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If You’re Happy and You Know It, Eat Your Yams

December 15, 2009

My Prestidigitating Suitor and I made yams. Two great big yams, baked in the oven. I wasn’t sure what we were going to do with them, exactly, but since it takes about 45 minutes to bake yams, I figured we’d throw them in the oven first and contemplate later.

Once they were cooked and cooling on the cutting board, I suggested that we mash them into two separate dishes, and season them differently, and have two different kinds of yams (along with our stuffing and roasted brussels sprouts). This was the result:

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I made the one on the left, Yam with Mango Chutney and Orange:

Get a giant yam, a jar of mango chutney, and an orange. Cook the yam and mash it into a dish. Cut up half an orange. If the orange has seeds, remove them. Mix the orange bits and a bunch of mango chutney into the yams.

The Prestidigitating Suitor made the one on the right, Molasses Happyface Yam with Macadamias:

Get a giant yam, some macadamia nuts, and some molasses. Cook the yam and mash it into a dish. Smash up some macadamia nuts. Mix the smashed nuts and some molasses into the yams. Place two whole macadamia nuts as eyes. Carve a mouth. Harvest the remnants of someone else’s orange to make eyebrows. Make someone else take the first serving so you don’t feel bad about eating the face.

This has been today’s yam idea post. Hope you enjoyed it.

Vegan Holiday Entrée Recipe: Gnocchi in Pumpkin Sauce (With Photos!)

December 9, 2009

I’ve never posted a recipe on Jenisfamous before, but before this holiday season, I had also never cooked a vegan Thanksgiving for a magician before. And now I have!

img_5995.jpgAfter I mentioned on Facebook that I had invented a holiday-appropriate main dish, a few people asked for the recipe. With the help of the aforementioned vegan magician, I made the dish again, and he took photos.

I like to think that a few dozen concerned suburban mothers whose suddenly vegan children are returning home from college will be out there Googling “vegan Christmas dinner,” and ending up here. Hi!

Also, I don’t measure anything when I cook, so you’ll just have to go with it. I’ll describe the steps as best I can. Also, this whole recipe, including side dish, only takes about 15 minutes, so don’t make it a day ahead of time or anything crazy; in fact, it’s much better fresh than as leftovers, so if you want a lot, just make it again tomorrow.

Ingredients:

  • One bag of frozen gnocchi (or fresh gnocchi, or you can look up on the internet how to make your own gnocchi. Just get some damn gnocchi. My bag of frozen gnocchi was 16 oz., but this recipe makes enough sauce to accomodate a bit more gnocchi than that).
  • One can of pumpkin.
  • Unsweetened Almond Breeze Almond Milk. I am serious about this. Do not use soymilk. I will beat your ass. Soy tastes like beans. Do not use rice milk, or hemp milk, or any other hippie-ass thing. You must use Almond Breeze Unsweetened Almond Milk. Not that other brand of almond milk that’s basically just water and almond extract. If you do not need to make this recipe vegan, you may use regular whole milk, or even cream. But do not put the Silk fucking soymilk you put on your cereal into this dish. Thank you.
  • Fresh rosemary, thyme, and oregano. I bought the Satur Farms Fragrant Herb Trio. I’m actually not totally sure I identified the herbs correctly. Probably some slightly different fresh herbs would also be okay. I’m not a fascist. But don’t think you can substitute the stuff in the jar. Part of the point of the recipe is to have the fresh green bits visible in the sauce. You want fresh herbs that are actually fresh, like leaves, not ones that have already gotten a bit crunchy, like potpourri.
  • Sea salt. I promise you it’s different from regular salt. And it sounds fancier. I’m assuming you already have pepper. What are you, some kind of pepperless freak?
  • Vegetable bouillon. I used “Rapunzel Vegan Vegetable Bouillon” and it was freaking delicious.
  • Vegan margarine. I know you are going to think to yourself, “I can just use olive oil,” but I’m telling you, holiday food is delicious because it tastes like butter. I used some Fleischman’s (Note: “parve” is Jewish for vegan! Sort of).
  • Pine nuts (a small handful thereof).
  • White cooking wine.

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Please don’t mind my coffeemaker in the photo. You don’t need one of those. I don’t have a lot of counter space.

Also in this post, I will be making a side dish of roasted haricots verts. To make this, you will need:

  • Haricots verts, also known as French beans. The skinny green beans. Cut off the ends, please.
  • Olive oil.
  • Sea salt and rosemary, which you should already have from the gnocchi recipe above. The “large grain” sea salt totally looks cooler.
  • A cookie sheet.

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Step 1: Start drinking. I’m drinking Chimay Rouge. Also, you will want to ask a magician to draw a hand turkey, and then tape it to your kitchen cabinet. If your magician is not a vegan, don’t let him touch the food.

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I’m slicing margarine on the dotted line!

Step 2: Melt about two tablespoons of margarine in a large skillet. Add a bouillon cube and push it around in the margarine with your spatula until it looks delicious.

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Step 3: Get about this many herbs. Rip them off the stems. Any parts that are too much like trees to eat, throw away. Take the little leafy bits and chop them very, very small.

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Step 4: Add the herbs and sautée them until they are nice and soft. Add a bit of salt, but if your bouillon was already salted, then be sparing.

Step 5: Add about a fourth of a cup of cooking wine.

Step 6: Dump the entire can of pumpkin into the skillet and move it all around.

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Step 7: Add about a cup of almond milk, or more or less, so that it all looks creamy and delicious. Simmer a bit. If it looks like it could be creamier, add more almond milk. It’s kind of hard to fuck up at this point.

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Step 8: Boil a pot of water. Follow the instructions on the gnocchi package. Note: frozen gnocchi only needs to boil for THREE MINUTES, so don’t put it in before you’re ready for it.

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Step 9: Add some pepper to the sauce and stir it around.

Step 10: Heat up a separate skillet. Don’t put any oil or butter or anything in it. When it’s medium-hot, put a small handful of pine nuts in and DON’T LEAVE THEM ALONE or they will burn. Move them around with a spatula for thirty seconds or so until they’re slightly brown, then take them off the heat. You just toasted some pine nuts!

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Step 11: When the gnocchi are done, drain them, and add them to the sauce, or put the gnocchi in a fancy serving dish and put the sauce on top. Sprinkle the pine nuts on top.

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You’re done! You made gnocchi in pumpkin sauce! Your vegan should now make out with you, if appropriate.

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Side Dish Instructions (and don’t forget to keep drinking!):

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Step A: Rip a big bunch of rosemary off of the stems and chop it pretty small. Keep in mind that most of the rosemary is going to kind of fall off the haricots verts, so use more than you think you should. It’ll look fancy.

Step B: Put the haricots verts on a cookie sheet. Drizzle a SMALL amount of olive oil on them and move them all around with your hands so the oil is evenly distributed.

Step C: Sprinkle with sea salt, and distribute the rosemary on top.

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Step D: I would’ve told you to pre-heat your oven, except I’m pretty sure that modern ovens just get hot whenever you tell them to, and also I just put food in when the oven is cold and let the food heat up as the oven does, which is totally fine if you’re not doing something really precise and involving chemical reactions, which pretty much only describes baking, which is only for fat people. Did I say that? I did. Oh wait, Step D is to put the cookie sheet in the oven on some reasonable temperature, like 350 or so.

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Step E: Cook for 10 minutes or so — until the haricots verts are nice and (partially) brown.

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If your vegan has not made out with you yet, stand near the food and look adorable.