Zel's Vegan NutGourmet

Zel Allen Goes Nuts for Good Health

Posts Tagged ‘Christmas recipe’

SHIITAKE TORNADOES FOR CANADIAN THANKSGIVING

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on October 3, 2013

SourceURL:file://localhost/Users/zelallen/Desktop/SHIITAKE%20TORNADOES%20copy%202.doc

SHIITAKE TORNADOES IN

CASHEW CREAM SAUCE

SourceURL:file://localhost/Users/zelallen/Documents/Zel’s%20Documents/GONE%20VEGAN%20FOR%20THE%20HOLIDAYS/CHRISTMAS/Main%20Dishes/Shiitake%20Tornadoes%20in%20Cashew%20Cream%20Sauce.doc

Shiitake Tornadoes in Cashew-Cream Sauce copy

Picture-perfect, this sumptuous and very festive main dish makes a showy presentation on the Thanksgiving holiday table. Adorned in black sesame seeds, these 12 striking globes rise up from a rosy pool of seductive cashew sauce and entice the inquisitive palate.

To ease the holiday stress, have the cooked brown rice ready and make both the tornadoes and the sauce the day before. Stored them separately and assemble the dish shortly before serving. Briefly warm the tornadoes in a 350-degree F. oven and the sauce on the stovetop.

Presentation is everything with this dish. It’s so simple, yet makes these sesame coated balls look amazing. Hunt for long sprigs of rosemary to poke into each “tornado.” I just know that when you bring this dish to the table, you’ll hear some very pleasing ooohhs and aaaahhhs.

Present the tornadoes on a recessed platter that will hold a pool of sauce and allow you to garnish the edges. If you can’t locate black sesame seeds, roll the tornadoes in toasted or natural sesame seeds and they will still make an awesome main dish.

Yield: Makes 12 balls; 8 to 12 servings

Tornadoes

8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, caps cut into quarters

1 onion, chopped

1 tablespoon tamari

1 1/2 teaspoons dried tarragon

3/4 cup water

1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives

3 cups cooked short-grain brown rice

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely ground

1/4 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper

1 cup black or regular sesame seeds

12 long sprigs fresh rosemary, for garnish

6 cherry tomatoes, cut in half, for garnish

1.    To make the tornadoes, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 17 1/2 x 12 1/2-inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2.    Combine the mushrooms, onion, tamari, and tarragon in a large, deep skillet. Add water and cook and stir over medium-high heat for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the mushrooms are cooked and the onion is softened and transparent. Add 1 or more tablespoons of water as needed to prevent burning.

3.    Transfer the mushroom mixture to a food processor and add the olives. Process until smooth and creamy, stopping occasionally to scrape down the work bowl. Spoon the mixture into a large bowl.

4.    Add the rice, oats, walnuts, salt, and pepper and mix well. Pour the black sesame seeds into a deep, medium bowl.

5.    Using your hands, form the mushroom mixture into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Roll each one in the sesame seeds to coat well. Place the coated balls on the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes.

Cashew Cream Sauce

2 1/2 cups vegetable broth

1/4 cup unsalted tomato paste

1 to 2 tablespoons tamari

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram

Pinch cayenne

1/2 cup cashews, finely ground

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Salt

Freshly ground pepper

1.    To make the sauce, combine the vegetable broth, tomato paste, tamari, garlic, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, marjoram, and cayenne in a 2-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Decrease the heat to medium and simmer 1 to 2 minutes.

2.    Add the cashews, whisk and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. The sauce will continue to thicken upon standing. Add extra vegetable broth to thin the sauce as needed. Before serving, stir in the lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

3.    To serve, spoon the sauce into a large, deep platter and arrange the tornadoes over the sauce. To garnish, poke a rosemary sprig into each tomato half and push them into the tops of the tornadoes, so they stand upright.

Note: If not serving immediately, refrigerate the tornadoes and sauce separately. Warm the tornadoes in a preheated 350-degree F. oven for 12 to 15 minutes before serving. Heat the sauce in a saucepan over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes.

Posted in Canadian Thanksgiving, Celebrations, Holiday Recipes, Main Dishes, walnuts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

NEW YEAR REFLECTIONS ON VEGAN CHRISTMAS IN A NUTTY WORLD!

