holiday meals

Normally my family uses tofu turkeys for their holiday entree, which are simple: you just take them out of the box and bake them. If you haven't tried tofu turkeys, they're simple marinated/seasoned tofu shaped like a happy turkey. They're gluten free and come with an easy-to-make gravy. And they're just so cute!
However, my sister-in-law is sensitive to soy,  and I wanted something we could all have. Many vegan entree options have gluten, but half the people at our meal were gluten-free, so I was pretty much left with one option: THE VEGDUCKEN. This recipe (and similar ones) was circulating around the internet for a while, just calling to be veganized. First, I have to tell you, this recipe is good, but poorly written. Or, at least, poorly organized--the list of ingredients isn't in any particular order. I ended up rewriting the whole thing in a Word doc just to make it make more sense.

Here's what I changed: I used vegan butter (homemade, but Earth Balance would work) and halved the butter for the layering/sauce, and never used any mint. This turned out just fine, and we had plenty. I used two flax "eggs" (2 Tbsp flax meal mixed with 6 Tbsp water) to replace the eggs, and to replace the parmesan cheese, I just used 2-3 Tbsp light miso. (Because of the miso, this means the recipe wasn't completely soy free, but you could use a soy-free vegan cheese like Daiya to make it so.) I used gluten-free breadcrumbs--the Hannaford store brand is just corn, sugar, and salt. Oh and my mushrooms were reconstituted dried. Finally, because I am allergic to nightshades, I replaced the eggplant layer with lightly steamed sliced celery root.

And here's the thing: even with all these (in some cases rather dramatic) substitutions, it tasted great. And went together really easily.

Here it is before putting the sides together and baking:
And here it is, baked and with some slices taken off.
I recommend carving it at the table and serving it one piece at a time; when we tried to cut several slices in advance they fell apart and were not as pretty to serve.

It serves a lot! I actually made two because there were 11 of us eating and my family are big eaters, but we never ended up finishing the first, let alone cutting into the second. And everyone really liked it!

We hosted Thanksgiving so we wouldn't have to travel with the baby, but our dining room is small so half of us ate in the dining room and half of us ate in the makeshift second dining room (the living room).
My side of the family! My brother is holding the baby in the back.

Christmas dinner was a much smaller affair, with just us and Kevin's mother, so we cooked the meal together. Our entree was Elizavegan's vegan tourtiere, made with sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes, and phyllo dough instead of pastry crust--which was a delicious substitution! The crisp of the phyllo went well with the sweet potato and made up for the lack of starch the white potatoes would have provided.
For Christmas dessert, I wanted to make something special. Inspired by The Great British Baking Show, which I watched in less than two days during my first week home with the baby, I decided to try my hand at a Swiss roll (also known as a jelly roll). And it went GREAT!
The cake is the chocolate cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, spread out on a baking sheet and baked for only 10-15 minutes. I cooled it just enough to handle, then rolled it in a tea towel and let it cool completely.
After that I unrolled it, spread it with strawberry jam and Coco Whip (I didn't have time to make frosting), rolled it back up and decorated it. It was huuuuge, so I only used half of it to decorate and serve (halved, with edges trimmed off for neatness, it served 5 people). I couldn't believe how simple and yet elegant it was! I'll definitely make Swiss rolls in the future, hopefully with yellow cake that I can decorate with batter like they do on the show.
I also dressed my baby as a reindeer.
Finally, New Year's brunch is a big meal in my parents' house, with loads of food and plenty of relatives to eat it all. With a baby in the house we were lucky to make it till midnight, and were not up for making a huge brunch the next morning, but we did something a little special: Kevin made a delicious fruit and nut coffee cake (from Angelica Kitchen) and I made tofu florentine with a hollandaise sauce from Vegan Diner. I usually make the one from Vegan Brunch, but I don't find it too flavorful. The Vegan Diner one has a lot of flavor, but I think the wine comes through a little too strong. Still a delicious New Year's brunch!
Now the holidays are over, we're back to simpler meals... more on those later!