A Delicious Dinner for Four!

4 Sep

Two of my wonderful friends, Steve and Rene, came over for dinner last night.  We were celebrating the imminent opening of their new ashtanga yoga studio here in San Francisco (watch this space for details).  I wanted to make something a little nicer than I’d ordinarily make on a Thursday, but still keep it  relatively simple. I came up with the following menu, inspired in part by my entree at Foreign Cinema last weekend.


• Figs with blue cheese, tempeh bacon, honey and balsamic vinegar
• Sardine crostini with dijon mustard and parmesan cheese – how much do I love these?


• Curry crusted, baked chicken in a tempeh bacon and brewers yeast sauce
• Red beet risotto topped with baby spinach and roasted cashews


• Strawberry Shortcake – provided by Steve Pyka, the world’s best baker!
The meal was really delicious! Everything came together well, and I actually liked the chicken better baked (as opposed to fried like they did at Foreign Cinema). I would definitely make all the dishes from this meal again.

Now for the recipes!

• Figs with blue cheese, tempeh bacon, honey and balsamic vinegar

6 fresh black Mission figs
2 tsp crumbled blue cheese – any variety works; I used an organic Danish blue.
1 slice of tempeh bacon, diced
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
freshly ground black pepper

Slice the figs in half and top with the blue cheese. Saute the bacon in a little butter or oil until brown and crispy, and spread evenly among the figs. Drizzle the honey and balsamic on top and season with pepper! Keep these away from your cats; my cat went crazy when she smelled the blue cheese!!

These tasted even better than they looked!

These tasted even better than they looked!


• Sardine crostini with dijon mustard and parmesan cheese

For recipe and information, click here!

• Curry-crusted baked chicken in a tempeh bacon and brewers yeast sauce.

3 chicken breasts, cut into slivers, skin removed

For the marinade

3 cups of buttermilk
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 red onion, chopped in large dice
1 TBSP dijon mustard
salt and pepper

For the crust

2 cups of breadcrumbs – I make my own; you can do this or buy some breadcrumbs, pre-made.
1 TBSP curry powder
1 tsp garam masala
salt and pepper

For the sauce

1 slice of tempeh bacon
1/2 cup of nutritional yeast
1/2 cup of vegetable stock

Marinate the chicken in the buttermilk mixture for at least 3 hours, and preferably overnight. Coat the chicken in the breadcrumb mixture and place in a baking dish. Bake at 350F for 20-30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through but still moist. Meanwhile, saute the bacon in a little butter or ghee until crispy. Whisk in the nutritional yeast, then slowly pour in the stock until the sauce is the desired consistency. Pour a little sauce on the plate, place the crispy chicken on top and serve immediately.

Crispy and delicious!

Crispy and delicious!

• Red beet risotto topped with baby spinach and roasted cashews.

1 cup of arborio rice
2 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup of dry white wine
1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
2 beets, diced
1 white onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup of baby spinach
Handful of roasted, salted cashews

First, saute the onions, garlic and beets in some butter until the onions are soft, about 6 minutes. Add the rice and saute for another 3 minutes. Meanwhile, warm the vegetable broth on the stove in a separate pan. Add the white wine to the rice mixture and stir. Reduce the heat to low and allow the liquid to absorb into the rice. Using a ladle, scoop some broth into the rice mixture. I do one ladle-full at a time. Let the liquid absorb, stirring occasionally. Repeat this process, adding a small amount of broth, until all the broth has been added and the rice is sticky and cooked. The whole process takes about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the parmesan. To serve, cover with fresh, chopped baby spinach and a few cashews. Squeeze some fresh lemon on top if you wish!


all together!

all together!

I don’t have the strawberry shortcake recipe, as this was Steve’s dessert. I will say that it was amazing, with freshly whipped cream, toasted coconut, agave soaked strawberries and very little white sugar! Just the way it should be! Here are some pictures for you to drool over!

Step 1 - have Steve whip the cream!

Step 1 - have Steve whip the cream!

Step 2 - assemble.

Step 2 - assemble.

Step 3 - get ready to eat!

Step 3 - get ready to eat!

All done with my first Fight Back Friday post for the Food Renegade Blog!
Everyone have a wonderful labor day weekend! I’ll return soon with more dinner ideas!

6 Responses to “A Delicious Dinner for Four!”

  1. Jen September 4, 2009 at 6:25 pm #

    WOW!!! Your dinner party dishes looks so delicious. I will definitely try the figs and chicken… and maybe everything! 🙂

  2. Mary Ann September 5, 2009 at 6:11 am #

    Hi Michelle,
    Those figs look delicious!! I already have some figs and can’t wait to try with blue cheese, I usually use goat. And, those sardine crostini look really yummy as well. Healthy Gourmet, it can be done!

  3. Valerie September 5, 2009 at 9:55 am #

    Excellent post, food looks delicious. I can’t wait to try the figs. I love figs! Can I ask, it seems like a silly question, but do you eat the skins on the figs?

    Oh, the fight back friday link doesn’t work.

    • sunandmoonandstars September 5, 2009 at 10:01 am #

      Thanks for the heads up, it should be fixed now. Yeah I just keep the skins on the figs!

  4. Abbie September 6, 2009 at 2:57 pm #

    Can you come to Ohio and cook for me, plz??

  5. lala September 8, 2009 at 11:09 pm #

    whoa…. food porn! looks amazing.

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