I just can’t help myself… I lurve to entertain. Fellow blogger and deliciously eccentric friend, Amanda Eliasch swanned into LA for a few days which gave me the perfect excuse to test my new vegan skills from The Conscious Cook on some sophisticated palates. I wanted to see if I’d mastered the basic techniques well enough to start writing a few vegan recipes of my own to add to my repertoire. Since plates came back clean, and one guest returned 10 minutes after departing for a ‘doggy bag”, I guess I passed with flying colors.
Amanda, Ryan, Tammi, Jimmy, Marla, Tim, and me
After a challenging week, my friend Tammi “from Miami” Fuller fortuitously arrived first. She is brilliant at keeping the conversation flowing and always has so many interesting topics to discuss. Amanda arrived with the dashing Tim Willis, and of course Jimmy Demers came moments later with film director Ryan Fox and Marla Maples (who I’d never met before, but she is the mostinstantaneously endearing person) in tow. The perfect mix of friends… old and new… whose diversity within the culinary, fashion, film, television, music, and literary worlds yielded the kind of belly laughs that leave you happily aching with warm memories of the evening, and longing for an encore.
The warm and silky Cream of Asparagus Soup most certainly went down well with the hungry crowd. Enthusiastic comments about how similar Gardein is in texture to chicken abound as we inhaled the Gardein “Chicken” Piccata, but it was definitely the Roasted Banana Rum Cheesecake with Spiced Pecan Crust and Maple Rum Sauce (Chef Serafina Magussen’s recipe) that stole the show. Sheer indulgence that had them coming back for seconds.
Chefs Serafina Magnussen and Tal Ronnen
Roasted Banana Rum Cheesecake with Spiced Pecan Crust and Maple Rum Sauce
I haven’t the heart to correct Amanda who gleefully blogged that the cheesecake was fat-free. I wish, but it is animal free (no dairy and no eggs) which is where I think she got confused. I’m sure her tango lessons will tackle the few extra calories…. she only had a little slice, but I have to admit I’ve piled on a few pounds since starting this challenge… I will most likely cut way back on the fat when writing my own recipes. I know Tal has gone this way deliberately for the flavor, but I have confidence I can find a balance between flavor and a few less calories.
Roasted Banana Rum Cheesecake with Spiced Pecan Crust
Maple Rum Sauce
My Comments: I hope I have enticed you enough to pick up your own copy of The Conscious Cook to find the recipe. This is one of THE MOST DELICIOUS desserts I’ve ever had… vegan or not. Guinea pig #1 describes it as “re-diculous!” I am a fan of cardamom, but a little goes a long way, and I thought it slightly over-powered the pecan flavor of the crust, so I’ll probably cut it back from 1/2 teaspoon to 1/4 teaspoon next time (just a personal choice). This dessert is perfection.
PS. Please keep those prayers coming for Meagan’s nephew, Jerimiah to pull through, and lead a healthy, happy, and productive life. See entry below.