Cooking Up a Vegetarian Feast for Guests
One day, Mom and Dad or some other significant people may call to say they’re visiting you at school. How should you entertain them? If you have a little notice, you can cook a vegetarian feast that will definitely impress your guests — even if they’re not vegetarians! Here are some tips:
Come up with a menu to please all palates: A nonvegetarian guest may not appreciate sautéed seitan on a bed of flavored barley, but everyone recognizes and loves pasta marinara, tossed salad, and garlic bread. Choose a menu that’s guest-friendly.
Assemble amazing appetizers: People love to munch, especially when they’re hungry. Serving small bits of delicious and colorful foods before a meal is a teaser that gets their taste buds into full gear in anticipation of the main event.
Keep breakfast and brunch simple: The first meal of the day can be very impressive when you add subtle touches. Drizzle salsa over scrambled eggs; put a muffin on the plate instead of a slice of toast; toss a cinnamon stick into the coffee grounds before brewing the coffee. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to make breakfast a special event.
Fix sandwiches, salads, or soups for lunch: A simple cup of soup and a sandwich can impress guests when you float a fresh mint leaf or a sprig of fresh dill in the soup. Make the sandwich on specialty bread and spread it with something a little different than the standard mustard or mayo. Use salsa, hummus, cream cheese, pesto, or some other snazzy spread before adding the sandwich filling.
Think outside the box for dinner: Dare to be different. Awe your dinner guests by serving pumpkin-stuffed tortellini with a sage and butter sauce or gnocchi with a garlic mushroom sauce. Vegetarian sushi is visually stunning, as is broccoli cannelloni topped with an alfredo sauce. (Oh, are you getting hungry just thinking about all this beautiful food?)
End with something sweet: Even if people overeat at dinner, they always have room for dessert. Stun them with a chocolate silk pie, tiramisu, caramel pecan cheesecake, lemon meringue pie, or something equally spectacular that leaves them totally captivated with your cooking ability.
Go for garnishes: Garnishes work magic on a plate. They make ordinary food look special. You can put a pickle next to a sandwich, but if you slice the pickle and fan it out, it makes everything on the dish look more appealing. Fancy restaurants use edible flowers, raspberry glazes, sprigs of fresh herbs, and more to transform simple foods into a masterpiece. When entertaining, add a small garnish to each dish to elicit the wow response.