Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve Dinner (with a whole lot of cookies)

Dinner 12/24

Cabbage & Dill Pierogi

Mushroom & Potato Pierogi

Braised Carrots

Grilled Asparagus

Potato, Pear and Dried Cherry Salad with Maple Syrup Vinaigrette



Korova Cookies

Thumbprint Jam Cookies

Clothespin Cookies

Eggnog Cookies

If it's Christmas Eve, then it's Cabbage & Dill, and Mushroom & Potato Pierogi. Rounding out the plate was braised carrots and grilled asparagus.

We started off with the salad, a combination of hot creamy fingerling potatoes, crisp pears and tart cherries tied together with a maple syrup vinaigrette. A big bowl of yum!

Before the cookies, here's a palate cleansing look at the holiday table from both sides, starting from the right hand side...

...and one from the left. After the Holiday Party XIII last week, there was a great deal of re-arranging chairs, tables and decorations for the table.

What's that on the back table by the window? Cookies? Why, yes!

Top to bottom: Eggnog Cookies (adapted from Tish Boyle's "The Good Cookie"), Thumbprint Jam Cookies, Korova (a.k.a. World Peace) Cookies (adapted from Dorie Greenspan)

Close-up of the eggnog cookies (using soynog, of course). These require patience as you need an even number (to match the top and bottom) and a deft hand with the tiny "star" cookie cutters for the top half.

The thumbprint Jam cookies used raspberry jam for the filling.

Extensive field studies have shown that the "World Peace" cookies go really well with bourbon. Just sayin' ;)

Moving over to the second tray of cookies, with the ever popular Clothespin cookies on top, and a big batch of Blondies.

The clothespin cookies are one of the most sublime things I have ever eaten -- a flaky cookie with piped in buttercream filling that is as intense in the mouth as it is beautiful to the eyes.

Having said that -- even I don't know the recipe. It comes from Liz's family (that she's veganized), and she won't let me see it either... ;)

Finally, from Wheeler Del Toro's "The Vegan Scoop" dessert book, Blondies.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Buttermilk Tofu, Collard Greens, Mashed Potatoes, Mushroom Gravy

Dinner 12/23

Buttermilk Tofu

Collard Greens

Mashed Potatoes

Mushroom Gravy

The buttermilk tofu was so good last time (recipe), we decided to make it again. This time the collard greens (cut in chiffonade, pan fried) were made as the base, accompanied by mashed potatoes and a quick gravy -- the mushrooms were fried in a combo of olive oil and soy margarine, and removed. Then the pan drippings, plus flour were made into a roux, in which veg stock was added to finish. The mushrooms were then added to the collard greens.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dal with Puri, Channa Masala, Garam Masala Potatoes

Dinner 12/22

Dal with Puri

Garam Masala Potatoes

Channa Masala

We smoked the chickpeas with alder wood, which added another layer of complexity to the channa masala. The potatoes were liberally seasoned with garam masala and baked for 40 minutes at 425F.

...and to complete our tour of beige food, what could be better than puffy deep-fried bread served with a creamy lentil soup topped with toasted coconut?

Nothing, that's what ;)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Holiday Party XIII

Holiday Party XIII 12/19

It's hard to believe this is the 13th year we've had the big holiday blow-out, but it's always a great time. We ended up with 40 guests, and no food left by the end of the night, which made clean-up easier. Having said that, we didn't get to bed until after 4am. ;)

We actually finished cooking with 45 minutes to spare -- which has never happened before. It seemed that everyone showed up at the same time this year, so it was still a rush to get everything on the table at the same time. Huge thanks to Niki for helping with mini-burger assembly line!

Now, onto the pictures, descriptions and accounts of the party with the express written consent of Major League Baseball...

