23 December 2014

Vegan Christmas Wreath Cookies

Every family has holiday traditions. In my family, we have a LOT of holiday traditions. We have traditions for where we go when, who we see when, how to open presents, what we eat when, and of course, what cookies we make.

Mom making wreaths in 2012
One of our traditional holiday cookies we call "wreath cookies." They are the most simple cookies (essentially like rice-crispie treats), but my mom made them every year. When we would get together with various groups of people over the holidays, we would ALWAYS be told to bring wreath cookies. Although other people made them, most people said that my mom's were the best. I don't know why they were the best, but they always were. Maybe it was the deep green color (there's a lot of research telling us that color matters in food perceptions!), maybe it was simply that her making them was tradition, or maybe it was that she clearly loved that other people loved them. Although this is our first Christmas without her, she was too weak to make them last year, so my sister took up the mantle. For the past 5 years or so, I've also been making a batch of vegan wreath cookies, just so that I could have my own taste of tradition.

These cookies take only about 15 minutes to make, but then take a while to set. In addition, given the food coloring, expect green everywhere (your fingers as you make them, your tongue when you eat them, and anywhere else the food goes*). But, these are a quick and festive cookie, so I think the green is worth it.

11 December 2014

Devil Fingers

If you ask many non-vegans, vegans eat "weird" foods. While a number of previously "weird vegan foods" have gone mainstream (kale, anyone?), there are still a number of "weird vegan foods" that aren't really anywhere close to hitting the mainstream food consciousness in a major way. One of those foods is seitan. It's clear that I like the "weirdness" that is seitan. What is also fun about seitan is that the word is commonly mispronounced. The real pronunciation is say-TAHN, However, a lot of people mistakenly say "satan."

For anyone NOT sensitive to gluten, seitan is an awesome food! It's a high-protein option that can replace meat in a number of dishes. Depending on how it's made, it can be stringy (like chicken) or more dense (like beef). If you're a regular reader of this blog, you'll have seen my post for how I make my own seitan. That seitan version is toward the "beefy" side of the seitan spectrum. Given that that recipe is "beefy," it only works in some recipes. Thus, years ago, I started making a chicken-style seitan recipe by VeganDad. With this recipe, I slightly adapted another of his recipes (see below) and created what we refer to as Devil Fingers. See, if seitan is mispronounced, and these are kind of like breaded chicken fingers, what better name than Devil Fingers? Plus, the looks on people's faces when they ask what we're eating is awesome. Given that they're also delicious, this recipe is just plain fabulous.

Served with ketchup for dipping and roasted cauliflower on this night.