November 29, 2011

Holiday Deliciousness

I've got two wonderful holiday recipes to share, and I think they'll make great additions to your menu. Both recipes are dairy free as written, but there is room for change, if you so desire!

We first ate this delicious soup for lunch before Thanksgiving dinner, and it was perfect because it filled us up just enough so that we could wait until dinner...but it didn't leave us stuffed. It's a vegan recipe, but we stirred in a little plain yogurt to counteract the heat of the chipotles. It's a fantastic soup and I actually wish I had a bowl of it right now!

The original recipe is from Moosewood, and I couldn't find it ANYWHERE online! I've substituted what I think is a close version of it, and I'll update as soon as I can snag the recipe from my MIL's cookbook.

Chipotle Squash Soup
adapted from

1 pound butternut squash, halved and deseeded
1/2 large onion, diced
2 tsp minced garlic
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (canned)
1/2 TBS cumin powder
1 1/2 cups veggie broth

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place both squash halves face down in a shallow baking dish with a little bit of water in the bottom. Bake the squash for 1 hour.
Saute the onion and garlic together for a few minutes over medium heat. When the squash is done and cooled down a little, scoop out the flesh and place it along with the rest of the ingredients into a blender or food processor. 
Process until the soup is thoroughly "soupy". You may wish to add more water or broth or even nondairy milk if the soup is not thin enough for you.

This makes 2 servings as posted, so adjust accordingly!


The next recipe is much sweeter! The original title is "Garnet Yam Cake with Brown Sugar Sauce and Candied Pecans" but that's really long. And after hunting down garnet yams, I've come to the conclusion that you can use any kind of yam or sweet potato for this cake (heck, even the canned ones! I won't tell) and it will still be amazing. It's got a few involved steps, but it's totally worth it for a special holiday dessert. Even the little kids liked it!

A few notes about the cake:
This whole cake is kosher pareve, which is great for a kosher Thanksgiving! The sauce calls for coconut oil, which is solid at room temperature. I found mine at Whole Foods, and I plan to use the rest of the jar for other baking experiments. My vegan friends tell me it's a great substitute for butter in we'll see!

If you're using yams/sweet potatoes, they can be roasted (baked in the microwave like I did!) and mashed up to 2 days in advance. I just scooped out what I needed for the cake and kept it in the fridge.

The sauce and pecans are WAY too sweet as written, in my humble opinion, so I slashed a lot of the sugar. I noted all changes in the recipe below.

Yam Cake with Brown Sugar Sauce and Maple Pecans
adapted from Washington Post

For the cake
3 garnet yams (the fattest, most unblemished yams you can find; see headnote), scrubbed and dried
2 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
3 teaspoons minced crystallized ginger
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil, preferably safflower oil
4 extra-large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups toasted pecan halves, for garnish
1/3 cup pure maple syrup, for garnish (I only used 2 TBS and it was plenty!)

For the sauce
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (I only used 1 1/4 cup and it was plenty)
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/3 cup organic coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

So the original recipe tells you to roast your yams at 400 degrees for 2 hours. I don't think so.
I simply poked a few holes in my yams, microwaved them for 6-8 minutes, flipped and microwaved for about 5 more until they were fork-tender. Then I let them cool, scooped out the flesh, and mashed. WAY easier.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Combine the flour, cinnamon, ground ginger, crystallized ginger, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.

Beat the roasted yam flesh on medium-low speed until smooth. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the sugar and oil; beat on the lowest speed until smooth. Add the eggs, two at a time, beating to incorporate after each addition.
Add the flour mixture; beat on the lowest speed until just combined. Stir in the vanilla extract.

Use nonstick cooking oil spray to liberally grease the inside of the Bundt pan. Pour the batter into the pan, which should be no more than two-thirds full.

Bake for about 65 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into a tall ridge of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack; cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes, then invert it and extract the cake from the pan. Cool completely on the rack.

(At this point, place the cake in an airtight cake keeper and make the sauce; or wrap it well and freeze it for up to 2 weeks, then defrost and prepare the sauce before serving.)

For the sauce:
Place the sifted confectioners' sugar in a medium bowl.

Combine the light brown sugar, almond milk and coconut oil in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat; cook for about 2 minutes, until the coconut oil melts and the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat to medium; bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

Pour the hot mixture over the sifted confectioners' sugar. Whisk to form a smooth, loose sauce. Let it cool, whisking occasionally; the sauce will thicken only a bit as it cools.

While the sauce cools, make the glazed pecans:
Heat a non-stick saucepan over medium heat and add the pecans. Stirring frequently, allow them to toast until you smell toasted pecans. Then you know they're done. Pour in the 2 TBS of pure maple syrup, stirring around until all the nuts are coated.

Transfer the pecans to a sheet of alumnium foil and spread out to cool in a single layer.
When ready to serve the cake, allow each person to ladle a few spoonfuls of sauce over each cake slice and garnish with maple-glazed pecan halves.