The main table, clockwise from the bottom left: (hiding behind the sleigh full of forks) Quinoa & Black Bean Salad, Lentil & Soyrizo Spoons, Orzo Salad, Mini-Burgers & BBQ Tofu Lollipops, Olives and Caperberries, Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary, (hidden behind the triple Tofu Salad tier) Baguette & Tapenade, (also hidden) Stuffed Mushrooms, Artichoke Dip & Pita Bread, Seitanic Chili, Curry Tofu Phyllo Cups and White Bean Cassoulet.

The main table (from the left side): bottom to top -- Roasted Potatoes, Artichoke Dip & Pita Bread, Seitanic Chili, White Bean Cassoulet

Mini-Burgers & BBQ Tofu Lollipops (can't have a party without either one of them)

Tofu Salad Sandwiches -- my favorite part is the next day when I get to eat all the crusts that are cut off to make the triangles. ;)

Orzo Salad -- the orzo is tossed with a vinaigrette (champagne vinegar and olive oil) with salt, pepper, scallions, parsley and red bell pepper cut into a very small dice.

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Rosemary

Artichoke Dip and Pita Bread

Kalamata Olive and Sun-Dried Tomato Palmiers -- a new dish this year, puff pastry filled with a mixture of kalamata, sun-dried tomato and garlic, which is baked.

Lentil & Soyrizo Spoons -- a 2:1 mix of lentils and soyrizo with a little garlic, onion and diced carrot.

I missed getting the dessert table this time -- everyone wanted to start eating -- but it included chocolate mini-cupcakes, eggnog cookies and snickerdoodles.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Dinner 11/28


We haven't made sushi in a while -- it was fun to break out the kinpira peeler (to cut the carrots into long julienne pieces). We knocked out a couple of combo rolls of what we had on hand: avocados, carrot, scallion & cucumber...

Here's a close-up of the avocado rolls, cut on an angle. You know what works really well for cutting sushi? An electric knife. I like finding vegan uses for omni tools. ;)

Here's the one of the carrot/cucumber rolls and one of the avocado rolls cut traditionally. The dipping sauce is a quasi-ponzu mix of tamari & meyer lemon (in lieu of yuzu).

Thursday, November 26, 2009

What The Hell Does A Vegan Eat For Thanksgiving Anyway?

What The Hell Does A Vegan Eat For Thanksgiving Anyway? 2009 Photo Edition

Alder-Smoked Tofu stuffed with Wilted Chard, Mushroom Stuffing wrapped in Phyllo topped with Mushroom Gravy

Braised Carrots


Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Pears and Fennel

Fingerling Potato and Green Bean Salad with Maple Syrup Vinaigrette

Mushroom Stuffing

Braised Carrots

Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Pears and Fennel

Wrapping the tofu, greens and stuffing inside the phyllo

Table Left

Table Right

Table Centerpiece

Dinner on the table

Food and Wine -- Champagne and Beaujolais

* Howdy Slowtwitch readers wondering how vegan the wines were (i.e. "I sure hope that those are two of the very few (and very bad) vegan wines."). The two wines in question were "Moet & Chandon White Star Champagne" and "Georges Debouef Beaujolais Nouveau" So, yes, they were "very bad" ;)

Dinner and Salad


Chocolate Raspberry Torte -- decadence in cake form.

Pumpkin Cheesecake -- dig the op art stencil action Liz made!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Fettuccine Pesto, Watercress Salad with Savory Mini-Cheesecake and Chanterelles

Dinner 11/21

Fettuccine Pesto

Watercress Salad with Savory Mini-Cheesecake and Chanterelles

We made a batch of pesto and froze it for a night like this to remind us that summer will be back... someday.

We also brought back the savory mini-cheesecakes (from April) -- adapted from Jacques Pepin. Served over a watercress salad.

Monday, November 16, 2009

BBQ Tofu, Mashed Potatoes with Silky Chickpea Gravy, Shaved Brussels Sprouts

Dinner 11/16

BBQ Tofu

Mashed Potatoes with Silky Chickpea Gravy

Shaved Brussels Sprouts

Three test recipes for Isa tonight: the bbq tofu, the silky chickpea gravy and shaved Brussels sprouts. We originally made the BBQ Tofu over the summer during the first wave of testing, but we brought it back to tie the plate together.

