I hope you all had a lovely Easter! We had some (non vegan) guests over for Easter. It is always tricky when you are cooking for a large number of people, whom you don’t know. Many people have such particular likes and dislikes… Although I usually try to keep my dishes relatively low fat, when cooking for guests, I usually don’t try to limit the fat quite as much, especially if they are not vegetarian or vegan. I don’t cook with oil, but I use whole food forms of fat (nuts and avocados). I also usually add a bit more salt (we hardly ever use salt). Whether your guests are the “meat and potatoes” kind, macrobiotic, and everything in between, these dishes will impress and satisfy. One lady who came decided (after dinner) she wanted to become a vegetarian!
Here is what I served:
Spiced Creamy Sweet Potatoes
Obviously a Salad! Am I the only one who can eat
never-ending abnormally large salads?
Ha, obviously… this wasn’t my bowl. I always make two bowls of salad, one for everyone to share and one for… me!
Now for dessert!
Almond Butter and Jelly Sandwich Cookies
Strawberry Jelly sandwiched between almond butter spelt shortbread. (oil and butter free)
Caramel Banana Cupcakes
Banana cupcakes with a caramel vanilla cream frosting, salted candied walnuts and a banana chip!
Each of these recipes really deserve a seperate post, so I will save the recipes for future posts. But first, can I just say… those cupcakes were SOOO good! Better than any “regular” ones I have ever had! After dinner… my brother announced he was stuffed, but he still managed to inhale two of these bad boys!
The cupcake was incredibly moist and the icing… best icing I have ever tasted. Refined oil, sugar and dairy free! But I digress…. on to the first recipe… the loaf!
This shows how well it stays together. It really has a perfect texture.
The taste is perfect as well. Sweet, nutty and savory, from the chestnuts, walnuts and herbs.
I make this loaf often and had thought of saving the recipe for a future project, but it is just too good! I have to share, plus I have lots more up my sleeve! Every time I make it, it only seems to get better! This is prefect to serve to company. It is really is a crowd pleaser and I can’t imagine anyone not liking it!
If it is not chestnut season, you can use vacuum packed chestnuts or even chestnut flour. In this one, I used both. The chestnut flour is just VERY finely pulverized chestnuts, so it helps with the binding of the loaf. So you can just pulverize some of the chestnuts until powdery, while leaving some chunky for texture. Don’t worry if you don’t have chestnut flour. It works fine without.
2 c whole, roasted, peeled chestnuts
1/4 c chestnut flour
2 c unleavened sprouted wheat/spelt bread cubes
1 c walnuts, toasted
1 c celery diced
1 c onion diced
1 c parsnips diced
2 T tamari/soy sauce
3 T ground chia or flax mixed with the broth
1/3 c vegetable broth
2 T fresh sage chopped
2 T fresh thyme
2 T fresh parsley chopped
1/4 c nutritional yeast (optional)
1 t garlic granules (or fresh garlic)
2 T mustard (1 dijon, 1 whole grain)
2 T apricot jelly or maple syrup
The night before, cube your bread and leaf it out to dry (this step is not completely necessary, but if using sprouted, unleavened bread like I used, it is incredibly sticky).
Put your bread cubes in a food processor and process until pea sized.
Dump it into a bowl.
Do the same with the walnuts, leaving some a bit more chunky for texture.
And the chestnuts:
Add all of the processed ingredients to a bowl.
Process the onions, celery, garlic, herbs and parsnips in the food processor until finely chopped. Put it in a pan and cook on low for about 5-10 mins, adding water to prevent sticking.
Once done, add the veggies to the bowl along with the flax mixture as well as the rest of the ingredients.
Mix everything together. It should be a moist dough that holds together well, if not, add some more broth. You don’t want it to be too wet though as it won’t dry out that much in the oven, so restrain the urge to add more liquid (trust me, I know this from experience!)
Press into a parchment lined loaf tin and top with the glaze. Bake for 45 minutes at 350. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from tin and slicing.
Serve with your favorite gravy! I will post my favorite soon!