Vegan since 1975, I decide to answer the question, "What DO you eat?" These posts tell about some meals and recipes my family and I have enjoyed over the years.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Holiday Meal

Check out my last March's entry for SAVORY ROAST GLUTEN AND GRAVY as the centerpiece of a holiday meal. You cook the double batch of a rectangular slab of seasoned gluten the day ahead, then lay it over the stuffing, also surrounding it with the stuffing. 

I know this doesn't sound very good in the telling, but for those of us who can eat and enjoy seitan or gluten, we actually enjoy this dish. You can carve it up and use a knife to cut it into smaller pieces on your plate. And it is chewy. And not made up of anybody's muscle.

Read on for all the other parts of the meal--the gravy, stuffing, creamed onions, mashed potatoes, mashed carrots and turnips and cranberry relish.

The GARBANZO FLOUR GRAVY has a yummy piquancy and rich flavor which enhances the mashed potatoes. You might be able to find garbanzo flour where gluten-free baking products are sold. Conversely, the gluten powder may be found in a larger natural foods or co-op store, or where baking products are sold.
Here is my STUFFING: Saute a large chopped sweet onion in olive oil, along with three stalks of chopped celery and ten or more chopped white mushrooms.
Tear up a loaf of bread. The month or two before, you can save all the ends in the freezer that nobody wants for sandwiches, and use that, if you'd like. That's what my son did this year, and it seemed like a good use of the crusts. When I was little I used to like the job of digging into the whole loaves the supermarket used to sell (unsliced) for stuffing. I would dig in from one end and create a tunnel, and then move on from there. In any case, you should end up with a large bowl full of one inch sized pieces of bread.
Add the sauteed vegetables to the bread and add one tablespoon of rubbed sage, two chopped up apples, a half a cup of chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans or chestnuts) and a half cup of either apple cider or onion broth from cooking the vegan creamed onions. Which onions? The ones to follow.
To make VEGAN CREAMED ONIONS, peel some small white boiling onions or pearl onions. To more easily peel them, you can submerge them in boiling water for a few minutes, then run cold water over them, slicing off the two ends and sliding them out of their skins. This part will take the longest time.
Next, simmer the onions in a stock of half water and half white wine until they are soft. Season the stock with sea salt, pepper and parsley. Drink any remaining wine. Reserve a half cup of the stock for the stuffing.
Make a white sauce by mixing three tablespoons each of tahini and arrowroot powder in a small cup, then adding a little of the stock to it to make it more liquid. Next, add this slurry to the onions and stock and stir until it thickens. This should not take long at all. It will be a nice white sauce with little round onions sticking out. I pour the creamed onions into a decorative baking dish to reheat the next day.
I should mention that I like to spread out the making of these dishes over a few days. The gravy, stuffing, onions and gluten can all be made a day or two ahead and stored to reheat on the holiday.
Along with these recipes, we like to make MASHED POTATOES. Just cook cut up a bunch of potatoes (I leave the skins on, but you can do what you like) and mash them up with a potato masher while they are still hot, along with some plain soymilk, some tamari and nutritional yeast to taste, and a few globs of organic Earth or Smart Balance margarine (it is non-hydrogenated).
Another colorful addition to the table is the CARROT TURNIP MASH which my family has used for years. Just cut up carrots and peeled turnips, cook until soft, and mash them up together. The sweet carrots balance out the stronger flavored turnips.
I like to cook up some greens to go along with all of this, as they add a nice balancing color and some good minerals.
Oh! And for a CRANBERRY RELISH, I just cook two cups organic cranberries and a quarter cup of raisins with half a cup of apple juice or cider. When the cranberries have popped and softened, add a tablespoon of minced organic orange rind and chill until you need it. Any leftovers can be used instead of jam on peanut butter sandwiches the next week.
All of this is finished off with a bunch of pies, but recipes for those can come later.

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