Monday, October 24, 2016

The Chubby Vegetarian Dinner Party!

So it's vegetarian cookbook release week in Memphis! Or so it seems. Yesterday, I blogged about Memphian Marisa Baggett's new vegetarian sushi book, and tonight is all about my friends Justin and Amy's new cookbook, The Chubby Vegetarian Cookbook. They run a blog by the same name, and this is their second book. It's dedicated to making vegetables the star of the plate, and while it's not all vegan, there are a number of vegan recipes. And plenty can be veganized.

I'll do a full review soon, but I haven't gotten my hands on a copy yet. Thankfully, my friend (and former coworker) Susan has a copy, and she threw a fun dinner party on Saturday night featuring recipes from the book. And she invited the authors! You see, Susan is the managing editor of the Memphis Flyer, the newspaper I used to write for, and Justin is one of the Flyer's freelance photographers. And Pam, another dinner guest, used to be a copy editor for the Flyer, but now she teaches journalism at the University of Memphis. Here we are in an Ussie at the end of the evening (thanks to Justin for the pic!). That's Susan standing in the back and Pam to her left. Amy and Justin are in the foreground.

For our appetizers, Susan made the Bagna Cauda Smashed Chickpea Dip. This was similar to a hummus but chunkier, and it had a lovely herbed flavor. Susan served this with pita chips and grilled veggies and olives.

She also made a non-vegan recipe for Figs in a Blanket — figs, walnuts, and cheese wrapped croissants. But she made a few Vegan Pigs in Blankets with Vegan Cheddar for me!

Our salad was one of my favorite things! I must try this at home. It was Fresh Cucumber Noodles with Cashews and Mint. The recipe had plum vinegar, mirin, and fresh jalapenos, so it had an interesting spicy twang.

Justin and Amy are known for their inventive take on vegetarian hot dogs. Rather than use vegan meats, they use veggies like roasted carrots or, in the new book, grilled eggplants! Susan made their Italian-Style Eggplant Sausages using peeled Japanese eggplant and a topping of onions and peppers. These were AMAZING!

Y'all know I like my plant meat, but I didn't even miss it with these eggplant sausages. They were smoky and juicy and perfect.

For dessert, she made their Frozen Peanut Butter Banana Pie. Another winner! This is basically frozen banana soft serve in pie form with a chopped peanut crust. We topped our slices with chocolate syrup. Such a healthy dessert but it tasted totally decadent.

At the end of the meal, Justin declared that everything tasted just like they'd made it at home! I can't wait to try my hand at a few recipes from the Chubby Vegetarian Cookbook. If you're local, they're having a booksigning at Booksellers at Laurelwood on Thursday, Oct. 27th at 6:30 p.m. You can also order the book here.

Oh, there was one more dinner guest! She spent the evening napping though. Here's Susan's dog Janet! Isn't she the cutest?


The Chubby Vegetarian said...

Love this! Thanks for the kind words, Bianca!
- J & A

Hillary said...

That cucumber salad is calling my name. I made carrot hot dogs awhile ago and really enjoyed them, the Japanese eggplant is a brilliant idea!!!

Jennifer said...

Everything looks so yummy but totally different from your normal food. XD Still looks tasty.