Because I usually tend to focus on some lovely cut of wild game for the holidays I thought I would appease the ever growing crowd of vegetarian and vegans coming to your holiday feasts. Everyone wants to do something good for the planet and the body and eating less meat is surely the fastest way to reduce carbon footprint in the world. Most of you know I’m a passionate food activist working to reduce chemical monocrops and bring back a more sustainable and nourishing permaculture small ag operations to feed large cities and families. So here are a few Vegetarian and easy adapted vegan recipes for you and your friends and family. Many store bought and processed gluten free, vegetarian and vegan products are high in corn and soy additives (the over 500 processed ingredients found in most processed foods) that are not organic and full of harmful chemicals. You might have seen a new cause to ban glyphosate state by state by Moms Across America. http://www.momsacrossamerica.com/50_states_ask_governors_to_ban_glyphosate
While Alaska possibly had the lowest use per state, it’s waters are still heavily impacted by aquaculture feed. You might have overheard stories of fisherman that a particular bay or harbor isn’t producing fish like it used to, often times this is the impacts of corn and soy based fish feed. Now that it’s particularly contaminated with genetically modified soy and corn your hatchery fish are getting a heaping dose of glyphosate or Bt self producing pesticides, so once ingested they continue to reproduce down the food chain. http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/aquaculture/faqs/faq_feeds.html
I hope you will consider joining this effort to lessen toxic chemicals in your food supply, your home, your garage and your neighborhood this holiday season. Health is the Gift that keeps on giving!
From my table to yours,
Vegetarian Holiday Roast
A small handful of dried porcini or bolete mushrooms
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 red onions, peeled and finely chopped
2 sticks of celery peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
⅔ c of risotto rice or pearl barley
¾ c of white wine
2 ½ c of good hot vegetable stock
1 ⅓ c of mixed wild mushrooms
⅔ c of pistachios, toasted
⅔ c of almonds toasted
a handful of breadcrumbs from good bread
1 1/4c of good cheddar cheese (use Chao cheese if need for vegan)
1 red chilli, finely chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs, beaten (use flax egg if need vegan)
2 sprigs of each, sage rosemary, thyme, leaves picked and chopped
200g of fresh cranberries
2 tablespoons of light brown sugar
First make the risotto base
Soak the dried porcini in a little boiling water. Add the olive oil to a large pan, add the onion and celery and cook for 10 minutes on a low heat until soft and sweet. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two. Turn up the heat and add the rice, cook the rice for a minute or so until you hear it snap, crackle and pop, then add the wine and stir until it has all bee absorbed.
Drain the mushrooms, sieve any grit from the liquor and add this to the risotto pan stirring until it is completely absorbed. Finely chop the soaked porcini and add these to the pan too.
Then add ladle by ladle of stock, stirring each one in until it has been completely absorbed this will take 20 minutes or so. Stir as much as you can this is what will make it creamy. Once the rice is al dente (when you break into a grain it should be almost cooked through but still have a little white fleck in the middle). Once you are happy put in a bowl to cool. Heat the oven to 350F.
Soak the mushrooms in a little hot water to rehydrate (save juices) and then pat dry and fry in olive oil on a medium heat for 5-10 minutes until they are just starting to crisp and smell lovely and woody. Chop the nuts a little to break them down, you can do this in a food processor, you want coarse pieces not a powder.
Once the risotto has cooled off add all the other ingredients apart from the cranberries and sugar and mix and mix well.
Put the sugar into a pan the cranberries and cook for a minute or two, then tip them into the bottom of the loaf tin and even out. Pile on the nut roast mixture and pack down with the back of a spoon.
Butter a loaf pan and line the bottom with wax paper.
Cover with the whole thing with foil and bake for 45 minutes, remove the foil and cook for a further 15 minutes. Once it’s golden brown on top remove from the oven and leave to settle for 10 minutes. Lay you serving platter or board on top of the tin then cover your hand with a tea towel and courageously flip the whole lot over, use a knife to loosen the tin then carefully lift off. Serve with all the trimmings.
Vegan Gingerbread Cookies
1 ½ cup organic white flour
1 ½ cup wholewheat flour
¾ cup brown sugar, organic
⅓ cup cacao powder
2 flax eggs
extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup organic blackstrap molasses
1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp. ground ginger
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
For the frosting
1 + 1/4 cup powdered sugar
2-3 tbsp. milk of choice (I went for organic vanilla almond milk)
optional vegan food coloring (see no1te below)
For the hot chocolate
¼ cup cacao powder
1 cup brown sugar
4 Tablspoons cornstarch, organic
2 ¼ cup almond milk, organic
2 tbsp. vanilla extract
½ cup dark chocolate
whipped coconut cream, optional
Cream the flax eggs, olive oil molasses and sugar. Add in both flours, salt, baking powder, cacao powder and spices and whisk until a dough is formed.
Roll out dough into a rectangle. You don’t want it to be too thick, but it doesn’t have to be too thin either. If you cannot transfer your gingerbread men to the baking tray, it’s too thin. Don’t worry, you can start over as much as you need to. This dough can handle it all. Just try to find what it works best for you!
Cut out the cookies with a gingerbread men cookie cutter and transfer to a baking tray lined with baking paper.
Bake at 200ºC for 12-15 minutes. Let them cool before frosting them!
For the hot chocolate, whisk cornstarch, cacao powder and brown sugar in a saucepan. Add in milk and vanilla extract and whisk again to combine.
Bring mixture to a boil – don’t stop stirring so it doesn’t burn!
Lower the heat and keep stirring for 2-3 minutes more until it thickens.
Add in chopped chocolate and whisk until melted.
Chocolate should be smooth and glossy by now. Remove pan from heat.
Top with optional coconut whipped cream if desired!
Notes: You can buy vegan food coloring online, but spirulina (for green/blue), beet juice (for red) and turmeric (for yellow) work in a pinch. Just be careful not to overdo it and you’ll be fine! If you don’t care to make flax vegan eggs, normal eggs work well too!