Christina Martin of Cooking to Nourish returned to COOK last night to get us into the New Year’s spirit! Her 100% vegan menu was a great way to showcase how healthy eating can be delicious. With the New Year approaching, many people make resolutions to eat better and get in shape. Cooking to Nourish is a great resource, as Christina focuses on teaching the basics of healthy and sustainable eating. Not only will this post review Christina’s vegan hors d’oeuvres, but it will also tell you how to make the cocktails, perfect for a New Year’s party. So read on for some New Year’s Eve party inspiration!
Served upon arrival: blackberry kir. Blackberry purée infused into the bubbles, lending both color and flavor to already-festive sparkling wine. This was a perfect and easy to replicate cocktail for New Year’s parties. Try your own variation on this cocktail by switching out blackberry preserves with your favorite fruit – strawberry, raspberry, currant, to name a few possibilities!
Instead of using cream cheese or another animal derived cream, this dip utilizes fresh cashew milk. Simply blend raw cashews and water until it is smooth and voila! Christina made this vegan spinach and artichoke dip for the Eagles game on Christmas, and it was a big hit. You can find the recipe for Christina’s Spinach Artichoke dip on her Cooking to Nourish website. Try this snack out for your next tailgate, or any party for that matter!
The next three appetizers were bite-sized finger foods, so we served them family style to keep with the cocktail party vibe. Christina served her vegan take on crab cakes, made with sautéed hearts of palm as well as artichokes. Christina added some celery, red peppers, garlic and onion for texture, color and flavor. Served on a juicy cucumber, topped with a spicy Sriracha aioli, these went like hotcakes.
Served up on a rice cracker these vegan cheese bites are a healthy alternative for those who are lactose intolerant or anyone trying to cut back on dairy. In a food processor, Christina combined Daiya Pepperjack cheese, and Tofutti, a cream cheese substitute. Next she added in garlic powder, salt and pepper into a creamy mixture. Christina rolled the mix into balls, which were then rolled in ground flax seed, and then chopped walnuts. The creamy texture of the cheese ball mixed perfectly with the crunchy walnuts and flax.
Next up, Christina took raw mushroom caps, scooped them out with a melon baller and stuffed them with a crispy tempeh filling. Sprinkled with chives and topped with vegan mayo, these mushrooms looked fantastic!
This sangria-like cocktail is both bright and boozy: equal parts vodka and merlot with a splash of apple cider and lime juice, plus a little ginger. The garnish was a granny smith apple slice, a tart and refreshing crunch to balance the sweetness of the drink. Altogether this drink was strong, sweet and had a bit of a zing; a perfect way to cap off the year!
A favorite meal of her daughter’s, Christina showed how to make a wholesome vegan pizza. If you are making this flatbread for entertaining purposes, you can caramelize the onions and slice the radishes (be sure to keep them in water) the day before for quick assembly. COOK guests marveled at the gorgeously vibrant watermelon radish slices which finished the dish. The watermelon radishes came from Christina’s latest CSA basket. They explained that CSA’s are helpful for dieting because not only do you get fresh organic produce, but you also can build meals around the various items, a natural way to mix things up. Small farm CSA’s can produce harder to find items that commercial farmers don’t grow.
These sandwiches were a vegan take on the classic meatball parm. The earthy sauce was simmered with a hint of curry, a warming and surprising note in the background. Because it’s a time of year to make things extra nice, Christina topped each with pea shoots, also from their CSA.
Happy hour ended on a sweet note. After simmering in a mixture of wine, sugar and spices, halved red d’anjou pears were tender and full of flavor. Sweet and wintry spices filled the room, one last respite from the 18 degree temperature waiting for us. The decadent and smooth dulce de leche caramel sauce used almond milk instead of the typical sweetened condensed milk. The finishing touch was a light shower of shaved chocolate.
Speaking of sweet endings, check out Christina’s new eCookbook, Desserts.
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