LET’S GET READY FOR A VEGAN THANKSGIVING DINNER

PISTACHIO AND SWEET PEA TORTE

WITH ROASTED TOMATO AIOLI

Vegan Thanksgiving yearns for a classic signature dish that becomes a cherished must-have for the Thanksgiving main course. Deliciously seasoned with flamboyant flavors, captivatingly aromatic, and visually appealing, this unique torte is a first-rate holiday entrée that delivers plenty of pizzazz. If you favor sauces to dress up the presentation, include the irresistible Roasted Tomato Aioli, an elegant complement to the torte. Both the torte and the aioli can be prepared a day ahead.

I’ve served this main-dish torte at other times during the winter and spring seasons and it’s always a hit. But mostly, I save it for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner–that makes it special, and I change it out with other main dishes so it maintains its special status.

I know the long list of ingredients makes it look scary, but it actually comes together rather well. I’ve even made it two days ahead because it keeps perfectly. And when I bring it to the table, it always gets a few WOWs–feels really nice to hear them.

Although I’ve specified shredded carrots as part of the garnish, sometimes I use sliced persimmons or half slices of oranges. The orange colors set this dish up for an eye-appealing presentation.

Important: Because there are ingredients that require advance preparation, read the recipe thoroughly well in advance of preparing it. That way, you can have the rice cooked and ready, the pistachios roasted and ground, and the frozen peas completely thawed.

PISTACHIO AND SWEET PEA TORTE

WITH ROASTED TOMATO AIOLI

 

Makes about 10 to 12 servings

Torte

1 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup cashews or walnuts

1 tablespoon plus 14 teaspoon white vinegar or rice vinegar

2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 3/4 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons coarsely ground roasted pistachios

 

2 medium onions, diced

2 medium carrots, diced

1 stalk celery, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon poultry seasoning

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, coarsely ground with a mortar and pestle

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

Pinch cayenne

Freshly ground pepper

 

3 cups cooked short-grain brown rice

1 pound frozen peas, thawed

1 medium carrot, shredded, for garnish

3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, for garnish

Aioli

1 pound Roma tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise

1 cup water

1/2 cup cashews or walnuts

2 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground smoked paprika or liquid smoke

TO PREPARE THE PAN, cover the base of a 9-inch springform pan with a piece of parchment paper 2 inches larger. Snap the collar back onto the base, and cut away the excess paper with scissors. Lightly oil the sides of the pan, place it on a baking sheet, and set aside.

TO MAKE THE TORTE, pour 1 cup of the water and the cashews into a blender. Process on high speed until smooth and milky. Transfer to a small bowl, stir in the vinegar and set aside to sour.

Combine the oats, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl and mix well. Stir in 1/2 cup of the ground pistachios.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Combine the remaining 1/2 cup of water, onions, carrots, celery, red bell pepper, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, poultry seasoning, fennel seeds, oregano, marjoram, turmeric, cayenne, and pepper in a large skillet. Cook and stir over medium-high heat for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened. Add 1 or more tablespoons of water as needed to prevent burning.

Add the cooked vegetables and the cooked rice to the oat mixture and combine well.

Put the peas in a food processor. Process until creamy, stopping occasionally to scrape down the work bowl. Add the peas and the soured cashew milk to the vegetable mixture and mix well.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared springform pan and spread to the edges, packing the mixture firmly. Smooth the top and sprinkle with the remaining 3 tablespoons of pistachios. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until the torte is firm when gently pressed. Let cool at least 30 minutes before serving.

TO MAKE THE AIOLI, put the tomatoes on a baking sheet, cut side up, and broil about 3 inches from the heat for 15 to 20 minutes, turning twice while broiling, until completely soft.

Meanwhile, put the water, cashews, and garlic in a blender. Process until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down the blender jar. Add the broiled tomatoes, lemon juice, salt, and paprika to the cashew mixture. Process until smooth and creamy, stopping occasionally to scrape down the blender jar. Transfer the sauce to a 1-quart saucepan and simmer over medium heat for about 5 minutes.

TO SERVE THE TORTE, place the springform pan on a large serving platter. To unmold, run a knife around the edge to loosen the torte. Carefully lift off the collar. Garnish the edge of the platter with the shredded carrot and minced parsley. Cut the torte into serving-size wedges and serve with aioli 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 Dish for Sweet Potato Season

Sweet Potato CakesSWEET POTATO CAKES

If you’ve baked too many sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving and have leftovers, count on these scrumptious little patties to put them to work.

If you don’t have leftover baked sweet potatoes, make some tonight and put an extra 1 or 2 in the oven so you can make these fun-to-eat patties. This is one of those treasured, easy-prep side dishes that you can even make ahead and simply warm briefly in the oven.

