27 November 2011

Vegan Garlic Mashed Potatoes for a Week

I adapted my mashed potatoes recipe to feed something like 30 people. As a result, mashed potatoes are the only Thanksgiving leftover I have not come close to losing to overenthusiastic noshers, and I feel rather smug about that. The pumpkin pie is gone; the gravy is a mere puddle of its former self, and at this point the cranberry sauce functions only in a cosmetic way. But I can continue to reap the benefits of Thursday's feast with my mashed potatoes.

Mashed potatoes can be turned into so many things, like mashed potato cakes…and potato bread rolls…and I don't know, some sort of shepherd's pot pie lid or something. Whatever. I just like these mashed potatoes with everything.  I was thinking of cooking up a big pot of parselyed crowder peas, and they would go quite well with my potatoes.

So for all you future feasters, here is my Vegan Garlic Mashed Potatoes For a Crowd:

Cooking time: about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

1 entire bag Yukon Gold potatoes, probably 8-11 medium
3 heads garlic plus 1 extra clove garlic
3 full sprigs fresh rosemary
about 1/4 Cup extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

  1.  Cut off the tops of the 3 heads garlic. Peel the garlic until it's only got one layer left. Drizzle the open tops with olive oil. Wrap the 3 heads of garlic in aluminum foil and roast them in the oven at 350ºF for about an hour until oozy and soft. (You can do this step a day or two in advance.)
  2. Scrub all the potatoes but don't peel. Plop them in a tall pot. Cover generously with water and bring to a boil. Simmer until a fork can easily pierce the middle of the fattest spud. Drain and return to the hot pot.
  3. Meanwhile, wash the rosemary, de-stem it, and chop up the leaves. Add them to the olive oil. Peel and mince a raw clove of garlic. Add that too. Add a generous helping of sea salt and pepper. Let the mix marinate at room temperature for at least a half hour. 
  4. With a hand-held potato masher, bluntly smash all the cooked potatoes into bits. Squeeze the tasty innards from the roasted heads of garlic directly into the potatoes. Add the oil-rosemary-garlic mixture. Mix them all up thoroughly.
  5. Serve hot to the multitudes.

25 November 2011

Cranberry Sauce

I enjoyed a ridiculously relaxing Thanksgiving this year. Everybody cooked de-lovely delicious dishes and we actually managed to sit down at the table only 1 hour behind schedule, even though everyone had thoroughly boozed up. One welcome discovery was a homemade cranberry sauce that George and I both enthusiastically scarfed down. Jamie showed us how to prepare it. He said that he found the recipe somewhere on allrecipes.com, but rather than go searching for it, I'm just going tell you what he did, thereby humanizing that disconnection from the laborer that we all suffer in this Satanic Age of Digital Information.

Cranberry Sauce

1 Cup orange juice
1 Cup sugar
1 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries, washed with mushy lurkers removed

In a pot on the stove, dissolve sugar in orange juice over medium heat. Add cranberries. Cook, stirring frequently, until most or all of the cranberries have popped. Cover and refrigerate until serving (a few hours to a few days later).

24 November 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! George and I are hosting this year and we are making:

blue cheese autumn salad
cucumber spears with lime and cilantro
green beans tossed in vinaigrette with carmelized shallots
2 kinds of mashed potatoes--whipped with butter and milk and vegan garlic rosemary
Julia's Buttery Vegetarian stuffing
shiitake mushroom gravy
2 kinds of cranberry sauce, 1 straight from the can
Julia's clover leaf rolls
(our guests are making a turkey and maybe turkey gravy)
Julia's pumpkin pie
Julia's pecan pie
mulled cider

We'll see which foods people enjoy the most. Feel free to share your vegetarian Thanksgiving plans in the comments! Ha ha, just kidding, I know you are all cooking.

20 November 2011

Frittata of Champions

After the not-very-nourishing sugar high of yesterday's coffee cake, I craved a more substantial follow-up. This morning the neighborhood children woke us up by rapping sharply on the door and demanding we come out and play. George went out but for some reason my mind flew instantly to Frittata-ville. I have never made a frittata, mostly because I don't like omelettes, or scrambled eggs (unless in sandwiches), or souffles, or anything involving a large mass of undifferentiated cooked eggs.

But I imagined a sort of quiche involving one of my very favorite breakfasts, hash browns. Luckily at my local store you can buy pre-grated hash browns with pretty much nothing else in them, and you can save a lot of time and effort just frying those up. So I looked for hash brown frittatas on the Internet and found this recipe which had been tried and approved of by about 600 people, as long as a bunch of changes were made.

