The appetizer is Tapenade Pastry Hearts. Simply thaw a sheet of vegan puff pastry and use a small heart-shaped cookie cutter to make little pastry hearts. I made two sizes for both one- and two-bite appetizers. For the larger ones, I pressed the smaller cutter partially into the dough of the larger hearts so that a “lid” would form when baked.
For an easy dessert, try this simple ice cream cake with strawberries. Finely grind vegan chocolate cookies and mix with some melted Earth Balance. Press into a small springform pan that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Soften your favorite flavor of vegan ice cream and spread it evenly on top of the cookie crust. Cover with plastic wrap and refreeze for a few hours or overnight.
About 30 minutes before serving time, wash, hull, and slice some fresh strawberries and place in a bowl. Sprinkle with a small amount of sugar and set aside at room temperature to bring out their flavor.
When ready to serve, slice the ice cream cake and arrange on dessert plates. Top with a cascade of sliced strawberries and garnish with one or two whole strawberries. A drizzle of chocolate sauce or a dollop of vegan whipped cream are great additions to this quick and easy dessert. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Cookbook Giveaway Winner: The winner of a copy of Vegan Fire & Spice is: Andrea of “Easy Vegan Cooking.” Congratulations! (Andrea: Please e-mail me with your mailing address so I can get the book in the mail to you.)
A big thank you to everyone who participated in the ‘chili poll” — it was great to discover so many delicious ways to enjoy chili!