Category Archives: Holiday

♥ Irish Colcannon

So much for my New Year’s resolutions. Yep, I’m back to being a lazy blogger. Ah, well. I did make it back and that’s what counts. And just in time for Saint Patrick’s Day leftovers. March 17th is J’s day (er, excuse) to celebrate all things beer and his perennial favorite, corned beef and cabbage. Myself, I prefer to celebrate the Irish whiskey cake. 🙂

This year, I resurrected a favorite old recipe for this year’s potato side dish: Irish Colcannon. Colcannon is traditionally served at Halloween with charms such as a ring (marriage), a coin (wealth), a button (bachelorhood), a thimble (spinsterhood) and a tiny horseshoe (good luck) stirred into the Colcannon.  The recipients of each charm would benefit accordingly. Whatever the tradition and significance attached to Colcannon, it’s a wonderfully flavorful side dish. The kale and the cabbage in the potato dish bring just the right amount of green to the Saint Patrick’s Day table.

The Colcannon is even better the next day with leftover corned beef, diced, and the corned beef gravy drizzled over the top.

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Irish Colcannon

Ingredients:

2 pounds yellow potatoes, diced

1/2 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 leek (white part only), rinsed and chopped

3 cups green cabbage, chopped

3 cups frozen kale, thawed

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 cup nondairy butter

1 to 1-1/4 cups soy milk

Directions:

Place the potatoes in a saucepan with enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes.

While the potatoes are cooking, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, leek, and cabbage; sauté until softened. Add the kale, garlic, salt and pepper. Continue to cook until tender; remove from heat.

Drain the potatoes and return to the pot. Stir in the kale and cabbage mixture. Heat the nondairy butter in 1 cup of the soy milk in the microwave and pour over the potatoes. Mash with a potato masher, adding more soy milk if necessary. Check the seasoning and serve hot.

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Here it is, the best for last. And the absolute best use for leftover corned beef (in fact, I always double the corned beef recipe to ensure leftovers): the mighty Reuben sandwich. The king of all sandwiches, really. Teese mozzarella cheese, Bubbies sauerkraut, sliced red onion and homemade Thousand Island dressing between two layers of corned beef on dark rye bread from the bread machine. Oh, how I love thee, Reuben!

♥ In The Mood . . . For Cacao

Looking for something different this Valentine’s Day? How about whipping up an aphrodisiac in your kitchen blender for you and your beloved? Rest assured, no eye of newt is required for this love potion.

“What the h—?” you may be thinking. And rightfully so. Truth be told, I stumbled upon this recipe a couple of years ago and, of course, I was intrigued. How could I not be?

“You have to try it to believe it! Every ingredient in this beverage is an aphrodisiac designed by nature to enhance your senses. This elixir is a marriage of flavor with none overpowering the others. Don’t omit the salt; it is the spark that lights the fuse.”

Does it work? Hmmm . . . maybe. 🙂 It’s a tasty beverage nonetheless. And different. Different, but ‘good’ different. Be forewarned, though: this recipe makes 4 cups. Wow, that’s a whole lotta aphrodisiac!

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Cacao Aphrodisiac Elixir

Recipe from The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Raw.

Ingredients:

1 cup raw almonds

2 3-inch cinnamon sticks

1/4 teaspoon whole cloves

6 green cardamom pods

1 Tablespoon ginger, minced

4 cups filtered water

4 dried Kalamata figs, soaked in 1 cup of filtered water

2 Tablespoons raw cacao powder

1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 Tablespoon rosewater

Pinch of salt  (I used Fleur De Sel)

Directions:

Place the almonds, cinnamon sticks, cloves, cardamom pods, ginger, and 2 cups water in a blender. Blend, gradually going from low-speed to high-speed, for 20 seconds. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Rinse the blender well and return the spiced water to the blender.

Add the figs and the fig soak water, cacao powder, vanilla extract, rosewater, salt, and the remaining 2 cups water. Blend on low-speed for 20 to 30 more seconds or until the figs are well blended.

Strain through a fine mesh strainer again and serve.

Happy Valentine’s Day . . . don’t stay up too late. 😉

♥ The Hair Of The Dog

Happy 2012! My condolences to those that over-indulged while celebrating last night, because hung-over is kind of a sucky way to start a brand new year.

But, help is here: the Bloody Mary is supposed to be a surefire hangover cure. It’s also a great brunch drink. And a yummy happy hour drink. And a veggie snack-in-a-glass, too. The booze is strictly optional.

Many thanks to my fellow planning goddess, Karen, for this fabulous adult beverage recipe. Rumor has it that she sweet-talked a bartender in Yakima, Washington out of this coveted recipe. I don’t doubt it.

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Bloody Mary Mix

Ingredients:

46 ounces organic tomato or vegetable juice

3 ounces sour mix (see note)

1/4 cup vegan Worcestershire sauce

32 dashes (more or less) Tabasco sauce

1 Tablespoon garlic salt

1 Tablespoon celery salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon sea salt (optional)

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together and store in a large container in the refrigerator for several hours before using. I use a large Rubbermaid pitcher with a tight-fitting lid. Shake well before serving.

To serve, pour the mix into a pint glass half-full of ice and add the desired amount of vodka (or tequila for a Bloody Maria); stir well. Add a tablespoon of green olive juice, if desired.

Garnish your Bloody Mary with green olives, pickled green beans, pickled asparagus, fresh celery, etc. Enjoy!

Note: most commercial sweet and sour mixes list high fructose corn syrup as their first ingredient. And most of the commercial mixes contain nasty artificial dyes, too. So, we make our own sweet and sour mix and you should, too. It’s really easy: dissolve 1/2 ounce of agave in 1/2 ounce of water, and mix in 1 ounce of fresh lime juice and 1 ounce of fresh lemon juice.

♥ Sausage, Chestnut And Mushroom Stuffing

Happy Christmas . . . five days ago. Yeah, yeah. I’m a procrastinator and a slacker. Guess what my New Year’s resolution is going to be.

It hardly seems like December here in South Lake Tahoe. We should have several feet of snow by now. Instead, it’s unseasonably warm and sunny. The snow machines are working overtime on the mountains. Meanwhile, the beaches are still accessible.

Nevada Beach with Heavenly in the background.

Call me crazy, but I chose to spend the holidays doing this:

Man-made snow at Heavenly Mountain.

Instead of this:

Holiday insanity at a random Walmart.

“Baby” S came home for Christmas, too. I spent a fair amount of time in the kitchen making his requested foods, like the Irish Car Bomb Cake. The traditional holiday cookies. And, the best holiday dessert, ever: Double-Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake. And, of course, our traditional holiday foods.

This stuffing is one of my favorite things about the holidays. By the time Halloween rolls around, I am already jonesing for it. I don’t remember where the original recipe came from, but it wasn’t a vegan recipe to begin with and we’ve made so many changes to it over the years that we now call it our own. But, you don’t have to wait for a holiday to enjoy stuffing. Sometimes I halve this recipe for a regular old Sunday dinner side dish.

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Sausage, Chestnut And Mushroom Stuffing

Ingredients:

1 pound Gimme Lean sausage

1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon fennel seed

1 teaspoon ground sage

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon crushed red chili peppers

1 yellow onion, chopped

6 stalks celery with leaves, chopped

1-1/2 pounds mushrooms, halved (quarter the larger ones)

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 stick non-dairy butter

±14 ounces vegetable or No Chicken (preferred) broth

2 8-ounce cans water chestnuts, drained, rinsed and chopped

3 teaspoons ground sage

6 to 8 cups dried, unseasoned bread cubes (I use half sourdough and half whole wheat bread)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325F.

Brown the sausage in the oil over medium heat with fennel seed, sage, salt and red pepper flakes.  Add the onion, celery, mushrooms and garlic and cook until the onions are soft and translucent.

Add the non-dairy butter and the broth and bring the liquid to boiling.  Remove from the heat and add the water chestnuts and the sage; stir to combine.

Pour the sausage mixture over the bread cubes and stir to combine.  Add more broth if necessary.

Bake in a large shallow dish (I use an 11 x 15″ 4-quart Pyrex), covered with foil, for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake an additional 15 minutes to brown.

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Now that the holidays are winding down, it’s time to dust off my copy of Appetite For Reduction and do some serious damage control. Yes, dear readers. That will be New Year’s resolution number 2 for me.

"Baby" S on the slopes. He grew the mustache just to irritate me, I think.