Sunday, November 28, 2010

Some Food Pictures from a Happy Thanksgiving!

Roasted Chrysanthemum Onions

Gluten-Free Wild Rice Mushroom Stuffing

Vegan "Buttermilk" Biscuits

Roasted Tomatoes

Tofurky with all the trimmings

Gluten-Free Smokey Baked Marinated Tofu
Sherry-Roasted Yams

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thanksgiving Vegan Style!

In case you are in need of some Thanksgiving Day inspiration, I thought I'd share my menu and a few suggestions with you. As usual, I am going the "traditional" route and cooking a Tofurky roast. I like to cook mine in a covered casserole dish surrounded by veggies (usually potatoes, carrots, and onions), and I usually go with the recommended baste of orange juice, soy sauce, and broth or olive oil mixed together, although I also jazz it up a bit and brush the Tofurky with some kind of glaze as well, like fig paste or apricot preserves or something like that.

In addition to the Tofurky, I will of course make mashed potatoes, and also vegan stuffing, (using unsweetened soy or almond milk and Earth Balance in the potatoes and vegetable broth in the stuffing.) I also like to saute the celery, onion, and parsley, and other herbs in an olive oil white wine combo before baking the stuffing--it adds a lot of flavor.

This year I think I will make yams using the recipe for "Sherry-Roasted Root Vegetables" from Cooking Light. (Basically, all you need to do is preheat your oven to 425, coat your  yam pieces with sherry, olive oil, salt and pepper, add some thyme and some rosemary, and bake for an hour and fifteen minutes, turning when needed.)

I am also cooking my favorite Roasted Chrysanthemum Onions, and Slow Baked Tomatoes.  In addition, I am going to tackle for the first time a dish my mother-in-law makes which I absolutely adore, fresh spinach sauteed in olive oil with golden raisins and pine nuts.  

Another dish that will go well with everything else and will also add some more "green" is asparagus cooked in a way I never get tired of from a recipe out of The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook. It is so easy and can be done as one of the final dishes while you are waiting for everything to finish up in the oven. Thinner asparagus works better.

Sauteed Asparagus:
  • Cut the asparagus  into 2 or 3 inch pieces.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and saute 3 cloves of minced garlic for about half a minute.
  • Add asparagus and saute for a few more minutes, depending on the size of your asparagus, but anywhere from 3 to 6 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from heat and toss the asparagus in a bowl with 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
And finally, I am going to make my perfect "buttermilk" biscuits, a modified version of  the  "Easy biscuits" from Sarah Kramer's cookbooks.  

Vegan Buttermilk Biscuits:
  • Preheat oven to 450. In large bowl sift together 2 cups flour, 3 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp salt.
  • Cut in 1/4 cup vegan margarine.
  • Stir 1 1/2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar into 1 cup of almond milk. Add the "buttermilk"  to the dry ingredients and mix.
  • Roll the dough out onto a floured surface and use a round cookie cutter to cut out biscuits. I usually stack two circles on top of each other so that they will break apart easily after they have baked.
  • Bake for 12-18 minutes or until slightly golden on top.
 And, for your gluten-free guests, might I recommend for dessert, FatFree Vegan Kitchen's "Impossible Vegan Pumpkin Pie?" This is really quite tasty, (although I would cut the cloves in half--I made it last year and thought the clove flavor over-powered the pumpkin a bit. But other than that, it's a yummy dessert. ) And if you are still needing inspiration, don't forget to check out the Thanksgiving section of VegWeb's recipes--there are a ton of ideas to choose from. I hope you and yours have a very Happy Thanksgiving filled with delicious food and great conversation!

Thanks to the Norwood Cole Library at Skagit Valley College, and the Cardinal Cafe!

Just a post to say thanks to all of my wonderful friends at the Norwood Cole Library at Skagit Valley College, the good people at SVC's Cardinal Cafe who created this wonderful vegan dish for me, and the lovely Sheryl who had the brilliant idea of getting us all together to make our fabulous lunch possible.

The dish pictured  above consisted of chickpeas, green beans, artichoke hearts, onions, tomatoes, and hazelnuts, seasoned well with fresh herbs and  finished with a citrus vinaigrette. It was fantastic! (As was my dessert of poached pears in pear brandy. )  It was awesome catching up with everyone last week and it made me realize that I will always miss you all, no matter how much time passes. I am so grateful for the opportunity I had  to spend time with dear friends while eating great food! Thank you all!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sad News for Bellingham as we say goodbye to Pastazza

In case you have not yet heard, Pastazza, home of my Favorite Sandwich Ever, will soon be closing its doors as owners Lynn and Fred Berman retire at the end of this month. Which means, if you have not yet tried the vegan smoked apple sage sausage sandwich, you had better do so soon. November 27th is the last day for Pastazza, so get down there fast! Just be prepared to miss them like crazy and try not to cry at the thought of never having the chance to enjoy such a perfect sandwich ever again. . .

You will be missed Pastazza!!!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Thanksgiving, compassion, and a unique matching opportunity

It's that time of year again, time to think about what you are thankful for and time to appreciate all of  the life that surrounds you and all of the good things that you get to experience every day. I am thankful for Farm Sanctuary and the incredibly valuable work that they do, and I am thankful for the opportunity I have to celebrate the anniversary of my decision to  stop eating meat on Thanksgiving 21 years ago by adopting a turkey today.

Right now and until November 25th, Farm Sanctuary is offering a special matching opportunity as part of their adopt-a-turkey program, which means for every turkey you adopt before November 25, another one will also be adopted. Since 1986, Farm Sanctuary has rescued over 1000 turkeys, and this year we have the unique opportunity to sponsor twice as many turkeys as ever before.

Check out their website for more information, where you  can also read  "10 Fascinating Facts about Turkeys" and learn about how turkeys communicate and recognize each other by their voices. As I said last year, holidays are a great time to start and strengthen traditions of compassion, so please consider celebrating what you are thankful for this year by sponsoring a rescued turkey from Farm Sanctuary.