MENU:

— Winter Sangria
— Spicy Goobers
— BBQ Chicken Skewers
— Pan-Fried Coconut Tempeh Fingers with Creamy Celeriac Sauce
— Citrus Collards with Raisins Bruschetta
— Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Ginger-Peanut Dipping Sauce
— Money Green Champagne

Winter Sangria
Yield: enough to get you nice
Soundtrack: "Brooklyn Go Hard" by Jay-Z featuring Santogold from Notorious

I created this a few years ago when I was living on Planet Brooklyn. Now there is one key thing to remember when making sangria: What you put into it, you get out of it. So if you use some red wine that you wouldn't thoroughly enjoy alone, it's not going to make a tasty batch. Clearly, this version is expensive, but splurge on yourself and your friends for a nice holiday treat. You won't be disappointed.

2 2-inch cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 cup orange juice
2 full bottles of good-quality red wine
3/4 cup brandy
1/4 cup Grand Marnier
1/4 cup Cointreau
1/4 cup agave nectar
6 apples, cored, peeled, and cut into thin slices

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  • Combine all the ingredients in a pitcher or mixing bowl and mix until well combined.
  • Cover and refrigerate overnight.

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Spicy Goobers
Yield:
4 cups

Soundtrack: "Salt Peanuts" by Charlie "Bird" Parker from The Complete Live Performances On Savoy and "Salt Peanuts" by Dizzy Gillespie from Salt Peanuts and"Salt Peanuts" by Miles Davis Quintet from Steamin' and "Salt Peanuts" by Bud Powell from The Lonely One

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Art: "Horn Players" by Jean-Michel Basquiat

No. These aren't chocolate-covered peanuts. Derived from the African Bantu word "nguba," the word "goober" was commonly used in the South to refer to peanuts a few generations ago. While I like starting from scratch, using raw peanuts for this dish, you can use pre-roasted and go right to the second step in this recipe (omit the salt in the spice mixture if the ones you use are salted). I highly recommend purchasing organic peanuts, as their conventional counterparts tend to be heavily treated with chemicals.

I dedicate this zesty snack to my folks at Farmer Brown Restaurant in San Francisco, where they serve a similar treat at the bar during happy hour.

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And big-ups to the late George Washington Carver.

4 cups raw, shelled peanuts
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon raw organic cane sugar
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 tablespoons peanut oil

·        Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
·        Spread nuts in an even layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake, stirring every 5 minutes to ensure even roasting, until starting to crisp and fragrant, about 20 minutes.
·        While the peanuts are roasting, combine the onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, chili powder, cayenne, sugar and salt in a small bowl. Mix well to combine. Set aside.
·        Add the peanut oil to a large mixing bowl. Transfer the roasted peanuts to the bowl and stir well to coat. Add the spice blend to the bowl and stir well to coat. Transfer the peanuts back to the baking sheet and roast for 5 more minutes.
·        Remove from oven and cool for 15 minutes before eating.
·        Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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BBQ Chicken Skewers
Yield:
16 pieces
Soundtrack: "King Kong (Attack of the Egomaniac) [Kudu Mix]" by Kudu from Back for More: A Remix Collection

16 12-inch wooden skewers, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3/4 cup tamari
1/4 cup canned tomato sauce
1 large chipotle chile in adobo sauce
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons water
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, tenders removed and reserved

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·        In a large mixing bowl, combine all the marinade ingredients and whisk well.
·        Cut each breast half crosswise into 8 strips each.
·        Add the chicken to the barbecue sauce and coat well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
·        Preheat a broiler.
·        Thread the chicken pieces, including the tenders, onto 16 skewers.
·        Broil, turning once, just until cooked through, about 2 minutes on each side.
·        Serve hot on a platter.

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Pan-Fried Coconut-Tempeh Fingers with Creamy Celeriac Sauce
Yield:
6 to 8 servings
Soundtrack: "Sankofa" byHypnotic Brass Ensemble & Tony Allen from Lagos Shake—A Tony Allen Chop Up

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I created this dish as an ode to the breaded fried shrimp served with rémoulade, a creamy dip eaten with seafood, that I used to enjoy when my family visited New Orleans.

1 pound (2 8-ounce packages) tempeh cut into 1/2-inch fingers
1 cup coconut oil
Fine sea salt
1 cup Creamy Celeriac Sauce**

·        In a large sauté pan over medium heat, warm the oil until hot but not smoking. Fry the tempeh in batches until golden brown, about 2 1/2 minutes each side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and immediately sprinkle with salt so the tempeh can absorb it.
·        Transfer the tempeh cubes to the serving platter and scatter them around the dipping sauce. Have toothpicks handy for easy dipping.

