Above is the porcini and pecan pate with some fresh french bread for spreading. This was delicious! I was a little concerned as I was making it because it didn't seem like it had enough different ingredients to have more than a musky mushroom taste (what with the dried porcinis and the fresh portobellos), however it didn't taste overly mushroomy at all. It was super smooth and tasted creamy and decadent. Definitely a winner.
Next up was dinner. Here we have festive chickpea tart, cranberry and orange salad, and green bean casserole. The tart was a recipe from Dreena Burton, and like everything from her it was just fantastic. This tart is like fall blended together and put in a crust; it's got chickpeas, spinach, dried cranberries, onions, and is perfectly spiced. I made the flaky pie crust from Vegan Vittles to put it in and that was great as well--best part: no shortening in the crust! We topped the tart with the yeast gravy from The (almost) No Fat Cookbook, a nice simple nutritional yeast based gravy. The salad recipe I adapted from swell. I used a baby spinach and arugula mix instead of kale because the guys are not the biggest fans of kale, especially uncooked. I also swapped out dried cranberries for fresh. I doubled the amount of orange juice, orange slices, and avocado, and halved the amount of oil. I didn't bother with the balsamic reduction drizzle because there was enough going on already. This salad was fabulous! I loved the combination of all the fruit with the greens. Yum! Lastly on this plate of goodness was green bean casserole. This recipe was modified from cute and delicious. I swapped out fresh boiled greenbeans for the canned and caramelized onions for the can of french-fried onions. This also turned out great! The noochy sauce was deslish. I loved having so many vegetables on our plates, it made dinner not feel so heavy...and it left room for the amazing dessert we had coming. Behind the dinner plate are some roasted chestnuts. I'd never had these before and a friend brought them over with her. Interesting, but good! She was raving about the chestnut and lentil pate from Veganomicon; I may have to get on that.
Alright, and here's dessert! It's the chocolate cinnamon babka from Vegan Dad. We had a bit of trouble with this recipe since it's written in ounces and I don't have a kitchen scale. So, I just kept adding flour til it seemed like the right consistency to me--and it worked! Crisis averted. This looks much more complicated to make than it really is, perfect for entertaining! I didn't realize there needed to be a second rise after adding the chocolate layer and twisting it up, and since I didn't have time I just skipped it. It puffed up quite a bit while cooking (and we had let it rise the first time for about 5-6 hours), so it worked out just fine. Let me tell you, this is delicious! Once it's cooked the cinnamon flavor doesn't really hit you, it just adds to the bitterness of the chocolate and makes it taste so good. This will definitely get made again.
Being the klutz that I am I of course didn't make it through the day without a battle scar. I hit my arm against the rack in the oven (right above where my oven mitt covered) and ended up with this lovely. Luckily it doesn't hurt...I'm so tough.
Here were the beautiful arrangements we had for the table. I put together the mums and sunflowers and my friend brought over a beautiful bouquet with purple kale as the main component! Gotta love people who appreciate the beauty of vegetables! We also had some cute little pumpkins and a kabocha squash mixed in with some candles. I plan on roasting these babies up and making something with them (I've never had kabocha before, ideas?). Hanging out on the counter there is also a plastic Yoda...He's from a cereal box years and years ago (at least 9), and ever since my dad and I have taken turns hiding it back and forth, seeing how long it would take for the other to find it and just how creative we could. He's been in showers, pillowcases, suitcases, car trunks, purses, food--he gets around. Now that my parents live in Florida it's longer in between the hidings. I left him at their house for him to find last time I was out there in June; I got him back today (my dad snuck him to my brother when he was visiting in September for my brother to hide), he was tucked in along with the groceries. Oh, Yoda where will you go next...
Weird traditions--just another thing I'm grateful for. Here's hoping you had a wonderful day with good food and great company!