Posts Tagged Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving 2012 – Dessert

I should probably conclude my Thanksgiving posts before, oh, next Thanksgiving.  So, here’s dessert!

One of our guests was bringing pies from a local bakery, so I didn’t need to make much.  We thought that something small and chocolatey would be a nice foil to the typical fall desserts, so I made truffles.

We wanted to have multiple flavors (to be the most fancy), so I made a giant list of all the possible flavor combinations I could think of, probably about thirty or forty.  We settled on hazelnut espresso, amaretto, and black forest – a coffee flavor, liquor flavor, and fruit flavor.  I used a different color candy cup to tell them apart.

I used this recipe as a base, and they were incredibly easy, rich, and delicious.  For the hazelnut espresso flavor I added instant espresso powder and rolled them in toasted chopped hazelnuts.  For the amaretto truffles I subbed the liquor for some of the liquid, and rolled them in toasted almonds.  The black forest truffles had chopped dried cherries and butter extract, and were rolled in cacao powder.  I was worried that the cherries would be chewy, but after they sat overnight they had a buttery texture and melted along with the chocolate.

I eyeballed everything, and luckily they all turned out wonderfully!  They kept well for days in the fridge too.  After dinner we discussed which flavor was everyone’s favorite, and it was pretty evenly divided across the board.

I wanted something more substantial for my main dessert, so I also made Oh She Glow’s Pumpkin Gingerbread with Spiced Buttercream, which I had been meaning to try since she posted it about two years prior.

Nobody else tried any since there were like four pies and a million truffles, which was fine.  More for me!

The cake was deliciously spiced, with a dense but moist crumb.  The frosting had a LOT of pumpkin pie spice, but it wasn’t overly spicy.  Since the cake had very intense ginger flavor, the buttercream stood up perfectly.  Highly recommended!

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Thanksgiving 2012 – Main Course

My goal this year was to post about Thanksgiving dinner earlier than I did last year, which was in January.  That obviously did not happen!  Still, it was a great meal that I want to show you.  You can read about the appetizers here.

We don’t normally get too crazy with decorating the mantle, but I got inspired by Pinterest to make a wreath, with a lot of help from this felt flower tutorial.  I think it turned out really cute!

For the side dishes we stayed pretty traditional, changing things up just a bit from the year before.

We like our smashed potatoes chunky with the skins on, and add garlic, Earth Balance and almond milk.  I sprinkled on some minced chives before serving.

Dave made his most excellent stuffing with sourdough bread, shiitake broth, fresh portobello, and lots of herbs.

As a light counterpoint, I made this Green Cabbage and Red Apple Slaw.  I used kale instead of the brussels sprouts called for, and soaked the red onion to cut some of the rawness.  I really liked this salad but don’t know that everyone else loved it.  I think the raw greens and vinegar might be a little too bitter if you’re not used to them, even though the apple was nicely sweet.

Dave wanted something a little different than the usual green bean casserole, so I chose Lemony Green Beans with Almond Breadcrumbs.  This was really tasty, even though I tripled the recipe and the beans didn’t cook evenly since there were so many in the pot.

To our usual canned corn, I added minced sauteed shallot, red bell pepper, and fresh oregano.  I cooked it gently to keep the flavors mellow and buttery.

The recipe that took by far the most effort and time, but was so, so worth it, was Herbed Focaccia from veganbaking.net.

Look at those air pockets!  This was easily the best bread I’ve ever baked, but boy does it take a long time to make.  You make the herbed olive oil, mix the dough, shape, stretch, fold and rest three times (at 30 minutes each), rise for one hour, refrigerate twelve hours, rest three hours, rise three hours, and FINALLY, you bake!  Good things come to those who wait with this bread, and the flavor and texture were perfect.  If I can make this without screwing up, so can you!

I served the bread with caramelized onion butter, which was just Earth Balance blended with caramelized Cipollini onions.  It was delicious and sweet, but it melted everywhere by the end of dinner since the room was warm…

My entree was Trader Joe’s Turkey-less Stuffed Roast with Gravy.  I had bought the roast a few weeks before on a whim ($9.99 is a great price) and didn’t necessarily plan to have it for Thanksgiving dinner, but that’s how it worked out.  Luckily, I really liked the roast!  It’s similar to the Tofurky roast but maybe a bit more tender.  The gravy was a little sweet for my tastes, but still went nicely with the smashed potatoes.

