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need vegetarian christmas menu for 8

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Hi everyone,

we're leaving tomorrow for my folks' house, which is ten hours away. I cook every christmas, which can be stressful because I don't have all of my familiar tools and cookware around. Also, they have high hopes--I guess I've succeeded in impressing them in the past, so they are all really excited to see what I'll come up with each year.

My spouse and I are vegetarian, but my family isn't. I know it may seem selfish to cook a vegetarian meal in this situation, but no one really minds, and I have absolutely no experience cooking meat. They seem to like it when I come up with alternative approaches to the traditional meal and I haven't heard any complaints. I can always add cold cuts or something like prosciutto to the appetizers.

Any ideas? I'm just sort of at a loss. I guess I'd like to keep it simple. I feel really stressed about it right now.

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  1. IndyGirl, is dairy OK? How about eggs?

    4 Replies
    1. re: blue room

      Blue room, eggs and dairy are fine. We're quite relaxed-- i eat fish occasionally and therefor am quite comfrtable preparing a salmon, for instance. I was actually thinkng of a lovely Italian- inspired menu, with white bean soup, salad,
      a vegetairn lasagna of some kind , homemade bread, etc. Crudités and olives for appetizers. Too casual???? Then a simple chocolate torte for dessert. Other thoughts or ideas on how to make this mire special? I thought of attemrping the timpano di maccheroni, which I have made before but not for 8 people. That's not hard, just labor-intensive, though it is impressive and I know they've never seen anything like it.

      1. re: melismak

        an Italian inspired menu would be great...

        for apps, you could do an antipasto platter, maybe some zucchini blossoms or arrancini, or crispy polenta rounds topped with ratatouille

        for mains, you could do a cioppino (if you wanted to do fish), or a butternut squash lasagna

        for sides, some roasted asparagus or brussel sprouts and a simple salad like panzanella

        for dessert, tiramisu, biscotti with ice cream, ricotta cheesecake...or the torte as you suggest....

        1. re: Emme

          First of all, my apologies for my terrible iPhone typing in the previous post. Horrid!!

          Emme, I love the idea of butternut squash lasagna-definitely going to use it...I just wish I had my pasta machine here. I'd make my own noodles. But they'll be happy with the no-boil kind, I know. (Trying to combat my perfectionism..)

          Here are my thoughts:
          Antipasti:
          Olives of various kinds
          Anchovies
          Some kind of polenta app that doesn't involve a ton of work or tons of different ingredients (anyone have any magic ideas about this?)

          Main:
          Butternut squash lasagna (anyone have a killer recipe? I've made it before but would love a new recipe)

          Sides:
          Roasted asparagus
          Other?? A light white bean soup or some kind of salad? My only concern with the panzanella is carb overload with the butternut squash lasagna.

          Dessert: something chocolate--my mom's favorite.

          1. re: IndyGirl

            re the polenta... make a batch the night before with parm... spread in a baking sheet and refrigerate overnight. cut the polenta into squares, top with a little marinara, or ratatouille or whatever you like with a little cheese, then broil... if you wanted to get fancy you could also sear them in a pan to crisp them up before broiling first!

    2. I finally came up with our Chrismas menu that has been inspired by a few vegetarian websites.

      Appetizer: Cashew mushroom pate and bruschetta served with crustini. I found the pate recipe at: http://www.vegetariantimes.com/featur...

      Soup: Thai inspired pumpkin soup with coconut and ginger served with a sprinkle of chopped peanuts and toasted pumpkin seeds. Recipe: http://www.veganpeace.com/recipe_page...

      Salad: Balsamic vinaigrette salad served with sliced avocado, pink grapefruit sections and pomegranate seeds

      Entree: Boeuf bourguignon sans boeuf is a recipe I found at the online blog "Cinnamon Quill" that was inspired by Julia Childs "Art of French Cooking." http://thecinnamonquill.com/blog/?p=757. I have not decided if I will be serving it with fingerling potatoes or wide noodles.

      Sides: Cranberry apple casserole and roasted asparagus.

      Dessert: Pumpkin "ice cream" pie with a ginger crust. I will substitute http://www.coconutbliss.com/html/flav... for the ice cream. Hmm, can't find the recipe now, there are tons online.

      Second dessert: My sister-in-law just called and asked for my triffle recipe that I made for Thanksgiving as she wants to make it for Christmas. Two packages of chocolate mousse (I found a very good vegan brand at my local food co-op), two cans of whipped cream (again, a good vegan brand at the co-op), two of Amy's new frozen chocolate cakes cut into one inch squares, two high quality dark chocolate bars chopped (I found a great vegan dark chocolate with raspberry), toasted almond slivers and toasted coconut all layerered and top the final whipped cream layer with raspberries.

      1. Chow had 'thanksgiving' types of veggie main dishes - they looked awesome.

        A butternut squash gratin would also work.

        I made a wicked root veggie pot pie that could please anyone.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Jeserf

          Jeserf, what do you use as the "gravy" in the root veggie pot pie?