Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Holiday Baking: Happy New Year!

I started this post a few days ago and, regrettably, I didn't get a chance to finish it until today. Here is a late re-telling of the process leading up to a New Year's Eve party (a party that just so happened to be the last of the year AND the decade) I helped out with...

Last year, my friend approached me about collaborating on a New Years' Eve event that would be elegant, fun and delicious. We had meetings about what we would fix, who would make what, and then we just went absolutely crazy, in a good way (the post above doesn't even begin to show how much food there was last year!).

This year, we did the same thing. We had a meeting a few weeks ago (complete with refreshments from Back to Eden and Townshend's Tea), where we pored over a pile of cookbooks, debating and deciding on the food items we wanted to prepare. I have to admit, I have a tendency to go overboard when it comes to dinner parties; I brought six cookbooks to our meeting, and I found at least one dish I could have made out of all of them, and now, as I write this, I realize that I still didn't really limit myself.

some purchases from Food Fight Vegan Grocery
Earlier this week, I went to Food Fight! Vegan Grocery and grabbed the majority of groceries that I needed. They have a fantastic coupon in this year's Chinook book that gave me 20% off any purchases over $20, meaning I saved a LOT. I picked up mirin, [a rice wine similar to sake] which is something I've never used in a recipe before, as well as some white miso paste and So Delicious coconut milk hazelnut creamer (by Turtle Mountain products).

platter including: Lentil/Pecan Pate, Red Onion Confit, two different types of brown mustards, and pickles

I first began by preparing a Lentil-Pecan Pate and a Red Onion Confit, from recipes I found in the Cafe Flora restaurant cookbook. The cookbook suggested preparing them at least a day ahead, to really let the flavors meld. I also began prepping for the incredibly difficult [yet delicious!] gluten-free, vegan tiramisu that I originally created for an Italian-themed dinner party last year.

Here is the revised and perfected recipe for the tiramisu:

 Gluten-Free, Vegan Tiramisu

Lady Fingers

2 cups gluten-free flour blend (I used a half-cup each of millet, corn, garbanzo bean, and sorghum flours)

1 T. baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 c. agave
1/2 c. maple syrup
2 T. canola oil
1/3 c. apple sauce
1 T. vanilla
3/4 c. "milk"

  1. Preheat the oven to 350'. 
  2. Measure out all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Create a small hollowed “bowl” in the center of the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients. Gradually incorporate the dry ingredients from around the outside of this hollowed bowl, until everything is evenly mixed in. 
  3. Using a rubber spatula, transfer into a greased glass baking dish (9" x 13") and place in the middle of the oven on the center rack. 
  4. Bake for 25 minutes. After baking, place on a cooling rack and loosen the edges. 
  5. After it has cooled for about 15 minutes flip the cake over onto a cutting board and cut into 1" x 3" pieces.

8 oz. vegan cream cheese 
1/4 c. vegan yogurt
1/4 c. vegan cream
2 T. liquor/liqueur of choice
1/3 c. powdered sugar
2 t. vanilla extract
1/2 t. cornstarch 
1/2 t. xanthan gum

  1. Bring heavy cream to a boil in a small sauce pan and then dissolve the xanthan gum and cornstarch into it. Allow it to cool to room temperature. 
  2. Combine the thick cream mixture with all the other ingredients above and beat well. 
  3. Put the mix in the fridge to set for several hours.

1 1/2 c. strong coffee
4 T. liquor/liqueur of choice
4 T. agave nectar
Combine these ingredients and put in the fridge to cool.


  1. Dip the lady fingers into the coffee sauce and let them soak up the moisture for about 15-20 seconds, until they are almost soggy (but NOT disintegrating!). 
  2. Cut to fit and layer the lady fingers in the bottom of a glass trifle or baking dish until the entire base is covered. 
  3. Using a spatula, spread the "cream" evenly over the lady finger base. 
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 at least once more, depending on how big your dish is.
  5. Sprinkle unsweetened cocoa powder over the top, completely covering the top. Place in the refrigerator for at least an hour to let the flavors meld together. Serve and enjoy!

Thanks to the Crabby Vegan, I also made this recipe for a Fig and Olive Tapenade. It was, quite possibly, my very favorite dish of the evening (thanks for the idea, Brian!). I kept finding myself returning to it time and time again. It tasted great atop a toasted slice of gluten-free bread.

the Tapenade was fantastic spread on top of some vegan cream cheese on a piece of gluten-free toast
Finally, the last dish I prepared was fried polenta with regular "old" marinara sauce from Trader Joe's. I merely cut up pre-cooked polenta and fried them in a cast iron pan, sprinkling salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper on top.

Really, it was quite a lovely evening of food, friends, and fun.

Happy New Year!


Dave Revell said...

Tiramisu: on a scale of one to ten it was fantastic

Brian said...

thanks for letting me know you posted that. vegan tiramisu??? that has always been my fav desert. awesome post, i think i can handle that. yes, that tapanade it wonderful, it was probably my favorite thing of everything we made. glad you enjoyed it, and thank you for the shout out <3 <3


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