The neat thing is they don’t need lots of your attention–once you’ve got them in the oven, you’re free to catch up on the latest issue of your favorite veggie magazine or make a sumptuous salad for dinner.

Yield: about 10 pattiesSweet Potato Cakes 2

2 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon flaxseed meal

 

1 (15-ounce) can cannellini or Great Northern beans, thoroughly drained and rinsed

1 cup baked, mashed sweet potatoes or yams

1/2 cup diced onions

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

 

1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs) or regular bread crumbs

 

Garnish

5 cherry tomatoes, halved

Clusters of herbs (sage, basil, parsley, cilantro) or cooked broccoli florets

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  1. In a small bowl, combine the water and flaxseed meal and stir well to moisten the meal completely. Set aside to thicken. Alternatively, combine them in a blender and process until the mixture forms a thick slurry.
  1. Put the beans in the food processor and add the sweet potatoes, onions, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Process until well combined. Add the flaxseed meal and process briefly until incorporated.
  1. Sprinkle the panko onto a large, shallow bowl or recessed dish and have a spoon ready. Use about 3 to 4 heaping tablespoons of the sweet potato mixture to form patties. Drop each one into the panko and spoon the panko over the top and sides. Use a metal spatula to carefully transfer the patties to the prepared baking sheet and use your hands or the back of a spoon to flatten them slightly.
  1. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Carefully turn the patties over with the spatula and bake 15 to 20 minutes longer, or until firm. Transfer the patties to an attractive serving platter and top each one with a cherry tomato half. Garnish the platter with herbs or cooked broccoli florets.

 

 

Beets Never Tasted this Good!

BOUND FOR GLORY BEETS

This is a charming side dish perfect for any occasion. It looks great on the buffet table but you can easily plop in into a bowl and pass it at the table. It’s so versatile you can serve it hot, cold, or room temperature so it makes the ideal prep-ahead recipe. Here’s an extra bonus–you can even make it two days ahead and it still tastes great. That means that leftovers will still be delicious the next day.

If you’ve got a crowd coming, count on this recipe to go a long way. For a small family dinner, consider cutting the recipe in half or you’ll have tons left over. Bound for Glory BeetsBecause of the unique seasonings, the beets make a tasty salad topper or even a crown for polenta, or the base of a Russian salad –you name it.

I love that this recipe comes together so quickly with the food processor playing a key role in prepping the beets and carrots. That very special appliance is truly one of the miracles of our modern day  kitchens. Our grandmothers never dreamed of such things that cold do the work of shredding and chopping in seconds.

One little heads-up: Horseradish can be brazenly spicy! Use it with moderation unless your family adores its pungent nip. I start with 1 tablespoon, mix it in well, and taste. That’s usually enough for my family. But–and this is worth noting. If the horseradish has been hanging around your fridge for some time, it has lost a good bit of its zesty nature. In that case, even two tablespoons of it might be pretty darned good. If you buy a fresh jar, though, you’ll find that even one tablespoons can clear your sinuses.

BOUND FOR GLORY BEETS

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Beets

3 large golden or red beets (1 1/2 to 2 pounds), peeled and coarsely shredded

2 medium onions, chopped

1 large carrot, coarsely shredded

1 cup water or more as needed

 

Sauce

1 /4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons agave nectar or maple syrup

1 to 2 tablespoons prepared non-dairy horseradish

3 tablespoons fresh chopped dill or 1 tablespoon dried dill weed

 

Garnish

1 cucumber, scored with fork tines, and sliced

Bound for Glory Beets 21 medium carrot, peeled and coarsely shredded or sliced into thin          matchsticks with a julienne peeler

2 to 3 tablespoons coarsely ground walnuts

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

  1. Combine the beets, onions, carrot, and water in a large, deep skillet and cook and stir over high heat for 8 to 10 minutes, or until softened and most of the water has evaporated. Add 1 or more tablespoons of water only as needed to cook the vegetables and prevent burning.
  2. While the beets are cooking, combine the Dijon mustard, water, agave nectar, horseradish, and dill in a small bowl and mix well. Decrease the heat to medium and add the Dijon mixture. Cook for 1 or 2 minutes longer, stirring well to marry the flavors.
  3. Transfer the beets to an attractive serving platter, spooning them into the center to leave a border.
  4. To garnish, surround the beets with the cucumbers. Spoon the carrots next to the beets. Sprinkle the center of the beets with the ground walnuts and sprinkle with parsley.

Alternative Serving Suggestions

Change the whole look of the dish by using beets of two colors. Cook 2 medium golden beets and 2 medium red beets separately, adding 1 onion and medium carrot each. Divide the sauce between the 2 kinds of beets and arrange them in unique ways on the platter:

  • Form the two colors in a yin-yang shape
  • Arrange the two colors side-by-side or
  • Place one color in the center of the serving platter and surround it with the other color