Posts Tagged nuts

VeganMoFo: Thanksgiving 2010

We originally invited four friends over for Thanksgiving but only one could make it, so we had a small, relaxed gathering.  We set the table up behind the couch for easy football watching during dinner – excellent.

Our appetizer was Pepper Crusted Cashew Goat Cheese, balsamic roasted figs, and crackers.  The cheese log was AWESOME.  I super heart it.  The recipe is C’est La Vegan’s adaptation of the Vegetarian Times recipe, and I really appreciated the extra commentary and directions that she provided.  I was worried that my cheese wasn’t going to hold together because it didn’t drain off much liquid and felt soft coming out of the oven, but it held together well enough to transfer to the platter, and the consistency was perfectly spreadable.  I would highly recommend giving this a try if you like tangy, spreadable, delicious vegan cheese.  The recipe seems lengthy, but it doesn’t have to be; I soaked the cashews while at work the day before, blended it that night and let it sit overnight, then baked it in the morning.

The figs were tossed with a bit of balsamic, olive oil and salt and baked at 350 for about 25 minutes.  They weren’t a huge hit with Dave or our guest, but I liked them well enough.

I also put out a bowl of sweet ‘n spicy mixed nuts, which I over baked a little.  Oops…

I wanted to serve soup and salad, and kept the servings small so that we wouldn’t fill up before the main event.

Chestnut & Celeriac Soup with Sherry-Cider Reduction.  As I said in the recipe post, I put a bit too much reduction on the soup – It really only needs a small drizzle.

Chopped Salad with “Honey”-Lemon Poppy Seed Vinaigrette.  I planned to make this for Thanksgiving ever since it went over so well at our Showcase dinner.  I substituted agave for the honey, and left out the apples and avocado.  I can see how it would be even better with avocado.  Neither of the guys ate their entire salad, but they both said they liked it, which is really impressive for a salad containing both raw kale and brussels sprouts.

There was so much food, we used every surface.  Dave did make a turkey with gravy and non-vegan stuffing, but other than that, everything was vegan!

He also made a vegan oyster mushroom stuffing, which was really nice because it was one less dish I had to worry about.  And as a bonus, it was really good!  Earth Balance, onion, celery, oyster mushrooms, fresh sage, thyme and rosemary, stale bread cubes, and unchicken broth.

Mound of mashed potatoes with Earth Balance, truffle salt and almond milk.

Green Bean Casserole, topped with French’s fried green beans as opposed to freshly fried onions, at Dave’s request.  While I do like my version with homemade crispy onions, I also have to admit that the French’s onions are quite excellent for this purpose.

Orange-Cranberry Sauce.  I wasn’t going to make any cranberry sauce this year because it’s not our favorite part of the meal, but my CSA sent me a package of fresh cranberries the week before, so what choice did I have?  I set out to make a mold, but it didn’t set up enough, so I called it a smooth sauce.  No recipe – I just cooked the cranberries with the juice of two oranges and zest of one, adding a pinch of salt and a squeeze of agave nectar.  They simmered just until soft, then I blended the mixture and returned it to the pot, adding a few Tablespoons of agar flakes and some maple syrup.  It tasted nice, but I was sad when the mold didn’t hold its shape.

My entree was the Nut Roast Extraordinaire that I froze a few weeks ago, on the plate with corn and Our Veggie Kitchen’s Turkey Gravy.  The gravy actually did kinda taste like turkey!  Granted, it’s been a long time since I had turkey.  While it wasn’t my favorite gravy ever, it’s definitely worth a try if you’re looking for a vegan turkey gravy.

All together.

Dessert was Pumpkin Pie from the Mission:  Impossible Pies e-book, served with Purely Decadent Coconut Milk Vanilla Ice Cream.  Dave wanted a store-bought pie and was suspicious when he heard that our pie wasn’t going to have any crust, but in the end he admitted that this version was good too.  He certainly didn’t complain while we ate the leftovers!

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VeganMoFo: Comfort Food

Comfort food takes many forms.  There are the comfort foods that have that texture, the one that makes you feel warm and squishy inside, like mashed potatoes and gravy or mac ‘n cheese.  Recreations of childhood favorites are also comforting.  I guess ultimately, most all food is comfort food in some way.

It’s been chilly around these parts, more chilly than I’m accustomed too, and I’ve been craving comfort food.  For some ice cream is probably comfort food, but for me it has to be warm.  Here are the comfort foods I’ve eaten this weekend.

The first meal started with these maple walnuts, which I raved about in this post.  They’re a little bit sweet, a little bit spicy, and crunchier than any other walnuts I’ve ever had.

I just knew these would be fabulous with sweet potatoes.  I was looking for them at Trader Joe’s and came across their baby sweet potatoes and yams, and they were so cute I had to buy them.  My initial plan was to bake or roast them and sprinkle the walnuts on top, with brussels sprouts on the side, but when the comfort food craving hit I changed the dish for the better.

I boiled the sweet potatoes and yams then mashed them with rice milk, a bit of earth balance, coriander, salt and white pepper, and a dash of nutmeg.  I shredded and sauteed the brussels then folded them in, and topped it all off with the chopped walnuts.  The contrast between the crunchy nuts and the mashed veggies and the hearty flavor were so satisfying.  And overall it was a very healthy dish.  I like my comfort, but I also watch the calorie content.

Yesterday afternoon bf brought a borrowed grill to the house, and we reinstated the weekly tradition of grilling and watching football.  We decided on burgers for ease, and off to the store I went.  I’m not very familiar with the grocery stores in the area yet, and no matter where I searched, I could not find an egg-and-dairy-free-veggie burger.  They had all sorts of Morningstar Farms products, but MF doesn’t seem to have received the memo that it’s notcool to put eggs in everything yet.  Frustrated, I went back to the “specialty” refrigerated area where they keep tofu and veggie dogs.  I knew there weren’t any veggie burgers there, but on second look I noticed tubes of Gimme Lean, both sausage and beef style.  So the store kind of redeemed itself.  With no burger patty making experience, I had bf form a patty for me before he moved onto his beef burgers.  The patties were a little too sticky, and I was afraid they’d fall apart on the grill, so I put each one in a foil packet with a teeny bit of oil, and it worked perfectly.  With all the fixins and a quick coleslaw, this was one fine burger platter.  The only thing that could’ve possibly made it better would be a slice of soy cheese to melt on top.

This morning we made brunch in between football watching sessions.  College and NFL seems to take up just about the whole weekend!  I went with the standby tofu scramble, and VWAV Fronch Toast.

The tofu scramble was pretty standard.  I cooked the mushrooms, peppers and onions first so bf could have some for his omelet, then added in the tofu, cooked for a while and shook on some turmeric and a load ot nutritional yeast.  Then I took a tip from Vegan Dad’s recent post on tofu scramble, and added in a couple splashes of rice milk to keep it all moist.  I never thought about adding liquid, but it does keep it nice and moist, and perhaps a little more “eggy”.  Salt and pepper, and then upon taste testing it was a little flat.  It was good, but this was the point where I might add a little lemon juice or vinegar to a different kind of recipe, for that acidic lift.  Inspiration hit, and I added a few squirts of yellow mustard.  Perfection!  That little tang made all the difference.

For the Fronch Toast I thought I was all set.  I had bread and rice milk, and I always have a fully stocked pantry.  Except having just moved, my pantry is not all there, and I discovered halfway through I didn’t have any cornstarch.  So I subbed 1 Tbs tapioca flour and 1 Tbs Ener-G egg replacer and crossed my fingers, and it worked!  Maybe even better than cornstarch has worked for me in the past.

And finally, since we’re talking about comfort, here is how Jake the cat has spent this afternoon.  I love how cats make themselves into a ball when they sleep.

Then the light became just too much for him.

Well, I’m all caught up with posting food I’ve made.  I’ll probably be eating leftovers for the next few meals, so I’ll have to come up with some interesting topics to write about for VeganMoFo.