We paired the gravy with our usual mashed potatoes...

The Shaved Brussels Sprouts were a really nice change of pace -- slicing them very thin rather than using them whole or even cut in half makes the texture more "little cabbage" like...

These are a test recipes for Isa Chandra Moskowitz's next cookbook. As part of the testing agreement, we can't give out the recipes.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Chanterelle and Arugula Pasta

Dinner 11/14

Chanterelle and Arugula Pasta

Simple (spaghetti tossed with nooch & soy margarine) with excellent ingredients (wilted arugula and pan-fried chanterelles).

It also looks nice on the plate. ;)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Buttermilk Tofu, Smoked Sweet Potato Fries, Grilled Okra

Dinner 11/13

Buttermilk Tofu

Mushroom Gravy

Smoked Sweet Potato Fries

Grilled Okra

We smoked the sweet potatoes (for 25 minutes) at the same time as the tofu and mushrooms, then baked them in the oven at 450F for 25 minutes.

The okra were trimmed, marinated briefly in an melted soy margarine, tamari and pepper mixture. Then they were threaded onto a skewer and grilled until starting to blacken.

The mushrooms smoked for 7 minutes, then pan-fried in olive oil, and finished with a splash of tamari. A quick roux was made from the leftover olive oil in the pan, plus 1 tbs. flour. Then 1 cup of veg stock whisked in along with another splash of tamari and pepper to taste.

Buttermilk Tofu


1 block of extra-firm tofu portioned into 8 cutlets
1 tbs. tamari
smoker box with hickory chips (optional)

Put the tofu cutlets on a plate, pour the tamari over the top, flip to coat both sides -- set aside for 10 minutes. Then, optionally, smoke the tofu for 25 minutes (we used hickory chips). Remove from the smoker box and let cool.

Wet Ingredients

1/2 cup soy/rice/almond milk
1/2 cup smoked cashew/macadamia cream sauce*
1 tbs. white balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper to taste

*(or just use one cup total of soy/rice/almond milk)

Puree all ingredients together, pour into a pie pan.

Dry Ingredients

1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp. thyme
1 tbs. smoked paprika
black pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together in a pie pan.


Canola/Peanut Oil for deep-frying

In a wok or heavy stock pot, heat the oil to 375F (using a thermometer).

Dip the smoked/marinated tofu in the buttermilk mixture, then into the flour/breadcrumbs mixture and deep-fry until well-browned on both sides about 4-6 minutes. When the tofu puffs up and cracks, flip it to the other side. Remove the tofu from the oil and drain on a rack.

Serve the tofu with the mushroom gravy poured on top.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ginger Bok Choy & Soba, Stir-Fried Tofu

Dinner 11/10

Ginger Bok Choy & Soba

Stir-Fried Tofu

Yet another test recipe for Isa's next book -- soba noodles married to bok choy with a delicious ginger-based sauce holding everything together. Topped with stir-fried tofu and sesame seeds.

This is a test recipe for Isa Chandra Moskowitz's next cookbook. As part of the testing agreement, we can't give out the recipe.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Tamarind BBQ Tempeh and Sweet Potato, Seared/Steamed Brussels Sprouts, Jasmine Rice

Dinner 11/06

Tamarind BBQ Tempeh and Sweet Potato

Seared/Steamed Brussels Sprouts

Jasmine Rice

A test recipe for Isa that uses the unique flavor of tamarind as part of a very tasty, slow roasted BBQ sauce.

Served on a bed of rice with seared/steamed Brussels Sprouts.

This is a test recipe for Isa Chandra Moskowitz's next cookbook. As part of the testing agreement, we can't give out the recipe.