CELEBRATE A WHITE CHRISTMAS AT THE TABLE

WHITE CHRISTMAS TRIO WITH SAVORY WALNUT SAUCE

A beautiful main dish, this trio features a tasty grain as the base, topped with a hearty serving of vegetables. The final topping is a snowy white, ultra creamy walnut sauce garnished with fresh pomegranate seeds and a sprinkle of parsley.

While it looks complicated, it’s really quite manageable with good planning. The bulgur, vegetables, and the sauce can each be made a day ahead and stored in a container that can be gently warmed in the oven. You don’t even have to warm the sauce–just enjoy it at room temperature and it will be delightfully creamy and delicious.

This is a fun dish to serve because it lends itself to inventively creative presentations. Assembling the dish will tap into your innovative notions and allow you go be as expressive as your inner artist allows. If you prefer simplicity, that’s totally OK and your family will still enjoy a luscious and healthy whole grain dish complete with vegetables and a unique, walnut-based sauce that’s white as snow to top off the White Christmas Trio.

To fill out the meal, I would also add legumes, a side vegetable, and a gorgeous salad. Of course, a delicious appetizer makes a great start to the festivities. Perhaps the Yin Yang Thanksgiving Paté. A lighter choice might be the Smoky Garlic Stuffed Endive. I’ve posted some fun choices for your holiday dessert and will let you explore the many recipes by clicking on Desserts.

WHITE CHRISTMAS TRIO WITH SAVORY WALNUT SAUCE

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Bulgur Wheat

1 1/2 cups coarse bulgur wheat or Basmati brown rice

3 cups water

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/3 cup raisins

Walnut Sauce

3 cups walnuts

3 cups vanilla soymilk

1 to 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon organic sugar

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Pinch cayenne (optional)

Vegetables

2 large carrots, coarsely grated

2 large zucchini squashes, coarsely grated

1 large yellow summer squash, coarsely grated

1 medium onion, chopped

2 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced, crosswise

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon basil

1/2 teaspoon marjoram

1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt or to taste

Freshly ground black pepper

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Garnish

1/2 to 3/4 cup pomegranate seeds

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

TO MAKE THE BULGUR WHEAT, combine the bulgur, water, and salt in a 2-quart saucepan. Cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, and steam for 12 to 15 minutes (steam Basmati brown rice 35 to 45 minutes, or until tender).

Put the raisins in a small bowl and cover with hot water. Set aside to plump them while preparing the remaining ingredients.

TO MAKE THE WALNUT SAUCE, put the walnuts, soymilk, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and sugar in a blender. Process until smooth and creamy. Adjust seasonings as needed. The sauce will thicken when standing. Set aside in a saucepan and warm gently before serving.

TO MAKE THE VEGETABLES, combine the carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, onions, water, olive oil, garlic, oregano, basil, marjoram, salt and pepper in a large deep skillet. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until the vegetables are soft, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add 1 or more tablespoons of water as needed to prevent burning the vegetables. Adjust seasonings and add lemon juice to taste.

Drain the water from the reserved raisins and add them to the vegetables and toss well.

TO ASSEMBLE THE DISH:

  • Mound the bulgur wheat onto a large serving platter.
  • Spoon some of the walnut sauce over the bulgur, leaving a 1-inch border of the bulgur showing.
  • Form a ring of the cooked vegetables, leaving a 1-inch border of bulgur wheat around the edges.
  • Finish with a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds and parsley over the top.
  • Serve the remainder of the walnut sauce on the side.

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SRIRACHA AND BRUSSELS SPROUTS GET MARRIED!

 Randy's BrusselsMAPLE-SRIRACHA ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS

WITH CRANBERRY WILD RICE

Randy Clemens is the author of The Sriracha Cookbook, The Veggie-Lover’s Sriracha Cookbook, and co-author of The Craft of Stone Brewing Co. He is a graduate of the California School of Culinary Arts and a BJCP Recognized Beer Judge. When not writing for Los Angeles magazine and other stellar publications, he can sometimes be found cooking, playing baritone horn, practicing yoga, or just trying to help make the world a better place. If one (or more) of these things also tickles your fancy, you can follow Randy’s musings on Twitter via @SrirachaBook and @RandyClemensEsq. Photo of Randy Clemens by Tyler Graham.

