Monday, October 31, 2011

Celebrating the Sabbats as a Vegan: Samhain

I know this is a bit late. This year I didn't plan on doing a full menu because I was supposed to hang out with a few fellow witches, when the hostess fell ill the day before (bless her poor heart). So, while I did have a few things in mind, I had nothing solid.

I came across a really nice little article about traditional Halloween meals... in Ireland. I'm ok with that, since here in the US we're too busy stuffing our face with candy to make a feast. I'm really glad I came across it because it taught me something new and forced me to TRY something new which turned out completely awesome.

So here it is:

Main dish: Colcannon
Side dish: A simple salad if you want & Roasted butternut squash
Dessert-ish: Fruit scone & Apple cake

I know the menu is short... the Colcannon is a warm, hearty comfort food that has starch, veggies AND (faux) meat in it... and really doesn't need to have a whole feast surrounding it (in my opinion).

Colcannon was based on THIS recipe. I pretty much followed the recipe, I did use almond milk instead of soy. The only other thing I changed was the seitan. My significant other came home and said "I have a surprise for you." I'm always suspicious when he says that... and slightly hopeful its a kitten (I need a kitten like I need a broken leg). He handed me a funny green package of what looked to be PORK RINDS. I nearly smacked him with it... lucky for him I read the fine print "Vegan Pork Slices, imitation pork".

The brand is VegeUSA(I find this insanely ironic considering it is a product of Taiwan) and they are dehydrated imitation pork pieces, made from soybean protein, starch, wheat protein, "vegan fiber(uh?!)", and soybean oil. It actually tasted pretty good in the colcannon considering its apparently traditionally made with pork! It was such a funny coincidence that he just happened to bring it home. Unfortunately, I don't know what to do with the rest of it since I didn't even eat pork when I was a meat eater.

Sometimes when I'm particularly lazy I will heat up some (instant) mashed potatoes and throw veggies in it... often, leafy greens like kale. So to find out that there is actually a dish that NORMAL people eat that is kind of similar, I was pretty stoked. Would have been REALLY tasty with a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds on top too. SO YAY! COLCANNON! *big heart*

For the roasted butternut squash, I prefer mine VERY "bland". Ie: I do not use sugar on my squash. I cut it in half (I leave the seeds in until done - and then toss or eat them, whatever...they've got a great nutty taste), I roast it cut face down at 350 for like, an hour and a half and then I may or may not add vegan margarine and salt. Thats it. I eat it cold, I eat it for breakfast... I love squash, but I don't love to have the flavor drowned in syrupy sugary sweetness. For those of you that like that sugary sweetness - cut, scoop out seeds (boil them in salted water for a couple minutes and then roast!) add a glob of margarine in the center and sprinkle on the maple syrup or honey or vegan brown sugar and then bake as directed above. Check occasionally for burning (and if getting too brown cover with aluminum foil).

If you're going for a salad I would recommend something light and simple. However, if you're trying to stick to "in season" stuff and have extra kale, a raw kale salad is wonderful. There are lots of different ways to make kale salad, you can google and find one with your favorite ingredients. my favorite way isn't quite "traditional" ie: some of the ingredients are not local... Here is a great video recipe for how I like to make it. Avocado, yum.

OK! Onto the desserts! So, I have never had, much less made, an apple cake. However, I think this one turned out pretty good! I followed the recipe, I threw in a handful of wonderful dried cranberries (I wish I had had other dried fruit, but used them all in the scone below) and sprinkled with walnuts. I REALLY wish I had roasted the walnuts and THEN mixed them in, because the ones on top were AMAZING. This was wonderful for breakfast too. I pulled it out when it was still the TINIEST bit moist. Also, pan size really does matter... I used a round cake pan, and it did overflow a little. Luckily, I had it on a pizza stone... (maybe not luckily).

As for the scone, I made two of these because they are SO DARN AWESOME. I think I posted the first try last post. Well I made another, everything was the same (chocolate, coconut, walnuts) except I added about 1/4 cup of dehydrated fruit (that I had re-hydrated with some hot water). I can't remember if I drained all of the water or not, but it made for a MUCH more moist scone than the last one, more cake like I guess. I think I ate the whole thing. I don't recommend that, be good to yourself and give some to a friend or neighbor.

I wanted REALLY badly to make a pumpkin pie(I mean, come on... Samhain, pumpkins... correlation?), but currently lack the ingredients to do so... however a friend suggested THIS Pumpkin Tart recipe that she made for Thanksgiving last year.

Anyway - the other stuff I've made, but didn't add to the menu was home made sugar free applesauce, which was AMAZING. You can find that recipe HERE. As well as the banana bread I mentioned in the last post, but this time I added some oatmeal to it, which made it incredibly moist and delicious.

Anyway, I hope you guys had an amazing Samhain/Halloween and I hope this upcoming year is amazing for each and every one of you! If you have any questions about this blog and wonder why its not laid out like my other Sabbats post, don't hesitate to leave a response below.

Also, I'm blaming big corporations for my sweet Christmas cactus' confusion and early bloom... (since there has been CHRISTMAS music playing at the mall since Nov. 1st).

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