We celebrated Christmas Eve this year by putting together a comforting spread of homemade foods inspired by some of the U.S.'s favorite bits of Japanese cuisine. We kicked off the evening with a cocktail, which we found here.
This Shiba Dog, as they're calling it, is a lovable, dead simple drink. We made one adjustment to the suggested recipe by using nigori sake. We suggest you make an additional adjustment by forgetting the salted rim altogether. It was an overwhelming nuisance. But by all means, mix equal parts nigori sake and grapefruit juice at every opportunity. (And check Barnivore before buying your sake. We somehow failed to back when we bought this bottle, and ended up with a brand that isn't vegan-friendly.)
Next up, Miso Soup with Mushroom Wonton Dumplings. We're working to nail down MSV's official dashi, so the soup recipe isn't quite ready to share. In the meantime, we're enjoying every last test bowl.
For this special occasion, we added some gorgeously salty and savory mushroom wonton dumplings using our gorgeously salty and savory mushroom filling recipe. We omitted the cashews, so the only crunch in the soup would come from the spring onion garnish, and we substituted for the morels the shiitakes we used to make the dashi. Feel free to use nothing but button mushrooms, and you'll still have tasty morsels on your hands.
With time running out after a quick look around town yielded not a single commercial vegan wonton wrapper, we decided we'd have to make our own pasta for the dumplings. Method here, but we used a dough much easier to work with by using roughly 1 1/3 cups flour, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/2 cup warm water. The great little folding tutorial we used is here. Adorable.
Vegan nigiri sushi trio: roasted red pepper (jarred, and we looked for a variety that, contrary to our usual preference, contained added sugar to make sure we got a lovely shot of sweetness); sliced avocado; and blanched, pressed tofu marinated in a simple, addictive soy-miso sauce from Kansha. (Knoxville readers, remember that Lawson-McGhee has a copy of Kansha you can check out--highly recommended.)
And finally, for dessert, we continued the theme by using both matcha and ginger, but also included a nod to the common Western European-American Christmas tradition by including a heap of sorghum (in lieu of molasses) and other spices. The result was a dense, moist, terrific gingerbread cake with a matcha glaze. (Cake veganized from Tartine, matcha glaze spotted in Pure Vegan.) You can see the cake at the very top of this post. It wasn't very pretty, but it was incredibly tasty. And paired beautifully with straight nigori sake.
The following morning, brunch! The MSV kitchen doesn't host this brunch, but we do make a few contributions.
Almond-crusted zucchini strips. So incredibly good. You can find our coating recipe here, but instead of using mushrooms, we cut one giant zucchini into 6 1/4-inch-thick planks. Bake on one side for 15 minutes, flip, and bake another 10-15 minutes, until golden (more golden than this shot indicates, sorry) and mind-blowingly fragrant.
On the side, fluffly little corn muffins seasoned like hush puppies. Yum. This was a first test of this recipe, and we have some ambitions for it, we think. It may reappear before long, depending on our progress with these.
And, finally, Apple-Blueberry Doughnut Cobbler. This bit of ridiculousness comes from BHG. Be warned, the mini doughnuts got a little too crispy in spots (they tasted fine, but were a bit difficult to cut), so we suggest using either full-size doughnuts or covering the cobbler for the first half of baking. And, if you hadn't already guessed, this is only for the serious sweet tooth.
Our version is different from BHG's a little, so here goes:
We made old-fashioned doughnuts the day before to make this a snap to assemble. For the filling, we used two Granny Smith apples, two Honeycrisp apples, and one cup of frozen blueberries. First, measure out the blueberries, but keep them in the freezer. Slice the apples, and cut those slices in half. Toss them with the juice of half a lemon (or lime, of course, but juice the whole lime, if substituting). Whisk together 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg. Toss the apples with that mixture, then carefully stir in the blueberries. Top with the doughnuts, drizzle with 2 TBSP of melted nondairy butter or coconut oil, and bake at 375 for 45 minutes.
See you all next year.