Friday, November 22, 2013

A Yule Menu

Since the holidays do tend to sneak up on us, I went ahead and made a solstice menu for my friend to prepare and enjoy while celebrating Christmas with her family.  The loaf recipe is more or less from this site: http://www.veganlunchbox.com/loaf_studio.html.   I included my favorite Turkish dessert for this menu, kabak tatlisi (pumpkin dessert).  It's extremely simple to make and incredibly delicious.  The most difficult part is cutting up the pumpkin!   I'd suggest cutting it into wedges first, and then cutting the flesh away from the skin. 

Note: One recipe calls for either honey (if you aren't strictly vegan) or maple syrup.  You could use agave if you wanted to, however, I'm sure.  You could probably replace the corn starch in the gravy with arrowroot, but I've honestly never used it.

1.      Quinoa Loaf with mushroom gravy
2.      Mashed potatoes
3.      Green beans with cranberries and walnuts in a mustard vinaigrette
4.      Glazed Carrots and Parsnips
5.      Kabak tatlisi (Turkish pumpkin dessert)

1.      Quinoa Loaf

½ cup pine nuts
2 tablespoons olive or grape seed oil
One small onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 cup mixed mushrooms, cleaned and finely chopped
2 cups cooked garbanzo beans
1 cup cooked quinoa
¼ - ½ cup vegetable broth, as needed
½ cup cooked gluten-free oatmeal
¼ cup minced fresh parsley
1 ½ teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 F.    Spray a loaf pan with nonstick spray.
Mash garbanzo beans (or use the food processor)
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Cook the onions, mushrooms, celery, and carrot for 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook another 2-3 minutes, until fragrant.
Grind pine nuts into a coarse meal and place in a mixing bowl.
Add mashed garbanzos and vegetables.  Add only as much vegetable broth as needed to create a moist loaf that holds its shape.   Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Press the mixture into a loaf pan. 
Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until cooked through and firm.
Cool the loaf in the pan for 15 minutes before turning out onto a platter to slice.

Mushroom Gravy

1 ounce dried mushrooms
1 tablespoon olive or grape seed oil or margarine
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons corn starch
Salt and pepper to taste

Pour  1 cup boiling water over the mushrooms.  Cover and set aside for 20 minutes.
In a skillet over medium heat, cook the shallot in the oil for about 5 minutes. 
Reserve the soaking liquid from the mushrooms.  Chop any large mushrooms into small pieces.
Add the mushrooms and the soaking liquid
Dissolve the corn starch in the vegetable broth.
Pour into the sauce pan and increase heat until mixture bubbles and thickens. Season to taste.

2.      Mashed Potatoes


3 pounds potatoes of choice, peeled and cubed  (Yukon Golds are good here)
¼ cup margarine (Earth Balance, for example), or olive oil
4 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
¾ - 1 cup nondairy milk such as almond (unsweetened)
Salt and white pepper to taste

Place the potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil and cook until fork-tender (20 minutes or so).  Drain.
Place drained potatoes in a mixing bowl.
Add the margarine or oil, milk, and salt and pepper.  Mix until fluffy.
Stir in the chopped chives.

3.      Green Beans

1 pound frozen green beans
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup toasted walnut pieces
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons grain mustard
1/4 cup olive or walnut oil
1/8 cup maple syrup
Juice of ½ lemon
Salt and pepper to taste


Cook the green beans in boiling salted water until heated through.  Drain.
In a mixing bowl, add lemon juice, maple syrup, mustard, shallot, and salt and pepper.
Whisk to combine.
Slowly whisk in the oil.
Place the green beans in a serving bowl.  Add cranberries and walnuts.
Toss with the dressing.

4.      Glazed Carrots and Parsnips


1 pound each carrots and parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
2 tablespoons olive or grape seed oil
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
2 tablespoons melted margarine (Earth Balance or whatever you use)


Heat oven to 400 F.   Toss the carrots and parsnips with oil, salt and pepper.  Spread on a baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice.
Mix together melted margarine, honey or maple syrup, and balsamic.  Pour over the vegetables and stir to coat.  Continue cooking until vegetables are tender and glaze has thickened.

5. Kabak tatlisi


1 small pumpkin (4 pounds or so)
2 cups sugar
½ cup ground hazelnuts
½ cup tahini


Peel, seed, and cube the pumpkin.  Place in a pot.  Sprinkle the sugar over the pumpkin, put it in the refrigerator, and let it sit overnight.  The pumpkin will release liquid for cooking.
Simmer the pumpkin until tender.   Chill.
When ready to serve, pour tahini over each serving (you may need more than ½ cup, depending on how well you like it), and garnish with plenty of crushed/ground hazelnuts.

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