Monday, November 5, 2012

The Halloween Post 2012...

Our Halloween Pumpkins this year. I carved the 'Go Vegan!"
Elephant one on the far left. and the "Namaste" Lotus Flower one in the middle.
The Sonic the Hedgehog Pumpkin is the work of my husband.

Can you believe it’s November already? Where does the time go? Well I hope you all had a lovely Halloween, mine was quiet. This year neither my husband or I felt like doing anything significant. Instead we were content to watch the day pass while we relaxed in each other’s company. It was a sunny albeit cool day and so we enjoyed a lovely autumnal afternoon walk with our dog, then warmed up afterwards with some mocha lattes. In the evening we read together on the couch and handed out candy, then cuddled up to watch a ‘scary’ movie that only proved to be disappointing and predictable.

And did anyone else catch sight of the spooky Halloween Moon?
Not the best picture, but you can see the ring enough to get the idea.

Of course no holiday would be complete without good food, and even though we didn’t celebrate Halloween in the typical decadent fashion I wasn’t about to miss an opportunity to make something delicious to eat.

We started off our day with a mid-morning brunch of Pirogi’s. I love Pirogi’s they’re a favorite of mine from childhood, and I haven’t had really good Pirogi since moving to Chicago. Though there are plenty of Places in Chicago that one could procure Pirogi I haven’t yet found a place that I particularly like. All the pirogi I’ve eaten here have been filled with things like cheese, meats, sauerkraut, mushrooms, the traditional potato also but more often then not a various combination of two or more of those things. I am of the opinion that pirogi should only be made with potatoes, or potato and onion, that’s how my Oma made them, that’s how I ate them growing up. My Oma used to serve her pirogi with caramelized onion’s, bacon, and sour cream, and they were always fried after being boiled - another must in my opinion. Though I’ve missed my Oma’s pirogi in the time that I’ve lived here, I’ve never actually attempted to make pirogi of my own. I don’t know why, perhaps I always found the task daunting. Then I woke up Halloween morning full of the cooking spirit and a hankering for a breakfast that involved potatoes.

It was when I was flipping through my copy of Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s book “Vegan Brunch” that I came across her Pirogi recipe. Of course I’ve seen the recipe before - numerous times even - and yet somehow it never interested me, until now anyway. I skimmed over her recipe for Potato Onion Pirogi and knew instinctively that I had to make them. I had all the ingredients on hand, and a couple of ours to kill before my husband woke up so I thought why not?

Now, making pirogi is a process. Seriously. Anytime you work with dough your bound to end up swearing at least a couple of times. Dough in my opinion is a pain in the ass. Dough is the reason I love and hate making my own breads, pizza’s and so on. All that rolling, and cutting and crimping! But if you want good pirogi making your own really is the only way, and Isa’s recipe is delicious, very reminiscent of the pirogi my Oma made for me growing up. In the end all the trouble and effort of making home-made pirogi from scratch is totally worth it! I served mine with some non-dairy sour cream and apple sauce. I forwent the mandatory caramelized onions and vegan bacon because I was too lazy, and didn’t want to dirty another pan. Besides after 2 hours of shaping, boiling, and frying pirogi I just wanted to eat. I will however probably make more Pirogi in the future - it's time consuming but not difficult and so the rewards are justified.

Later that evening after most of our trick or treaters had departed I was in the mood for something autumnal and harvesty for dinner. I had some carnival squash that I’d bought a few days before and really wanted to make them. So I pulled out my copy of “Vegan Holiday Kitchen” by Nava Atlas and made her Butternut Squash with Whole Wheat and Onion stuffing, only I used the Carnival Squashes instead. Also I added cranberries to the mixture which I thought was a fantastic addition.

I forgot to take a picture of the Deep Dish Greens on it's own
But you can see it in this pic, sitting just behind the squash.

The carnival squashes were fabulous. I’d never had them before and thought they tasted very similar to a butternut squash, they had that subtle sweet flavor. The stuffing consisted of wild rice, vegetable broth, oil, garlic, red onion, whole wheat bread, thyme, sage, orange juice and an all-purpose seasoning blend. Now I don’t own any all-purpose seasoning blends so I just created my own with basil, oregano, marjoram, thyme, sage, onion powder, paprika, white pepper, black pepper, sea salt, rosemary and cinnamon. The cinnamon I thought was a particularly brilliant note especially with the citrus tang from the orange juice. I served the finished Squashes with Terry Walter’s recipe for Deep Dish Greens with Millet and Amaranth Crust from her book “Clean Start” which was fantastic. I’d never eaten amaranth before either and it was really, really good!

For dessert we had another recipe from “Vegan Brunch” Isa’s East Coast Coffee Cake, but instead of just making a straight up coffee cake I decided to make the cinnamon fig variation, because who doesn’t love figs and cinnamon? Plus figs are very autumnal and so is cinnamon so it was a perfect fit for our dinner, and the perfect light dessert to have after all that stuffed squash and greens!

I hope everyone had a fun, safe, and spooky Halloween, full of delicious and decadent goodies!

1 comment:

  1. Love your pumpkins!!! Wow, cool Moon picture! Your stuffed squash and dessert look awesome and very YUMMY! S.T.