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Vegan for the Holidays


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All the world is nuts about

    What's in The Nut Gourmet

The Nutty Gourmet

Vegetarians in Paradise
Vegan Recipes/ Vegetarian Recipes


A VEGAN HALLOWEEN PARTY
For a dozen frolicking ghouls

For more Halloween fun click on
A Bewitching Halloween
Halloween Treats for a Perfectly Ghastly Evening

Includes Recipes Below

Anticipation mounts throughout the land each year as darkness heralds the evening of October 31. The deep velvety night brings out witches, goblins, and ghosts of all ages who gather for their annual celebration of rollicking haunts and taunts in honor of an ancient Celtic festival, originally called Samhain, then Hallowmas, and now known as Halloween.

Halloween began as the eve of All Saints Day or Allhallows, an ancient Celtic celebration that defined the summer harvest's end and recognized the new year and the approaching dark, cold winter. At nightfall the celebration called Samhain began as people gathered together around large bonfires to recognize the spirits of the dead and pacify the supernatural powers. The ancient Celts dressed in costumes of animal skins and heads and often included fortune telling as part of the festivities.

During the 800's Samhain, pronounced Saawen, became All-hallows Eve. People of this period were fearful of the dark and believed that dressing up in costumes and masks disguised them so ghosts would not seek them out when they went out at night. The holiday was introduced into the United States by the Scottish and Irish immigrants during the 1800's.

The trick or treat tradition evolved from "going a-souling," when the poor would beg for food during All Soul's Day in exchange for praying for the families' dead relatives. The tradition of bobbing for apples arose out of a November 2nd Roman tradition of honoring the Goddess Pomona whose symbol was the apple.

While Hallomas was once a religious tradition, Halloween became a playful holiday for children who don costumes, stay up late, and knock on neighbors' doors to beg for candy. Now a well-honed tradition in the U.S., Halloween is a night of unusual stirrings that befalls every city, town, and burg with jarring howls, screams, eerie laughter, and creepy crawly sounds. A sudden loud knock warns that the little monsters have come to YOUR door festooned in colorful costumes and shouting the typical greeting "trick or treat!" Better be prepared with a few treats to ward off the tricksters.

Wrapped candies have become the expected tradition, but perhaps a departure from the resulting sugar highs and dental concerns may be refreshing. Party shops have many items on their shelves that could go into a trick or treat bag without costing too much. Party favors like balloons, blowers, balls, and toy cars are always welcome. Colorful pencils, pens, and unusual erasers are items kids love. Money is always received well--quarters or dimes are a big deal to little children. On the food scene, tiny boxes of raisins or small packs of nuts or seeds provide healthy treats.

For the big monsters, parties that linger long into the wee hours are becoming quite the trend. Costumes, homemade, rented, or purchased are the vogue or in some cases, even required for the ghastly night's festivities. Dressing up, or in some cases dressing down, allows people to role-play and have fun. In a witch's costume, a reveler might play at casting a love spell over someone special. A ghost or ghoul weaves through the crowd growling spooky chants, while the smiling good fairy waves her wand and grants long-desired wishes.

Naturally, food and drink are an essential aspect of the party scene with a buffet that makes the planning and serving easy for the host and hostess. A table spread with appealing treats helps to create a friendly focal point where people can assemble and chat and charm as they wish.

The table centerpiece could be a tall vase filled with leeks and plump scallions, greens side down. The upright root ends become the hair, while ghost faces are easily created on the white part of the leeks with allspice berries for eyes and a few cuts for the nose and mouth. The mouth can be colored bright red with beet juice or turmeric. Leeks

A punchbowl or two labeled Witch's Cauldron or Vampire's Blood adds to the occasion, along with snacks like Dracula's Teeth, the Goblin's Paté, and a Devilish Dip. Warlock's Special and Ghoulie Greens provide the hearty entrée, with Howling Banshee Treats, Rollo the Pet Tarantula, and the Devil's Brew for dessert.

A great conversation piece is the large brimming punchbowl that oozes a foggy cloud into the air like a witch's steaming cauldron. The punch is a tasty combination of fruit juices with sparkling water added. Dry ice is the magic ingredient that creates the whirling puffs of steam.

Halloween decorations are expected. A spooky Halloween party wouldn't be quite complete without dem bones, a skeleton or two hanging up on the wall or in a doorway where it's sure to get attention. Black and orange balloons and streamers fill the empty spaces with color and atmosphere. Some creative touches could include cardboard headstones with RIP placed askew in the front yard or even inside the house. Lots of candles and dim lighting set the mood, while a spooky sounds record plays in the background with howls and eerie sounds that make the skin crawl.

