With Samhain approaching, as well as later fall feasts like Thanksgiving, I thought I'd post a few recipes that can be made into a three-course menu. Although the original foods were not necessarily vegetarian, all these recipes are vegan-adaptable.
First is a recipe for soup I got from hrafnkell, from a recipe he got elsewhere.
Hrafnkell's Sweet Potato Soup
6-8 sweet potatoes
several cups of broth
1 cup cream
pumpkin pie spices (mostly nutmeg and cinnamon)
2 or 3 oranges
1 cup of orange juice
Cook chopped sweet potatoes in broth until soft, then puree with cream. Add spices, orange juice and squeeze the oranges into it.
Non-vegetarians will probably want to use chicken broth, vegans will want to use either vegetable stock or water to cook the sweet potatoes in and substitute unsweetened soy milk for the cream. Lazy cooks like me will probably decide to use 1.5-2 cups of grovestand/homestyle pulp-y orange juice from the grocery store so no orange-squeezing has to be done.
The next recipe is one I created myself and can be served as a stew in a bowl or on a bed of rice or made into a soup if more water is left in it and not allowed to boil off or less potato flakes are used. This is also a good dish to make in a slow cooker, since you can just dump all the ingredients in in the morning and have a hot meal ready for you when you return home from work. (Add the potato flakes just before you're ready to serve then, to reduce the risk of the stew sticking to your crockpot and getting burnt.)
Persephone's Squash and Chickpea Stew
1 package frozen squash
1 can chickpeas
1 chopped onion
1 chopped sweet red pepper (orange or yellow peppers are OK too, but NOT green!)
Hungarian hot paprika (NOT sweet paprika and NOT cayenne pepper!)
instant potato flakes
morcilla or chorizo or kielbasa, sliced (leave out this for vegetarian version of recipe)
cream or half-and-half or unsweetened soy milk (optional)
Sauté the chopped onions and peppers in olive oil until the onions are translucent, then add the package of squash, either thawed or broken into smaller frozen bits (depending on how lazy you are, you can even dump the whole package in still frozen as a lump) along with the can of chickpeas WITH the liquid from the can. Add some water if you think you need it -- the vegetables give off lots of liquid, so this step is quasi-optional. Add the sliced sausage, if you're making a non-vegetarian/vegan version of this. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Add some garlic powder, dried oregano and ground cumin (the Holy Trinity of Cuban bean cookery) and stir. Add some Hungarian hot paprika and let simmer for a bit then taste and adjust seasonings to taste. (The liquid from the chickpeas contains plenty of salt so you might not need any more and you may not want to add any black pepper either because of the Hungarian hot paprika.) Cook until meat is cooked thoroughly (if sausage was used) or some of the water boils off and it isn't so thin. Thicken to desired consistency by adding instant potato flakes. If a creamier taste is wanted, add some cream or half-and-half (or unsweetened soy milk for vegans) after adding potato flakes. Adjust seasonings a final time if needed after the addition of the potato flakes and/or cream. Serve on a bed of rice.
You might have noticed I didn't give any exact amount of spices to use or even specify the size of the can of chickpeas. This was deliberate, since this is a very malleable recipe. If you like chickpeas, use a bigger can. If you love red peppers or onions, add more of them. (I recommend using the yellow Spanish onions, BTW) I think it tastes best with morcilla (a type of blood sausage) but you might hate it or have no access to it or chorizo. (Which is why kielbasa is a recommended substitute, since most supermarkets I've been to carry that in the meat department.) Hate using frozen squash and/or not as lazy a cook as I am? Peel and cook your favorite type of winter squash then mash it and use that in the stew. (I use butternut, personally.)
As for the spices, I usually cook by taste, since I know how it is should taste, so I never bother measuring anything. I can't even tell you accurately the proportions of one spice to another. I also don't know how spicy-hot you might like your food, so I can't recommend any particular amount of the Hungarian hot paprika to use -- add a bit, then add a bit more is all I can say. One important thing to note though is that the Hungarian hot paprika is important to use in this dish. Do NOT substitute cayenne pepper for it, since cayenne has a different "quality" of heat to it -- if you really can't get any Hungarian hot paprika, just use regular sweet paprika and have a mild version of the stew. The Hungarian hot paprika I use is the "Pride of Szeged" brand that you can get in most grocery stores I've been to in a white tin with red and green on it -- I've never been to a supermarket that didn't have it somewhere in the spice and baking aisle.
The last recipe is snagged from an old issue of Tea Time magazine, since I thought it would make a nice finish to a fall-themed menu and the recipe is already vegan-friendly. (The picture for this post is this dessert.)
1 cup sugar
10 Granny Smith Apples
5 tablespoons sugar
1. In medium saucepan over high heat, combine 1 cup sugar and enough water to dissolve until caramelized.
2. Line terrine mold with caramel mixture and allow to set.
3. Peel and core apples. Cut into thin slices. Line mold with apples.
4. After one layer is complete, sprinkle fine layer of sugar, then place some orange zest on top. Repeat procedure, placing apples in opposite direction. Continue rotating until apples are 3 inches up terrine mold sides.
5. Wrap in aluminum foil, place into bain-marie (water bath) and cook at 100º for 12 hours.
6. Allow to cool and turn out onto serving dish.
7. Cut into portion-sized wedges and serve with orange zest.