Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Pumpkin French Toast - from "Vegan Brunch"

Seems like as soon as we flip the calendar to October, the world goes mad for pumpkin.  I fall for it every year. Once I made a pumpkin latte in my crock pot….totally yucky…there were pieces of canned pumpkin floating around in there. Not my style. I make a mean pumpkin pie and somewhere on this blog is a killer chocolate pumpkin torte, but usually, I lean away from the stuff (which is strange, cuz my pantry is full of cans of it.)

My worst experience with pumpkin was when I gifted some homemade pumpkin dog treats to my dog-loving friends. Within 3 days every single doggie cookie had gone rancid-moldy-green-stinky. A total humiliation and embarrassment!  How that happened, I have no clue. But I think my reputation as a great cook took a hit that day.

Last week I made this Pumpkin French Toast for brunch and even I must admit – it was heavenly. My photo does no justice to this beautiful breakfast. I made apple compote as a side dish and also served tempeh bacon. Delicious!

If you don’t know Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s work, well, you better get to the library or book store and check out her cookbooks. Her recipes are amazing! This recipe comes from Vegan Brunch. There’s also a Peanut Butter Waffle batter included in the book that is great.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Brewpub Cauliflower Dip

Serve this with dipping size Fritos Chips. By the way,
this is a double batch.

I feel as though I have turned a corner in my vegan adventure. Last week,  I hosted an entire vegan dinner party for 12 friends and nobody blinked an eye.  Appetizers were enjoyed, plates were licked clean and desserts were spectacular. (I made both Triple Lemon Cupcakes and Flourless Chocolate Tart.) I think maybe one person on the invitation list was ‘anti-vegetable,’ and probably a bit skeptical to eat at my table, but I noticed he ate his entire meal. Just goes to prove you must never underestimate anyone.

This was all that was left the next day. 

I also stepped up and served this unusual appetizer at my annual choir party open house. I say unusual because of the list of ingredients – I knew I HAD to try it! Not only was it great, people came back for seconds. I heard a few people call it the ‘Buffalo Chicken Dip’…… ha! Little did they know it was sauerkraut! This dip has all the elements of any other indulgent cheesy bar dip - except it's made with cashews, and oatmeal, and cauliflower, and celery. I told you the ingredient list was unusual! 

This recipe can be found in “Vegan Finger Foods” by Celine Steen and Tamasin Noyes. I actually WON a copy of this fun cookbook during the Vegan Month of Food. There are over 100 recipes included and I want to try at least 90 of them!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Autumn Harvest Acorn Squash

I've made this beautiful Autumn Harvest Acorn Squash a few times recently. It’s deceptively simple and very delicious. What makes it extra easy (and quick) is to pre-bake the squash in the microwave before popping it in the oven. These are special enough to go on any holiday table in any home (vegetarian or not!)  Is it too early to make your menu for Thanksgiving and Christmas 2015? If you’re like me, you’re always thinking of food and menus J

Here’s what you need:
Acorn squash
Slivered or sliced almonds
Dried cranberries or cherries (golden raisins would be good also)
Dried thyme
Store bought grain mixture (quinoa, brown rice, etc) I think the quality of your finished meal will depend on what type of grain mixture you choose. I used Earthly Choice Three Continent Blend (check it out here) and it was perfect

Here’s what you do:
Stab the squash with a sharp knife a few times and place in microwave oven for about 10 minutes. Be sure to check on it and maybe turn it over a few times.  Carefully cut the squash in half and remove the seeds and extra strands of stuff.

Saute lots of onions in a bit of olive oil. Add minced garlic at the end. Also add the dried cranberries and almonds. Cook the grain mixture according to the manufacturer’s directions. Mix grains and veg and spoon generously into the squash halves. (The amounts are all a guessing game, but plan on about ¾ C filling per squash)

Drizzle squash with olive oil and sprinkle dried thyme over the top. Bake at 350 until the squash is totally soft – about 45 minutes.