RANDY CLEMENS 4l_aHNVby8iRpg0YdN6nEkE7pEoQyOvb5LV2lORGkKx3141NE=w1226-h582MAPLE-SRIRACHA ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH CRANBERRY WILD RICE
Makes 4 to 6 servings

Cranberry Wild Rice

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 small red onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 bay leavesSRIRACHA COOKBOOK 3kIsrR-sDpX0rAPo8rV2h6b3XBz0O5_h2u7bhN0Rr7hObWeEuA=w1226-h582

1 1/2 cups wild rice

3 1/2 cups vegetable stock

1/2 cup unsweetened dried cranberries

1/4 cup chopped raw walnuts or pecans

2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Brussels Sprouts

1/2 cup Grade B maple syrup or raw agave nectar

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons Sriracha

1 1/2 tablespoons Bragg Liquid Aminos or low-sodium soy sauce

Juice of 1 lime

1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise

Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish (optional)

To make the rice, heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and bay leaves and sauté just until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the rice and stir until evenly coated. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is slightly toasted and has a nutty aroma, about 3 minutes. Pour in 1 cup of the stock to deglaze the pan, using a wooden spoon to scrape up all the stubborn, tasty brown bits. Add the remaining 2 1/2 cups of stock and the cranberries. Bring to a boil, then immediately lower the heat, cover, and simmer until the rice is tender and some of the grains have popped, 50 to 60 minutes. Uncover and fluff with a fork. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and drain off any excess liquid.

While the rice is cooking, prepare the Brussels sprouts. Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a large bowl, combine the maple syrup, oil, Sriracha, liquid aminos, and lime juice and whisk until well blended. Add the Brussels sprouts and toss until evenly coated. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the Brussels sprouts to a nonstick or parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet or a large cast-iron skillet and spread them in a single layer. Reserve any liquid left in the bowl. Bake the Brussels sprouts for about 25 minutes, until tender and browned.

To finish the rice and serve, add the walnuts to the rice without stirring. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Add the rosemary and fluff with a fork to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve the Brussels sprouts over the rice, garnished with a healthy drizzle of the reserved maple-Sriracha dressing and a sprinkling of parsley.

You can use honey in place of the maple syrup if you wish. Raw orange blossom honey would be especially nice.

Reprinted with permission from The Veggie-Lover’s Sriracha Cookbook: 50 Vegan “Rooster Sauce” Recipes That Pack a Punch by Randy Clemens. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc. Text copyright © 2013 by Randy Clemens. Photographs copyright © 2013 by Leo Gong. Veggie Lovers Sriracha Cookbook

A SWEET RELISH FOR THE HOLIDAY TABLE!

Cranberry & Winter Fruit RelishCRANBERRY AND WINTER FRUIT RELISH

 So stunningly festive with its dazzling colors and so perfectly seasonal, this easy-as-pie side dish is one that complements any meal the way any relish does. It looks gorgeous on the buffet table and always makes a splash when it arrives at a potluck.

The best part is –you don’t have to cook it! Just chop, mix, and serve. The dish was created for two reasons: first, it’s that simple prep that’s so appreciated during the frenzied holiday season when busy households are scurrying to squeeze in work, shopping, cooking, and holiday party schedules. The second is that it stokes a sweet memory.

While the medley of fruits seems like enough to bring sweetness to the palate, they are not sweet enough to overcome the sour statement of fresh cranberries, leaving the dish begging for extra sweetening.

I’ve used sugar to compensate for the mouth-puckering tart cranberries, but during this Vegan Holidays highresseason I’ll also be experimenting with maple syrup, date syrup, and a homemade date puree in place of the sugar. Another thought that seems very appealing is a puree of Hachiya persimmons to replace the sugar. This is one of the delicious recipes in my Vegan for the Holidays cookbook.

Toward the end of the holiday season, while cranberries are still available, I buy several bags and freeze them so I can make cranberry dishes throughout the winter season. They keep quite well in the freezer for up to 1 year.

When the holidays are over and cranberries and persimmons have disappeared from the produce bins, I turn to apples, pears, and tangerines in their place. They work perfectly and provide us with a pleasant variation.

This dish brings on a delicious little touch of nostalgia for me. I remember coming to my grandmother’s house for the Jewish holidays. When it was time to eat, she always brought a fruit-sweetened relish of some sort to the table along with the main course. Hers was much simpler, with fewer ingredients, and it was not necessarily as colorful. But etched in my mind is the sweet memory of that little touch of fruity delight that was so welcome and so appealing.

I hope this dish brings sweet delights to your table as it does mine.

CRANBERRY AND WINTER FRUIT RELISH

 Yield: 5 to 6 servings

2 Fuyu persimmons, dicedCranberry & Winter Fruit Relish

1 Bosc pear, diced

3/4 cup fresh cranberries

8 pitted dates, diced

5 tablespoons organic sugar

1/2 to 1 jalapeno chile, seeded and minced

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cider vinegar

1 clove garlic, minced

2 to 3 sprigs fresh mint, for garnish

  1. Combine the persimmons, pear, cranberries, dates, sugar, jalapeno, vinegar, and garlic in a medium bowl and toss well to distribute the flavors and colors.
  1. Transfer the relish to a serving bowl and garnish with the mint if desired. Cover and refrigerate if prepared in advance.