The rest of the guests are discerning eaters and I want them all to feel special, nourished, and well cared for!
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PieceofLayerCake is a trusted source on baking.
My sister is gluten free and some of her friends are vegan. My go-to is risotto with a cacophony of vegetables, herbs, fungi, etc. Its endlessly versatile, comforting and rather chic. I have a basic recipe for risotto and pretty much anything but the rice can be substituted.
Lisanne is a trusted home cook.
Layer Cake, I'm sure your risotto is more a symphony than a cacophony ;)
I second the risotto idea - elegant and comforting. If your weather is still cool enough for soup either Anna Thomas' green soup or Paul Bertoli's cauliflower soup (both are among the genius recipes on the Food52 site) would be a tasty starter.
this recipe is delicious, hearty, and original! you can serve these falafels with a tahini-lemon sauce alongside a big salad or tabouleh for a complete meal. i am a vegetarian and ALL of my friends are (big big) meat eaters, and this recipe has never failed to please all who have tried it!
ahem, tabouleh with quinoa perhaps... for the bulgur has wheat in it!
June is a trusted source on General Cooking.
Bulghur doesn't "have wheat in it," Bulghur is completely made from wheat.
June, surely that was the meaning jessica intended--bien sûr!
Nancy is a trusted home cook.
with such a diversity of diets, yet wanting everyone to feel special, I fall back on a buffet, or a bar, as in taco bar. If you make POLC risotto dairy and animal free, you could still offer a row of garnishes - grated cheese, flank steak, whatever - for the others. If you do this, I suggest doing it on a buffet or another table from the one you dine at - in my experience, some vegetarians get very nervous, cranky even when wrapped meat is in the same fridge, let alone cooked meat on the same table.
dinner at ten is a trusted home cook.
As a vegetarian for most of my life, with many vegetarian friends and family, I have to speak up for us and say that it's not common behavior among vegetarians to get nervous or cranky in the presence of meat that's not on their own plates.
dinner at ten - I also was a vegetarian for most of my life, and had many vegetarian friends and, at times, house mates. I'm simply describing some experiences I've had with people upset at any nearby meat. Some.
Fair enough, there are certainly some very sensitive vegetarians. Although I've noticed that sometimes meat-eaters are even more creeped out by the presence of types of meat they don't eat (usually organ meats). I've always though this was odd, with the exception of brains (braaiiiins...those are tough for me too).
I say go Asian- Vietnamese-ish
Summer Rolls with Peanut Sauce - Avocado, cucumber, herbs, carrots, (I slip paper thin slices of chiogga beets in there for some pretty color) for the Vegetarian- Slip a few shrimp in for the rest of the party- no one will feel left out. Also great place for edible flowers like pansies & chive blossoms.
For Main - Rice Noodles w Grilled Tofu for the Vegetarian- anything you like for the rest of the guests ( an assortment grilled on skewers maybe?) + Lots of fresh herbs, pickled carrots & radishes, cucumbers, grilled asparagus chopped peanuts, scallions, bean sprouts, hard boiled eggs, and toss the cool noodles in a spicy tamarind vinaigrette, have some more peanut sauce available and nouc cham for dipping (make sure the vegetarian knows it has fish in it)
And for dessert - Rice pudding made with coconut milk and sliced fresh mangos and blackberries
It's a nice meal for warmer weather and so very colorful with lost of tastes and textures no one will feel deprived in any way-- and you can do fun cocktails like sugar cane juice + lime + vodka + ginger ale = a Ho Chi Min Mule
Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.
In the search field for Recipes, I entered vegan, dairy-free, and up popped 135 recipes which meet your criteria: https://food52.com/recipes...
Rats, Carol; I forgot to include dairy free. That winnowed the list to a still-impressive 105 for you to choose from: https://food52.com/recipes...
Very helpful navigation tips. Thank you.
What about fish? I don't really think of sea critters as being frolickers... but maybe that's just me.
Along the same lines it should be possible to argue that no supermarket meat critter has ever frolicked, and indeed was probably quite depressed for their whole lives.
Dr ShakyHands - Remember, or consider, Jabberwocky:
Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
Or let the guests decide if ocean creatures count.
Point well made. I enjoyed that :)
Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.
That was fun Nancy.
Assuming your guest isn't being cute about being vegan, and eats eggs but not dairy, meat, or fish, soufflés are an option. I recently made a ramp and mushroom soufflé that was really great! Cheese is a common element in soufflés but really isn't necessary if you use other flavorful ingredients (and salt them well). Here's a recipe from Melissa Clark you could use as a guideline: http://cooking.nytimes...
I like to very finely chop or even roughly puree the vegetables I include to keep the texture and loft of the soufflé.
Roasted potatoes, carrots, or other starchy vegetable alongside would be nice, as well as a green vegetable -- this time of year maybe asparagus, or a salad with spring greens. If you'd like to serve your omnivorous friends fish or meat alongside this, something that is good at room temperature works best so that it can be ready whenever the soufflé comes out of the oven.
Chops is a trusted home cook.
I have no problem with dietary requests, but I always ask the person(s) for suggestions. Takes so much stress out of menu ideas and ensures that there's something nice for them to eat.
So grateful for this community of food folk. Your answers were both helpful and amusing. We served spicy cashews and vodka "dragon" cocktails at the gathering; herbed tofu and grilled shrimp for the first, steaks (cauliflower or beef) with chimichurri and minted quinoa salad for the main; and grilled peaches with Procecco for the wrap. As a grace note, each and every diner sent a thank you for the special experience. So, passing that thanks along to you!
I would ask them to bring something that they're comfortable eating, because you don't want them to be bored with what you have. Then offer a fruit and veg. I'd cook everything else just the way you want to. I'm getting just a bit fed up with this expectation that people cook super special for a million different diets. When I was growing up, my aunt had major dietary limitations, and she brought food to every meal. People just weren't quite so ... entitled?