Dinner For My Best Friend

The other night my best friend Julie came over for dinner. Julie moved to Boston about 3 years ago, so I don't get to see her as often as I'd like. When I do get to see her, it's always a great time and feels as if no time has passed. When I found out she was coming to visit for the day, I decided to make a special dinner for us.

Since it's spring, I worked up a fresh seasonal menu for the night.
To start, I served Roasted Artichokes with a Walnut Dip.

For our main course, I made a Vegan Asparagus and Mushroom Strata.

If you have never had or heard of a Strata before, the best way I can describe it is like a savory bread pudding. Traditionally, Strata is made with eggs, cheese and cream - mixed with either vegetables or sausage. I obviously had to create my own variation of this decadent dish without the use of dairy or eggs, and I must say it came out delicious. You really can't tell that there is no cheese or eggs in this, if you don't tell your guests, they'll never know.

I served the Strata with Sautéed Kale with Lemon and Garlic. (this 101-Wednesday coming up, I'll be posting a video on how to make this along with a raw kale salad..)

It's very rare that I decide to make a cocktail instead of serving wine, mainly because I don't like many cocktails. I thought having my best friend over was a good reason to come up with a fun cocktail for us to enjoy. I made Watermelon Elderflower Martinis. If you don't drink alcohol, you can still enjoy this drink without any.

It was a magical time having my best friend over for the night, catching up and enjoying some healthy eats. Until next time!

Roasted Artichokes
by Sarah Farsh April 1, 2012
  • 4 artichokes, tops and bottoms trimmed
  • 1/4 cup vegetable stock
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
Preheat oven to 375. Place artichokes in a pyrex dish face up. Squeeze 2 garlic cloves into the center of each artichoke. Squeeze lemon wedges on top of artichokes and leave whole lemon wedges in pirex. Pour vegetable stock on top. Cover lightly with aluminum foil and bake for 40min. Remove aluminum foil and bake for an additional 10-15min. Serve with Creamy Walnut Dip from wholefoodsmarket.com

Vegan Asparagus and Mushroom Strata
by Sarah Farsh April 1, 2012
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 bunches asparagus, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 18 oz mini bell mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 loaf rosemary boule bread, cubed
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 2 packages of firm tofu
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 4 tbsp vegetable stock
  • 2 tbs tahini
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • pinch of cyan pepper
  • 1 cup soy milk
preheat oven to 350 and bake bread cubes on a baking sheet for 10min. In a large skillet, dry saute onions adding vegetable stock when needed. Add in asparagus, mushrooms and spinach to skillet. Meanwhile, in a VitaMix or high powered blender, blend together tofu, garlic, nutritional yeast, tahini, turmeric, cyan pepper and soy milk until very smooth. Add blended tofu mixture into skillet with the vegetables. Add in the lightly toasted bread cubes into the skillet and gently toss all ingredients together. Pour batter into a lightly greased pyrex dish and bake at 350 for 35min.

*This recipe would work great with various veggies, don't be shy to create different variations using other veggies.

Sautéed Kale with Lemon and Garlic.
by Sarah Farsh April 1, 2012
  • 2 bunches kale, chiffonade
  • 1 lemon
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes (leave out if your a baby)
  • 4 tbsp vegetable stock
In a large skillet, heat up garlic with vegetable stock on low heat - being careful not to burn. Add kale and chili flakes, raise heat to high and saute for 5-7 min. until kale wilts down. Pour lemon juice on top and stir well.

Watermelon Elderflower Martini
by Sarah Farsh April 1, 2012
Serves 2
  • 3 cups fresh watermelon
  • 2 shots vodka
  • 1 shot St. Germain
In VitaMix of high powered blender, blend watermelon chunks until smooth. Pour watermelon juice, vodka and St. Germain into a drink mixer with 3 ice cubes. Mix well and pour into martini glasses. Garnish with thyme. *You can make this alcohol free by substituting the vodka and St. Germain with 1 tbsp of rose water.


  1. Your modified strata saved my Easter Brunch for us veggies - thanks so much for posting this!

    I posted a pic of my finished product here: http://veggieinparadise.wordpress.com/2012/04/10/easter-brunch/

    1. I am so happy to hear that!! Thank you for sharing your experience!


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