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.