This summer saw a few dinner parties. I posted about the party “Tom” and I had here. The next dinner party was a casual bday celebration outside on some friends’ patio. It was a potluck – not in the literal sense where everyone brings whatever, and all guests take their chances on what food is available, but where the hosts provided the main course and the guests brought complementary food. Our hosts made Puttanesca sauce with pasta, so I thought I’d bring a salad. But what kind of salad goes with the strong flavours of Puttanesca sauce? Here’s what was recommended by Moira Hodgson in Oprah Magazine:
White Bean Salad
(adapted from Moira Hodgson)
3 cups cooked navy beans
1 orange bell pepper, diced
1/4 red onion, diced
1 large tomato, diced
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsps. white wine vinegar
1 tbsp. water
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
1/2 tsp salt (or more)
sprinkling of black pepper
Gently toss the beans, bell pepper, onion and tomato together. Whisk the dressing ingredients together then pour over the beans. Gently mix together and let marinate in fridge for a couple of hours. Bring to room temperature to serve.
I also decided to bring a dessert. I have been making my chocolate mousse pie for some time now, but I wanted to add in another layer … literally another layer, but also another layer of flavour. I had some late season local strawberries in the fridge so I created this:
Strawberry Chocolate Mousse Pie
(my own creation)
2 packages Oreo cookie type cookies
2 tbsps. coconut oil
1 recipe chocolate mousse
1 full package (200 grams) organic fair trade baking chocolate (I use Camino semi-sweet)
1 package silken tofu
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 tsp pure vanilla (liquid or powder)
pinch sea salt
1 cup strawberries
1 tbsp. maple syrup
several strawberries cut in slices
Crumble 1/2 of the cookies in a blender, then transfer to a pie plate. Crumble the other 1/2 of the cookies in a blender with the coconut oil until well mixed. Mix the dry and oiled cookie crumbs together and press up the sides and into the bottom of the pie plate.
Melt the chocolate over a double boiler.
Slip the tofu into a pot of boiling water and boil for 2-3 minutes (helps get rid of any beany taste).
Put the tofu into the blender with the milk and blend until smooth. Add in the melted chocolate, vanilla and salt and blend for 2-3 minutes until very smooth. Pour the chocolate mousse into the pie plate on top of the cookie crumb base. Put in fridge for an hour or so until the mousse cools and firms up.
Put the cup of strawberries into a blender and blend until liquid. Add in the maple syrup and blend briefly. Ladle the strawberry puree onto the chocolate mousse, letting the puree spread on its own to the edges.
Top with sliced strawberries.
Chill in fridge for at least an hour. Serve straight from the fridge.