Monday, October 31, 2011

Vegan Mofo #28 The Big Halloween Post...

My pumpkin - I’ve been in the Island spirit since I got back and so I decided to carve a Honu Turtle with a yin yang shell into my pumpkin along with the words Aloha and Mahalo.on either side of it.

Vegan Mofo #28 The Big Halloween Post

The Book - Party Vegan & The Joy of Vegan Baking
The Author - PV = Robin Robertson & TJOVB = Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
The Recipe - 1) Black Olive Tapenade with carrot sticks and orange bell pepper strips. 2) Black Bean and Butternut Chili 3) Savory Pumpkin muffins with black sesame seeds 4) Black Rice Salad 5) Orange-Carrot Cake with Dark Chocolate Icing 6) Pumpkin Cheesecake
Difficulty - Easy

Halloween is easily one of my favorite days of the year. I look forward to it all year long. Halloween Parties, costumes, party food, candy, scary movies, ghost stories, decorations. It’s a night of fun macabre that is extremely satisfying to participate in. I’ve always loved it. I mean who doesn’t like to dress up in a cool, sexy or scary costume and walk around showing themselves off? Who doesn’t like to have one night a year where literally anything goes and you can cut loose and be someone else?

Normally I like to go all out with Halloween, I have come cool decorations that I like putting up and I always get really into picking a costume. This year however since we just got back from vacation I fond myself just too tired to get into all of that. I did however decide to have a small intimate dinner with my good friends J and L. A costumes required dinner of course, with food that was Halloween themed. At first I wasn’t sure how I was going to make Halloween theme food, then I remembered my copy of Party Vegan, which has a Halloween section.

Now, honestly when I first glanced over the recipes, and read the ingredients lists I was skeptical. I mean who puts green chilies in a muffin? Who puts apple juice in chili? The tapenade had so few ingredients I didn’t know how it could possibly be good, and the black rice salad seemed lacking in any sort of dressing. The only thing that really sounded like it might work was the Orange-Carrot Cake with Dark Chocolate Frosting, but despite my reservations I decided to put my faith in Robin’s hands and trust her. The result? My Halloween dinner was a roaring success.

We started with the black olive tapenade which I served with carrot sticks and slices of orange bell pepper. There really isn’t much to this dip. It’s very simple, consisting of olives, capers, lemon juice, pepper, parsley, garlic and olive oil. Yet the flavor was wonderful, and not overpowering. It was especially balanced by the carrot and pepper dippers.

Then after a lot of munching dinner began. The Black Bean Butternut Chili was so much better then I was expecting it to be, in fact it’s probably one of the best vegan chilies I’ve had. So much flavor and not overly sweet considering it contains apple juice and sugar in addition to the butternut squash. I did do a couple of things differently mainly on accident. For example I forgot to buy chipotle chilies and so instead I used cayenne pepper and smoked paprika. Secondly because my husband doesn’t like beans I ended up blending one entire can before adding it to the chili. Then I only added one more can of whole beans instead of two. I also used double the amount of crushed tomatoes simply because I had a 28oz can on hand and I didn’t want to waste 14oz. I also added a couple of pinches of garlic powder but otherwise I kept the recipe the same.

The Chili was served with the Savory Pumpkin Muffins which were reminiscent of cornbread. They weren’t too sweet nor too savory, and they had a bit of heat from the chilies but it wasn’t overwhelming. In fact the whole flavor profile was well balanced. Who knew I’d ever like chilies in a muffin! Also the pumpkin flavor wasn’t over the top either, it was noticeable but tame. My husband hates pumpkin flavored things but he ended up eating two of these muffins because they were so good.

To go along with the chili and the muffins we had the Black Rice Salad. Unfortunately I forgot to buy a sweet potato and so had to leave that ingredient out, but I don’t think that took anything away from the overall dish. I also served the rice over a bed of kale - rather then romaine - that I’d tossed with a bit of salt, lemon juice and maple syrup, and I added a couple dashes of soy sauce to the rice as it was cooking. It turned out phenomenal, and ended up being a really perfect accompaniment to the chili.

After an appropriate digestion period we had dessert. Originally I was only going to make the Orange-Carrot cake from Party Vegan, but then last night I got a wicked craving for cheesecake. Pumpkin cheesecake to be exact. I used to love cheesecake back in the day, but rarely ate it, now that I’m vegan I eat it even less but maybe two or three times a year I get really in the mood for it. Unable to decide between making a cheesecake and the cake from party vegan I decided on both, and both turned out amazing!

First the Orange-Carrot Cake with Dark Chocolate Frosting. I’ve always loved carrot cake, and chocolate and orange seem to be made for each other so I was very excited to try this. My husband who’s never liked carrot cake was skeptical but he ended up eating two large pieces so I think that speaks for itself. In an attempt to be more Halloweeny I took Robins suggestion and did my best to decorate the top of the cake with a spider-web and a spider. Unfortunately by the time I took this picture my spider looked more like a blog then a spider but you get the idea. If you’re going to do the spider-web decoration the frosting makes a lot more then you need, but you can always store it in your fridge and bring it out when dessert is served incase people want extra frosting on their cakes. Also the frosting is kind of runny, but as long as you have a cake decorator or a pastry bag it’s easy enough to pipe on a spider web and the frosting will definitely harden over time. I didn’t make any alterations to this cake and it was perfect.

The pumpkin cheesecake I got out of Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s The Joy of Vegan Baking. I’ve made her lemon cheesecake in the past and that was a big hit so I was looking forward to trying her pumpkin cheesecake. I decided to serve it in a pecan crust rather then graham cracker because I had pecans and didn’t have graham crackers. The pecan crust which I’ve already talked about was just as divine on the cheesecake as it was on the pumpkin pie. As far as the cheesecake recipe goes i’ts ver easy to make, and I didn’t make many alterations. I just added a bit more cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger, and a touch more brown sugar, otherwise I followed the directions exactly. After the pie had cooled significantly I made a candied pecan topping to pour over top. The topping I made with Earth Balance, Brown Sugar and Pecans, no recipe just winged it and it worked out really well.

So that was my big Halloween extravaganza, I had a blast, and I hope you did too. I suppose too that this post will wrap up my vegan mofo for 2011, so I just want to thank everyone for reading, and thank you so much to everyone that commented it was really great to hear your feedback! And like last year, this year I found a few cool new - to me - blogs, which I’m very excited about.

So once again HAPPY HALLOWEEN & I hope you had as much fun during mofo as I did!


  1. You're menu sounded awesome! The pictures are mouthwatering! S.T.

  2. There was so much good food happening that night! Those muffins were really good! I was pretty surprised. - Matt