SEASONAL Menus, Recipes and Tidbits

Vegetarian Salad Tostadas with Pepper Jack Cheese

Serves:         4
Cost:             $11
Rating:        5 stars
Recipe by:  Christine Zipps

Ingredients (organic whenever possible) --

Olive oil spray to coat griddle
8           White corn tortillas (uncooked)
2C         Pinto beans, cooked and smashed
3T         Salsa, medium
1T         Lime juice
1t          Garlic powder - Ground cumin seed - Chili powder - sea salt
2t         Cholula hot sauce
1T         Baking Soda*
2           Tomatoes (blanch to remove skin and chop, removing seeds/membranes
1            Onion, Spanish, chopped
1 can   Black olives, drained and chopped
8 oz     Pepper jack cheese, shredded
4C        Chopped lettuce
1           Ripe avocado, diced
1C        Vegan sour cream (Tofutti)

*     We find that this step nicely handles potential "bubbles" side effects of beans better than  "Beano"  -- it's a miracle, we think!  ;-)

Vegan Thanksgiving Feast

* * * * * Suggested Menu * * * * *
This menu was developed and tested in our "Med-Veg Fusion" kitchen and each dish earned 4+ stars.  They were made with the best, organic ingredients we could find - hope that you will enjoy them as well!    You will find the recipes following the menu.
Creamy Caramelized Onion-Cranberry Swirls

Butternut Squash with Piquant Wild Rice, & Onion Stuffing

Roasted, Savory Garnet Yams

Smashed, Garlic White Fingerling Potatoes

Cauliflower & Broccoli Flan with Spinach Bechamel

Cornbread Dressing with Poblano Peppers

Savory Mushroom Gravy

Grilled Black Plums with Thyme

Cranberry-Mandarin Relish

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Sweet Cream Topping in Ginger Crust

 French Silk Pie


Onion-Cranberry Puff Pastry Swirls

Recipe courtesy Christine Zipps

Makes 20 pieces

Ingredients (organic whenever possible) –

1                      Small Vidalia or Spanish onion, sliced
2T                    Light olive oil
1/4C                 Dried cranberries
1T                    Flour
1 pkg                Vegan puff pastry (recommend “Aussie Bakery”), thawed
8 oz.                 Vegan cream cheese (recommend “Tofutti”) – room temperature
1/4C                 Pecans, toasted
1t                     Cinnamon
1T                    Sugar substitute (recommend “Xylitol”)

Method –

Set oven to 400F

Saute’ onions, separated into rings in olive oil until transparent.  Stir in cranberries and allow to soften for about 5 minutes.  Set aside to cool

Sprinkle flour on clean surface and roll 1 sheet of pastry dough out to rectangle (about 10x12 or 8x14).  Gently spread cream cheese evenly on dough.  Distribute cooled onion/cranberry mix over cheese.  Sprinkle cinnamon, “sugar”  and pecans on top. 

Starting with the smallest side near you, roll up, jelly roll fashion and seal end with water.  Cut roll into ½” slices, place on lightly oiled cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.  Serve at room temperature.
Butternut Squash with
Piquant Wild Rice, & Onion Stuffing

Recipe courtesy Christine Zipps
Serves: 8
Ingredients (organic whenever possible) --
4                            Butternut squashes (about 1# each)
3/4C                       Wild rice, rinsed
1T                          Light olive oil
1C                          Vidalia or Spanish onion, chipped
1T                          Garlic, minced
2 1/2C                     Whole wheat bread pieces, firmly packed
2t                            Hot sauce (recommend “Cholula”)
2t                            White Worcestershire sauce
1T                           White sesame seeds, toasted
1/2t                         Dried sage
1/2t                         Dried thyme
2t                            Sea salt
1C                           Orange juice
1/2C                        Pecans, toasted (optional)

Method –
Preheat oven to 375F
Cut squashes in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds and fibers. Place them cut side up in shallow baking dishes and cover tightly with covers or foil. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until easily pierced with a knife but still firm.
In the meantime, bring 2C water to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in wild rice, reduce to a simmer, then cover and cook until the water is absorbed, about 40 minutes.
Heat oil in a skillet. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until golden.
In a mixing bowl, combine the cooked wild rice with the sautéed onion and the remaining ingredients. When the squashes are cool enough to handle, scoop out the pulp, leaving firm shells about 1/2 inch thick. Chop the pulp, stir and the nuts into the rice mixture. Stuff the squashes, place in foil-lined baking dishes, and cover.
Before serving, place the squashes in a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or just until well heated through.
Serve on platter garnished with slices of fresh oranges, sage and thyme.

Wine pairing suggestion from Lisa Haddad - 5280 Wine Tours CO: 
I'd go with an off dry Riesling or a blend, a nice minerally one from Alsace. Here is one with some winemaker's notes, it's about $12 a bottle.  2006 Pierre Spar Alsace One -- Description : floral, citrus and peach notes grace this gentle well balanced white, whose subtlety belies an underlying persistence, ending in a long, languid finish.

Roasted, Savory Garnet Yams

Recipe courtesy Christine Zipps
Yield:  8-10 servings

Ingredients – (organic whenever possible)
4#         garnet yams or sweet potatoes
4T        light olive oil
1T        Italian dried seasoning blend
1/2T      garlic powder

Method –

Preheat oven to 425.

Line cooking sheets with foil and lightly sprayed with olive oil.

Wash yams, peel and cut into small (about ½”) pieces.  Mix in bowl with remaining ingredients.  Spread yams on cooking sheet in single layer – try to create a little space between the pieces – when they are too close, they tend to remain soft – we are looking for crispy on outside, creamy on inside… 

Bake in batches, if necessary until golden brown on outside – check after 20 minutes and turn the yams and bake another 20.  If they aren’t getting crispy at this point, give additional time, watching carefully…

Smashed, Garlic White Fingerling  Potatoes

Recipe courtesy Christine Zipps
Yield:  8-10 servings

Ingredients (organic whenever possible) –

4#                    Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed with produce wash* & brush
1                      Vidalia or Spanish onion, finely chopped
1 1/2T              Garlic, minced
2T                    Light olive oil
1/2T                 Hot sauce (recommend “Cholula”)
8T                    Vegan butter (recommend “Earth Balance”)
1/2C                Vegetable broth
1/2C                Soy milk (organic is important to avoid GMO’s)
1t                     Sea salt (to taste)
1t                     Fresh ground black pepper

  • -  Suggestion:  white vinegar diluted 50/50 with spring water in spray bottle.  It’s important to wash all produce even if you are going to peel it to help protect against contamination. 
Method –

Cut washed potatoes into small (about 1-2”) pieces.   Boil in salted water until tender (knife tip slips out easily upon insertion) – about 20-30 minutes.  Depending on size of pot, may need to process in batches… Drain in colander to cool.

Sauté’ onions and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until onions are transparent.  Add hot sauce and set aside to cool.  Place potatoes in bowl of mixer (or use hand mixer) and gently blend to break up.  Slowly add broth and milk while blending – be careful not to get too thin of a consistency (it will tend to absorb after it sits so take your time to arrive at desired texture.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  

Cauliflower & Broccoli Flan with Spinach Bechamel

Recipe adapted from Mile High Organics
Yield – 8-10 servings

Ingredients – (organic, whenever possible) –

2 1/2C                    Cauliflower, washed and separated into floweret’s
2 1/2C                    Broccoli, washed and separated into floweret’s
1T                           Lemon-pepper
12 oz.                     Baby spinach, washed and drained
5T                           Vegan butter (recommend “Earth Balance”)
1/4C                       All purpose flour
1C                           Soy milk
1C                           Parmesan cheese, grated
1T                           Garlic, minced
1T                           Hot sauce (recommend “Cholula”)
1/2t                         Nutmeg
1t                            Sea salt
1/2T                       Fresh ground black pepper
Method –
Preheat oven to 350F – lightly spray olive oil in 1.5 qt baking dish.
Sprinkle lemon-pepper on broccoli and cauliflower and steam in salted water in large skillet or pan for about 5 minutes until slightly tender. 
Drain and keep 2/3 cup of the cooking water. Transfer vegetables to a bowl to cool.
Lightly wilt spinach in large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Drain and cool. Squeeze spinach dry and finely chop.

Melt butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and hot sauce to butter.
Add flour, whisk until smooth. Slowly whisk in milk and the 2/3 vegetable water. Whisk continuously over medium heat until sauce thickens and boils, about 3 minutes. Stir in spinach and 2/3 cups of the cheese.

Place drained and cooled broccoli and cauliflower in bowl. Add bechamel sauce and blend. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste. Spread vegetable mixture in buttered 1 1/2 quart baking dish. Sprinkle top with remaining cheese.

Bake flan until puffed and heated through, about 25 minutes. Serve hot.

