Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A Very Merry Un-Holiday to You! To You!

I so lazy this week. I didn't even have to cook the recipes I'm posting today which leaves me with no excuse about "being too tired to blog because of all the time I spent in the kitchen this weekend;" and yet, I've been taking forever to get around to posting them.

No more excuses though, so here goes...

It was E's turn to cook this weekend, and after I stumbled across the wealth of vegan holiday-recipes at Vegcooking.com, he settled on a full-out and spontaneous holiday-esque meal. And I give thanks to the fact that it was really damn good--enough so that I recommend every single part of it to those of you trying to track down some holiday numblies. (E made only slight variations to the original recipes, but I include links to the originals nonetheless.)

The seitan was hands-down my favorite part of the meal I must admit. It was truly orgasmic, coated in crumbled hazelnuts and fresh rosemary, juicy with flavor. Topped with a bit of the Red Wine and Shallot gravy, it was a dream come true. And the green beans and cranberries on the side (though they did not impress E) made my tastebuds giddy with pleasure as well--fresh and crisp green beans accented by plump juicy cranberries. I can't think of a better side for a Thanksgiving dinner.

My only complaint was not with the cooking but moreso with the portions when it came to the gravy--for the amount of ingredients involved, it yields a wicked-small amount of gravy in return. But damn good gravy it is, nonetheless.

Point being, if you're looking for ideas for Thanksgiving or Christmas, I highly recommend all of the recipes below. They will impress guests and leave your stomach feeling ever so jolly.

{{And yes, I am determined to figure out some sort of better lighting for taking post-sunset food p0rn pics, seeing as lately they've all been turning out yellowy and unattractivey, kinda like when you have beer goggles on and are feeling all bow-chicka-bow-wow towards some fellow only to see him again in the broad daylight a month or so later and find yourself making promises that you will never ever ever ever never ever ever drink even the tiniest sip of alcohol EVER AGAIN if that's how badly it impairs your judgment. (Though as we all know, that vow lasts like 5 minutes and then you're sipping on a nice frothy porter again. ; ) But I swear to you, this vow I will keep: no more bad food-p0rn pics! It just ain't right.}}

Rosemary and Hazelnut-Encrusted Seitan

  • 1 c. hazelnuts, toasted

  • 3 T. fresh rosemary, minced

  • 2 c. flour

  • 3-5 T. olive oil

  • 1 lb. seitan cut or shredded into large chunks and marinated at room temp. for two hours (in 2-3 T. dijon mustard, 2 c. teriyaki, 2 T. olive oil)

  • Salt and pepper, to taste


Place the hazelnuts and rosemary in a food processor and blend until fine. Transfer to a medium bowl, add the flour, and stir to combine.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Dip the seitan chunks in the hazelnut mixture and coat completely (if the seitan does not come packaged in liquid, dip each piece in a little bit of water first). Put the seitan pieces in the oil and fry until lightly browned and crispy on both sides. Drain on paper towels.

Serve hot with Red Wine and Shallot Gravy (see recipe).

Makes 4 to 6 servings

(original recipe from VegCooking.com)

Red Wine and Shallot Gravy

  • 1 T. olive oil

  • 6 T. scallions, minced

  • 1/2 c. yellow onions, minced

  • 1/4 c. celery, diced

  • 1/4 c. carrots, diced

  • 1/3 c. red wine

  • 1 sprig fresh thyme

  • 3 peppercorns

  • 3 1/2 c. vegetable stock

  • 1 Tbsp. margarine

  • 1 Tbsp. flour


Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots, onions, celery, and carrots and cook until soft and browned. Stir in the wine, thyme, and peppercorns and cook, stirring frequently, until the wine is absorbed. Stir in the stock and cook for approximately 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is reduced by half.
Meanwhile, melt the margarine in a small skillet. Add the flour and stir constantly until bubbly and lightly browned. Stir in some liquid to thin out, then stir the mixture into the stock mixture and cook for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer and discard the vegetables. Serve over the Rosemary and Hazelnut-Encrusted Seitan.

(original recipe from VegCooking.com)

Makes 4 servings

Green Beans with Fresh Cranberries


  • 1/2 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut on the diagonal

  • 2 T. margarine

  • 1 c. cranberries

  • 1 clove garlic, minced and pressed

  • 2 T. fresh parsley, chopped

  • 1 T. fresh tarragon, chopped

  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the beans and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
Drain the beans in a colander and hold under cold running water to stop the cooking process. Blot the beans with a paper towel to remove the excess water.
Put the beans into a dry skillet and heat over medium heat until the remaining moisture on the beans evaporates. Stir in the margarine, cranberries, garlic, parsley, tarragon, salt, and pepper, tossing to coat well.
Cook until heated through.

Makes 4 servings

(original recipe from VegCooking.com)

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