Christmas Peppermints by Kaity Farrell

Meet Kaity Farrell mother and chef who lives on the beautiful Island of Nantucket with her husband and little boy. Kaity and her family live a mostly plant-based diet sourcing ingredients from local farmers or from home, and she shares these all on her wonderful blog. We speak to Kaity about the lead up to Christmas in her hometown of Nantucket and she shares with us her delicious peppermint cookie recipe, perfect for Christmas.

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You grow your own food at home and live a mostly plant based diet. Tell us about the benefits of this and what is the best thing about the lifestyle you have chosen?

It’s nice to truly know where your food is coming from, and there is nothing fresher than produce picked straight from your garden. What we can’t grow ourselves we try to get locally from the farms on the island. Our eating philosophy has evolved over time and instead of adhering to a strict vegan diet we now listen to our bodies needs for optimal health. I’ve incorporated local eggs and organic free-range chicken occasionally into our meals over the last year and a half. We ate a mostly vegan diet with some wild caught fish occasionally before that. I think however we choose to eat it should be done consciously, choosing quality ingredients, local foods, small farmed and humanely raised animal proteins for example. That is what is most important to me.

 

What will be your key dish for your plant-based Christmas dinner?

We haven’t planned Christmas dinner yet but possibly a vegan lasagne or a layered eggplant and tofu “ricoatta” dish. Something cozy for sure.

How will you be celebrating Christmas this year?

We celebrate at home, just the three of us on Christmas day. Our 6 year old wakes up and opens gifts, and I bake overnight cinnamon rolls for breakfast. If it’s nice out we’ll go for a walk early and then start cooking Christmas dinner. We keep it pretty simple. Later we will visit family in Maine.

 

What are the best things to do in your hometown in the lead up to Christmas?

Thanksgiving weekend kicks off the Holiday season on Nantucket. The tree lighting ceremony takes place that weekend in which dozens of Christmas trees lining the historic downtown district are lit and will stay lit through Christmas. The following weekend is Nantucket’s Christmas Stroll which draws thousands of people from near and far to the island for festivities and holiday shopping. It’s nice to see all of the island’s small businesses supported during the holiday shopping season. Then it quiets down a bit but the following weekend there are several shopping fairs and events for the locals, which benefit local non profits and schools. The Nantucket Lighthouse School Yuletide Fair is our favorite! On Christmas Eve there is a red ticket raffle drawing for the Nantucketers who are still here then. Starting from November 1st participating businesses will give customers a red ticket for every $25 spent and then on Christmas Eve winners are drawn at a big event downtown for cash prizes. All of the locals come out and it’s nice to see faces you miss during the hectic summer months. Of course our favorite activity is enjoying the beauty of this magical island in the off season. We take lots of beach and forest walks and it feels like you have the whole place to ourselves.

 

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fareislepeppermintpatties-veganglutenfree

Vegan Peppermint Patties (makes about 80)

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 5 tablespoons raw coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 lb of dark chocolate

peppermintpatties2

METHOD

In a high-speed blender or food processor grind coconut down into a fine meal. Add to it the maple syrup, coconut oil and peppermint extract, and process/blend until evenly incorporated.

Cut two long pieces of wax paper. Divide the coconut mixture by half onto each piece of wax paper. Form the coconut mixture into two long logs about 1-1.5″ thick. Wrap the wax paper around the logs and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Temper your chocolate by melting 10oz. of it in a double boiler (or a bowl placed over a pan of simmering water). Once the melted chocolate reaches 118˚F, remove the bowl from heat and add the remaining 6 oz. chocolate to the melted chocolate. Stirring constantly bring the temperature down to 89˚F and then it is ready to use. Return the bowl to the pan of hot water, now off the stove, to keep the chocolate at around that temperature while you work with it.

Line two sheet pans with wax paper. Remove coconut logs from the fridge, unwrap and slice them into 1/4″ thick rounds. Use a fork to dip the coconut rounds into the melted chocolate, gently coating them, and then gently shake off the excess chocolate. Transfer patties to the sheet pans. Repeat process until all coconut rounds are coated. Place sheet pans in the fridge for at least 15 minutes to allow the chocolate to set.  

We like to store them in the fridge and eat them cold, but refrigeration is not necessary. Package them in cello bags with ribbon to give as holiday treats, or add them to your cookie trays.