Pickling the Holidays: Spiced Apples & Pears in Coconut Vinegar

Spiced & Pickled Apples and Pears on Get Sconed!

These autumn-spiced pickles, created for Vida Vegan’s holiday class last week, are my new favorite: full of warm, subtle spices in every bite. I’m talking cinnamon, star anise, cardamom, allspice, and ginger, all spices that would be just as welcome in mulled wine and pumpkin pie. Recipe inside. Continue reading

Pumpkin Pie Infusions & Holiday Entertaining Shindig 12/7

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Life, infusions, recipe testing and an invitation to Vida Vegan’s Holiday Event this Saturday in Portland, OR. P.S. my blog is snowing. Continue reading

Veganizing Leftover Mashed Potato & Cheese Biscuits

Best Leftovers Ever?

Yeah, you can correctly assume that this leftover-incorporation project was an experiment gone oh, so, tender and right. Being that J. Legume and I were opting for something different this past Thanksgiving, we decided to make what turned out to … Continue reading

Obsessing over cherries and making my own liqueurs…

Homemade Liqueurs on Get Sconed!

Updated with prettier pictures of the finished projects & much blushing to see this included on the PPK 100 for 2012! If you’re looking to make your own syrups for drinks, per #52, check out my Rhubarb & Rangpur Lime … Continue reading

A Very Special Totsgiving

The first-ever Totsgiving™ (I’m hereby claiming it because page 1 of a recent google search has nothing but toys for tots, which seems to have nothing to do with potatoes, and my own related results) was simply epic.

I had the crazy realization afterwards that it was my first vegan Thanksgiving (or, as they’re saying these days, Thanksliving) potluck where the omnivores, including my brother from New York, equaled the vegans in numbers. And I’ll admit, the dinner was no where as disgusting as I feared!

We started with tots, incorporated tots into over half of the dishes, and ended with tot-crumbled dessert.

Without further adieu, I present the photo documentation from our very special Totsgiving™:

Let’s start out by rolling out some seitan. 

The recipe is Chef Brian P. McCarthy’s and available on Everyday Dish. I incorporated pureed shallots, garlic and apple cider into the dough, and baked it, basting with beer, on both sides for 15 minutes at 400F.

Prepping the filling: sauteed shallots, chanterelles & cremini mushrooms in olive oil, white wine & tamari with lightly baked tots and steamed kale.

I bravely modeled my first roulade experiemnt after the inspiration of all inspirations on What the Hell Does a Vegan Eat Anyway?

After rolling (in retrospect, I would have rolled it the other way, but we were so focused on these pretty rows), it was tied, seated with fingerlings potatoes and carrots, baked at 425F for 30 minutes, flipping once, and frequently basted with Name Tag Lager from Trader Joe’s.

My brother assembled our mom’s Sweet Potato Pie Casserole (without any fuss!)

First course: a combination of baked Trader Joe’s tator tots and Whole Foods tator puffs with cranberry-habañero BBQ sauce, Gabrielle-approved chanterelle & shallot gravy, white sage gravy and Earth Balance Mindful Mayo & Srichacha for dipping.  The giant martini glass my sister sent me for christmas last year never fails to serve a purpose at my shindigs. 

My brother and I based the cranberry habañero BBQ sauce on this recipe from Whole Foods, adding more fresh cranberries, subbing diced tomatoes for paste and adding a minced habañero for heat. 

The contributions cometh. Chips & salsa left over from the pre-appetizer-we-should-have-some-type-of-food-while-not-eating-and-cooking course.

Ashly’s Crumbled-Tator Tot Apple Pie

Melissa’s Chorizo, Tot & Brocoli Strudel

Lucas’ Tot-topped Shepherd’s Pie

Pumpkin Pie from Sweetpea Baking Co.

Sweet Potato Pie Casserole (with extra pecans)

The pie aisle

This & that

Gravy row. The chanterelle & shallot gravy is based on the Sherried Leek and Wild Chanterelle gravy from PCC Natural Markets, with the substitution of minced shallots for leeks. As we all know, shallots are are undeniably fancier in gravy, not to mention seasonally appropriate here. The incredibly easy white sage gravy comes from Vegan Diner; I added a nice pinch of roasted garlic powder.

Bonus: crescent rolls, for sibling nostalgia’s sake.

Why I bought cheesecloth  (which I didn’t use) and skipped on culinary string for the seitan is beyond me. Let’s blame last minute holiday-shopping anxiety brush-off.

Our feast also included Sweetpea dinner rolls, a Portland tradition, Earth Balance, and Ricemellow Fluff, for those who like to desecrate sweet potatoes.

Family traditions, upheld: Sweet Potato Pie Casserole & Jeff’s Three-Corn Casserole

OMNIS EATING VEGAN FOODZ.

It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving (or a tator-tot studded variation) without over-indulgent, grateful food moans.

And legitimate Ocean Spray canned cranberry sauce, to boot. 

Pie for breakfast for all!

Totsgiving Plans & Sweet Potato Pie Casserole

Fun fact: Tator Tots have Oregon pride. Photo credit: Legendsrevealed.com

The past few years have seen me making one or two dishes for Thanskgiving day vegan potlucks, where reclaiming the holiday with close friends with similar values and cruelty-free cuisine really does make it one of the better days of the year.

