29 December 2009

The Feast

Valerie asked for the recipes for the Solstice Feast, and rather than send it to her directly, I figured I'd use the recipes as a jump-off point for a blog post. (I am finding it hard to blog about anything that seems meaningful enough to write it and then post it days later...at least until I am inspired. But that makes for a spotty blog, so I am still working on it. *I* like to read other people's day by days, so I'm not sure why it's so hard to write them down and then post them en masse...)

Anyway, my feast was almost directly from Myra KornFeld's Voluptuous Vegan cookbook. The food is marvelously tasty...and as a bonus, the recipes are collected into "feasts", and then she gives a step by step to getting the whole meal on the table at one time -- I find that immensely helpful! However, it's not in my nature to cook right from the book. Recipes are suggestions, and mine are a little different. ;)

Kornfeld is a vegan, and I am not, so I often use butter where she calls for olive oil if I am not cooking for vegans.


1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 cup millet
1/2 cup tef
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (or to taste)
1/4 cup of olive oil or butter
fresh-ground black pepper

Soak the grains overnight in two cups of water and the lemon juice.

When it's time to start cooking, rinse the grains thoroughly and drain them. Start heating 3 cups of water and the salt to boiling.

Put the drained grains in another pan and warm them over medium low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon.

When you smell nuts in the kitchen, pour the boiling water over the grains, cover and cook, covered, at a slow simmer for 10 minutes or so, or until the water is absorbed.

Turn off the heat and keep covered for at least another 5 minutes or until ready to serve.

When ready to serve, fluff with a fork and add garlic powder, black pepper, and olive oil (or butter).

Sauteed Spaghetti Squash

1 medium spaghetti squash
3 tablespoons of olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper flakes (or to taste)

Preheat the oven to 425

Split the squash and seed it.

Place cut side up on a baking dish. Rub with a little oil and salt.

Bake for 20 minutes and then reduce the heat to 375. Continue baking for another 40 minutes.

Cool for 15 minutes or until you can handle it easily.

Using a fork, scrape the long fibers of squash into a bowl.

Heat a large pan or a wok. When it's really hot, add the oil, garlic, and red pepper, stir, and then immediately add the squash. Toss until it's heated through and some strands of the squash are getting caramelized.

Serve piping hot.

Note: I often add far more peppers when feeding groups that appreciate heat. When feeding more tender pallets I leave the peppers out and serve the squash with chipotle and ceyenne on the table to be added to taste, or not. If no one will want pepper, I add about 1/4 teaspoon of cumin and a handful of oregano along with the garlic.

Sauteed Mushrooms

1 large onion, diced fine
5 cloves of garlic, crushed
butter or olive oil -- 3 tablespoons or more
2 pounds of fresh, soft stemmed mushrooms, slices into 1/4 in slices.
a splash of soy sauce or Braggs Aminos -- for fancy occasions, dry white wine or brandy is lovely

Put 1 tablespoon of butter in the bottom of a very large skillet.

When the butter is melted, add the onions and saute over medium high heat until they start to brown. Add the garlic, and continue to saute until the garlic softens.

Add a handful of sliced mushrooms to the pan and cook them until they are starting to get golden.

Move them out to the edges of the pan and add another handful of mushrooms. Cook the new batch to golden, and push them off to the sides.

If the pan is getting dry, add more butter, and then add another handful of mushrooms.

When you can no longer fit a handful of raw mushrooms onto the bottom of the skillet, move the cooked mushrooms to a heat safe serving dish and put them in a low warm oven while you finish with the rest.

When the last mushrooms are golden, pull the previous batch from the oven, add it to the skillet and then add a splash of soy sauce, Braggs, or whatever you're using. You want to deglaze the pan -- that is, pick up the tummy coating that has formed on the bottom of the pan and put it back on the mushrooms.

Serve in the now warm serving dish.

African Groundnut Stew

Notes: This recipe is infinitely adaptable to what you have on hand. Once you've tried it, it easy to add this, leave out that, replace this with that and still have a really yummy dish. This is the full-blown feast version, but I have put an asterisk near the "skeletal" ingredients so you can try a more basic version for a smaller group. If you use fewer vegetables, remember to reduce the amount of the ones you do use. Oh, and do try that cauliflower before you add it -- it may become a frequent favorite on your table at other meals as well. It sure has at ours.

2 heads of *cauliflower
4 tablespoons olive oil

1 large *onion
4 cloves of *garlic, minced
1 inch piece of fresh *ginger, minced
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper flakes

1/2 pound of Yucca, peeled, cut into large chunks, and with the fibrous core removed
1 turnip, chopped into large chunks
2 *carrots, roll cut
1 stalk of celery, cut into diagonal chunks about 2 inches long
1 leek, halved and sliced
2 large *tomatoes cut into chunks. (You can peel and seed them, if you like)
1 sweet potato, cut into large chunks
1 pound of winter *squash (kabocha, if you can find it) cut into large chunks

2 tablespoons soy sauce or *Braggs aminos, or shoyu
2 cups water or stock
1/2 cup of the best *peanut butter you can get
1 cup of water or stock, hot
2 tablesoons of ginger juice
1 scallion
chopped fresh cilantro
chopped, dry roasted *peanuts
greens -- mizuna, dandelion, cress...whatever looks good today

Preheat the oven to 450

Cut the cauliflower into largish florets and toss it with 4 tablesoons of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.
Spread the coated cauliflower onto a large baking tray or cookie sheet
Roast for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 and bake another 15 minutes.

Heat two tablespoons in a large pot (8 quarts or so)
Add the onions and saute until brown
Add the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes and saute until the garlic softens

Add the yucca, turnips, carrots, celery, tomatoes, and the soy/shoyu/Braggs
Cook them, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are reduced and thickened
Add the water or stock and bring to a rolling boil. Lower the heat and simmer partially covered for 10 minutes or so.

Add the sweet potato, squash, and salt. Cook until all the vegetables are tender.

Mix the warm water and stock with the peanut butter and stir until the peanut buitter is entirely dissolved.

Almost done!

Add the peanut butter mixture and the cauliflower and stor it through and bring the temperature back up a bit.

Add the ginger juice, scallions, and cilantro and a generous pinch of cayenne.

If the stew is too thick, add a bit more water. Transfer to a serving dish, and sprinkle with peanuts, more cilantro, and greens.


1 comment:

We're happy to hear from you; thanks!