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on January 2, 2013

Well, 2013 has officially begun and I’ve been considering resolutions to help make this world a healthier, happier, and more peaceful place for humans and animals and a more sustainable one for our planet. Reflecting on the past year, I realized those ideals have been my steadfast focus. They’ve enriched my life with purpose and joy and have helped others who have stopped by to visit this cozy little vegan niche. So, I’ve settled in and look forward to another fulfilling year.

Now I’m feeling a bit sentimental and want to share a smidgeon of holiday nostalgia.

Vegan Christmas – two words that may not go together in every household, but in my home, it was an exceptional holiday with tender memories to cherish. Imagine all the warm and wonderful traditional winter holiday blessings, and, then, put them all together into one special day on December 25th. Bit by bit, I baked a few batches of sweet goodies, sent invitations to friends to join us for a holiday potluck, and readied the house for a comfy crowd. I knew it would be a happy occasion, but I never imagined it would be as cozy, delicious, and nostalgic as it turned out.

I think there was a little vegan magic whirling in the air that day. My sweet hubby built a fire in the fireplace and lovingly tended it all afternoon. Coming in from the cold, our guests immediately gravitated toward the warm and cozy living room as they shed their coats and scarves.

A boldly-spiced apple cider was mulling on the kitchen stovetop ready to offer warming comfort, while the entire house became infused with a rich medley of lively aromas. The gently simmering cider was happily sharing its generous gifts of cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and freshly grated nutmeg. Floating to the top of the cider were slices of lemon and orange contributing a subtle note of citrus. And, as if that were not enough, whole almonds and golden raisins, borrowed from my Happy New Year Glogg recipe, were also quite visible as one peered down into the large pot.

I loved seeing jolly faces stretch into big smiles as I passed the tray of apple cider. Into each of the small, glass punch cups I ladled the hot cider and included a few almonds and raisins in each glass. Within a couple of hours, that cider-filled, 12-quart stockpot was nearly empty.

When everyone’s potluck contribution was well warmed or perfectly chilled, we gathered around the table to fill our plates with a feast to boast about. There dishes too numerous to list. I will simply remember the tantalizing medley of savory, lemony, spicy, pungent, and sweet flavors that strolled across my taste buds.

Aside from making hot mulled apple cider, cookies, and confections, my contribution was an eye-appealing Tomato Pine Nut Pie with Sweet Potato and Nut Crust, a recipe from my new cookbook VEGAN FOR THE HOLIDAYS. This is what the pie looks like:

Tomato Pine Nut Pie

The pie crust of crushed almonds, tofu, and yams makes this a unique dish and one that was enthusiastically received.

Because we were expecting about 20 people, I thought it would be best to triple the recipe and prepare it in a large rimmed baking sheet. It was the perfect amount and allowed for extra helpings.

Tomato Pine Nut Pie 1

This is what the dish looked like after it was ravished:

Tomato Nut Pie Leftovers

While assembling the pie, I realized this is not a dish that’s just for Christmas. It’s a charming recipe that can be enjoyed year round because the ingredients are readily available no matter what season. During summer, when green tomatoes are available at the farmstand, they can be substituted for ripe ones or intermixed, creating an appealing red and green theme.

This is one honey of a make-ahead dish, even up to two days ahead. To serve, remove the dish from the refrigerator, bring it to room temperature, and warm in a preheated 350-degree F. oven for about 15 to 20 minutes. Cut into serving pieces and enjoy.

TOMATO-PINE NUT PIE WITH SWEET POTATO AND NUT CRUST

Melt-in-the-mouth delicious and decked out for the festivities, this attractive Italian-inspired dish makes an ideal savory dinner pie with a unique crust.

Yield: 1 (9-inch) pie or 6 servings

Crust
12 ounces sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups whole almonds
2/3 cup mashed tofu
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Light oil a 9-inch pie pan.

2. To make the crust, put the sweet potatoes in a 2-quart saucepan with water to cover. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are fork-tender. Drain the sweet potatoes well, transfer them to a large bowl and mash them well. Set aside.

3. Put the almonds in a food processor. Process until they are finely ground yet still retain a little texture. Add the tofu and salt and process until well incorporated, stopping occasionally to scrape down the work bowl. Spoon the tofu mixture into the bowl with the sweet potatoes and mix well.

4. Spoon the sweet potato mixture into the prepared pan. Use your fingers to press it onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Build up the sides of the crust 1/2 -inch higher than the pie pan. Bake the crust for 15 minutes and let cool.

Filling
2 green onions, sliced
1 to 2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup pine nuts
2 to 3 tablespoons Homemade Parmesan (recipe below) or prepared vegan Parmesan
2 to 3 tablespoons cornstarch
Salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 small eggplant, peeled and sliced into 1/8-inch slices
4 to 5 large red or green tomatoes, seeded and sliced.

1. To make the filling, put the green onions, garlic, pine nuts, and Homemade Parmesan in individual bowls. Sprinkle the cornstarch on a plate.

2. Cover the bottom of the crust with one layer of eggplant slices. (This prevents the crust from getting soggy). Reserve remaining eggplant for another use. Sprinkle the eggplant slices with salt and pepper.

3. Dredge one-third of the tomato slices in the cornstarch. Arrange the dredged tomato slices over the eggplant, filling all the spaces with small bits of tomato. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Sprinkle one third each of the green onions, garlic, pine nuts, and Homemade Parmesan over the tomatoes. Repeat the process to make three layers.

4. Bake for 45 minutes. Let cool 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Note: If using green tomatoes, the pie might have to hake another 15 minutes.

HOMEMADE PARMESAN
Often I’ve come to rely on a sprinkle of vegan Parmesan to add sparkle to a dish, soup, a casserole, or an appetizer. With only five ingredients, this recipe is almost instant to make and tastes enough like the real thing to put the Italian touch on everything from pizza to minestrone and a host of holiday or everyday dishes.

1 cup almonds
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons nutritional yeast flakes
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1. Put the almonds in a food processor. Process until they are finely ground, yet still retain a bit of texture, stopping occasionally to scrape down the work bowl. (Avoid overprocessing or it will turn into almond butter.)

2. Add the nutritional yeast, onion powder, salt, and garlic powder and pulse until well mixed. Transfer to a covered container and refrigerate until ready to use. Covered and refrigerated, Homemade Parmesan will keep for 3 months.

Posted in almonds, Celebrations, Holiday Recipes, Main Dishes, pine nuts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

HEAD FOR THE COOKIES AND YOU’LL REVEL IN CHOCOLATE AND NUTS

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on January 30, 2012

One of my favorite cookbook authors, the well-seasoned Nava Atlas, has created Vegan Holiday Kitchen, a stunning new book with an impressive 200 well-crafted recipes to bring vegan joy and dining pleasure to holiday meals throughout the year.

Nava has graciously allowed me to reprint one of her recipes from the Christmas section. These are so gooooood, you’ll want to make these in January, May, or September, or any time, just because they’re, well, addictively delicious.

They’re easy and WOW! they make the kitchen smell so good before, during, and after baking! Once I opened those little jars of spices and started measuring, I knew their aromas would drift up and out in all directions and send pleasing scents throughout the house and even out the window. My lucky next-door neighbor had the pleasure of a delightful, spice-scented afternoon.

A visit to Nava’s wonderful website VegKitchen.com is a must. Once there, explore her generous array of recipes, kitchen tips, articles, and discover her many other books.

CHOCOLATE NUT COOKIES

These have a nice cookie top highlighted by the use of sugar. If you need a big batch of easy little cookies, these are a good choice.

Makes about 4 dozen

1/2 cup Earth Balance or other hon-hydrogenated margarine
1/2 cup dry unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup rice milk
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg or allspice
1/2 cup very finely chopped walnuts
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Powdered or granulated sugar for topping

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Melt the margarine in a small saucepan. Add the cocoa powder, sugar, and rice milk. Whisk together until the mixture is a smooth syrup. Remove from heat.

3. Combine the flour with the baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Make a well in the center and pour in the chocolate syrup. Work together, first with a spoon, then with clean hands, to make a stiff batter. Work in the walnuts and chocolate chips.

4. Form into balls no larger than 1 inch in diameter. Arrange on two parchment-lined baking sheets, flattening each ball lightly with your palm (or bake one batch at a time). Bake for 10 minutes, or until the bottoms are just starting to turn golden. Don’t overbake, as these crisp up as they cool.

5. Sprinkle the cookies with powdered sugar. Allow to stand for 10 minutes on the baking sheet. With a spatula, carefully transfer the cookies to plates until cool.

Posted in Vegan Desserts, Vegan Websites, walnuts | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

 
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