I jumped on the bandwagon and made a bunch of changes too, and I have to say I was very very pleased with the result (George wanted it to have more cheese, but he always feels that way about everything). I now feel like the offspring of Popeye and Superman, ready to leap off tall buildings, analyze Gubaidulina's 1971 Concordanza, and read up on music printing in 16th century Venice.  Tally-ho!

Sarah's Hash Brown Frittata of Champions

vegetable oil
1 20-ounce bag of pre-grated hash browns, or a similar weight in russet potatoes, shredded in a food processor (make sure you squeeze out any liquid)
1 medium onion, chopped
garlic powder or several cloves fresh crushed/minced garlic
salt & pepper
6 eggs
several handfuls of spinach, washed
1/2 Cup of cheddar cheese

1 10-inch cast iron or oven-proof deep fry pan
1 other pan too

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  2. Heat oil in cast iron fry pan. On medium heat, fry the potatoes until both sides are brown and crispy. Remove from heat. Grind on pepper and salt liberally.
  3. Meanwhile, sauté onions in another pan until sweet and tender. Layer evenly on top of potato "crust."
  4. Chop spinach. Add on top of onions.
  5. Beat eggs. Add bunches of garlic powder (or garlic).
  6. Pour eggs evenly over potato-onion-spinach cake. 
  7. Stick whole fry pan in the oven for 10 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, grate cheddar. Do dishes.
  9. Remove pan from oven. Sprinkle cheese over the top evenly. Return to oven for 5 minutes.
  10. Set out drinks and plates.
  11. Remove frittata from oven. Divide into six wedges. Serve hot.
Now march out there and conquer your day!

19 November 2011

Coffee Cake

For a week, I nurtured the gentle dream of a warm, soft, buttery breakfast cake that I would whip up in the blink of an eye on Saturday morning. George and I would enjoy some slices with a strong hot pot of tea and then spend the rest of the day enjoying the autumn weather. That was my dream.

The reality was rudely different. Ninety minutes into my "blink of an eye," I realized that I had inadvertently chosen an ultra-fancy ultra-decadent holiday centerpiece cake recipe. Ninety minutes after that, I wondered how I had managed to spend so much of my precious time and energy on a coffee cake, of all things, when I'm not even that fond of coffee cake.

I know. I am ridiculous.

The worst aspect to all this is that the cake ended up tasting like a mere upgrade of that stuff Mopsy buys in a box for Passover. Yes, fancy cake-mix-in-a-box with a super-extra-fancy streusel topping. I mean, I know the cake is beautiful. But it's not remotely worth a stick and a half of butter, a cup and a half of sour cream, and more than 2 cups of sugar. And I've never liked coffee so I had no business making it.

I made this error because:
1) The recipe was in the Tassajara Bread Book. Everything else I've made from there (popovers, whole wheat muffins, pancakes) was easy, quick, and not so unhealthy. I mean, this book was written by a commune of hippies for other hippies. I guess even hippies go all out for holidays.
2) The recipe calls for a "tube pan" and I thought that meant a loaf pan which meant a small non-fussy cake. But it ended up meaning I had to use my bundt pan which meant a much bigger cake.
3) I didn't really pay attention to how much butter and sugar and fat and sheer sifting the recipe called for. The sifting took FOREVER.
4) I forgot that coffee cake is not soft and comforting but sort of crisp, dry, and too sugary. I was really hoping for something more of a pastry nature, like sticky rolls or something.

Anyway, Major Failure.

But George seemed to like it.

Vegetarian Snausage in Sauce

This side/ desperate person's entree really speaks for itself. It's one of those Clean-Out-The-Fridge-Before-Thanksgiving Dishes, but that doesn't mean it wasn't warming, comforting, and super super quick.

1 four-snausage package of Tofurkey Kielbasa sausage, sliced into thick rounds
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
dried basil
dried oregano
1/4 sliced bell pepper
handful of frozen pearl onions
1/2 Cup cooked broccoli florets

1. In a pot, sauté snausages in oil. When they've browned a bit, add sauce.
2. Add several shakes of the dried herbs. Toss in pepper and onions.
3. When everything's hot, add the broccoli and heat through. Serve by itself with a spoon and a roll or over pasta or rice or mashed potatoes or whatever.

Serves 3 to 5, depending on hunger and aforementioned additions.

02 November 2011

Fresh Mint Tea

George invented this recipe to substitute for the famous mint tea at our local Lebanese restaurant, International Delights. For 2-3 people, fill a medium teapot with 2 bags of black tea, a spoonful or two of sugar or honey, and roughly 6 fresh mint leaves. Pour boiling water over it, stir, and cover. Let steep 5 minutes. Serve steaming hot in tiny tiny i mean miniscule tea cups and sip while arguing robustly over the Meaning of Life.
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