Our Christmas Feast

The holidays are always a great time for cooking, and of course blogging. Everyone always goes out of their way to make great meals for all to enjoy. This was no exception in our house. I wanted to make great food for my wife and I to enjoy both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We had some awesome plant based food! To look for inspiration I turned to my obvious favorites, Plant Pure Nation and Forks Over Knives. One Christmas Eve we went for the French Dip sandwich (which was always one of my favorites as a meat eater) with some homemade sweet potato fries. This sandwich did not disappoint. Hearty, flavorful, delicious. Christmas Day we started with a little appetizer of Mushroom Tapenade on Polenta Squares and for dinner had Pumpkin Sage Pasta. Both were very yummy and filling. I think we really hit a home run with these dishes and just goes to show everyone, you can eat plant based and still make totally awesome holiday food that won’t have you feeling gross, overweight, and ashamed. Below are the recipes and pix of how I made them.

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French Dip Sandwich

Ingredients

Horseradish Aioli (My wife hates horseradish so I left that ingredient out and instead put a pinch of cayenne in for a slight heat and it came out great)

  • 1 cup tofu cashew mayonnaise (recipe to follow)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 green onions, sliced

Au Jus Dipping Sauce

  • 2 cups low sodium mushroom stock
  • 1 tbs cornstarch
  • 1 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Filling

  • 1 onion, sliced into half rings
  • 4 large portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 whole wheat sub rolls

Directions

  1. To make the aioli, blend the mayonnaise, garlic, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and green onions using a food processor. Set aside
  2. To make the au jus dipping sauce, whisk together the mushroom stock, cornstarch, balsamic vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce in a saucepan over medium heat. Once the cornstarch is absorbed, turn the heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring until thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste, Set aside.
  3. In a nonstick frying pan, saute the onion and mushrooms in 1/4 cup of the au jus dipping sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Toast the sub rolls and spread the aioli generously on each bun, then cover with the mushroom mixture. Serve with the warm dipping sauce on the side.

Tofu Cashew Mayonnaise

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup raw cashews, boiled for about 10-15 minutes to soften
  • 7 ounces extra firm tofu
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp tahini
  • 4 tsp lemon juice
  •  1 1/2 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 tbs dijon mustard
  • 2 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tsp agave nectar
  • 2 tbs water

Directions

  1. place all ingredients in a high powered blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. If you like yous a little thinner, add more water 1 tbs at a time until desired consistency is reached.

 

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Mushroom Tapenade on Polenta Squares

Ingredients

  • 1 onion diced
  • 10 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • one 6 ounce can pitted black olives, drained
  • 2 tbp capers, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbs chopped fresh basil
  • 1 recipe polenta (recipe to follow)

Directions

  1. In a large skilelt over medium-high heat, saute the onion, mushrooms, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper in a little bit of water for 3-5 minutes, until softened stirring frequently. Add the wine and cook until absorbed.
  2. Transfer the mushroom mixture to a food processor. Add the olives, capers, and basil. Pulse until blended but still chunky.
  3. Cut the polenta into 2×2 inch squares and top with a spoonful of tapenade.

Polenta

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups non dairy unflavored milk
  • 1 1/3 cups polenta cornmeal
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 tbs nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Directions

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside
  2. Bring the water and milk to a slow simmer in a pot over medium heat
  3. slowly stir in the cornmeal about a 1/4 cup at a time. Cook over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring frequently and scrapping the bottom to avoid burning.
  4. The cornmeal is done cooking when it is smooth and thick. Stir in the remaining ingredients before removing from heat.
  5. Press the polenta into the prepared baking sheet until it is about 1 inch thick.
  6. Refrigerate until completely cooled.

 

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Pumpkin Sage Pasta

  • 8 ounces whole wheat pasta
  • 1 1/2 cup low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/3 tbs minced fresh sage
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • pinch of dried oregano
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Meanwhile combine remaining ingredients together in a saucepan and heat over low until thoroughly warm, about 5 minutes.
  2. Taste, adding more sage or pumpkin pie spice if desired, plus salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Cover and let sauce rest for 5-10 minutes, allowing the flavor to merge and sauce to thicken slightly.
  4. Toss cooked pasta with sauce.

 

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There you go, our holiday food. Try if you’d like and I hope you enjoy.

 

Bon Appetite

-Chef Drew

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The Healthiest Dessert Ever!

Not even kidding. This is probably the healthiest dessert I have ever come across. But don’t let that fool you. It may be healthy but it is amazing and a great substitute to the real thing.

I think it’s safe to say that a lot of people go absolutely crazy for raw cookie dough (I know my wife sure does.) What if you could eat it without all the guilt and shame that come from polishing off a full tube of that delicious sugary creamy dough? Well now you can. This recipe comes from a site we have used before and love, Oh She Glows. When I stumbled on this one I knew I had to try it. I always like experimenting and trying the recipes that almost seem impossible, the ones that you read and say “there’s no way this is gonna taste like that!” This was one of those and trust me, if you don’t think of what it’s made from, it looks and tastes like real chocolate chip cookie dough. The fun part is it’s made from potatoes. Not only is it yummy but it’s entirely plant based, gluten-free, grain-free, oil-free, and soy-free. It does however, call for nut butter so if you have and kind of nut allergies this isn’t for you. The original recipe says you can exclude it if you want but honestly I don’t see how you could. it calls for cashew butter but I used regular natural peanut butter because it’s what we had. I had intended on making my own cashew butter but it takes like a half our in the food processor and I did not feel like doing that, Some day I will but not today.

So here it is, Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookie Pota’Dough

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240 grams yellow-skinned cooked potatoes, peeled (approx. 1 1/3 cups)

6-7 tbsp pure maple syrup, or to taste (I used about 8 because I like things sweet)

3 tbsp cashew nut butter (again, I used regular natural peanut butter)

1/2 tbsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt, or to taste

1/3 cups dairy free chocolate chips (plus more to top with)

 

Directions:

  1. Peel and roughly chop the potatoes. Cook the potatoes in a pot of water until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain.
  2. In a food processor, immediately add the cooked potatoes (still hot), nut butter, vanilla, and maple syrup. Do not use cold potatoes or the texture will be like mashed potatoes instead of a silky dip. Process until smooth for at least a couple of minutes, stopping to scrape down the bowl as necessary. Make sure no clumps remain. Adjust sweetness if desired.
  3. Place mixture in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes (preferably an hour) to chill and then stir in the chocolate chips just before serving. Top with a few extra chips and enjoy. Serve with graham crackers, fresh fruit, cookies, cinnamon sugar pita chips, or the way we had it – by the spoon full.

There you have it, the healthiest dessert ever!

Bon Appetite!

-Chef Drew