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Monday, May 2, 2011

Dinner Party Wrap-Up, Lemon-Pistachio Cake

Yesterday being May Day, International Workers' Day, and Beltane, a celebration was most certainly called for and what better way to celebrate spring, labor, and rebirth than with a dinner party? Really, though, what better way to celebrate anything than with a dinner party?
It didn't go down exactly as G and I had planned but it was a really nice get-together. I think everyone enjoyed themselves, yes? We had homemade hummus (I found out from Mama Pea that if you peel your cooked chickpeas, the hummus gets way creamier! So G and I spent about 15 minutes shucking chickpeas...What a trooper), crudites, chips, and guacamole as an appetizer spread. G made a leafy salad and I made an orzo salad under his guidance and the chickpea-chard dish from Color Me Vegan that we also made for his parents.
For dessert, I made a lemon-pistachio cake and some chocolate-chocolate chip-coconut cookies (the recipe from V'con yes again! with added unsweetened shredded coconut. We also had copious amounts of beer, my favorite being the Brooklyn Summer Ale (not quite summer but the weather was beautiful yesterday).

Pan-Fried Lemony Chickpeas and Chard - this was great: really smoky and lemony at the same time

Lemon-Pistachio Cake - recipe below! Apparently I was really feeling the lemon.

Dessert # 2 - Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies

Lunch today - collard wraps with leftover orzo salad. The orzo salad came out really well too. I'll post a recipe tomorrow if anyone's interested.

Leftovers in a wrap: guac, hummus, and salad in a collard leaf. My wraps just won't stay together lately so I had to very carefully! eat around the toothpicks.

And this is my cat eyeing my delicious lunch. Poor kitty only gets turkey from a can! Eeeww!
As to the lemon-pistachio cake, I had my mind set on making it since I saw a feature on it on Serious Eats NY. Personally, I don't think eating a sweet bread as breakfast is a great idea, but the flavor combination sounded great for a spring dessert. I wasn't sure exactly what recipe to start with; I considered the lemon pound cake from V'con but realized I didn't have silken tofu (having blended it into a smoothie for breakfast! D'oh!), considered a riff on Lemon-Almond Bling cupcakes from Kris Holechek's 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes, etc. etc. but ended up tweaking and veganizing about 3 different recipes online. This was a dangerous risk that almost didn't work out but I think the final product was really beautiful, tasty, and light (flavor-wise!). So, here she be:

1 flax egg (1 T flax, 3 T water)
1 3/4 c flour (I used White WW)
1/2 c sugar
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 c rice milk
1 T lemon soy yogurt
1/4 c canola oil
2 t lemon zest
2 T lemon juice
1/2 c pistachio nuts, chopped

Chopped pistachios
Lemon zest
1 T sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease an 8 in. cake round or springform pan.
Whip together the flax egg in a small bowl and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
In a separate bowl, combine milk, flax egg, yogurt, oil, lemon zest and juice. Mix well.
Make a well in dry ingredients and add wet. Mix until just combined and fold in pistachios.
Pour batter into prepared cake pan and top with a sprinkling of sugar, zest, and a few more chopped pistachios.
Bake about 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick or knife comes out cleanly. Let cool in pan about 10 minutes, then turn out and let cool completely on a cooling rack.


  1. the chickpeas and chard look amazing and so does the orzo -- looking forward to the recipe!

  2. Am I the only one that sees something a little odd with that Chocolate Cookie?

  3. Your dinner party sounds like a success! The orzo salad is pretty and lemon pistachio cake, what a great combo and sounds like a perfect spring dessert...thanks for the recipe!

  4. thats such a cute cake! im glad your party went down well:)

  5. The lemon pistachio cake sounds amazing!

  6. What a great flavor combination for the cake. I like the pistachio topping. I haven't had pistachios in while, so this has me thinking. Are all the guests that come to your dinner parties vegan? I think a dinner party sounds nice, kind of fancy. Now, I'm thinking about that too. :-)

  7. Sara, thanks! Red chard is a beautiful thing.

    Shen, it's just you.

    Rose, haha, it was success-ish. 4 people didn't come at the last minute but that just meant more food for everyone else.

    Michelle, thanks. It was low-key but fun.

    Jennifer, I'm really pleased with how it came out! It was moist but had a nice bit of crust from (I'm guessing) the flax.

    Thanks, Blessed Mama, I'm sure you could do something just as great. My bf is vegetarian but mostly vegan but the two other people who came are omnis...they were really pleased with the food, though, which made me happy! I even sent them home with some of the extra cake. A dinner party at your house sounds like a fun crowd but a lot of work, no? We were just four people altogether...

  8. Mm, I do love the combination of lemon and pistachio... One typically reserved for special occasions, due to the cost of the nut, I'm happy to see that your version is more affordable due to the way it's used sparingly, but very effectively here. Smart way to make the most of that costly feature!

  9. I'm really, really bad about inviting people over to in I never do it. Unless I include a meal at my kids' birthday parties. You do a really great job with your parties. I think it's the confidence that I lack. Maybe it's that I lack confidence serving vegan food to rednecks (said lovingly) in Arkansas? Isn't that nice how I turned it around and made it their fault? Well done to you!

  10. Thanks, Hannah. I guess they were pretty expensive, but I got them at Trader Joe's and shelled them myself...I think that's the cheapest way unless I got them in bulk. But that would be dangerous because I LOVE pistachios.

    Jenny, I have a lot of anxiety about inviting people over but it usually works out pretty well. Friends are friends for a reason, you know? YOU do a great job with every dinner you post! It's like a party in itself!

  11. Oh, that cake looks lovely, with strong coffee.


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