A carved Jack-o-Lantern is a must. If time permits, carve several jack-o-lanterns. Guests love to contribute their artistry to the haunted event. Perhaps you could request some carved pumpkins from those who offer their help.

Vegan Halloween Party Menu

Witch's Caldron - Fizzy Fruit Punch with dry ice

Vampire's Blood - Hot Spiced Cranberry Punch

Dracula's Teeth - Roasted Salted Pumpkin Seeds

The Goblin's Paté - A nut and vegetable paté shaped like a pumpkin with plastic spiders crawling on it

Devilish Dip - Here's an especially appealing presentation for your Halloween party. Form a container that lends a devilish appearance from a large green cabbage. Make bulging eyes from whole black olives, horns from red Fresno chiles with pointed ends upward. Use toothpicks to fasten the ears made from green bell pepper halves, and carve out a large mouth to hold the zesty dip. Serve with crudités of your choice.

Warlock's Special - Sloppy Joe's with a Mexican flavor on whole-wheat burger buns with shredded vegan cheese sprinkled on top before heating under the broiler

Ghoulie Greens - Tossed salad with Kalamata Walnut and Caper Dressing

Howling Banshee Treats - Cinnamon Softies, cookies with a hint of cinnamon and ginger

Rollo the Pet Tarantula - Fruit and Nut Confection formed into a huge spider

The Devil's Brew - Steaming Hot Chocolate


Make both beverages, one hot and one cold, or choose whichever appeals most. Either will add to the spooky ambience of the Halloween celebration. Invariably, guests gather where the food is. Just starting the party with something to sip and nibble relaxes the guests and encourages conversation. As conversation flows, so does the party.

VAMPIRE'S BLOOD
Hot Spiced Cranberry Punch

Yield: about 4 quarts (4 liters)

    2 quarts (2 liters) unsweetened cranberry juice
    6 cups (1.5 liters) water
    2 cups (440 ml) white grape juice concentrate
    Organic sugar to taste
    4 sticks cinnamon
    10 whole cloves

    Lemon slices

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove the spices and float lemon slices in the punch.
  2. For an informal approach, have a long-handled ladle in a spoon-rest nearby, and serve from the stovetop. Keep the punch warm on low heat. Serve in paper or styrofoam hot cups.
  3. Alternatively, carefully and slowly pour the punch into a punch bowl and place on a heat-protected table or countertop. Serve in small glass punch cups.


While the hot punch offers comfort on a chilly night, the contradiction of a cold punch that appears to be steaming brings a chilling shiver and sparkling conversation among guests.

WITCH'S CAULDRON
Fizzy Fruit Punch

Yield: about twenty 6-ounce (180 ml) servings

    1 48-ounce (1.5 liter) bottle cranberry juice cocktail, chilled
    1 12-ounce (360 ml) can frozen apple juice concentrate
    1 42.3-ounce (1.25 liter) bottle sparkling water, chilled
    2 juice cans chilled water
    1 lemon, thinly sliced

    10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) dry ice

  1. Make sure to begin with chilled ingredients. Combine everything but the dry ice in a punch bowl, and stir well.
  2. Add about half the dry ice to begin the steamy cauldron action. Then add dry ice as needed to keep the cauldron actively steaming.


Don't worry about the spiders--they won't eat much! Just ignore the arachnids and serve this tasty appetizer with whole-grain crackers and a colorful array of crudités such as wedges of bell peppers, sliced turnip, celery sticks, cucumber slices, radish slices and crinkle cut carrots.

GOBLIN'S PATÉ
Nut and Vegetable Paté

Yield: about 25 servings along with other appetizers

Nut and Vegetable Paté

    3/4 cup (180 ml) raw sunflower seeds
    3/4 cup (180 ml) raw almonds.


    3 medium carrots, coarsely shredded
    1 cup (240 ml) chopped sweet onion
    2 slices whole wheat bread, cut into cubes
    1/2 cup (120 ml) fresh lemon juice
    3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
    3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
    1/2 to 1 chile, finely minced
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon paprika

    Garnish
    1 small cucumber (Persian or Armenian variety) for the stem
    1 lettuce leaf
    1/3 bunch watercress
    Plastic spiders

  1. Soak the nuts and seeds in plenty of water to cover for about 10 to 12 hours. The sunflower skins become loosened and float in the water. Rinse and remove as many of them as possible by rubbing the seeds between the hands and using a fine strainer to scoop the skins as they float to the top.
  2. Put the soaked nuts and seeds in the food processor. Add the carrots, onion, bread cubes, lemon juice, soy sauce, garlic, chile, salt, and paprika. Process at least a full minute or two to create a fine textured paté.
  3. Spoon the mixture into a lettuce-lined plate, and form the shape of a pumpkin with the hands. Cut the cucumber in half and place it in the center to form the stem. With the fingers, form indentations to imitate the corrugations of some pumpkins and decorate with strips of thinly cut cucumber.
  4. Arrange the watercress around the base and toss a few plastic spiders onto the paté.


A devilishly hot dip ought to enjoy a devilish presentation. Begin with a large green cabbage and use whole black olives for the bulging eyes. Secure them close to the top of the cabbage with toothpicks. Use red Fresno chiles for the horns with the pointed ends turned upward. Fasten the ears made from green bell pepper halves, and carve out a large mouth to hold the zesty dip. Serve with crudités of your choice.

DEVILISH DIP

Yield: about 1 1/2 cups (360 ml)

1 12.3-ounce (350g) box extra firm silken tofu
1/4 cup (60 ml) water
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash's Original Seasoning Blend
Paprika

  1. Combine all the ingredients except the paprika in a blender and blend to a smooth, creamy consistency.
  2. Transfer to the Devil's Head Cabbage or a serving bowl, sprinkle with a dash of paprika, and place on a platter with your choice of crudites.


A pungent dressing fitting to the evening's expressive attire and ghoulish ambience.

OIL-FREE KALAMATA CAPER WALNUT SALAD DRESSING
(Best if made a day ahead)

Yield: 3 cups

    1 1/2 cups (360 ml) water
    1/2 cup (120 ml) pitted Kalamata olives
    1/3 cup (180 ml) drained capers
    1/4 cup (60 ml) walnuts
    3 cloves garlic

    1/2 cup (120 ml) fresh lemon juice
    2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
    1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
    1/4 teaspoon guar gum *

  1. Combine 1/2 cup (120 ml) of the water, olives, capers, walnuts, and garlic in the blender. Start the machine on low speed until the ingredients are puréed.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and blend on high speed for 30 seconds. Pour into a 1 quart (1 liter) jar and refrigerate.

*Sold under the brand name Bob's Red Mill, guar gum is a dry white powder that acts well as a thickener. Made from a legume plant grown in India, guar gum is available at Whole Foods Market or other natural foods stores.


When cooking for parties, I always look for the perfect make-ahead dish. Enjoy this easy recipe with robust flavor that has never failed to please. The pleasant pungency comes from the Spanish olives that also add character to the visual aspect of the dish.

WARLOCK'S SPECIAL
Spanish Sloppy Joes

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Sloppy Joe
    1/2 cup (120 ml) TVP (textured vegetable protein)
    1/2 cup (120 ml) boiling water

    1 medium onion, chopped
    1 green bell pepper, chopped
    1/2 orange or yellow bell pepper, chopped
    1 15-ounce (425g) can pinto beans, drained, liquid reserved

    1 14.5-ounce (410g) can diced tomatoes
    12 Spanish green stuffed olives, sliced
    1/3 cup (80 ml) tomato sauce
    3 tablespoons tomato paste
    2 tablespoon soy sauce
    1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
    1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    1/2 teaspoon salt

    Whole Wheat Buns

  1. Place the TVP into a small bowl and pour boiling water over. Set aside for 5 minutes.
  2. Combine the onions and bell peppers in a large deep skillet. Pour in 1/4 cup (60 ml) of the reserved bean liquid and cook and stir the vegetables over high heat until softened, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add the softened TVP along with the remaining ingredients and cook about 5 minutes to blend the flavors.
  4. Lightly toast the whole-wheat buns in the oven at 350 degrees (Gas Mark 3) for 5 to 10 minutes, and spoon the Sloppy Joe mixture over the top.


Here's a handy confection recipe that can be made a few days ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

ROLLO THE PET TARANTULA
Nutty Fruit Confection

Yield: about 50 confections or 1 giant tarantula

3 cups (720 ml) pecan pieces
1/2 cup (120 ml) natural raw sesame seeds
1/2 cup (120 ml) raw sunflower seeds

7 1/2 ounces (210g) moist dried peaches, quartered, divided into 3rds
51 pitted dates, divided into 3 batches of 17 each
6 tablespoons water, divided into 3rds
3 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided into 3rds

Large round platter
Bright orange colored paper or cloth napkin
Plastic Wrap

  1. If preparing Variation 1 or 2, place 2 cups (720 ml) of the pecan pieces into a bowl and set aside. If preparing the tarantula, combine the remaining 1 cup (240 ml) of pecan pieces, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds in the food processor and process to a coarse meal, leaving a little texture remaining. Transfer to a bowl.
  2. In 3 separate batches, add the dried peaches, dates, water, vanilla extract, and 1/3 of the fruit-nut mixture to the processor, and process until the dried fruits and nuts are well incorporated and the fruits almost form a paste. Stop the machine as often as needed to scrape down sides and redistribute the ingredients. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight to firm up the mixture for easier handling.
  3. Prepare a large platter by covering it with orange paper or an orange napkin. Wrap the dish completely with clear plastic wrap. Put the confection mixture on the platter. Then, using the hands, form the mixture into a giant tarantula. Decorate the plate with plastic spiders or ants, and invite guests to break off pieces and nibble on the friendly tarantula.

VARIATION 1: As an alternative to forming the fruit-nut mixture into the tarantula, divide the mixture into thirds, place each third onto an 18-inch (45 cm) long piece of waxed paper. Lightly oil the hands. Form the fruit-nut mixture into 3 logs. Spread 2 cups (480 ml) of the pecans pieces onto a large baking pan, then roll the fruit-nut roll into the nuts. Wrap each roll in the waxed paper and chill for several hours to firm up the mixture. Cut the logs into 1/2-inch (1 cm) slices and arrange them on a serving platter.

VARIATION 2: To make confection balls, lightly oil the hands and roll about 1 teaspoon of the fruit mixture at a time into balls. Roll the balls into 2 cups (240 ml) of coarsely broken pecan pieces, pressing them onto the surface. Arrange the balls on an attractive serving dish and garnish with a large citrus leaf or two and a small bunch of grapes. Makes about 50 confections.


Easy, delicious, and successful--those are three words with great appeal to anyone preparing party treats for this special occasion. If you would like to decorate the cookies, make them larger than directed below. Drop the batter from a tablespoon instead of a teaspoon onto the baking sheets, and leave plenty of space between for them to spread during baking. To make ghost faces, spread white icing over the top and create ghoulish eyes and mouth with melted chocolate.

HOWLING BANSHEE TREATS
Cinnamon Softies

Yield: about 4 dozen cookies

    8 ounces (225g) firm tofu
    1/2 cup (120 ml) walnuts

    2 cups (480 ml) organic sugar
    1/2 cup (120 ml) unsweetened applesauce
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    4 cups (960 ml) whole wheat pastry flour
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (Gas Mark 4) and lightly oil 2 baking sheets.
  2. Combine the tofu and walnuts in the food processor and process until almost smooth and creamy. Transfer to a medium bowl.
  3. Add the organic sugar, applesauce, and vanilla, and mix well.
  4. In a large bowl combine the salt, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, baking powder, and flour, and mix well to form a very thick mixture.
  5. Drop the batter by teaspoons onto the prepared baking sheets about 2-inches (5 cm) apart. Plan to bake the cookies in two batches.
  6. Bake about 13 to 15 minutes, or until the bottoms are lightly browned. Cool 5 minutes, then use a metal spatula to transfer the cookies to a platter. Store the Cinnamon Softies in an airtight container or heavy-duty plastic bag.


THE DEVIL'S BREW
Steaming Hot Chocolate

Yield: about 2 to 3 servings

    3 cups (720 ml) plain or vanilla soymilk
    3 to 4 tablespoons organic sugar
    3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
    2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a 3-quart (3 liter) stockpot and stir with a wire whip to mix well. Heat to almost boiling over medium high heat, stirring occasionally and watching carefully to prevent a messy boil-over.
  2. Pour the Devil's Brew into mugs and serve immediately.

NOTE: To make enough for 20 people, use the proportions below and heat in a 12-quart (12 liter) stockpot.

    2 1/2 quarts (2.5 liters) plain or vanilla soymilk
    1 1/4 cups (300 ml) unsweetened cocoa powder
    1 cup (240 ml) plus 2 tablespoons to 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) organic sugar
    4 tablespoons dark brown sugar
    1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

For more Halloween fun click on
A Bewitching Halloween
Halloween Treats for a Perfectly Ghastly Evening

Click here for past cookingwithzel@home.comeonin recipes

Click here for other Vegetarian Holiday Meals



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