Friday, September 30, 2011

Shana Tova

Just a quick post for this morning - I want to share with you all the wonderful food we had for Rosh Hashanah.  I know that one thing that can be scary as you consider making this transition is wondering what will you do on holidays.  Are you going to have to give up your traditions or feel like you are missing out?  I am here to show you that the answer is absolutely NO.  The holiday foods you know and love can easily become part of the vegan lifestyle.

More importantly, I discovered this year how much additional joy the vegan lifestyle brings to the holidays.  The Jewish new year is already filled with joy; how wonderful to make it even more so.  I know that many people may start this journey for health reasons, as I did, but it has been interesting to see how my compassion for animals has grown over time, and how that has become a bigger and bigger factor.  This Rosh Hashanah I was interested to see how happy it made me to have a celebratory meal that did not rely on any animal products.  It feels like a true celebration of life and of the bounty of the world, with no inconsistencies in those thoughts present on my plate.  What a wonderful feeling.

So what did I have on my plate?  Let me show you.

1. Kugel!  What is a Jewish holiday meal without kugel?

I used the recipe over at VegKitchen, making a couple small alterations.  I chopped the apple instead of grating it (because I'm lazy :) ), and I used silken tofu.  It set quite nicely after cooling, but I think I would use flatter noodles next time to hold things together a little bit better.  But oh my god YUM.  Absolutely exquisitely delicious, and exactly like any kugel I have had previously in my non-vegan life.

2. Tzimmes

This one we just made up.  :)  Apples, sweet potatoes, figs, pineapple (leftover from the kugel!), figs, and some wine, put in a pot and simmered together for a while.  Think of any great combination of fall fruits and veggies, and you will probably come up with a delicious tzimmes.  We served ours over Israeli couscous.

3. Not-honey cake

I've never been a huge honey cake fan, but when I found this recipe over at VegKitchen as well, it seemed like experimenting needed to happen.  And look how pretty!  Tastes exactly like honey cake too.  How wonderful.  It was perfect when it came out of the oven - the next day it was a teeny bit drier than I would like, and falls apart a bit.  So I may try to add a bit more moisture the next time, and probably a flax egg for a little binder.

4. We also had Gardein chik'n filets with my mother's traditional apricot sauce, a beautiful salad of greens, pomegranate seeds, orange pieces, walnuts, and balsamic dressing, a beans and apple casserole, and an exquisite fruit tart, but I didn't manage pictures of any of those!  But more ideas for you.  :)  The fruit tart I must replicate soon - phyllo dough spread with apricot jelly, topped with blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and a sprinkling of pistachio nuts, and baked.  Amazing.

It's a new year!  A perfect time to give a new lifestyle a shot if you are still exploring this option, or to add some new recipes to the mix if you are already happily on this path.  And if you have other holiday meals I would love to hear them in the comments.  Because really, who can't use more awesome food on the Jewish holidays?  :)

Shana Tova!


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