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 Post subject: I want to make something for my staff xmas party!
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 12:25 pm 
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So we are having our staff party with a company partner, a catering company. It works out perfectly because we make booze and supply that, while the catering company caters. They are already planning on having vegan stuff available for me (and to their credit, there has always been something vegan at every wedding I've ever worked with them--usually just salads and roasted veggies but still, that stuff is good!). They decided to do an optional contest where their chefs and our staff come up with their own vegan and gluten-free dish and then we'll all vote on a winner which will then become an entree option for clients looking for a vegan and gluten-free main (because duh, vegan equals gluten free...). Still, I think it's a fun and exciting idea and as the only vegan person entering I feel like I have to win!

I have been ruling things out like crazy because I'm unused to cooking gluten-free, and the food that I cook the most is spicy and usually a little bit too international to fit the bill for a catering company where food tends to be as inoffensive to picky people as possible. It also needs to look pretty, so my delicious Ethiopian wots dumped on a plate probably won't fly for various reasons.

I was thinking of many de-glutenizing beer battered tofu and making little towers over a root vegetable mash with a micro greens sprout salad garnish and...something else? The catering company specializes in local ingredients, so think fish (which beer-battered tofu is kind of mimicking, right?), root vegetables, mushrooms, kale, cheese (I don't think they'd like the use of commercial vegan cheese--nor would I--and nut cheeses are too cost prohibitive), hazelnuts, leeks, garlic, beets, apples, chard, choys, squash (all that produce being what my CSA sends me every week), grains, and we have some local soy bean and quinoa growers so those always feature prominently in the vegetarian options.

Another option I thought of would be hazelnut squash patties with some sort of wild mushroom gravy or remoulade served with a quinoa salad with a cider vinaigrette and working leeks in there somewhere.

Oh bonus if I can work cider in. I make an amazing jerk vegetable rice with our strong rumrunner cider that everyone expects me to enter because everyone loves it, but it's probably too spicy for catering fare and I don't have faith that it would be as delicious if it was made milder.

Their current vegan options are pretty boring: portobello stacks, ratatouille, very conservatively spiced Moroccan tagine.

I am crazy competitive and I need to win! The most popular thing I've ever made for a huge group of omnis in a catering setting (a potluck wedding) was the v'con's eggplant peanut stew but even though it's really rich and filling it's not really a main that can be plated nicely, and also it's not my recipe.

I love Vietnamese food so another idea was caramelized lemongrass tofu with a vermicelli salad with lots of veggies...but I think my options are too limited there when I try to make it very West Coast, which they are all about.

And I WOULD make an amazing dish full of chanterelles but their short season means it couldn't be a regular item on their menus. We do have access to year-round local shiitakes and sprouts though. But not everyone loves mushrooms (you haters!) and they already have the portobello things (which I think are stuffed with a boring couscous in pesto).

This is essentially what would probably win but I want to be creative and use my own ideas (but with your help!): http://vegandad.blogspot.ca/2010/10/map ... ffing.html. Also I already shared that recipe on our company's FB page...And the maple trees in BC don't make good maple syrup and everyone know that and it is a Canadianism to care about that knowledge.

I am over-thinking this but I would love suggestions! Oh I want to incorporate roasted sunchokes, because they are local and the BEST THING EVER. Would they be good in a kale salad with julienned tart apples and a dry cider vinaigrette?

Suggestions welcome especially since I have a fridge stocked with tonnes of local stuff (tempeh, apples, bok choy, radishes, beets, chard, squash, lettuce, jalapenos, carrots SO MANY carrots) and the time to experiment today! I guess gluten free is easier than I thought because I just need to steer clear of glutened beer and use wheat-free flours and tamari. And if I made that vegan dad recipe I'd need g-f bread.

One thing to consider is that this company always has baked potatoes...it's like their thing, with various toppings (some vegan and gluten-free), so I'd prefer to use other root veggies to go with the main. Fortunately we have every root veg you can imagine available locally.


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 Post subject: Re: I want to make something for my staff xmas party!
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 2:39 pm 
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vijita wrote:
I was thinking of many de-glutenizing beer battered tofu and making little towers over a root vegetable mash with a micro greens sprout salad garnish and...something else? The catering company specializes in local ingredients, so think fish (which beer-battered tofu is kind of mimicking, right?)


This sounds really delicious and lovely. I LOVE white rice flour for breading my pressed tofu: it gives a light coating and really seems to adhere well.

*Reminder* if you go the beer-battered route to specifically use certified gluten free beer. =)


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 Post subject: Re: I want to make something for my staff xmas party!
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 2:45 pm 
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Since you mentioned beer battered tofu, I thought of kittee's tofu pockets:

http://kitteekake.blogspot.com/2007/10/ ... -tofu.html

And here's a blog post where someone plated them nicely:

http://eatingappalachia.com/2012/10/16/ ... u-pockets/

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 Post subject: Re: I want to make something for my staff xmas party!
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 2:47 pm 
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Your enthusiasm is contagious, vijita! I want you to have the winning dish, too. I feel strongly that your hazlenut patties with the mushroom gravy would be an amazing entry! With the quinoa salad, you could probably work the sunchokes into there, too. Although I have made a kale sale with shredded sunchokes and it works well, too. Also, make your famous rice, too, no matter what you go with! It sounds like a surefire menu item. sounds very fun, let us know how it works out

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 Post subject: Re: I want to make something for my staff xmas party!
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 3:08 pm 
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Oh man it all sounds SO GOOD! If I got any of those options, I'd be in heaven! And I am now salivating over jerk rice. Please tell me you would share the recipe!

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 Post subject: Re: I want to make something for my staff xmas party!
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 3:14 pm 
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Whatever you make will be lovely. Looking at the Vegan Dad's recipe, what about using polenta rounds rather than bread? Or to make the kale salad a main dish, maybe add marinated baked tofu and hazelnuts to ramp up the calories? Pears would work as well as apples in it too.

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 Post subject: Re: I want to make something for my staff xmas party!
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 9:16 pm 
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Oh man, I am no help. It all sounds good though! Beer battered tofu sounds like a lot of fun.

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 Post subject: Re: I want to make something for my staff xmas party!
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 9:27 pm 
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This whole thing is just cool. Like Moon, I fear that I am of no help, all your ideas sound awesome. The only other thought I had was to maybe not have tofu steaks, even though they can be crazy delicious. If nothing screams out VEGAN (ie dice the tofu or whatever) it might encourage non veg folk to try it? But then again, seitan medallions in a red wine/mushroom sauce served with herbed rice is obviously vegan but I think non veg folk might try it.

See? no help! But I still think you and the two companies are great for doing this.


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 Post subject: Re: I want to make something for my staff xmas party!
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 9:49 pm 
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i think you should also make a dessert. (who knows, what if it's even better than their regular dessert, and they decide to offer it as a regular menu item too?) i'm always sad that i can't eat any of the desserts at catered events.

does cider and hazelnuts go well together? maybe a hazelnut pie with a cidery crust? a cake? (cake is probably more conducive to catering)

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 Post subject: Re: I want to make something for my staff xmas party!
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 11:08 pm 
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I don't know what to tell you! It all sounds good to me too. I was just thinking that you could maybe use the cider in place of the beer if you go with the battered tofu, making it gluten free and giving you a chance to use the cider.

Oh, yes, and maybe you could stuff one of your Ethiopian stews into something to make it prettier: half a squash, a hollowed out turnip, a sweet potato (sort of like a loaded potato skin or twice baked potatao. I was going to suggest regular potato before you said they do a lot of that), etc. and then top it with fried slivers of veggies or ribbon sliced veggies or fresh herbs or something to make it extra pretty. Or maybe you could fold a rice flour spring roll wrapper around the w'et to make it into a pie (like kittee does in Papa Tofu Loves Ethiopian) and then fancy it up with garnishes.

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 Post subject: Re: I want to make something for my staff xmas party!
PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2013 4:50 am 
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vijita wrote:
Oh I want to incorporate roasted sunchokes, because they are local and the BEST THING EVER. Would they be good in a kale salad with julienned tart apples and a dry cider vinaigrette?

That sounds really good! Maybe trow in some smokey tempeh bacon to add another flavor dimension and some protein?

I also agree with supercarrot about making a dessert. Vegan desserts are like a catering black hole and people are always impressed if you can make a good one that is vegan, and even more so if it is gluten free. I've made this upside-down pear cake a few times and omnis absolutely love it. It is very catering friendly and I bet you could find a way to incorporate cider in the recipe. http://veggiesonthecounter.com/2010/12/ ... pear-cake/

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 Post subject: Re: I want to make something for my staff xmas party!
PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2013 8:29 am 
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These are amazing suggestions!

I think I'll skip on a dessert. They really aren't my forte and this company rarely shakes up their cakes because for most wedding they cater, the couple goes with one of two really amazing local cake/cupcake places that usually actually include a vegan option in their packages! We have some amazing local bakeries actually: I ordered this vegan birthday cake for my dad (he builds model railways) for my wedding because it happened to fall on his birthday:

Image

I will keep you all posted on what happens!


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 Post subject: Re: I want to make something for my staff xmas party!
PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2013 8:30 am 
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mrsbadmouth wrote:
Since you mentioned beer battered tofu, I thought of kittee's tofu pockets:

http://kitteekake.blogspot.com/2007/10/ ... -tofu.html

And here's a blog post where someone plated them nicely:

http://eatingappalachia.com/2012/10/16/ ... u-pockets/

Oh I really really love Kittee's tofu pockets. Good idea!


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 Post subject: Re: I want to make something for my staff xmas party!
PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2013 10:29 am 
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vijita wrote:
These are amazing suggestions!

I think I'll skip on a dessert. They really aren't my forte and this company rarely shakes up their cakes because for most wedding they cater, the couple goes with one of two really amazing local cake/cupcake places that usually actually include a vegan option in their packages! We have some amazing local bakeries actually: I ordered this vegan birthday cake for my dad (he builds model railways) for my wedding because it happened to fall on his birthday:

Image

I will keep you all posted on what happens!

That cake is really loco.....motive!

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 Post subject: Re: I want to make something for my staff xmas party!
PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2013 11:12 am 
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YEAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!

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