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**Creamy Celeriac Sauce
Yield:
about 2 cups
Soundtrack: "Three Changes" by The Good, The Bad & The Queen from The Good, The Bad & The Queen

Inspired by rémoulade, I created this sauce to go with Pan Fried Tempeh. It will keep up to 3 days refrigerated.

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1/2 pound soft tofu
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
Coarse sea salt
Freshly ground white pepper
1/4 cup minced scallions
1/2 cup peeled and coarsely grated celery root (celeriac)

·        In an upright blender, combine the tofu, lemon juice, parsley, garlic, agave nectar, mustard, olive oil, paprika, cayenne, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon white pepper. Blend until smooth. If necessary, season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
·        Transfer the sauce to a bowl and stir in the scallions and celery root.

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Citrus Collards with Raisins Bruschetta
Yield
: 32 pieces
Soundtrack: "Sodade" by Césaria Évora from Miss Perfumado

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This recipe was the seed of Vegan Soul Kitchen. . . A brand new classic, if you will, dedicated to my home city in the mid-south—Memphis, Tenn.

2 large bunches collard greens, ribs removed, cut into a chiffonade**, rinsed and drained
Coarse sea salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil and more for brushing the bread
2 garlic cloves, minced
2/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
8 thick slices crusty bread, cut into quarters
4 large garlic cloves

·        In a large pot over high heat, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon salt. Add the collards. Cook, uncovered, for 8 to 10 minutes, until softened.
·        Prepare a large bowl of ice water to cool the collards.
·        Remove the collards from the heat, drain, and plunge them into the bowl of cold water to stop cooking and set the color of the greens. Drain.
·        In a medium sauté pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the collards, raisins and a 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sauté for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
·        Add orange juice and cook for an additional 15 seconds. Do not overcook (collards should be bright green). Season with additional salt to taste if needed. Set aside.
·        Preheat a broiler.
·        Broil the bread until golden brown on each side.
·        Remove from the broiler and rub with garlic on both sides.
·        Brush each side with olive oil.
·        Divide the collards among the bruschetta and serve on a platter.

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**Chiffonade

The chiffonade cut is used to produce very fine threads of fresh herbs, leafy greens, and other leafy vegetables. First, remove any tough stems that would prevent the leaf from being rolled tightly (reserve them for stocks or salads). Next, stack several leaves, roll them into a tight cylinder, and slice crosswise with a sharp knife, cutting the leaves into thin strips.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Ginger-Peanut Dipping Sauce
Yield:
4 servings
Soundtrack: "Oppression" by Ben Harper from Fight for Your Mind

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This is a healthier and sweeter alternative to fried white potatoes. But if you want to indulge occasionally, feel free to deep-fry these in organic, unrefined coconut oil until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes.

Fries

4 uniformly shaped medium sweet potatoes, about 2 pounds, peeled
Coarse sea salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Dipping sauce
1 heaping tablespoon minced ginger
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
1/2 cup apple juice
1 teaspoon agave nectar
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt

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For the fries

·        Cut the potatoes into slices about 1/2-inch thick, and then cut them 1/2-inch lengthwise into the shape of fries.
·        Preheat the oven to 450°F.
·        Combine the sweet potatoes, 3 quarts cold water and 1 teaspoon salt in a large pot over high heat. Parboil, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Drain in a colander, and pat well with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels until completely dry.
·        In a large bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with the oil.
·        Remove to a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 50 minutes, gently stirring every 15 minutes with a wooden spoon to ensure even browning, until tender and caramelized.

For the dipping sauce

·        In an upright blender, combine the ginger, peanuts, apple juice, agave nectar, cayenne and salt. Blend until creamy. Transfer to a small serving bowl.

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Money Green Champagne
Yield:
Soundtrack: "Dollar" by Steve Spacek from Space Shift

Leaves from 8 sprigs fresh mint
2 tablespoons organic raw cane sugar
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 bottle chilled champagne

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·        In a mortar or suribachi, pulverize the mint with the sugar and lime juice.
·        In a large bowl, combine the mint/sugar/lime mix with the champagne and stir well.
·        Strain the champagne into a large pitcher and serve immediately in champagne flutes.

Bryant Terry is an award-winning eco-chef, food justice activist, and Food and Society Policy Fellow.He co-authored "Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen" (Tarcher/Penguin), and he is the author of the forthcoming "Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African American Cuisine" (Da Capo/Perseus March 2009).