Zel's Vegan NutGourmet

Zel Allen Goes Nuts for Good Health

Posts Tagged ‘Nut Gourmet recipe’

THANKSGIVING TORTE—GRAND DIVA ON THE HOLIDAY TABLE

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on November 23, 2009

I don’t know if Thanksgiving is wild and crazy to the max at your house, but it sure is in mine–in a good way, that is. It’s our family reunion time, so I have family flying in from all parts of the globe for this nutty feast. All the bedrooms are full and the kitchen is in a constant state of activity. It’s been our thing for years so we really look forward to Thanksgiving week—a time that’s filled with lots of cooking going on, great aromas drifting through the house, lots of eating, and lots of laughing.

On Thanksgiving day the frenzy picks up and we’re all in high gear to get everything ready for that special dinner when we literally pile a ton of colorful, fabulous tasting dishes onto the buffet table that I describe as the groaning board. And we attack with fervor!

Front and center on the table is the totally nutty vegan Thanksgiving Torte, our annual feast specialty that I want to share with all who aim for a kind and gentle Thanksgiving.
The recipe is from my cookbook, The Nut Gourmet and is pretty darned impressive looking—even if I have to say so myself. It’s a real good looker, especially when I serve it on a footed cake plate and garnish the heck out of it with sprigs of fresh herbs and orange slices.

The Torte makes the ideal vegan Thanksgiving dish with its varied textures and savory flavors from the combination of wild rice, mushrooms, nuts, and sage. Served with a robust Mushroom Gravy on the side, the Torte makes a very hearty main dish and goes well with all the typical side dishes like cranberries, gravy, sweet potatoes, chestnut stuffing, and a few veggie combinations. For dessert, its pumpkin and apple pies, of course. To ease the feast-day preparations, I usually make the Torte the day before, store it in the fridge, and reheat it at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

One little hint, the Torte preparation comes together more quickly if you cook the wild rice before beginning the torte or even the day before.

THANKSGIVING TORTE

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

2 cups water
2/3 cups wild rice
3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 pound red or white rose potatoes, unpeeled, scrubbed, and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup water
1/8 teaspoon salt (optional)

1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecan pieces
1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnut pieces

1 (14-ounce) package vegan Lightlife GimmeLean Sausage
3/4 pound portobello mushrooms, chopped (about 4 large)
1 large onion, diced
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon hickory liquid smoke
1 1/4 teaspoons salt or to taste

2 ripe tomatoes, sliced

Mushroom Gravy
1/2 pound sliced button mushrooms
1 3/4 cups plus 3 tablespoons water
1/4 soy sauce
1/4 cup dry red wine
2 tablespoons lemon juice

3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons water

1. TO MAKE THE TORTE, lightly oil a 9-inch springform pan, line the base with parchment paper (for easier cleanup), and set it aside. Combine the 2 cups water, wild rice, and salt in a 2-quart saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and steam for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Drain off the excess liquid and set the rice aside.

2. Combine the potato cubes, 1 cup water, and salt in a 2-quart saucepan. Cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes to a medium bowl, mash them, and set them aside.

3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Toast the pecans and walnuts in a 10-inch skillet over high heat, stirring constantly for 1 to 2 minutes. Immediately transfer them to a dish to cool.

4. Combine the vegan sausage, mushrooms, onion, the 1/3 cup water, olive oil, poultry seasoning, and pepper in a large, deep skillet. Cook over high for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the onion is transparent, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon or paddle to break up the sausage chunks. Drain and reserve any excess liquid. Add the salt and hickory liquid smoke to the sausage mixture and mix well.

5. Add the mashed potatoes to the skillet along with the toasted nuts and cooked wild rice. Mix well to combine the ingredients thoroughly. Adjust seasonings if needed.

6. Press the mixture firmly into the prepared springform pan, and attractively arrange the tomato slices over the top, covering most of the surface. Bake uncovered for 1 hour. Allow the torte to stand for 15 to 20 minutes before removing from the pan.

7. TO MAKE THE MUSHROOM GRAVY, prepare it while the torte is baking. Combine the mushrooms, water, soy sauce, red wine, and lemon juice in a 2-quart saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer for 5 minutes.

8. Combine the cornstarch and water in a small bowl and stir with a spoon to make a runny paste. Add the paste to the bubbling gravy, a little at a time, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute, until the gravy has thickened to the desired consistency.

Posted in Celebrations, Nut Recipes, pecans, walnuts | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

THANK YOU BIANCA!

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on November 17, 2009

Bianca, the Vegan Crunk was thumbing through my cookbook, The Nut Gourmet, and chose to make my recipe for Nutty Oatcakes. She took some mouth-watering photos of the finished oatcakes and even made me ravenously hungry for them. As a topping to go with the oatcakes she also made the Apricot Cashew Butter, but decided to use peaches in place of the apricots—great idea!

Thank you Bianca for making those little treats look so delicious in the photos on your latest blog. The enthusiastic comments that followed prompted me to share the two recipes with my NutGourmet readers. I love these for breakfast, but discovered they also make one terrific snack.

From The Nut Gourmet:
These little flat breads are especially pleasing with fruit butters or sweetened tofu spreads, such as Date ‘n’ Raisin Tofu Spread (page 174) or Apricot Cashew Butter (page 169). All varieties of nut butters, jams, and jellies are also ideal toppings. For a complete breakfast, serve these crisp breakfast gems with fresh fruit or a fruit salad and a cup of herbal tea. These tasty oatcakes offer an added bonus. Since they require no refrigeration and keep for at least two weeks at room temperature, they make excellent travel food.

NUTTY OATCAKES

Yield: 2 to 3 servings

1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
5 to 6 tablespoons water
1/3 cup coarsely ground walnuts
1 tablespoon organic canola oil
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and have ready a dry baking sheet. Blend 1 cup of the rolled oats into a fine meal in two batches in the blender at high speed. Transfer the meal to a medium bowl.
2. Add the water, walnuts, canola oil, baking powder, and salt, and stir to distribute the ingredients evenly. If the dough is too dry, add an additional tablespoon of water to make a firm dough that holds together well enough to form a ball.
3. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the rolled oats on a board or countertop. Press the dough down to flatten it slightly and sprinkle the remaining oats over the top. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a circle about 8 inches in diameter. Cut the dough into 8 wedges and place them on the baking sheet.
4. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes. Turn the pieces over and bake another 4 to 5 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave the oven door open until the oatcakes cool, about 5 minutes. Serve them immediately, or cool completely and store them in a zipper-lock plastic bag at room temperature. For longer storage, pack them into heavy-duty zipper-lock plastic bags and freeze for up to three months.

APRICOT CASHEW BUTTER

Yield: 1 1/2 cups

1 cup dried apricots
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup cashews

1. 1 Combine the apricots and 1/2 cup of the water in a 1-quart saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat down to low and steam for 10 minutes.
2. While the apricots are steaming, cover the raisins with warm water and let stand for about 5 minutes, or until they are plump. Drain the raisins and put them into the food processor. Grind the cashews into a fine meal in an electric mini-chipper/grinder or coffee grinder. Add the meal to the food processor.
3. Transfer the cooked apricots and their liquid to the food processor along with the remaining 1/4 cup water. Process until completely smooth. Stored in a covered container in the refrigerator, Apricot Cashew Butter will keep for about two weeks.

Posted in cashews, Nut Recipes, walnuts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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