CAN’T BEET POMEGRANATE SALAD FOR THANKSGIVING!

sharonpalmer_headshot3Sharon Palmer RD generously shares her beautifully composed BEET AND POMEGRANATE SALAD to start the holiday meal with a pack of antioxidants packaged so appealingly no one will turn down a hearty serving.

Sharon has created an award-winning profession based on combining her two great loves–food and writing. As a registered dietitian with 16 years of health care experience, she channels her nutrition experience into writing features covering health, wellness, nutrition, and cuisine. Sharon is also a passionate writer about food and environmental issues, having published a number of features on plant-based diets, hunger, agriculture, local and organic foods, eco-friendly culinary practices, sustainability, food safety, and food security. Over 850 of Sharon’s features have been published in a variety of publications, including Better Homes & Gardens, 6x9Prevention, Oxygen, LA Times, Cooking Smart, and CULINOLOGY. Her books include The Plant-Powered Diet: The Lifelong Eating Plan for Achieving Optimal Health Beginning Today and Plant-Powered for Life: Eat Your Way to Lasting Health with 52 Simple Steps & 125 Delicious Recipes. Sharon is the editor of the acclaimed health newsletter, Environmental Nutrition and nutrition editor for Today’s Dietitian. She writes every day for her popular Plant-Powered Blog. In addition, Sharon is a nutrition advisor for the Oldways Vegetarian130 Network and served as a judge for the James Beard Journalism awards. She was the proud recipient of the Loma Linda University Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2013.

Living in the chaparral hills overlooking Los Angeles with her husband and two sons, Sharon enjoys visiting the local farmers market every week and cooking for friends and family.

Beet and Pomegranate Seed Salad pic3BEET AND POMEGRANATE SALAD

Ingredients:
4 cups packed mixed baby greens
2 cups packed assorted micro-greens
2 cups sliced baby beets, cooked and chilled
1 cup fresh pomegranate seeds
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped walnuts
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced

Directions:
1. Arrange the baby greens in a salad bowl or on a platter. Top with the micro-greens.
2. Arrange the beets on top of the micro-greens and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and walnuts.
3. Whisk together the orange juice, olive oil, black pepper, and garlic in a small bowl.Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and serve immediately.

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GOTTA HAVE STUFFING FOR THANKSGIVING!

StuffingSAVORY CHESTNUT AND FRUIT STUFFING

Without fail, Thanksgiving brings out our most nostalgic memories. Often those treasured times call to mind remembrances of the delicious stuffing our mothers and grandmothers brought to the table at holiday time.

Those flavors we remember so fondly may have been savory, sage-infused, and earthy, or perhaps they were sweet, fruity, and spicy. Each year I debate whether to prepare a savory stuffing or one more focused on the fruity side.

This year I’ve settled my own conundrum by uniting both sides of the sweet-savory debateChestnuts roasting and adding one of my very favorite foods of the autumn season–CHESTNUTS! Here’s a quick recipe for roasting chestnuts. If you prefer to boil the chestnuts, a method I turn to most often, here’s my post on Cooking and Peeling Chestnuts with step-by-step directions:

https://veganfortheholidays.wordpress.com/2014/08/18/cooking-peeling-chestnuts-illustrated/

If you don’t have the time to cook and peel fresh chestnuts, you can find them already prepared in jars and vacuum-sealed packages. Avoid the canned chestnuts packed in water–they simply don’t have the alluring taste and texture of vacuum-packed chestnuts.

This scrumptious stuffing, replete with chestnuts, is so fruity and ravishing, it makes a delicious meal by itself. Enjoy it as a side dish or use it to stuff acorn, butternut, or delicata squash.

For convenience, prepare the stuffing a day ahead, and warm it for 10 to 15 minutes in a preheated 350-degree F. oven before serving. If you use fresh chestnuts in the shell, cook and peel them in advance also, to bring this recipe together more easily.

This tasty stuffing recipe is very copious so there will most likely be leftovers that can easily be covered with aluminum foil and reheated. For a small family gathering, you might want to cut the recipe in half.

Vegan Holidays lowresOh, and by the way, this delicious recipe is from my Vegan for the Holidays Cookbook!

SAVORY CHESTNUT AND FRUIT STUFFING

 

 

Yield: 12 to 15 hearty servings

2 cups water

2/3 cup pearl barley

1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided

8 cups whole wheat bread cubes

2 1/2 cups vegetable broth

3 large sweet onions, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

2 large apples, cored and chopped

1 1/4 cups chopped cooked and peeled chestnuts, or pecans, or walnuts

1 cup golden raisins

3/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries

3/4 cup chopped dried apricots (preferably Turkish)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