The second best part about Thanksgiving?  Leftovers!  You better believe I had almost this exact same plate a few more times.  I also made great sandwiches with the focaccia, roast, cranberry sauce, and Vegenaise.

Next up, desserts.  Hopefully I’ll post before three months from now!

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Thanksgiving 2012 – Appetizers

So, October went by, and most of November, and VeganMoFo happened again!  I briefly considered participating, but I knew I couldn’t make the time commitment to do it justice, so I left it to those who could.  If you haven’t yet, check out the blog roll or rss feeds.  I can’t wait to browse them myself.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  Mine was so fantastic that I’m splitting it into three posts.  First up, the appetizers.  Friends were coming over early to start watching football, and we were waiting a little longer than usual to eat dinner to wait for one guest’s flight to land, so we wanted to make sure there was plenty to snack on.

I saw these recipes for Goat Cheese Torta online a few weeks before Thanksgiving, and knew right away I wanted to make a vegan version.   I kind of mixed up the two recipes in my head and ended up with a good combination.

For the cheese mixture, I made a double batch or C’est La V’s cashew goat cheese, skipping the baking step at the end.  I then blended it with one tub of Tofutti Cream Cheese, fresh oregano, and some black pepper.  I lined a bread pan with plastic wrap and layered a quarter of the cheese, pesto (recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance), a quarter of the cheese, sundried tomato pate, another quarter of the cheese, olive tapenade, and the remaining cheese.  Cover with plastic wrap and press it down a bit, refrigerate overnight, and turn onto a plate to serve.

When you cut into it, you can see the layers of deliciousness.  Mine wasn’t quite as prettily layered as the recipe photos, but I thought it still looked pretty nice.

The flavor?  AMAZING.  It was creamy, tangy, salty, fatty, herby, and every other good-sounding adjective.  Dave and one of our guests said that they wouldn’t have known it was vegan, which is always nice to hear when it comes to fake cheese.  The torta was mostly gone by the end of the day, which may have had a lot to do with me eating about a ton of it.

To keep things on the lighter side, I also put out a veggie tray with dip and grapes.  I found some really pretty produce at the farmers market, including purple cauliflower and multiple colored carrots.  The dip was Vegan Dill Dip, which I made true to the recipe except for using reduced fat Vegenaise.  The dried minced onion softened overnight and had a nice texture, and the only thing I would change next time would be to add even more fresh dill.

On the right is an antipasto platter, which Dave added to round out the spread.  (The appetizer table became the dinner buffet, which is why the serving dishes are hanging out in the back.)

For a pre-dinner drink, I made a pitcher of Cranberry Ginger Martinis.  I tied the fresh ginger and cranberries up in cheesecloth, and kind of estimated on multiplying splashes of this and that, and even after adding extra Sprite the drink was strong!  Good, but strong.  I made sure to put a few big ice cubes in each one and let them melt a bit first.

Next up, the main meal.

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Happy New Year, Let Me Show You My Thanksgiving Dinner!

So, I didn’t intend to take such a long break after VeganMoFo ended!  I fell out of the blogging habit pretty hard there, so now I’ll have to get back into it to get caught up.  Let’s start with the most delicious of meals, Thanksgiving!

We had a big group this year, twelve guests in total, so we cleared all the furniture out of the living room and moved in some tables.

Dave decided we needed a fancy menu like a fancy restaurant…

We prepared a huge meal, so I kept the appetizers light – grapes, veggies, crackers and cashew cheese spread.

The whole spread…The green bean casserole is my recipe, with canned fried onions on top.  Dave was in charge of the sourdough stuffing, which included homemade mushroom broth and lots of fresh herbs.  For the mashed potatoes, I simmered smashed garlic cloves in the almond milk while the potatoes cooked, to have the garlic flavor without the garlic pieces.  I also mixed in truffle salt and white pepper.  They were quite the tasty potatoes.  You can’t see the braised greens here, but they were slow cooked with onion, garlic, fresh tomato and homemade vegetable broth.

I also made Oh She Glows Fluffy Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls, except I let them go too long on the second rise and they turned into cut-apart diner rolls.  Even so, they were light and tasty.  As a special treat, I also made “honey butter” using Earth Balance and Just Like Honey Rice Nectar.  I used to love biscuits with butter and honey, and not having had honey in over six years, I really liked the Just Like Honey.  It has that sweet tang that I remember honey having.

I didn’t want to have to prepare an entree for myself, so I bought a Field Roast Celebration Roast and just zapped it in the microwave.  It turned out a little dry, so the canned cranberry sauce was a nice accompaniment.  I was going to make some gravy but ran out of time; I missed it a little but certainly had plenty to eat.

Dessert was a whole ‘nother extravaganza.  The three pies were store bought because, you know, six desserts are better than three!

By request, I made pumpkin whoopie pies with cream cheese frosting, which are always a hit.

This is The PPK’s Triple Apple Cider Bundt Cake Stuffed with Apples, which was really tasty!  My glaze, sadly, was too thin, but it was yummy nonetheless.

Lastly, Gingerbread Biscotti from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.  I had never made biscotti before, and it’s quite easy.  You just make regular cookies in log form, bake, cool, slice, and bake again.  Takes a little longer, but the crispy-chewy bite is definitely worth it.  These guys were dark and spicy and gingery, and definitely more-ish even at the end of a big feast.

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VeganMoFo: Thanksgiving 2010

We originally invited four friends over for Thanksgiving but only one could make it, so we had a small, relaxed gathering.  We set the table up behind the couch for easy football watching during dinner – excellent.

Our appetizer was Pepper Crusted Cashew Goat Cheese, balsamic roasted figs, and crackers.  The cheese log was AWESOME.  I super heart it.  The recipe is C’est La Vegan’s adaptation of the Vegetarian Times recipe, and I really appreciated the extra commentary and directions that she provided.  I was worried that my cheese wasn’t going to hold together because it didn’t drain off much liquid and felt soft coming out of the oven, but it held together well enough to transfer to the platter, and the consistency was perfectly spreadable.  I would highly recommend giving this a try if you like tangy, spreadable, delicious vegan cheese.  The recipe seems lengthy, but it doesn’t have to be; I soaked the cashews while at work the day before, blended it that night and let it sit overnight, then baked it in the morning.

The figs were tossed with a bit of balsamic, olive oil and salt and baked at 350 for about 25 minutes.  They weren’t a huge hit with Dave or our guest, but I liked them well enough.

I also put out a bowl of sweet ‘n spicy mixed nuts, which I over baked a little.  Oops…

I wanted to serve soup and salad, and kept the servings small so that we wouldn’t fill up before the main event.

Chestnut & Celeriac Soup with Sherry-Cider Reduction.  As I said in the recipe post, I put a bit too much reduction on the soup – It really only needs a small drizzle.

Chopped Salad with “Honey”-Lemon Poppy Seed Vinaigrette.  I planned to make this for Thanksgiving ever since it went over so well at our Showcase dinner.  I substituted agave for the honey, and left out the apples and avocado.  I can see how it would be even better with avocado.  Neither of the guys ate their entire salad, but they both said they liked it, which is really impressive for a salad containing both raw kale and brussels sprouts.

There was so much food, we used every surface.  Dave did make a turkey with gravy and non-vegan stuffing, but other than that, everything was vegan!

He also made a vegan oyster mushroom stuffing, which was really nice because it was one less dish I had to worry about.  And as a bonus, it was really good!  Earth Balance, onion, celery, oyster mushrooms, fresh sage, thyme and rosemary, stale bread cubes, and unchicken broth.

Mound of mashed potatoes with Earth Balance, truffle salt and almond milk.

Green Bean Casserole, topped with French’s fried green beans as opposed to freshly fried onions, at Dave’s request.  While I do like my version with homemade crispy onions, I also have to admit that the French’s onions are quite excellent for this purpose.

Orange-Cranberry Sauce.  I wasn’t going to make any cranberry sauce this year because it’s not our favorite part of the meal, but my CSA sent me a package of fresh cranberries the week before, so what choice did I have?  I set out to make a mold, but it didn’t set up enough, so I called it a smooth sauce.  No recipe – I just cooked the cranberries with the juice of two oranges and zest of one, adding a pinch of salt and a squeeze of agave nectar.  They simmered just until soft, then I blended the mixture and returned it to the pot, adding a few Tablespoons of agar flakes and some maple syrup.  It tasted nice, but I was sad when the mold didn’t hold its shape.

My entree was the Nut Roast Extraordinaire that I froze a few weeks ago, on the plate with corn and Our Veggie Kitchen’s Turkey Gravy.  The gravy actually did kinda taste like turkey!  Granted, it’s been a long time since I had turkey.  While it wasn’t my favorite gravy ever, it’s definitely worth a try if you’re looking for a vegan turkey gravy.

All together.

Dessert was Pumpkin Pie from the Mission:  Impossible Pies e-book, served with Purely Decadent Coconut Milk Vanilla Ice Cream.  Dave wanted a store-bought pie and was suspicious when he heard that our pie wasn’t going to have any crust, but in the end he admitted that this version was good too.  He certainly didn’t complain while we ate the leftovers!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

No Mofo post today, as I’m far too tired and stuffed with deliciousness, but I wanted to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving!  I’ll be back tomorrow with a recipe.  Here’s a sneak peak:

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VeganMoFo: Pre-Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is Dave’s favorite holiday, hands down.  His birthday is in early September, and every year just afterward he starts getting excited about Thanksgiving.  So, when I suggested a “Pre-Thanksgiving” meal a few weeks ago, he was all in.  I told him I’d take care of some sides if he did whatever main he wanted to share with our two friends who were joining in.  I didn’t want to spend a whole lot of time cooking, so I kind of did Thanksgiving-lite and made up the recipes as I went.

To start, I roasted some seeds that I had scooped out of a pumpkin I ate a few days prior.  These were coated with Earth Balance and spiced with garam masala and curry powder, and roasted until crunchy.  Our guests were pleased with this offering.

I had received some green beans in my CSA delivery that week, so I blanched them first, then added them to a saute of slivered red onion and sliced mushrooms.  I tossed in fresh lemon juice and zest at the end.  I wasn’t sure that mushrooms and lemon would play very nicely together, but I thought the results were tasty.

I also received some Russet potatoes from the CSA, so I decided to twice bake ‘em.  For the filling, I sauteed some minced leek and garlic in Earth Balance and then mashed it with the potato innards, some Better Than Cream Cheese, salt and white pepper.  Just before serving, I popped them under the broiler for a few minutes to brown.  Simple and delicious!

It’s not Pre-Thanksgiving without stuffing!  I grocery shopped that morning, and the store only had fresh bread (how dare they!), so I cubed the loaf and toasted it to try to emulate day-old bread.  I sauteed some onion, carrot, celery and diced apple and added dried sage, fennel seed and fresh thyme, then added the mixture to the bread cubes and mixed in some vegetable broth, just to moisten.  The stuffing was covered and baked, and it turned out pretty well.  I over fennel seed-ed it, which was a shame, but the apple was a nice touch which I will probably use again.

My yummy dinner, with my favorite pumpkin beer – Buffalo Bill’s.  Shipyard comes in second.

For whatever reason, Dave chose Cuban sandwiches as the main dish.  Odd considering the theme, but no problem!  I got some veggie ham and turkey and added a vegan cheese slice to mine.  Pressed on the crusty bread with mustard and dill pickles, it was one fine sandwich.

Here’s a close-up of the same sandwich on Ezekiel bread the next day, which was much easier to photograph.

We had lots of stuffing leftover, so I put some in a baked sweet dumpling squash.  Sweet dumplings are now one of my favorite squashes!  They’re just perfect for a single serving.

With Pre-Thanksgiving out of the way, we are now starting to plan for actual Thanksgiving.  Anyone have their menu down already?

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