As I mentioned previously, there was a ton o’ cooking and eating going on at our house on New Year’s Eve. Below is a menu of what we feasted on along with the how-to’s! Hope you can enjoy and try out at least one of the recipes below!
New Year’s Eve Dinner Menu paired with Sangria, Lambrusco & Champagne
Starter: Mushroom Pate, Vegetable Bruschetta with Crackers
Main dish: Tomato Bisque Soup with Whole Wheat Rosemary & Onion Focaccia
Desert: Chocolate Kahula Cinnamon Mousse
I came across this amazing recipe from my very awesome friend Dianna (who always introduces me to all things fun, cool and vegan). It’s very easy to make and everyone raves how delish it is (especially my husband who acts like a crack fiend whenever he sees this stuff)! You can find the original recipe here on the PETA site.
Servings: can easily be an appetizer for a small dinner party
Time from start to plate: 3 hours (or 1 if you are OK with not refrigerating for 2 hours after preparation, like my husband who if he could would start eating it straight from the blender)
Adaptations: The recipe calls for 1/8 tsp of truffle oil but we all know how much I LOVE the stuff so I upped the portion to about 1/2 to 1 tsp of truffle oil. I think it definitely makes it richer. If you don’t want to add the extra truffle oil in when making the dish, you can also drizzle some on top when serving.
Recipe for Veggie Bruschetta
You can easily make this with any veggies you have on hand. It’s just a fun way to use up your groceries or sneak in some usually unwanted veggies into someone’s meal!
Servings: Varies depending on how much you want to make. I made about 2 cups.
Time from start to plate: 25 minutes
1.5 cups of chopped veggies sauteed for about 10 minutes (until they’re soft) with light salt and pepper. For the New Year’s Eve dinner, I used onions, brussel sprouts, corn, and mushrooms.
1/2 cup of chopped olives (you can use any kind, I had green spanish olives on hand but you can do this with any sort of olives)
Sprinkling of dried rosemary
This is how we do: Once you sauteed the veggies with some salt & pepper for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add to a bowl. Add the chopped olives and dried rosemary. Mix well and serve with toast or crackers!
Time from start to plate: 45 minutes
4 tbsp of vegan margarine
1 onion, chopped
2-3 carrots, chopped
1 bunch of celery, chopped
7-10 tomatoes chopped up
2 tsp of minced garlic
less than a 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
5 cups of vegan chicken broth (I LOVE Better Than Bouillon, I can’t live without this stuff)
3/4 cup of raw cashews
1/2 cup of non-dairy milk
1/4 tsp of salt and some more for taste
Pepper to taste
Chives for garnish
This is how we do:
Sprinkle some salt into a pot and melt the vegan margarine. This creates a non-stick effect!! An amazing trick I learned from the super talented and inspiring Tal Ronnen in one of THE most brilliant cookbooks ever – The Conscious Cook. Everyone should go get a copy now! Anyhoo, back to the cooking! Once you’ve melted the margarine, place the chopped onion, carrots and celery into the pot and saute for about 10 minutes (or until the veggies start to become soft). Then add the chopped tomatoes and saute some more for a couple of minutes. Then add the flour a spoonful at a time (you want to try to thicken the mixture you have going but not dry it out completely). Then add the broth and have it come to a boil all together and then simmer for a few minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
While your veggies were cooking and your soup was boiling, place the 3/4 cup of raw cashews in a food processor and blend. Once the cashews are ground up, add the salt and the 1/4 cup of non-dairy milk. Process all together until the mixture is nice and smooth.
While your soup is simmering, add the cashew mixture to the pot and stir. Once you mixed it together well, remove from heat. Place soup in a blender and puree away! Be very careful if your soup is very hot while you blend! I don’t know if you ever tried to blend something while it’s super hot but it tends to create a lot of air pressure within the blender from the steam and can push the top right off, spraying hot soup everywhere (I’m unfortunately speaking from experience). Once the mixture is nicely blended, serve in bowls & garnish with faaaaancy looking chives! Enjoy!
Whole Wheat Onion & Rosemary Focaccia
This is a recipe I adapted from Tal Ronnen’s cookbook The Conscious Cook (like I said earlier, it is AMAZING and once you read it, you’ll never be able to cook without it). I think the recipe below offers a good base that you can change and experiment with different types of flour and flavors/herbs.
Servings: about 6
Time from start to plate: about 4 hours (most of it is waiting on the dough to rise)
3-4 cups of whole wheat flour
1 tbs of sugar (do not use agave or any other substitute, it’s important to use actual sugar here for the yeast to feed on)
1.5 cups of warm water
1 packet of active yeast
1 cup of olive oil
1 tbs of vegan margarine
1 tbs of dried rosemary needles
2 onions thinly sliced
freshly ground pepper
This is how we do:
If you have a stand mixer, I would highly recommend using it with a dough hook as it mixes everything nicely and is much easier. Start by putting the sugar and warm water in a bowl and stir until it dissolves. Place the yeast in the sugar water mixture and let it sit – do not mix. Come back in 20 minutes and the mixture should be foamy. If it’s not, it means that the yeast mixture didn’t work and you’ll need to start all over.
Set aside a 1/3 cup of oil and from this batch, place one spoonful into the yeast mixture. Add a cup of flour with two pinches of salt. Start the stand mixer at low. Keep adding a spoonful of oil with a cup of flour and pinches of salt until you have added about 3 cups. If the dough isn’t firm yet, add a little more flour. If the dough is dry, add some more oil. Once you have a smooth, firm dough, remove it from the dough hook and place it in a well oiled bowl. Make sure to turn the dough in the oil to coat all of it. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let it rise for 2 hours (that’s about 4 episodes of 30 Rock 🙂 ).
When you return the dough, it should’ve at least doubled in size and puffed up. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush oil on it. Gently stretch the dough on the pan – DO NOT roll it or push it out. With your finger, add dimples throughout the dough an inch apart. Cover with the towel and let it rise for another 20 to 30 minutes.
While the dough is rising in the pan, sprinkle some salt onto a pan. Add the vegan margarine and a tbs of oil and melt over the salt. Add the thinly sliced onions and saute. Stir frequently and keep cooking until the onions are soft and browned.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a small bowl, add 3 tbs of olive oil, 4 pinches of salt, pepper, and the rosemary needles. Brush the top of the dough with the mixture. Bake the dough for about 10 minutes. Then take the pan out to rotate it but also add the sauteed onions. Bake for another 10 minutes until the top is browned. Take the bread out and let cool before cutting into squares and serving.
I adapted this recipe from one the lovely and talented Dianna sent me from Vegansaurus. You can find the original recipe here which I added a 2tbsp of kahula and a couple dashes of cinnamon to! It is very easy to make and super decadent!