2 tablespoons white miso

Garnishes

1/4 bunch parsley

3 tangerine wedges or Fuyu persimmon slices

3 fresh cranberries

1/4 cup pomegranate seeds

1/4 cup chopped parsley

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  1. Combine the water, barley, and 3/4 teaspoon of the salt in a 2-quart saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to low and simmer for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the barley is tender and all the water is absorbed.
  1. Meanwhile, place the bread cubes on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until dry. Transfer the bread cubes to an extra-large bowl.
  1. Add the vegetable broth to the bread cubes and mix vigorously with a wooden spoon until the bread cubes are broken down into a coarse meal. Set aside.
  1. Combine the onions and celery in a large, deep skillet and add 2 or 3 tablespoons of water. Cook and stir for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the onions are very soft and translucent. Add 1 or more tablespoons of water as needed to cook the vegetables and prevent burning. Transfer the onion mixture to the bowl with the bread cubes.
  1. Add the apples, chestnuts, raisins, cranberries, apricots, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, cooked barley, and the remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt and mix well.
  1. Thin the miso with about 3 tablespoons of water, add it to the stuffing mixture and combine well to distribute it evenly. Adjust the seasonings.
  1. Spoon the stuffing into a 13 x 9-inch baking pan, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 15 to 20 minutes, or until a light crust forms on the top.
  1. To serve, garnish one corner of the pan with the parsley and artfully nestle the tangerine wedges and cranberries into the parsley. Sprinkle the pomegranate seeds over the top, along with the chopped parsley.

SEXY CRANBERRY SAUCE

Cran Pear CompoteCRANBERRY-PEAR COMPOTE

Thanksgiving and cranberry sauce are the proverbial food marriage on the traditional Thanksgiving dinner table. It’s tradition! To leave it off the menu would have the family wondering if I was losing my marbles.

I have fond memories of my mom cooking fresh cranberries with sugar and cinnamon on the stove-top to get ready for the Thanksgiving feast. I followed in her tradition for many years. Then, thought it would be more fun to strike out with a few creative touches to the cranberry sauce .

Combining the cranberries with pears had great appeal and so did the addition of ginger. By the time I was finished playing, I had a super delicious and super easy version of cranberry sauce. It even looks more appealing than any of my past ventures. I was actually amazed at how quickly this recipe came together.

Yet, so many people shun fresh cranberries and turn to buying the Vegan Holidays highresstuff in the can. Honestly, canned cranberry sauce doesn’t hold a candle to this flavorful recipe that’s featured in the Thanksgiving section of my Vegan for the Holidays cookbook.

One of the features that make cranberry sauce such a holiday favorite is that it can be prepared up to a week ahead of the holiday. Sugar is quite the preservative and has been for eons. Just cover it and tuck it into the fridge–that is, after it cools and it will be ready when you need it. Prepare it several days in advance–it’s a great keeper.

If the sauce looks runny after cooking, remember that cranberries contain natural pectin that thickens when cooled and refrigerated.

This is a slightly chunky version of cranberry sauce. If you want it to be less chunky, cook it 10 to 15 minutes longer. You can even use an immersion blender if you want a smoother, less textured consistency.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

1 (12-ounce) package fresh cranberries

1 large firm pear, peeled, cored, and diced

1 cup organic sugar

3/4 cup water

1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick

1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 slices fresh Fuju persimmon, for garnish

  1. Combine all the ingredients, except the persimmon, in a 3-quart saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Just as the mixture comes to a boil, immediately decrease the heat to low and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool completely and refrigerate 8 to 12 hours to thicken.
  2. Before serving, artfully tuck 2 slices of persimmon into the compote so they stand upright.

ENJOY SOME VEGAN HEAVEN WITH A SIP OF CREAMY NOG!

 CHEF AJ’S HOLIDAY NOG Single nogAfter experiencing excellent health on a vegan diet for over 36 years, Chef AJ began developing delicious vegan and raw desserts for local Los Angeles restaurants. When people began asking for her recipes, she answered the call by teaching vegan cooking classes with a focus on from-scratch, low fat, no salt, no sugar, and no refined flour recipes.

UnprocessedChef AJ’s healthy cooking classes developed into the sensational Healthy Taste of LA (HTLA) all-day programs featuring well-known speakers like Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. Michael Greger, and Dr. Neal Barnard along with cooking demonstrations by nationally known chefs: Eric Tucker from Millennium, Ann Gentry of Real Food Daily, Eric LeChasseur and Sanae Suzuki from Seed Kitchen, and many more.

To find more information about HTLA visit http://www.chefajshealthykitchen.com

This busy chef travels across the country speaking and doing cooking demonstrations to promote the health benefits of a plant-based diet. She is also known for the zesty, short video presentations she does with Julieanna Hever, RD–The Chef and the Dietitian. AJ’s cookbook Unprocessed created with Glen Merzer features many of the recipes she formulated to teach her cooking classes.

 CHEF AJ’S HOLIDAY NOGchefaj2

Chef AJ shares her ultra thick, rich, and creamy nog that makes the ideal welcome beverage for a holiday gathering. This delicious nog is also decadent enough to be served as dessert or as an accompaniment to dessert. Make it ahead and refrigerate it until ready to serve. Then, just before serving, give the nog a brief whirl in the blender to make it pleasantly airy.

Yield: 4 1/2 cups or 6 to 8 servings

3 cups almond milk

1 cup cashewsSingle nog

3/4 cup pitted dates, snipped in half

1 tablespoon alcohol-free vanilla

3/4 teaspoon rum extract

Ground nutmeg for garnish

6 to 8 three-inch cinnamon sticks

Mix in blender. Pour into serving cups and sprinkle a dash of nutmeg into each cup. Finish with a cinnamon stick in each cup. Put the nog-filled cups on an attractive tray and serve.