Sunday, October 9, 2011


Best Blog Tips

HOLIDAY BRUNCH MENU (starred recipes are in World Vegan Feast)
Creole Grits and Grillades*
Clementines, mandarin oranges or tangerines
South American-Style Hot Chocolate* (recipe below)
Lemon-Ginger Pistachio Biscotti or Cranberry-Orange-Pecan Biscotti*

This menu was is entitled "Christmas Morning Brunch" in my new book World Vegan Feast, but it can be used for any holiday brunch, really (for instance, it would be a perfect Mardis Gras brunch dish).  In any case, many of us are thinking ahead to the Fall/Winter holidays and special menus that we might serve to our guests or family.

                           Vegan Creole Grits and Grillades

The main course is one of my favorite recipes in the book because I love corn in any form and the creamy corn grits reminds me of soft Italian polenta. But combined with a heavenly braised vegan steak (the  Grillades--pronounced gree-yahds) in a rich Creole sauce-- not to be missed! (This makes a good supper dish, too, BTW.) My version is much lighter in fat than the traditional one, but it is luxurious all the same. I assure you that this is one of the best seitan “beef” dishes you’ll ever have the pleasure of savoring.

                                    Two kinds of vegan biscotti

The fruit, hot chocolate and biscotti on the menu make a festive but not-too-sweet ending to the brunch. Buttery, lemon-scented biscotti studded with candied ginger and pistachios, or a biscotti perfumed with orange zest and bursting with jewel-colored cranberries and toasty pecans are both irresistible. (I make these twice-baked treats every Christmas, but you don’t have to wait for the holidays to enjoy them with coffee, tea, hot cocoa, or wine.) These biscotti are larger, a little richer, and more “buttery” than the biscotti in my book, Nonna’s Italian Kitchen. Consequently, they can be enjoyed on their own, whereas the drier biscotti are best when dunked into one of the above-mentioned beverages. But we like them with this rich South American hot chocolate recipe from the book:

Serves 2       SFO, GF

Frothy, rich, intensely chocolate and only slightly sweet...

2 cups almond milk or full-fat soy milk
2 ounces bittersweet dark eating chocolate, about 70% cocoa solids, chopped (dairy-free, organic, fair trade)
1 tablespoon organic sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon (or more) favorite liqueur or liquor(rum, brandy, Peruvian Pisco), optional

1.) Heat the milk until almost boiling, in a medium saucepan on the stove or heat the milk in a
1-quart microwave-safe measuring pitcher in the microwave at 100% power (default setting) for
1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Stir in the chopped chocolate and stir until it melts. Stir in the sugar and vanilla.

2.) Now froth the chocolate. You can use a traditional molinillo, which you roll between your hands; or use a whisk, a plunger-type cappuccino frother (or electric version), or a hand-held immersion blender. Another option is to whiz the mixture in a regular blender for a few minutes, but be sure to leave the cap off the middle hole in the blender top and cover it with a folded towel, so that the steam doesn’t explode the hot chocolate all over you! You can microwave the chocolate for about 30 seconds at 100% power (default setting), if you like– the froth rises up nicely in the microwave! Add the liqueur, if using, and serve hot.


1 comment:

Caity said...

This look amazing. I grew up drinking hot chocolate almost everyday... This must be tried! :)