Archive | November 2010

Party Vegan + Contest Winner

It seems only fitting that my final post of Vegan Mofo features my book, Party Vegan. After all, this past month of bloggers getting together in cyberspace to swap photos, stories, and delicious vegan recipes was like the ultimate vegan party!  In keeping with the Party Vegan theme, I want to share more of the great Party Vegan tester photos taken by Tami at Vegan Appetite when she tested these recipes for the book.
Here’s one of my favorites — the Father’s Day Cookout Menu — that’s Spicy-Smoky BBQ Ribz, Grilled Vegetable Skewers, and Foil-Roasted Corn and Potatoes:

Next up is a photo of the Curried Pakora Puffs from the Indian Feast menu:
 

 
Below is the Wild Mushroom Ragu over Polenta from the “Italian with a Twist” dinner party menu:
 

 
Finally, check out these adorable Fresh Berry Tartlets from the “Just Desserts” chapter:
 

 
Now on to the Cookbook Contest Winner: I hope you all enjoyed reading all the comments about how everyone likes to “Party Vegan” — I know I did. Lots of really great ideas! But as you know, ther can only be one contest winner (at a time, anyway!) Chosen randomly by that great computerized oracle at Random.org, the winner of a copy of Party Vegan is: Carla — who likes to party vegan by “bring desserts to share.” Congrats, Carla! Please e-mail me with your address and I’ll get a book right out to you.
 
I want to thank all of you who participated in my special giveaways and to those of you who only recently discovered my blog during Vegan MoFo, I hope you’ll keep coming back for more recipes, photos, contests, and general food musings (with the occasional cat photo for good measure).

Fun with Thanksgiving Leftovers

Ever since I can remember, I’ve always liked to play with my food.  Like most kids, I liked to make mashed potato moats for the gravy but that soon escalated to stirring ketchup into mashed potatoes until it was just the right shade of pink and then festooning it with a necklace of green peas.  When I was a bit older, I made an entirely blue dinner.

It should be easy to understand, then, why having a wealth of Thanksgiving leftovers is an especially fun time in my house.  The day after Thanksgiving we enjoyed the obligatory let’s have “another one just like the other one” with a delicious instant replay of the previous day’s feast.  But then, the rest of the leftovers were mine for the creating.

Creation #1:  Yuba-Wrapped Thanksgiving Rolls. (photo above) I wrapped leftover seitan, stuffing, white and sweet potatoes, and green beans in small sheets of yuba and cooked them in a skillet with a little oil to brown.  I then finished them up in the oven while I made a dipping sauce with leftover cranberry sauce combined with ginger, soy sauce, and sriracha.  All I can say is, “Wow!”

Creation #2:  The Leaning Tower of Thanksgiving. I stacked layers of all the Thanksgiving dishes into one mighty tower and surrounded it with a cranberry-port wine sauce made with leftover brown gravy, cranberry sauce, and a generous amount of port. To serve, I sliced it right down the middle and arranged each half, cut side down on a plate with more of the luscious sauce. Leftovers never tastes so good.

This is my 20th Vegan Mofo post!  I’m excited that I made it this far, considering what a crazy-busy month this has been.  Tomorrow, Vegan Mofo ends with the announcement of the winner of my Party Vegan giveaway.  If you haven’t entered yet, do it now — contest closes at midnight tonight!

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Streusel Topping

This year’s Thanksgiving pumpkin cheesecake was similar to the one I make every year, but as usual, I just had to do something a little different for the topping to keep it interesting. This time, I made a streusel-type topping by combining pecans, dried cranberries, and vegan butterscotch chips.  I pulsed them in a food processor to chop them up well and stirred in a little agave.  Instead of covering the entire top, I just framed the outer rim with the streusel. 
As Jon said when he had his first (!) slice, “You start out thinking you’re eating the best thing in the world, and then you get to the part with the topping on it and it’s even better.”  With that kind of review, I think this new topping may just have to make the rounds again next Thanksgiving!  Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!

There’s still time to enter my final Weekly Vegan MoFo Cookbook Giveaway!  Just leave a comment here for a chance to win a copy of my new book, Party Vegan!

Kabocha Soup with Coconut-Sriracha Swirl + Party Vegan Giveaway!

Can you stand one more post featuring the illustrious kabocha squash?  It’s not that I’m obsessed with kabochas, well okay, maybe I am.  But in a good way. The really reason they seem to be taking over my kitchen recently is because I usually have to drive an hour to find any and when I do, I buy several and roast them up to use in various ways.  Sure I could scoop the brilliant orange goodness into freezer containers to use another time (and I do) but I also keep some out to enjoy in different ways, as you’ve noticed if you’ve been following my blog.
Today, it’s soup!  It was so easy to make, it doesn’t even need a recipe.  Just cut the squash in half, scrape out the seeds and roast the squash until very soft.  I roasted this one with some shallots and then scooped the pulp into a my Vitamix (a food processor would work too) and added a couple roasted shallots, some coconut milk, a little vegetable broth, a touch of sriracha, a little grated ginger and lemongrass, and salt (to taste).  Then I just blended until very smooth and that was it.  I had reserved some of the thick coconut milk from the top of the can to garnish the bowls of soup, and a little extra sriracha as well.
The great thing about a soup like this, is you can easily change up the flavors, using different seasonings.  For example, use almond milk instead of coconut milk and swap the sriracha for chipotles in adobo, a little cumin instead of ginger and lemongrass, and you’ll have a vastly different flavor profile.
Now for the moment you’ve been waiting for: another cookbook giveaway contest!
This is the 4th and final giveaway to celebrate Vegan Mofo.  The winner will be chosen at random on 11/29 at midnight and announced on Tuesday, November 30 — the final day of Mofo! This week’s prize is a copy of my newest book:  Party Vegan!
Party Vegan isn’t just about cooking for holidays and special occasions, although there’s lots of that in there too. But it’s also about casual meals and celebrating the little things with family and friends. So the question to answer in order to enter the contest is this: “How do you like to ‘party vegan’?” Just leave a comment at the end of this post.
Thanksgiving Notes:I’m very excited to announce that some of my Thanksgiving recipes are featured on the Food Network site.

