Red, White, & Blue Vegan Shabbat Dinner
The week before the dinner, I attended a "Cooking With Seasonal Vegetables" class at B'nai Jeshurun, a synagogue in Manhattan. Event organizer Melissa Tapper Goldman explained, "I wanted to help support the members of BJ's new Hazorim CSA [community-supported agriculture program] to transition into CSA living: learning to cook flexibly with the bounty of the season. This is different from supermarket (or even farmers' market) cooking because the variety and quantity are set by the land and the farm rather than by your preferences." Victoria Sutton, who runs the company Catering by Victoria, led about 10 people in making a mixture of roasted and cubed red and golden beets, a dish involving the beet greens (the edible leafy greens that are on the end opposite the beet bottoms), and quinoa.
On Friday, I found that the greens from the two different types of beets were surprisingly different from each other in texture and color. I made a stir-fry that included both varieties of beet greens, seitan, green pepper, onions, and garlic. It was probably the centerpiece of the meal, and the leftovers have long since been devoured.
I had never cooked beets before, but the roasted beets came out great. I actually only thought of my red, white, and blue plan after I'd done my shopping, so I thought it'd be nice to present the beets over a bed of thinly sliced, baked "chips" made from blue potatoes. It turned out that the juice from the red beets interfered with the color scheme I had in mind, but the cubed beets and the chips still turned out well individually.
I thought the raspberries and blackberries would complement the red and white beets for the red, white, and blue collage pictured above. Of course, had I thought of the color scheme prior to shopping, I would've purchased blueberries instead of blackberries!
I also served dal (using lentils, onions, and garlic I still had left over from my friend's Veggie Conquest 4 adventure), charoset (made legendary by my Veggie Conquest 3 adventure), carrot salad with scallion microgreens and parsley, and wild rice. I decided to use store-bought pita instead of homemade challah, as the latter just didn't come out too great in my last few baking attempts.
I managed to make a scrumptious vegan Shabbat dinner that relied heavily on fresh produce from the farmers' market, getting more mileage out of beets than I would've thought possible. It goes to show that vegan meals don't need soy foods to get by. Why have "Killer Tofu" when The Beets rock so much?