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VeganMoFo: A Very Vegan Weekend

I’m still not doing so well with the whole VeganMoFo thing.  I’m sure I’m not the only one though, it’s the thought that counts.  Right?  At any rate, tomorrow we will have internets at the house and I will no longer have to go to the public library to get it!

Last weekend was a very, very vegan weekend.  It started Friday night with the VegNews Vegan a Go-Go party for Sarah Kramer’s new cookbook of the same name.  It was a small party, so I’m glad I got a ticket when I did.  The site was a salon by day, and it was really cool how they opened it up and turned it into a party room.  There were beers on ice in the hair washing sinks, and most everything else was cleared out save a few styling chairs.  I came hungry which was good, because the food was great.  It was the “passed around on trays” kind of party hors dourves, including “rocket dogs” (pigs in blankets), “knuckle sandwiches” (some sort of smooth eggish salad on toast), mushrooms pate and onion dip.  Drinks were “pink ladies” (vodka and lemonade), PBR, and root beer floats made with organic root beer and Maggie Mud ice cream.  Dessert was coconut islands and chocolate chip cookies.  The soundtrack was Sinatra.  There were door prizes (which I won none of), and Sarah Kramer did some Q&A.  She is just as adorable in person as you would think.  I came armed with my camera and intentions of taking food pictures, but the room was so packed I felt it was better not to try.  I did get a picture with Sarah though!

Saturday was the first day of The SF Vegetarian Society’s World Veg Festival Weekend.  I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised.  There was food for sale, samples galore, food demos, talks, music, AR groups and other booths.  There were a few demos and talks I wanted to go too, but I got frustrated during the first demo I attended.  The chef (Jesse Miner) did a great job talking about heirloom beans, but some people in the crowd were asking incredibly basic question, some even completely off topic.  Jesse was extremely kind and patient.  I guess I was in a cranky mood, because I didn’t want to sit through any more talks.  We spend the rest of the time walking around and marveling at all the samples and information.  Oh, and eating.

I started with a taquito and beans, covered in SPICY avocado salsa.

My first treat of the day, a scrumptious brownie from Sugar Beat Sweets, which is run by Melisser of The Urban Housewife.

Miss Melisser, with her lovely assistant-for-the-day Mel, of Veglicious.

One of my favorite discoveries of the day:  Gone Nuts!  They make the most amazing flavored nuts, and had samples out of every kind.  I bought my favorites:  Maple walnuts (ridiculously better than they sound) and cacao almonds and raisins.  Supposedly they’re available in grocery stores around these parts, so I look forward to buying them again.

I ate a big cup of Maggie Mudd ice cream.  It was just as good as I thought it would be.  I forget exactly what the flavor were called, but on top is some sort of rum/caramel flavor which was extremely rummy.  Underneath was “Reversed Tarmack”.  All I remember is there was peanut butter and chocolate, and that’s all that matters.

Done with Veg Fest, we weren’t quite ready to leave.  Luckily the botanical gardens were right next door.  The gardens were large and beautifully layed out with lots of walking paths.  And the squirrels weren’t afraid to say hi.

I have to conclude that these squirrels get fed human food quite a bit, because they were begging the way a dog or a cat would!  A few of them sat up straight on their haunches like prairie dogs do, and one even raised a paw just like a dog begging for table scraps.

I went a little beserk with the plant picture taking, as I tend to do.  A few of my faves:

On the way out of Veg Fest I stopped back by Sugar Beat Sweets for some cupcakes.  I was going to a birthday party that night, so I got one for me, one for the birthday boy, and one for bf.  It was a gesture, really.  He doesn’t like cupcakes, so I knew I’d probably get to eat it…

In the front is PB&J, back is Mint Chocolate, and left is Orange Dreamsicle.  The birthday boy chose PB&J so in the end I ate half of the other two.  They were both great, but I have to say I was impressed with how good the Orange Dreamsicle cupcake was.  I didn’t think that would be a flavor I’d like that much, but it was downright great.

That does it for today!  Tomorrow I will be in possession of internets and then it’s full steam ahead.

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