For these and more of my holiday recipes, visit Vegan.com.  You can also find some of my recipes in the VegNews Holiday e-book and in Nava Atlas’ Thanksgiving e-book.  With all these sources, there’s no excuse not to have a vegan Thanksgiving dinner!

I hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Pan-Seared Picatta Portobellos with Brown Rice Potato Cake + Cookbook Contest Winner!

I said it before and I’ll say it again — I love leftovers.  Some of my favorite meals came into existence by using up a bit of this and that.  Take this dinner of pan-seared portobello mushrooms, spinach, and brown rice potato cake.  It was the result of needing to use up a few stray items in the fridge before going shopping. The spinach and mushrooms were delicious, but the real star of the meal turned out to be the happy marriage of leftover mashed potatoes and cooked brown rice.
When mixed with some seasonings and sauteed, the brown rice and potatoes transformed into a third entity with a wonderful texture and flavor that provided an ideal companion for the mushrooms and spinach all complemented by a tangy lemon-caper sauce.

Now, for this week’s Special Vegan Mofo Cookbook Giveaway:  The winner of a copy of Vegan Fire and Spice (chosen randomly by the random number generator on Random.org is:  Candy Beans! Congratulations! (E-mail me with your address and I’ll get the book in the mail to you.) 
Everyone else:  Check back tomorrow for the 4th and final cookbook giveaway during Vegan Mofo.

Creamy Kabocha Pasta with Chestnuts and Cranberries

Every now and then I come up with a meal on the fly that exceeds my own expectations.  This voluptuous pasta dish did that for me this weekend — and then some.  I can’t even begin to describe the creamy smooth richness of the vibrant sauce, most of the credit for which goes to the inherently delicious flavor of the kabocha squash itself.
As you probably know, I’m like the number one fan of kabocha squash (also known as Hokaido pumpkin).  Its natural sweetness and rich depth of flavor far outshine any other variety of squash anywhere.  If you have a chance to buy one, do yourself a favor and try it.  Once you do, you may have trouble going back to any other kind — I know I do.
Okay, so if this wonderful sauce weren’t enough to make this pasta dish fantastic, the roasted chestnuts and dried cranberries really put it over the top.  In addition to adding texture and flavor, the combination of squash, chestnuts, and cranberries made it a perfect autumn meal.  The pasta just made it even better!
Weekly Mofo Cookbook Giveaway: 
There’s still time to enter!  The contest to win a copy of Vegan Fire and Spice ends tonight at midnight.  If you haven’t entered yet, enter now.  Then check back tomorrow to find out who won. 
Coming Wednesday: a new (and final) Weekly MoFo Cookbook Giveaway!

Pumpkin Cheezecake with Cranberry Drizzle

With Thanksgiving less than a week away (yes, really!) it seemed appropriate that today’s Flashback Friday post be about my favorite Thanksgiving dessert: pumpkin cheesecake. The cheesecake in the photo is from last year because I won’t be making it this year until next Wednesday, and by then it may be too late for you to decide that you want to make it too!

I’ve been making pumpkin cheesecakes every Thankgsiving for decades and each year I like to change it up a little.  Sometimes I add a splash of rum, other times I dust it with crystallized ginger or top it with glazed pecans. This particular version is from 1,000 Vegan Recipes in which I top it with a cranberry drizzle.  The photo also shows the added garnish of glazed pecans (I can’t leave well enough alone!).  This was so good last Thanksgiving, I think I’ll make it this way again next week. 
What do you plan to make for dessert this Thanksgiving?

(Here’s my recipe in case you want to try it:)
Pumpkin Cheezecake with Cranberry Drizzle
Dense and rich with spiced pumpkin flavor, this dessert is a natural for your Thanksgiving table. The gorgeous orange color offset by the vivid drizzle of cranberry makes a beautiful presentation. From 1,000 Vegan Recipes by Robin Robertson © 2009, John Wiley and Sons.
Crust:
1 1/2 cups vegan ginger snap or graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup vegan margarine, melted
Filling:
2 (8-ounce) containers tofu cream cheese
1 (15-ounce) can solid pack pumpkin
1 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Cranberry Drizzle:
1/3 cup cranberry sauce
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon melted vegan margarine
1. Make the crust: Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9-inch springform pan. Place the crumbs in the bottom of the pan, add the melted margarine, and mix with a fork to blend. Press the crumb mixture into bottom and sides of pan and set aside.
2. Make the filling: In a food processor, combine the cream cheese and pumpkin and process until blended. Add the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg and process until well blended.
3. Pour the filling into the prepared crust. Bake for 45 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave cheesecake in the oven for another 15 minutes. When done, edges should be golden and starting to pull away from sides of pan, and center should be soft set. Remove the cake from the oven and cool at room temperature for 1 hour. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.
4. Make the drizzle: In a blender or food processor, combine the cranberry sauce, maple syrup, and margarine and blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into a squeeze bottle or small pitcher and drizzle the over the top of the cheesecake. Keep refrigerated.

NOTE: When made in a 9-inch springform pan, this cheesecake isn’t very “tall” — if you prefer more height, make it in an 8-inch springform pan or add an extra 8 ounce container of vegan cream cheese to the batter, along with a little more sugar and spices, to taste.