Cornbread Dressing with Poblano Peppers

Recipe courtesy Christine Zipps

Serves 10 to 12 

Ingredients (organic whenever possible) -

1 ½ pounds     Cornbread, coarsely crumbled
4T                   Vegan butter (recommend “Earth Balance”)
3                      Poblano peppers, seeded and chopped
2                      Eed (or orange, yellow or purple)  bell peppers, seeded and chopped
1                      Green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 1/2                Bunches green onions, sliced
2 (1#) pkgs.     Frozen corn, thawed, divided
3                      Eggs (free range/cage free)
1T                    Hot sauce (recommend “Cholula”)
1r                     Garlic powder
2T                    Pure maple syrup
2 1/2t               Sea salt
1/2t                  Fresh ground black pepper
Mehod -
Preheat oven to 350F
Lightly spray a 9- x 13-inch casserole dish with olive oil and; set aside.

If your cornbread is super fresh, allow to “age” a day or so before preparing this dish.  If time doesn’t allow, pop into oven for about 20 minutes…
Heat butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add poblano and bell peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until just golden and tender. Add onions and 1 bag of corn and continue cooking until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Strain in colander to drain and cool.   Pulse remaining bag of corn in a food processor with eggs, hot sauce, garlic powder maple syrup, salt and pepper until well combined and almost smooth.

Wine pairing suggestion from Lisa – 5280 Wine Tours:
Made right here in Colorado, in Denver no less. It’s billed as the Un-chardonnay-chardonnay. Balistreri Vineyards 2009 offering would pair quite well with this recipe. It’s aged on it’s skins and stems similar to a red, giving it a nice full body mouth-feel. It’s not going to have that bright light color you’re used to on a chardonnay but instead since this particular winery doesn’t use fining agents and uses all natural yeasts as well, you are going to get an almost “orange” wine. It really is the Un-chardonnay. I think it will hold up to the chili in this recipe.

Savory Mushroom Gravy

Recipe courtesy Christine Zipps
Yield:  4C

Ingredients – (organic whenever possible) –

½                     Vidalia or Spanish onion, chopped
8 oz.                 Button mushrooms, chopped
1T                    Light olive oil
1T                    White Worcestershire sauce
6T                    Vegan butter (recommend “Earth Balance”)
1 qt.                 Vegetable stock
4T                    Flour
1T                    Italian seasoning
1 1/2T               Worchestershire sauce
½ T                  Hot sauce (recommend “Cholula
1t                     Garlic powder
                        Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Method –

Melt 1T butter in olive oil in pan over medium high heat.  Sauté’ onion until almost transparent, add mushrooms with white Worcestershire sauce and cook until mushrooms are lightly browned.   Remove onions and mushrooms from pan. 

Melt remaining 5T butter in pan, whisk in flour – cook on medium until it smells “nutty”.  Add seasoning, Worchestershire, hot sauce and garlic powder and whisk the stock into the mixture until well blended.  Add salt and pepper.  Serve warm.

Grilled Black Plums with Thyme

Recipe adapted from
Courtesy of Christine Zipps

Ingredients – (organic, whenever possible)

4          fresh black plums (original recipes called for peaches – unavailable in organic at press time….)
1/2T      lemon zest (I used granules – available in bulk from health food store)
1/2T      fresh thyme, finely chopped
1T        raw agave nectar
2T        light olive oil (extra virgin would be fine, but “light” takes higher heat better)

Method –

Peel plums and cut them into about 6 pieces.  Mix lemon zest with thyme, agave and olive oil.

Cover plums with mixture and place on a baking sheet (sprayed lightly with olive oil).

Grill peaches on medium high for about 4 minutes on each side – serve warm or at room temperature – also good chilled (would be awesome mixed with 0% FAGE yogurt, topped with walnuts!) 

Cranberry Mandarin Relish

Recipe courtesy Christine Zipps
Yield:  3C

Ingredients (organic, whenever possible)

2-11 oz cans          Mandarin oranges in juice
1-12 oz. bag           Fresh cranberries
1/2C                       Xylitol
1/2t                        Lemon juice
1/2t                        Cinnamon

Method –

Pulse ingredients in food processor until finely chopped.  Chill, covered at least two hours to allow flavors to blend.

This can be made up to 3 days ahead.

Wine pairing suggestion that should work well with the yam dish as well from Lisa of 5280 Wine Tours:
Mead. Not exactly wine per say as it’s honey based. And this particular mead is even wilder, it’s called Blushin Ginger made right here in Denver, with Colorado Honey out of Dithyramb winery. This will pair with both the sweet potato gratin and the cranberry sauce. This mead is not sweet, it’s off dry with a zing of cranberry, honey and ginger to it. There is nothing like it I’ve ever had. It’s slightly astringent and has a good backbone and mouth-feel. I would serve this chilled with a smile! You know, this may also work with the Pumpkin ginger pie, but then again, I may go wit ha sweeter wine for it.

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Sweet Cream Topping in Ginger Crust

Recipe courtesy Christine Zipps

Ingredients (organic, whenever possible)

For crust:
2C           Gingersnap cookie crumbs (recommend “Pamela’s Spicy Ginger Cookies”)
1C           Pecans, toasted
1/4C        Sugar (recommend “Xylitol”)
2T            Crystallized ginger
1/4C        (1/2 stick) butter, melted (recommend “Earth Balance” vegan spread)

For filling:

4 – 8 oz   Vegan cream cheese (recommend “Tofutti”)

2C           Sugar (“Xylitol”)

15oz        Pumpkin puree

5             Large eggs

3T           All purpose flour

1t            Ground cinnamon

1/2t         Ground ginger (or fresh, minced)

1/4t          Ground nutmeg

1/4t          Ground allspice

1/4t          Sea salt

2T            Vanilla extract

For topping: --

12 oz.       Vegan sour cream (recommend “Tofutti”)

3/4C          “Xylitol”

1t              Vanilla extract

Method –

For crust:                                     

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides with nonstick spray. Grind cookie crumbs, pecans*, brown sugar, and ginger in processor until nuts are finely ground. Add butter; using on/off turns, process to blend. Transfer mixture to prepared pan; press onto bottom and 2 inches up sides of pan. Bake crust until set and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Cool completely.

*  To accommodate guests with nut allergies, leave toasted pecans out from crust ingredients and  offer as optional sprinkling on top.

For filling:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in pumpkin. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating on low speed to incorporaten. Add flour, spices, and salt; beat just to blend. Blend in vanilla. Transfer filling to cooled crust. Bake until filling is just set in center and edges begin to crack (filling will move slightly when pan is gently shaken), about 1 hour 20 minutes. Cool 1 hour. Run knife around sides of pan to release crust. Chill cheesecake uncovered in pan overnight.

For topping:

Gradually add Xylitol and vanilla into sour cream in mixer until well incorporated.  Pour topping over cheesecake and spread evenly, leaving 1/2 inch uncovered around edges. Chill to set topping, at least 1 hour.

Cheesecake may be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.

French Silk Pie

Recipe courtesy Christine Zipps

Ingredients (organic, whenever possible) –

1#               Belgian Chocolate (dark, semi-sweet)
4                 Eggs
1#               Vegan butter (recommended “Earth Balance”)
1 1/3C         Sugar (suggest “Xylitol”)
1/4C            Toasted pecans
1C               Vanilla soy milk
1t                Vanilla extract
1                 Graham cracker crust (purchased)

Method –

Slowly melt chocolate with milk over medium heat, in double boiler (if heavy enough pan, that will work – just keep close eye so it doesn’t scorch).  Meanwhile, whip the butter and sugar together in a mixer (do not over whip) until just incorporated.  Add eggs, whipe again until just incorporated.  Add chocolate mixture after chocolate is melted and still warm, stir by hand until smooth and butter is completely melted. 

Add vanilla and pecans (or leave out to spring on top in case any guests may have nut allergies) and stir to blend well.  Pour into graham cracker crust and chill at least 6 hours or over night.  Remove at least 2 hours before serving and serve at room temperature. 

This may be made 4-5 days ahead but should be kept refrigerated. 

Wine Pairing suggestion from Lisa Haddad 5280 Wine Tours:
A lovely dark chocolate with this I have no choice but to call out the port! I can’t help myself, as a port drinker I crave the deep jammy fruit and heavy mouth-feel of a good port. Colorado has many, but one of the ones I enjoy the most is one of our favorite wineries with a no snob attitude, Bonecquisti. How can you be a snob on Pecos?! Made with a base of a late harvest Zin, as the vintner himself says, thing chocolate fig Newton. Really a nice fit for this. “


Set oven to 350 and lightly spray a cookie sheet with olive oil - set aside.

Slowly crisp tortillas on a griddle or skillet that's been lighly sprayed with olive oil.   They will be done when they are crisp (no longer chewy).  Mix beans with salsa, lime juice, hot sauce and spices in food processor.   
Spread about 1/4C bean mixture on each crisp tostada and place on cookie sheet.  Top each tostada with equal amount of the onion, olives and cheese.   Bake for about 15-20 minutes until golden brown and bubbly. 
Place 1C lettuce on each serving plate and arrange two tostadas on top.  Sprinkle the tomatoes and avocado on the tostadas along with a dollop of sour "cream".  Add sea salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes if desired and serve.