Harris Vegetarian Holiday Feast

When we last left our dynamic cooking duo, they were huddled in the spice department at Wal-Mart, debating the merits of $8 crystallized ginger and wondering if they could substitute rancid cinnamon without anyone noticing.

The 2008 All Vegetarian Harris Holiday Meal has come and gone. Was it a raving success? No. (Don't even act like you're surprised.) But was it an edible meal? YES. (Now it's okay to look surprised.)

For a picture of what our feast looked like, I offer the Nov/Dec 2008 cover of Vegetarian Times. Our meal actually looked pretty close to this. I was pleased.

Some dishes proved more popular than others, both in preparation and in taste. Here now, a rundown of what was eaten, what will be back, and what is destined for the garbage disposal. (Click on the dish to be taken to the online recipe.) Dishes are rated on a 1-5 scale, with 1 being "blech" and 5 being "Yum-O!"

Mushroom, Cheese, & Vegetable Strudel: 3.5. The filling of mushrooms, red bell pepper, onions, baby spinach and cheese was excellent. I'm not yet a huge fan of phyllo dough. I told Blair I thought the filling would be delicious just put into a regular pie crust.

Green Beans with Walnuts & Shallot Crisps: 4. Delish. The beans are swirled in a dijon mustard/maple syrup sauce and the fried shallots are wonderful and add a nice crunch. A keeper.

Garlicky Mashed Sweet Potatoes: Unrated due to incomplete recipe. I spent an hour roasting a head of garlic that was to be "squeezed" into the sweet potatoe/apple mixture. Forgive me, but I was unable to figure out how to "squeeze" a head of garlic, even garlic softened by an hour in foil in the oven. So the potatoes were rather plain. Blair and I added brown sugar and cinnamon to the leftovers and that helped. Now if we only had marshmellows...

Chestnut Stuffing: 4. This one's a keeper. Too bad I misread the instructions and we weren't able to eat the dish until 40 minutes after we'd finished our other food. I saw "bake for 30 minutes covered in foil." What I didn't see was the "And then remove foil and bake for an additonal 30-40 minutes." I said a few very non-holidayish words when I realized my mistake.

Once again, I can't begin to describe the amount of leftovers in our fridge, and this is after we halved most of the recipes. I'm trying to convince myself Chestnut Stuffing sounds good for breakfast.

Hope your holiday meal was a treat.