Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Comes Early

Though it's still Christmas Eve, we've already had some festivities (and presents). We went to a family gathering at Darlene's parents' house yesterday and we spent some time in the morning whipping up a big batch of sushi to bring. From Veganomicon we did the spicy tempeh and yamroom (shiitake mushroom and sweet potato) rolls, plus some others that were various combinations of carrots, cucumber and avocado. Most of the omni folk there were scared of the sushi but that was OK because there was more for us. (As an aside, I find it interesting that you can take something as innocuous as rice, carrots and cucumber, then wrap a little seaweed around it and people eye it suspiciously and want no part of it.)

We also brought cupcakes! Just some basic chocolate and vanilla ones with pink vanilla frosting. And how did Darlene turn the frosting pink? Well, we didn't tell anyone this lest they be scared off, but the answer is beet juice. She was looking for something natural for coloring and that did the trick. There's so much sugar and fat in the frosting that we really didn't notice any beet flavor. (Though it just occurred to me that you could probably use cranberry juice with similar effect.)

We also had frosting left over so Darlene made peppermint cookies and then made cookie sandwiches with the frosting in the middle. Oh yeah!

And finally, since we were in the Christmas spirit already yesterday we each opened one gift from each other. I got Darlene a copy of My Sweet Vegan, which is a truly amazing book that I'm sure will show up here again and again. The first recipe we tried was the very delicious French Toast, because it was breakfast time and we had three-quarters of a baguette that we needed to use up. And what's that on my French toast? It's Chocoreale organic chocolate hazelnut spread that Darlene got me from Vegan Essentials. Wow is this stuff good!! Back when I first started graduate school a bike racer friend of mine who had spent some time in Europe introduced me to Nutella. I was hooked and that was probably one of the last non-vegan food items I bought as I was transitioning to veganism. Fortunately, this Chocoreale stuff is vegan, and organic, and free of hydrogenated oils. It ain't cheap, but I dare say it's better than Nutella, especially on French toast!

13 comments:

springsandwells said...

oh wow chris!
mmmm. I really want to get My Sweet Vegan, but I think I"ll have to wait until I'm back from my trip. Plus, I have been craving french toast lately... so your post really hits the mark.

I have to admit, that I too am a sushi-wary individual. I just really really dislike the seaweed flavor. I have tried and tried, and I just can't get into it. Maybe I'll tackle seaweed once my mushroom-appreciation project is through.

Have a great Christmas!

Geraldine said...

Your sushi looks great (I love veggie sushi!!!) and ditto for the sweet treats.

Happy Holidays Chris and Darlene and all the best in 2008

Vegan_Noodle said...

Yay for early christmas presents!! That french toast looks divine. I've been trying to order that chocoreale stuff from vegan essentials but it always seems to be out of stock. I will have to monitor the status better, because that sounds so so good!! I got my mom a copy of My Sweet Vegan....little does she know our xmas dessert will be from there (Mocha Devasation Cake).
And how funny that people are scared of sushi, but like you said, more for you and Darlene! Hope you both continue to enjoy the holiday season!

herbivore said...

I made some vegan chocolate hazelnut spread for some cookies... click on the indgredient "chocolate hazelnut spread in the cookie recipe.

http://herbivious.blogspot.com/2007/12/cookies-chili-running.html It is very yummy.

Of course you could also use the notell recipe from veganomicon, but I think that one has a few more ingredients.

T said...

What a great idea for the icing! I bet that beet-juice is more innocuous tasting than cranberry, at least in the amount needed to get that color. Thanks for the idea!

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

Ooh, lovely cupcakes! I need to obtain that Chocoreale!

VeggieGirl said...

it's so ironic how a lot of people aren't afraid to eat sushi with raw fish, but then they won't touch sushi made with fresh, wholesome vegetables and rice - such a shame! at least you and Darlene could enjoy it :0)

I haven't been able to find beet powder or beet juice, which I've been looking for to make some pink frosting - where did you happen to find it??

"My Sweet Vegan" is a fabulous cookbook - I've made 6 recipes already from that book (I haven't posted about 2 of them on my blog yet, since I just made them yesterday), and they've all been fabulous!!

happy holidays!! :0)

Chris said...

The beet juice was nothing special veggiegirl - just get a can of beets and drain 'em. So I guess it's actually more like beet colored water...

the pleasantly plump vegan said...

that is a BEAUTIFUL plate of sushi!

Veg-a-Nut said...

Awesome!! I have yet to try making sushi. After looking at yours maybe I should try. I need to check out Vegan Essentials!

urban vegan said...

Sushi and cupcakes. Yum!

I am a huge Chocoreale fan--but it is costly--a once-in-a-whiel treat.

jd said...

Mmm...those cupcakes look great! I love the pink color of the frosting, and I especially like that it's the result of beet juice!

Also, I just got a copy of "My Sweet Vegan," too. And although I haven't had a chance to make anything from it yet, I'm definitely excited about using it after seeing that french toast of yours!

Melly said...

OH MY GOD! Frosting sandwich cookies...my one true love.