When I first became vegetarian 4 years ago (my veg-anniversary is coming up on the 8th!), I made it a point to be a great one and never feel deprived about anything. My first vegetarian cookbook had a hippie title like “Ecological Cooking” (I know!) and was purchased at a secondhand bookstore. One of my first forays in vegetarian cooking included an attempt to make longganisa (Filipino-style sausage) with lentils subbing in as the ground pork. Ha! Ha! Ha! Now present-me can chuckle at past-me’s cooking misadventures. That was 4 years ago. And now, fast-forwarding to present time: I am teaching a cooking class this Saturday on vegan sausage-making and yes, I’ve gotten quite good at it.
But apart from trying to be a pretty good vegetarian, I love to inspire people to make more conscious choices about their health and particularly about the food they eat. Hence, the going-to-cooking-school stint and this quaint little vegan empire I’m running. I want people to want to eat more vegetarian meals and I want them to love – nay, celebrate – it.
Case in point: today I had the opportunity to cater for the belated birthday lunch of Amanda Griffin and let me tell you, nothing makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside than to [a] grant a vegan birthday party request and [b] see the non-vegan guests enjoy the meal.
Amanda interviewed me in March for her Glam-o-mamas blog and she’s been quite a fan of my private cooking classes. She shared my frustration about the inaccessibility of good vegan food locally and I helped by teaching her how to get the access in her own kitchen. She was in town this week and wanted to hold a completely vegan birthday lunch. How could I refuse?
I love that she’s serious about whole-hogging the veg thing and I’m more than happy to help her on this journey. I’m also more than happy to help her trick her omnivore guests into actually enjoying a completely vegan meal 🙂 See, I really am not making up my claims that what I do is “omnivore-approved”!
Roasted red pepper and walnut dip with crudites and whole wheat toast
Mini tofu cakes with garlic aioli and marinara sauce
Fresh mango spring rolls
Rainbow salad with Caesar dressing and lemon-oregano vinaigrette.
Drunken chili with spicy sausage and cornbread
Mini cupcake buffet of lemon, coconut lime, chocolate, and carrot cake
I was planning to post photos of the above spread – or what was left of it since I only had the opportunity to photograph it after the lunch. But I’ve been operating since 3am today and boy, I’m falling asleep as I type this…
So I leave you with the following and will have to add more photos in the morrow: