Sunday, November 26, 2006

Cranberry Relish and a table full of food

This is a picture of Thursday's leftovers and the food I set out for my sis who was coming in from New York on Friday. On the peninsula top from left to right: I made Bryanna's chedda' cheese (the recipe that uses tahini) with crackers spread around it, soy and seitan roulade slices, corn from our freezer (we grew), romaine salad with purple onion/ carrots/radish slices, an apple slices tray with a sweetened soy cream cheese dip, seedilicious bread slices, (foldable table): potatoes (we grew and canned these), squash/ pear/ cranberry baked dish, sun dried tomato stuffing, Dori's favorite fresh Cranberry Relish, gray bowl had pickled cauliflower/ carrots/ red peppers (we grew these and I pickled them for the county fair), and a wonderful fabulous Pumpkin Tunnel Cake from Bryanna's latest vegan feast newsletter.

Place the following into the food processor and chop to the size of rice:
1 lb package fresh whole cranberries
1-2 peeled oranges, removing most of the pith
2 Tbsp orange zest (fresh if using organic oranges)
1-2 medium apple, cored
Add the following to a medium mixing bowl along with the processed mixture above:
1/2 C crushed pineapple (more if you desire or omit and add one more apple to processor in step above)
1/2 C chopped pecans or light English walnuts (I use 2 Tbsp)
1/2 tsp cinnamon (opt)
  • opt 2 tsp fresh ginger minced - I use this when I can or cinnamon when I'm out
1/2 - 1 cup sweetener of your choice
  • OR 1 tsp KAL brand stevia powder = 1 generous cup of sweetness*
  • I use KAL brand stevia, it is not bitter like other brands I have tried. One could easily use their choice of sweetener.
Combine well. Allow flavors to meld one hour.

Whenever I find a great buy on cranberries I make a bunch of this up and freeze it in addition to just freezing the berries. I add it to muffins, put it in salad dressing, and directly onto the salad when I want color. I also add it to sandwiches, stir into my morning oatmeal, and top cornbread with it for an interesting change. Even after it has been frozen it has an acceptable texture. As you can tell this is my favorite. I made a variation of this last year that had cumin and jalapeno peppers in it, yet was still sweet. We place it in a tray over the top of soy cream cheese and surrounded it with crackers.

Here's a close up of the tunnel cake before I drizzled it with a thickened powdered sugar drizzle tweaked with a bit of almond extract. For the cake I adjusted the recipe and made mine sugar free. The cake batter recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar, I used 1/2 cup of applesauce to replace the bulk of the sugar and 1 tsp KAL brand stevia. The filling is made with a cashew / silken tofu blend and is also sweetened with stevia (no applesauce filler). It turned out very well.

I tried something new this year: PUMPKIN BUTTER
In the crock pot and from the book by Robin Robertson, Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow cooker. Mine is sweetened with the KAL stevia extract in place of sugar and it is fabulous! Matthew made carob chip pancakes for breakfast Thursday morning. It was my niece's birthday so we invited her up to eat breakfast with us and we used the pumpkin butter to top them with ... what a grand feast.

About eight years ago I was depressed and went through a soul searching time. Prior to this time I claimed a religion but fell prey to the Santa Claus and materialistic ways of the world. More than materialistic ways I realized that there was a lot about holidays that I didn't like, so I began to change. I am still connected to my spiritual roots, but I realized that I wanted the holidays to express our connection, not distance and cheap gifts to be returned the next day nor the debt to be paid away on until April AND I wanted to anticipate the "connection" just as much as my children. Here's are some of my favorite changes:

I bake. From now until the first of the year I will bake every imaginable goodie (some I will freeze and we will enjoy these throughout February). My kids do to.... the most important part of my holiday is sharing and it is expected at each holiday gathering or meal that they bring something. This Thanksgiving Melissa made the apple dip and sliced the apples. Matthew took the corn from the freezer and cooked it. Dave washes up, pulls out special dishes, sweeps, and cuts/slices, rearranges, etc. ... he always leads our family into a prayer of thanks and continued blessings before we eat. They both will make something substantial at Christmas time also. Last Christmas season Melissa chocolate's a BUNCH of goodies, we splurged on an after the holiday sale of "the chocolate factory" from the year before and stored it away. Matthew made a crock pot corn pudding and muffins and cleaned up Melissa's chocolate tools (with his tongue).

Now begins the "holidays" in my family. I will share more about our holiday practices as well as food in the upcoming weeks. For now I will get this posted and prepare for the day.

I hope this post has found you with much to be thankful for!


laura jesser said...

Dori, everything looks wonderful. I'm going to save your cranberry relish recipe.

I agree with you about the holidays--they're special when they're simply and from the heart. I think it's wonderful that cooking is a major way you and your family share the holidays. I hope that's how it is with my family, once it gets a little bigger. If you want Christmas to mean something these days, you have to make it mean something by focusing on the right things and away from all the hype and gimmicks!

Anonymous said...

love your meal! all looks so good. love your ideas too! cant wait to see more.

Gaia said...

Hi Dori !
I loved your post :)

Do you always replace the bulk of the sugar with half the quantity of applesauce ? It that the rule ?

Thank you !

Starla said...

Hi Dori:

You said that it took you a few tries with the seitan before you liked the final product. What did you find to be the key things that you did to make it turn out great. I'm still working on getting mine to turn out. THANKS.

Tanya Kristine said...

Wow! great job...everything we ate came out of a box, a can or a package.

: (

where were you when i needed you?

and hwere is your new adopted dog???

funwithyourfood said...

I wanna see EVERTHING you bake!! :)


JAM*tacular said...

Oh. My. Goodness.


:) Mikaela

Dori said...

Hi everyone, so good to be in MY kitchen again. Gaia, I responded to your question on your blog. But I'll say it again here.... I wouldn't say that the applesauce filler is a rule of thumb, but it has worked for me successfully with the last two cakes I made.

Starla, I do Bryanna's long knead and usually only make a couple flavor versions that I know my family likes. The family only enjoys the soy and seitans roasts, thay think that other seitan recipes are to rubbery even with the long knead method.

Anonymous said...

Wow Dori! I'm so impressed with everything on your leftover table! It's really such a wonderful spread. Your cranberry relish sounds delightful and I will definitely be saving this recipe for when there's a sale on cranberries! Yum!! I can't wait.

The cake looks so beautiful. I really need to bite the bullet and sign up for her newsletters. I've never been dissapointed with any of her recipes yet.

As for my own stevia question from eons ago, I couldn't find a single vegan cookie recipe that used stevia. I wound up modifying a chocolate chip recipe and found I had to use extra oil so the cookie wouldn't be so dry. It took me 4 attempts before I got something acceptable but still, nothing ultra spectacular. I think I'm going to stick with the stevia for replacing sugar in cakes, muffins, sweet breads, and cobbler type dishes.

I am so happy that you and your family has found a way to celebrate the holidays without the materialistic excess. I think your ideas sound great and I can't wait to see what kind of baking you have in store!!!

sugarcreekfarm said...

Would you mind sharing your potato canning process? We tried it for the first time this year, and they turned out very mushy. Still edible, though! But yours look really nice.

I'm going to have to try pumpkin butter - I think I froze 10 quarts of pumpkin this year!

Vicki said...

oh my goodness, this all looks & sounds amazing -- but the tunnel cake looks totally fantastic! :o)

Dori said...

Sugar Creek Farms - - - wow, we're pretty close to being neighbors. I used the ball canning book and canned my potatoes exactly like it says. I used three kinds of potatoes and discovered some do not can as well as others. My favorite is yukon gold (nice and firm), next to red, russets were my least favorite. I like to keep the skin on them and the russet skin was to thick, they were also a little mushy.

Jody from VegChic said...

Dori, as always your recipes look amazing.

That cake looks beautiful and the seitan roulade sounds and looks amazing.

Pumpkin butter has also been on my list to try soon.

Glad to see that Melissa's thumb is doing ok. Imagine winning a competition after an injury like that...

I've been lurking for awhile and wanted to drop you a line. I'm glad your schedule is a little less hectic now.

Take care.

Urban Vegan said...

what a spread.

That tunnel cake got my attention especially.

I love this baking season, too. I will probably bake lots of Xmas gifts this year, especially since it will be one of the rare times when I am not traveling over the holidays.

Anonymous said...

Hey...look at how well that new table was woking out for you!

The Mumbai Vegan said...

one well fed vegan family vegan thanksgiving... that all I'll say!!! u rawk dori!!!!!!

Melody said...

Everything looks so good.. I love your philosophy about the holidays.. we actually haven't celebrated christmas in a long time.. M is jewish, so we do hannukah for the ceremony and we also celebrate Yule as a day of reflection.. setting goals and what not.

Kate said...

Can I come to your house next Thanksgiving. This was my first vegan Thanksgiving and I rather be somewhere WITHOUT a turkey "staring" at me. I love your ideas about the holidays. I think it is so true that people get too caught up with gifts and santa and totally miss the point. I mean most people don't even think about the fact that Jesus was born on christmas. I love how youa nd your familiy are not over looking what the holidays our about. It's really a lesson for all of us.

Anonymous said...

Awesome spread! I'm totally with you on finding a simpler way to enjoy the holidays. Over the years, I've slowed down my approach to the holidays and many of our gifts (if not all) are homemade. With the move this year, I'm having to rethink the gift issue I think homemade food items may be the way to go.