Monday, October 29, 2007

Boooooo Food!

It’s not scary. It’s orange and black.

Sweet Potato Tarts with Herbed Cream Cheese

I made a one-crust pie dough and cut it to fit three mini tart pans (there was enough dough for four tarts). The tart shells were blind baked. In the meantime, I made the cream cheez and steamed one large sweet potato. The tarts were spread with the cream cheez, then filled with the potato chunks. Very nice, but as I am not a fancy girl, I preferred them without the tart shells.

Herbed Cream Cheez

1 cup silken firm tofu
¼ cup raw cashews
1 ½ t. tamari
1 ½ t. cider vinegar
1 t. agave
½ t. nutritional yeast
1 clove garlic
½ t. each dried parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper

First grind the cashews in your food processor or blender. Add all other ingredients and blend until smooth.

Black Bean and Pumpkin Soup

4 cups cooked black beans
1 cup canned or pureed fresh pumpkin
½ large onion, chopped
3 large tomatoes, chopped
2 cloves crushed garlic
3 cups vegetable stock
1 T. olive oil
1 T. cumin
½ t. cinnamon
1 t. ground ginger or 2 t. freshly grated
salt and pepper to taste
1 T. red wine vinegar

Cook the onions in the oil until soft. Add the tomatoes and spices and cook 5 minutes. Pour in the stock, beans, pumpkin, and vinegar. Bring to a boil, then simmer 20 to 30 minutes. Puree half the soup. Serve warm.

This recipe makes a big pot of soup, but soup always tastes better the next day, so it’s good to make plenty. It’s healthy and low fat, but rich and nicely spiced, and perfect for a cool evening. I served it with rice, tortilla chips, and chopped fresh tomatoes, and it was so yummy.

Black Rice

Brown rice cooked in the broth from the black beans I made for the soup. I recently learned this is the authentic way to cook Mexican rice.

Homemade Tortilla Chips

Corn tortillas cut into sixths, then brush with canola oil seasoned with chili powder, brown sugar, garlic powder, and salt. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, turning once after 8 minutes.

Chase started eating these before dinner, so there weren’t many left for soup.

Let me take a food break now and show you this giant spider…

… that spun this magnificent 3 foot diameter web on my front porch.

I was hoping she would stay for the trick-or-treaters, but she and her web are now gone.

Back to the food.

Chickpea, Carrot, and Black Olive Salad

Mix together in a large bowl:
4 cups cooked chickpeas
1 cup grated carrots
¼ to ½ cup chopped olives, depending on your taste
2 green onions, whites and greens thinly sliced
¼ to ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro (or parsley)

Make the dressing. Mix together in a small bowl:
1 clove crushed garlic
juice of one lemon
2 t. cumin
1 t. paprika
½ t. red chili flakes
1 t. agave
salt and pepper to taste

Slowly add in 2 T. olive oil. Pour over salad and mix. Chill several hours before serving.

I planned to make this a cauliflower salad, since this meal was already pretty heavy. But I didn’t find any cauliflower that wasn’t ugly and expensive, so I used the chickpeas. The salad went along very nicely with the soup and was actually our favorite dish. Chase kept saying how “fresh” it tasted. I don’t know if it was the homemade chickpeas or the lemon; I’m just glad it was so good!

Chase decorated our table. We pretended it was really cold out and enjoyed our meal.

At this point we are full of beans, but we still made room for dessert.

Is dessert black or orange? This was a tough decision, but I went with black.

Chocolate Brownies from The Joy of Vegan Baking

I knew this brownie recipe was a winner when I took the brownies out of the oven and actually saw more brownies than pan. These are fudgy, but didn’t really “wow” me with flavor. Maybe a couple of tablespoons of strong coffee would help bring out the chocolate flavor. Or maybe using half brown sugar instead of all white sugar. Oh we still ate them! I served them as Halloween cutouts with vanilla Rice Dream on the side. Here’s my bat brownie. It was a little too fudgy for cookie cutters, but see how tall it is?

Chase had fun decorating his plate, although he had to stop before the witch completely melted.

I also made “Super Charge Me Cookies” from ED&BV. They are waaaaaay better than the brownies – soft yet dense, and full of delicious flavor, and no sugar. Dreena rules!

Have a safe and Happy Halloween!


bazu said...

The main reason I love this time of year? Orange foods! I can't get enough sweet potato, pumpkin, squash, etc.
I love your little Halloween-y spiders too!

laura jesser said...

You're always so creative! What a fun themed meal! The sweet potato tarts sound so good, but I'm really going to have to try the black bean pumpkin soup. Mmm...

I think spiders are fantastic. That web--magnificent. I like to sit and watch them spin their webs sometimes... but it's always inevitable that something's going to come along and tear them down. All that hard work!

Celine said...

you need to open your own restaurant and I need to be your first customer. :D

Vegan_Noodle said...

I love spiders, they are so cool. Definitely too bad that one didn't stcik around for Halloween...

That black bean and pumpkin soup sounds so perfect for the season. I love having leftover soup.

I just got ED&BV in the mail yesterday! Those cookies look fantastic, and no sugar! Wow, thanks for the tip. :-)

Johanna3 said...

My daughther went crazy with your big spider in the porch now she want one :)

the food looks very good! yum.

Ashasarala said...

Everything looks so yummy and the black spiders add that special touch. I love Halloween and your set up gets me all excited like a little kid.

The black rice photo looks a little like a spider crawling on the ground. I think it's the greens that do it. But it looks like tasty ground. LoL

Awesome job... but creepy spider. That thing was fuzzy!

madeinalaska said...

I can't believe how much yummy food you guys cook for Sunday dinners!
It all of course looks fantastic!

Holler said...

Thought your black bean soup looked really tasty, so I have featured it on the UK Food Bloggers Association. Hope that's ok!

VeggieGirl said...

unfortunately, these pictures ARE scary, since I have an INTENSE feat of spiders!! ahh!! however, I am thankfully able to "ignore" the spiders and focus on the spectacular sweet potato tarts, black bean & pumpkin soup, black rice, chickpea, carrot & black olive salad, brownies (definitely try making them with brown or demerara sugar - much more flavorful!! and try them with carob!! haha), and cookies (I have that ED&BV recipe marked!).

Chase did a terrific job decorating the table!!

Vegan*asm said...

All of your food looks spooktacular! I love your sweet potato tarts, and the soup sounds really yummy. Anything with winter squash is a winner in my book! Also, what a beautiful spider. I thought I was the only one who coveted all of the lovely creatures lurking around the house. I love when spiders weave webs on my porch.

Dori said...

The spiders .... eeeks! I love your festivity. The tarts, savory with sweet potato .... new concept for me, but very appealing. Awesome!

aTxVegn said...

Oh, Celine, I bet you say that to all the girls....

Thanks, Julee. I make a lot of food so my skinny son can take it home with him and EAT!

Thanks, Holler - I'm honored!

Liz, I was shocked Chase took the picture of the spider. He's terribly allergic to spider bites and has been to the doctor several times after being bit. But it was really an awesome web.

VeggieGirl said...

silly me, I just realized that I typed "feat" instead of "fear," haha. the web IS awesome, but I'm still deathly afraid of the "web-designers" ;0)

Chase has a lot of courage to get that close to a spider to take a picture of it! eek! he did a fine job, though!

urban vegan said...

All I can say is...stunning! You always make such fun, visually appealing fare.

And that is quite an uber-spider.

Kati said...

I am loving the look of that herb cream cheese - thanks for the recipe! Love all the faux spiders, too. That real spider is gigantic - I knew there was a reason I didn't live in TX...eek!

The Little Vegan said...

Haha the spiders add a nice touch. I actually had to rescue two spiders in our laundry room last night!

On another note, your table spreads always look amazing!

Veg-a-Nut said...

CAn I come to your house for dinner on the next holiday? You are amazing. I really need to get my act together. I love everything! I need to go print recipes and add them into my menu box.

The real spider was amazing!

erica said...

How did you like the herbed cream cheese? Was it any good?

You have put me on a black bean soup quest, my friend :)

Kate said...

You are so creative! I love how you used halloween colors in all your foods.

Melody Polakow said...

wow. everythign looks amazing as usual.. I just love your spreads...

Black bean soup is one of my fav things ever.

Elizabeth Joy said...

I followed a link from another blog and found you - vegan and gluten free?! Yipee! That's how we eat too. You are in my bloglines list now.

Elizabeth Joy said...

One more thing.

I would love to know about more vegan gluten free blogs. If you know of any could you send me the links?

I would really appreciate it!


Monika K said...

You're so creative - all these goodies look so fun. I can't wait to try the black bean/pumpkin chili. Mmmmmm....

Jody from VegChic said...

Saw your black bean pumpkin soup over on lj's blog and it looks like I will be making that soon....

The Halloween spread is quite impressive.

Anonymous said...

I've made the brownies from the joy of Vegan baking; I made them with all coffee, added chips and pecans and I was pleased with the fudginess and flavor. So, yes, I would definitely recommend using coffee instead of water in the recipe.