All the world is nuts about
What's in The Nut Gourmet
IT'S THE HOLIDAYS!!
BRING ON THE CELEBRATION DISHES!
That long-awaited month of holiday celebrations has arrived and never fails to spark our desire to invite friends and family and share the joyful times together.
So many fun holiday-themed events occur this month--whether it's unwrapping presents together, holding a fun and frenzied gift exchange game, attending a cookie exchange party, having a tree decorating party, enjoying a family reunion, attending a potluck, or observing a religious ceremony--no matter the event--we eventually get hungry.
Because this time of year is so very special, we tend to go to greater efforts to plan a menu that measures up to the expectations of the occasion. We satisfy our hunger with the everyday foods during the rest of the year, but for holiday time--well, we aim a little higher and try new recipes that look and taste extra special.
This sumptuous yuletide dish makes a dramatic, showy presentation on the holiday table. It's a winning entrée for those with an inquisitive palate because its deliciously complex flavors present a fun challenge to guess the hidden ingredients.
This is one of the delicious recipes in my cookbook Vegan for the Holidays!
IN CASHEW CREAM SAUCE
Yield: Makes 12 balls; 8 to 12 servings
8 ounces (226g) shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, caps cut into quarters
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon tamari
1 1/2 teaspoons dried tarragon
3/4 cup (180 ml) water
1/2 cup (120 ml) pitted Kalamata olives
3 cups (720 ml) cooked short-grain brown rice
1 cup (240 ml) old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup (120 ml) walnuts, coarsely ground
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 cup (240 ml) black or regular sesame seeds
12 long sprigs fresh rosemary, for garnish
6 cherry tomatoes, cut in half, for garnish
- To make the tornadoes, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. (Gas Mark 4). Line a 17 1/2 x 12 1/2-inch (44.5 x 32 cm) rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Combine the mushrooms, onion, tamari, and tarragon in a large, deep skillet. Add water and cook and stir over medium-high heat for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the mushrooms are cooked and the onion is softened and transparent. Add 1 or more tablespoons of water as needed to prevent burning.
- Transfer the mushroom mixture to a food processor and add the olives. Process until smooth and creamy, stopping occasionally to scrape down the work bowl. Spoon the mixture into a large bowl.
- Add the rice, oats, walnuts, salt, and pepper and mix well. Pour the black sesame seeds into a deep, medium bowl.
- Using your hands, form the mushroom mixture into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Roll each one in the sesame seeds to coat well. Place the coated balls on the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes.
Cashew Cream Sauce
3 cups (7200 ml) vegetable broth
1/4 cup (60 ml) unsalted tomato paste
1 to 2 tablespoons tamari
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 cup (120 ml) cashews, finely ground
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
- To make the sauce, combine the vegetable broth, tomato paste, tamari, garlic, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, marjoram, and cayenne in a 2-quart (2 liter) saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Decrease the heat to medium and simmer 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the cashews, whisk and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. The sauce will continue to thicken upon standing. Before serving, stir in the lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
- To serve, spoon some of the sauce into a large, deep platter and arrange the tornadoes over the sauce. To garnish, poke a rosemary sprig into each tomato half and push them into the tops of the tornadoes, so they stand upright.
Note: If not serving immediately, refrigerate the tornadoes and sauce separately. Warm the tornadoes in a preheated 350-degree F. (Gas Mark 4) oven for 12 to 15 minutes before serving. Heat the sauce in a saucepan over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes.
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