New Year’s Eve with vegan recipes

We joined two childfree friends for a quiet New Years Eve celebration with the games of Talisman and You Don’t Know Jack for Roku. Hours of gaming fun! Even though I was last-place-by-far, I was quite surprised to learn it was 11:30 and we should freshen our drinks and find the new stand in for Dick Clark. Time flies when you’re having fun.

Jeff and Judy are fabulous and comfortable hosts, so we had plenty of options for snackage and drinkage. They got a Hickory Farms gift for xmas filled with summer sausage, cheese, mustard, fancy crackers, etc.

They also shopped a little. Wallace and Gromit fans: we got to try Wensleydale Cheese! (Come On! Say it in your best Queen’s English Accent, “Weeeeeennn-sley-dale!!!”) I was tempted to have more that just a taste. nom nom nom. I didn’t expect to like this exact one because it was laced with cranberries (texture issues) but it was divine and smooth! Emil liked it too, which says a lot about the cranberries adding to the flavor in a good way!

We had some great beer and wine options, but since I was officially skipping a dose of Codeine for a respiratory infection, I kept a slow pace. They did send us home with a lovely bottle of Innovac!ón wine. It’s a Tempranillo Malbec from the Mendoza region in Argentina. Bliss. In. A. Glass. I hear it’s at Specs and even Costco!

Judy was the only one who would eat Hoppin’ John with meat, so she made one like none I’d ever seen: with collard greens and ham. Interesting. It smelled good and inspired me to add greens to my next vegan version of the same.

Emil grabbed his usually favorite party snack tray from HEB and about 30 bottles of Dr. Pepper.

I made two new things that were just lovely, in my vegan opinion. (And, since both casseroles I made for xmas were so bland I dumped all of them down the disposal, this was a nice change of pace.)

Vegan Chili-con-queso

  • 1 can vegan chili (Some are just beans and tomatoes with seasonings. Others have textured soy protein for a “ground meat” feel to them.)
  • 1 8oz tub of vegan cream cheese
  1. Bring the cream cheese close to room temperature.
  2. Heat the chili for 2-3 minutes in a microwave.
  3. Blend the two together.
  4. Microwave again as necessary to blend and/or just before serving.
  5. Serve warm with tortilla chips.

This is the closest thing to a real queso I’ve had and it was good. Judy liked it, too! The beauty is that any of you can pick up a can of Wolf Brand chili and cream cheese and do the same non-vegan version. The recipe didn’t call for heating it, and it is good when it’s no longer warm, but it was so much better heated up! One advantage of the vegan version is that there is nothing in it that will spoil if it sits out all night for a long party. So, if you are taking this to share, you might consider keeping it vegan for convenience.

Cream Cheese Sandwich Spread

  • 1 8oz tub of vegan cream cheese, room temperature
  • fresh garlic, minced; to taste. (I used about 2 Tablespoons and it was quite garlicky.)
  • 1-2 bell peppers (the small red one I was was not quite enough. I’ll use two colors next time.), diced
  • celery, diced (based more on taste/texture than anything. I used about half a small bundle. I’ll add more next time.)
  1. Bring the cream cheese close to room temperature.
  2. Mince the garlic and dice the veggies.
  3. Blend all together.
  4. Serve with crackers, baguette pieces, Melba toast, etc. Or, use as a spread on your favorite veggie sandwich.

I’ve been in a hummus and guacamole rut, so this got me right out of it. I can’t wait to try it again with other veggies (carrots? tiny broccoli?) and on a sandwich with fresh veggies to compliment. Again, if you aren’t vegan, use your favorite cream cheese and some crisp veggies for fresh noshing. This will be great in the summer (and since it was 78 degrees on New Year’s Eve in Austin, it was a welcome refreshment.)

Whatever way you found to celebrate, we hope it was grand.