This year, my possible hosting of my baby brother and has turned into a definitive visit (he’s here!) from my now early-twentysomething year old sibling, and paired with the company of a few close friends who decided that spending the holiday together was better than any other affair, well, there’s a warm and fuzzy week unfolding, and one hell of a theme. Surely, my friends are attending thanks to the guaranteed creativity and awesomeness of our theme: Totsgiving. If only it could bring one Panda Cookie to town…..

Our tentative menu is set to feature:

  • tator tot, greens & mushroom stuffed seitan roulade
  • tator tot-topped shepherd’s pie
  • three corn casserole [tots exempt due to tradition]
  • dinner rolls [from Sweetpea, so tots exempt]
  • pumpkin pie [ditto, cause my friend will be coming from work]
  • apple tator tot crisp
  • chorizo tot strudel [I don’t know where my friend is going with this one, but I’m freaking intrigued]
  • smokey & spiced cranberry bbq sauce [clearly, for the tots]
  • gravy [ditto]
  • roasted green beans with balsamic & garlic [to mix things up]
  • sweet potato pie casserole [tots exempt due to tradition]
Who needs a mac & cheese & tot casserole when you have this line up?
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Sweet Potato Pie Casserole, circa 2006.

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Now, It’s been a few years since I’ve broken out the most sentimental dish in my holiday repertoire: my mom’s sweet potato pie casserole, and I was nervous my brother wouldn’t really remember, but Rick was smiling and stoked. I’ve been making it and quietly let my tears fall into the sweet filling in her memory since the Thanksgiving after she passed in 2005, but I think it’s likely he hasn’t experienced it since he was oh, 10. It was always my favorite dish, and the smell is pure nostalgia.  The original recipe was cut out of an edition of New York Newsday from the 1980s, faded with time, and called for eggs, milk and heaps of butter. I used to sub in some soy yogurt or cornstarch for the eggy factor, but there’s really no need. What I’m saying is…Earth Balance to the rescue.
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I’ve posted the recipe before in the past, but it’s always a mess (again, I’m probably crying and all that jazz) and it hasn’t been since I relocated this site (and learned how type complete sentences, or so I hope), and follows below.
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Sweet Potato* Pie Casserole
Filling Ingredients:

  • 8 medium sized yams
  • 1/2 cup nondairy milk, such as soy or almond (I’d recommend against coconut, because this is so decadent as is)
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons Earth Balance
  • 1/2 cup organic cane juice
  • 1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • optional: 1 tablespoon of maple syrup
  • optional: 1 tablespoon of bourbon
Topping Ingredients:
Note: I’ve been known to double this for extreme sweet potato pie, and always add more pecans.
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups chopped (but not super crumbled) pecans
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1.5 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4-6 tablespoons of melted earth balance
  • optional: 1 cup of additional whole pecans

Directions:

  1. Wash and peel the yams, boil for 25-30 minutes in a large pot of water and drain once incredibly pierceable with a fork.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease a casserole dish.
  3. Add the nondairy milk, Earth Balance, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and maple syrup or bourbon, if using, and incorporate. Continue mashing if needed and spoon into casserole dish.
  4. Stir the topping ingredients together, and distribute over the casserole. Consider making a design with whole pecans first, and then sprinkling on the sweetened topping.
  5. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until golden. If you notice the nuts browning, carefully lay a piece of foil on top for the remainder of baking.
  6. Spoon & enjoy!
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Double Sweet Potato Pie Casserole, circa 2007. Pre-baked.

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I’ve also been throwing out the idea of adding a vegan version of this cocktail into our plans, however, I’m not a fan of vomit. We’ll stick to canned beer, water, and perhaps, cranberry old-fashioneds.

*Yam, baby, yam. The recipe was printed in New York, okay?

a very cast iron christmas (breakfast)

Tofu Omelette, Smoky Creminis and Garlic Roasted Potatoes from Vegan Brunch. The omelette itself was stuffed with the mushrooms, baby spinach and Wayfare Hickory-Smoked Cheddar-Style Spread.

Breaking in the new cast iron skillet on a holiday morning. I am so happy to have an omelette, pancake & crepe friendly pans again!

Holiday Projects: DIY Kahlua

Hello! I revamped this recipe for an even better version of homemade coffee liqueur last year. Check it out here!

Homemade Coffee Liqueur on Get Sconed!

 

Somehow, I found a way to grumble a wee bit while making this. Office holiday gift exchange pressure!!! The rest of my mood was all smirky, caffeinated anticipation, with the buzz of Victrola beans from my Seattle adventure, clear grain alcohol, rich vanilla paste and a little fresh clementine zest, for good measure.  I had sampled my friend Millie the mixtress’ homemade kahlua at a holiday cocktail party a couple of weeks ago, and it was totally a I have-to-make-this moment.

The internet seemed abundant with two varieties of recipes. One involved patient infusing (which is fine, because please), and the other was a matter of warming & mixing. Millie’s successful concoction followed the second route, and so did I, using the recipe posted last year on the Cupcake Project as a basis.

Serving suggestions: