05 April 2010

Food for a Family Gathering

Every few weekends, my immediate family amasses at my brother and sister-in-law's house for a barbeque-potluck.  There is always more than enough food to go around, but being the lone vegan of the bunch, I always end with the choice of 1) sticking to plain rice, roasted corn, and possibly some chips with salsa; or 2) bringing my own dish for all (including myself) to enjoy.  Gatherings centered around food and family are no fun if one must go without food whilst others nosh to their hearts' delight, so I always opt to bring along an omnivore-friendly dish or two.  I like the idea of being able to cook/assemble something that everyone can enjoy while allowing non-vegans to experience how tasty food can be without the need for animal-derived components.

With Easter upon us yesterday, I thought it fitting to finally try my hand at this recipe for Oster-Mandelöhrchen (Easter Almond Ears), found over at Mihl's blog.  I know I should slow down on the bread baking and consumption of sweets, but these treats have been calling my name for sometime now and they were so perfectly festive.  I made some alterations: incorporated some whole wheat pastry flour, replaced the sugar with a reduced amount of agave, left the almonds a bit chunky, used the zest and juice of half an orange instead of lemon (I didn't have one), and added a touch of almond extract to the filling.  I forgot about the margarine for the filling, consequently omitting it.  The result: delicious!  This was a sweet (but not too sweet) departure from your morning cinnamon buns.  I liked the orange-nut combination, but I'm sure the original lemon version is equally tasty, so I'll be sure to try that next time.

For a savory contribution to the potluck, I brought along Green Olive Hummus, using a Fatfree Vegan Kitchen recipe.  Prior to yesterday, I had already tried Susan's basic hummus recipe and greatly enjoyed it, and her other recipes are always winners, so I had no doubt that this one would be no exception.  I love olives, too.  And this hummus was definitely a hit with the family, who munched happily on multigrain tortilla chips slathered with the stuff.  I added ground cumin and smoked paprika to the hummus (called for in the plain version, but not the olive version) and increased the amount of lemon juice.  This dip ended up being pretty addictive, and I thoroughly enjoyed it spread on warm, toasted bread.  I imagine that this would also be great on bagels, sandwiches, crackers, etc.

The last item I made for the potluck was also a savory dish: Lentil Tart with Tahini Crust from 500 Vegan Recipes.  It was very easy to make and I already had all of the ingredients stocked in my kitchen, which is always a plus.  I didn't have spelt flour, so I used a combination of oat and whole wheat pastry flours, and also replaced the red onion with yellow onion, also due to availability.  The tart turned out beautifully--slightly spicy, hearty, and very tasty.  I greatly enjoyed the creaminess of the lentil filling, crispness of the tahini crust, and overall spicy, savory warmth of the dish as a whole.

I am happy to say that my family seemed to enjoy all of my potluck contributions.  They can be skeptical about vegan food--being so accustomed to meat and dairy--so their approval of my contributions makes me confident that they will embrace and enjoy more vegan dishes at the next family gathering.  And knowing my family, that next potluck isn't too far off.


  1. I love cinnamon buns and those look especially gorgeous!

  2. Wow, your Öhrchen look fantastic! They have a really awesome shape! How could I have overlooked that lentil tart? I must grab my copy asap.

  3. This entire post made my mouth water!!!


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