The Four Tempestuous Truths of The Holiday Season, Part Three

Food, Glorious Food or What The Hell Do I Bring To Dinner?

We’ve already covered how to maneuver cocktail parties, travel, and avoiding the blood sugar plunge in Part 2.  So, we now move on to a more challenging situation: You’ve been invited to someone’s house. 

Now, if it’s your tribe, the evening will look something like this:

(Only the pig would be alive and running around, of course.)

But, alas, it’s not your tribe. It’s someone you work with, or a friend of a friend, a casual acquaintance...or, the scariest of all food scenarios: The Family Dinner. 

Naturally they are not vegan. They are confused. You don’t want to put anyone out, of course...but mama, you need to EAT.  So the big question is, how do you bring a dish that will satisfy you, without freaking them out? 

Here are three super-easy solutions to your dietary dilemma.  Make one, or all three. They’re that simple.

1. The Cocktail Platter

A visually stunning and madly healthy alter-ego to the traditional cheese and crackers scene.

Get a round platter from somewhere. Pick up a head of organic romaine and/or endive, some raw macadamia nuts, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, artichoke hearts, organic cucumbers, parsley, basil. cherry tomatoes, and a few sweet cherry peppers if you like. And make sure you have some Himalayan pink salt around.

First, pulse the macadamia nuts in your food processor until they are finely ground. (Ideally, soak them for an hour beforehand if you can.)  Add 1/2 cup or so of the sun-dried tomatoes, about 2 Tbs. of fresh lemon juice, a handful of finely chopped parsley, and a pinch or two of pink salt. Pulse everything together until it’s well blended.

Now, arrange the smaller romaine leaves/endive on the platter in a circular sunburst pattern. (Three rows are really pretty, and a sacred magic number.)  Spoon small-ish amounts of the nut mixture into each leaf. Fill in the empty spaces with the artichoke hearts and some thinly sliced cukes. (Keep the skins on, but only if they are organic. Cucumber skins contain high does of silica, essential for strong, shiny hair.)  Sprinkle the olives, halved cherry tomatoes, and peppers around the platter. Anoint the whole canvas with some fresh lemon juice, a drizzle of cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, a dash of pink salt, parsley and basil. C'est parfait!

I brought this work of art to my family’s house last year, and it was not only appreciated, but the macadamia spread wowed them. They begged me for the recipe. Three dyed-in-the-wool meat and dairy eaters. Ahem.

2. The Main Dish That Fits Right In

Familiar, festive, and entirely non-threatening.

Two words, baby. Sweet Potatoes.

If you dislike them, of course, I will suggest a similar treatment to regular potatoes or any variety of cooked veggies. 

But if you adore these little tubers, so full of skin-beautifying vitamin C and beta-carotene, this is the simplest solution ever. Just don’t tell anyone it’s curried. That would be weird for them. (Unless you are fortunate enough to have curry as a part of your family culinary heritage, in which case this entire section is moot!) Tell them they are “lightly spiced.”  An added benefit: sweet potatoes contain high levels of potassium, which helps to alleviate tension. This could come in handy.

Wash and cut about 6 organics into small pieces, and place them in a mixing bowl. Drizzle olive or coconut oil onto them, with 1 Tbs. organic curry mixture, 1/2 tsp. turmeric, and a good dash of that gorgeous pink salt. Stir it all until the potatoes are well coated. Spread them onto a baking sheet and into a pre-heated 350F oven they go! Bake for about 40 minutes, but check them as ovens vary. I like to broil them for a few minutes at the end for extra crispiness. *Note that the oil can be omitted entirely for a non fat and super-crispy version, but remember that good fats are, well, good.

3. Dessert

Taking a cue form the ever-successful cocktail platter assembled earlier, we create the Sweet Grand Finale.

Again, with the round platter, only this time select a pretty bowl as the centerpiece. Grab the ripest, most gorgeous organic fruits you can find from your local market, some coconut or almond-milk ice cream, and make a stop in the chocolate section for something dark and decadent. Truffles work well, or little squares, or even cacao nibs. Just make sure the cacao content is high. my favorite vegan chocolates are Endangered Species (they do contain some soy leticin and sugar, so go easy) and my all-time fave, the super-clean, outrageously delicious Sacred Chocolate. 

Slice and arrange the fruit around the platter. I love the visual as well as the energy of everything radiating out from the center, but make it however you like. Spears of pineapple, slices of kiwi, bright bursts of berries, pomagranite seeds, starfruit...absolutely joyous!

Then decorate with the chocolate. Wrap the whole platter, transport it, and when you get to your destination, and you are ready to serve, scoop individual spheres of the non-dairy ice cream into the centerpiece bowl.

A little health note: Fruit after a meal is certainly not the easiest on your digestion, so give your body at least an hour in between, unless you are only eating salads and vegetables as your main course. If you are doing the sweet potatoes, definitely give it some breathing room, or you'll feel bloaty. And we wouldn't want that. 

Whatever you do, wherever you go...ENJOY, my Loves!