the rest of dessert worked well, and it sure does look good tasty!

VeggieGirl said...

no worries - the chocolate sauce ended up making the Caramel (now CHOCOLATE) Machiatto Cheesecake look sensational :0)

great job on the "chicken" salad as well - looks very authentic!! your sandwich idea would be great for it as well.

ahh, I easily sunburn, so I can fully sympathize with you - be sure to apply lots of aloe vera to the burn, to help it heal quicker/reduce redness!!

Cherie said...

Modified or not, your cheesecake looks fantastic. How great that you could see your friend after so long!

Traci Anne said...

I <3 cheesecake, but that tempeh salad is so calling my name right now!

Anna said...

Gah! Cheesecake! I want it!

Hmm, if I lived nearby I might just have to try inviting myself over for dinner. :)

Thanks for the kind comment too.

the pleasantly plump vegan said...

dear god, that cheezecake looks amazing!
and that chick'n salad looks great too. GOOD for you using celery! have you ever tried celery with peanut butter? maybe you might like celery more that way?

Melody Polakow said...

omg, that cheezecake looks amazing!

Isn't it great to be vegan?

aTxVegn said...

Your cheesecake looks so perfectly smooth and rich and creamy - who cares about the topping!

I'm a celery hater too. And isn't this weather the best!

Liz² said...

that cheesecake is immaculate! more chocolate can only be a good thing. And when your list of ingredients in the tempeh salad hit walnuts my heart fluttered a little bit and now I've got serious cravings for creamy nutty sandwich-ready goodness. so yum!

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

The cheesecake looks amazing! I wish it would warm up here, I'm under a blanket right now, due to a temperature of 45!

urban vegan said...

*drooling*

Anke said...

that cheesecake looks amazing! you are so talented :-)

you can also soften hardened caramel by adding just a tablespoon of water and reheating it over low heat.

Jennifer said...

That cheesecake looks sooo good. I am drooling over it! I am really going to have to pick up My Sweet Vegan and then I can make (and then of course blog about) all the wonderful treats I have seen as a result of this book.

That tempeh salad looks yummy too. Creative way to get rid of some extra ingredients.

jd said...

OMG! That looks fabulous (despite the lack of caramel - haha)! I totally should have hired you to make me a b-day cake :)

By the way, isn't "My Sweet Vegan" an amazing cookbook? As you know, I just made a recipe from it as well...

Looks like we're both on the same "Sweet" bandwagon!!

Vegyogini said...

Haha...I don't know anything about coffee either, so there I was at Trader Joe's, holding the one jar of instant coffee they had and thinking "Hannah said instant coffee powder and this looks like granules! What should I do?" The Trader Joe's employee I asked probably thought I'd been living under a rock. ;) I'm sure I'll get around to making that dessert; it looks as impressive as all the others.

Ashasarala said...

That cheesecake looks fabulous! I would have finished that in seconds, with or without the caramel. I prefer chocolate normally, so I think I would have gone that route anyway.

I make a similar chicken salad with tempeh. Isn't it the greatest? I prefer it in a whole wheat wrap. :)

Ruthie said...

It sounds like you made the best of a cooking dilemma.

And we aren't even going to talk about the TANK TOP! While I sit here in cords and fleece and thick socks and hiking boots and am dreaming, dreeeaaamming about flip flips.

Rage And Love said...

Just found your blog (!) and I must say that the cheesecake is to die for!

Cakespy said...

Nothing to celebrate unexpected warm weather like this ridiculously goodlookin' cake. Wow. It looks so tasty! And the tempeh...way to appetize yourself for the cake! :-)

vegetalion said...

red grapes! how intriguing! are those usually in a chicken salad? I wanna try this.

also, man, why don't you use celery? it's so cool. **snacking on some as I read this**

jess (of Get Sconed!) said...

So classy!