December 5, 2007

Handcrafter's Holiday Blog Meme - What is your favorite holiday food?

For the past 7 or 8 years I've made a savory strudel (from "A Veg. Christmas" Cookbook) in place of the traditional bird. I still make the usual fixin's like mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy, cranberry sauce, side vegetables, a big basket of buns, etc. so the meal still feels all Christmas-y and festive. It is great as a veg. alternative for the usual bird or as an addition to your traditional holiday meal for any vegetarians you may have coming. Use vegan margarine instead of butter and you've got yourself a vegan main! Parts (ex: filling or toasted nuts) can be made ahead of time & refrigerated or you can even make the entire strudel and freeze it until the big day!

The recipe is....

3 tbsp. olive oil
2 onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 x 400g/14oz cans of tomatoes
1 tsp dried basil
1/3 cup red wine
225g/2 cups mushrooms (cremini work well), sliced
salt & pepper
275g/10 oz phyllo/fillo pastry
1/2 butter, melted
3/4 cup roasted cashews, roughly chopped (pecan or pine nuts would work well too)

1) Heat oil in large sauce pan. Add onions and saute on med./high heat until tender (but not brown (approx. 10 min.)

2) Add garlic, basil, wine, tomatoes & their liquid. Simmer uncovered until mixture is quite dry. Stir occasionally. The recipe calls for 20 min. but I find I need longer. If the mixture is too wet it'll rip the phyllo later on.

3) Add mushrooms and cook another 15 min. or until soft.

4) If dry enough (there should be no liquid left at all really) then remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. ALLOW MIXTURE TO COOL BEFORE MOVING ON.

5) Preheat oven too 200C/400F. Lay out phyllo. I like to do this directly on my Silpat or parchment. Makes transfer to the baking sheet allot easier. It should be approx. 30cm x 20 cm/12 " x 8". Double up two sheets side by side if need be.

6) Brush phyllo with melted butter and sprinkle with 1/3 of nuts. Place another sheet of phyllo on top, brush with melted butter and sprinkle again with 1/3 of nuts. Don't fret if the phyllo tears abit around the nuts. It'll be a-ok. Repeat phyllo, butter & nut step. Lay another sheet of phyllo and brush with butter.

7) Spoon cooled filling onto phyllo layers and spread leaving 2.5 cm/1 " clear at edges. Fold all edges over to enclose filling. From long end roll phyllo up like a Swiss/jelly roll. Brush with butter, garnish with phyllo cut outs (see NB below) and transfer to baking sheet.

8) Bake for 25 min. or until brown. Slice widthwise to serve. Enjoy!

N.B. I use leftover phyllo (5 or 6 sheets together so it's nice & thick & won't burn & crisp off) and cut out decorative shapes (holly leaves & berries or the words "Merry X-mas") and lay them on the top of the strudel and brush with the melted butter. It gives the dish a cute & kitschy kick.


Teddi said...

Welcome to blogging...mine's just a bit older than yours :D. Your recipe looks delish! Congrats on blogging and crafting!

Teddi said...

forgot to post my blog site so you can see that you're not alone in the 'newbie' bloggers: