RANCHO SANTA FE — Inside the RSF Library, a sublime aroma emanated from the community room triggering appetites. Recently, the library hosted its Holiday Cooking Demonstration: Vegan Comfort Food.
Manning the kitchen was Kelly Hayes.
Attendees gathered around, learning tips and tricks for a perfect holiday meal to satisfy not only traditional meat eaters, but vegetarians as well. Many taking part in the event knew all too well how holiday gatherings bring a variety of guests with different palates.
That afternoon, Hayes prepared a healthier version of mashed potatoes and gravy by using cauliflower and vegan onion based gravy. The name of the dish was cauliflower mashed potatoes, using both potatoes and cauliflower for the preparation.
“The reason we wanted to do this is because I personally know quite a few people who have a vegetarian coming over and they just don’t know what to do,” Hayes said. “And sometimes they are a vegan which limits the possibilities drastically of what they can actually eat.”
In the past, vegans and vegetarians attending a holiday meal were lucky if they could have a traditional vegetable dish, but sometimes, the cooks added meat flavoring and guests had to find alternatives.
For some, bread and salad was their only option.
Four years ago, Hayes prepared cauliflower mashed potatoes and vegan gravy for her aunt, who has been a vegetarian for 35 years.
“She was so grateful, so impressed, and so happy to have something like this,” said Hayes, adding how it’s simple to prepare.
“This gravy can be prepared ahead of time, but with meat gravy you really can’t do that – you have to do it on the fly.”
For Hayes, vegetarian cooking is actually easier. And the ingredients can be found anywhere.
Following in her aunt’s footsteps, Hayes has been a vegetarian for the last few years.
Hayes likes cauliflower mashed potatoes because it has no dairy and guests won’t feel so full at the end of the meal. There will actually be room left over for dessert.
“Heavy stuffing and the meat with the gravy can lay someone up for the entire day,” she said.
“I wanted to show people that these cauliflower mashed potatoes taste so good that you don’t have to make two batches.
You don’t have to make the creamy batch with the animal products and then the vegan and give yourself extra work.”
Hayes also pointed out that guests could choose either the meat or vegan onion gravy for a topping.
Following Hayes’ cooking demo, those in attendance were able to sample the side dish.
“The feedback is always positive on the cauliflower mashed potatoes,” she said.
The RSF Library Guild plans on hosting another holiday series in December, but next time, a baking demonstration.
To learn more visit call (858) 756-2512 or visit rsflibraryguild.org