Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Homemade Stuffing with Chestnuts, Walnuts, and Fresh Herbs & Thanksgiving 2011 Recap

16 Dec

Garlic and herb mashed potatoes with mushroom, onion, and leek gravy; carnival squash stuffed with savory homemade walnut and chestnut stuffing; sweet potato casserole with maple and brown sugar pecan topping; Gardein stuffed turk'y, arugula salad with toasted walnuts, dried cranberries, roasted squash seeds, grape tomatoes, and fresh heart persimmons served with an agave-lemon vinaigrette; vegetables (parsnips, carrots, butternut squash, onions, green beans) slow roasted in an apple cider, herb, and nutmeg baste; and of course, whole berry cranberry sauce.

Hello, friends! I’ve been away from the blog world for a while since Thanksgiving and the break was much needed. My family’s Thanksgiving dinner came and went with much success. As you may have picked up, my family, despite not all members being vegan, celebrates all holidays with vegan food. Thus, since I’m the most enthusiastic of cooks in my family, it falls on me to plan the menu and make it. This year, thankfully, I had the help of my mother. Usually, I’m no fun to be around in the kitchen, but she stuck with me and proved to be a much needed skilled assistant and taste tester!

I like Thanksgiving dinner because it requires very little planning. I already know what I’m going to make: potatoes, stuffing, gravy, veggies, pies, and either a homemade turkey substitute (last year it was a meatless bean meatloaf) or a prepackaged one, if the option for a good one (like Gardein not Tofurky) exists. So, it’s not the planning that worries me (unlike Christmas) but the logistics of physically carrying out a huge meal by myself or with only one other person. Especially, when I cook this meal any place but my own kitchen.

This year, I was able to make my holiday pies, Pear and Apple Pie and the Pumpkin Pie with Gingersnap Apricot Crust, in advance and freeze the former over two nights and prepare the latter the night before. For the record, many a warm slice of pear apple pie was had with vegan coconut based vanilla ice cream! I arrived at my mom’s house at 11 AM and began prepping around noon. I didn’t leave the kitchen once until we ate, which was around 6 PM. So as you can see, there’s been good reason for my absence on here. I’ve spent enough time in the kitchen for the rest of the year! And yet, I was back at it a week later to bake cakes, quickbreads, and brownies (for fun!) for my coworkers and friends and a birthday cake for my lovely mom. The eating never ends around here.

I’m currently in the works of coming up with ideas for our Christmas menu. Last year I made pizzas for lunch, lasagna for dinner, cookies and cheesecake for dessert, and vegan eggnog. I’m looking to simplify my life this Christmas. But a vegan pecan pie has been requested and so complexity is in order, I take it.

Anyway, back to Thanksgiving. My family was very happy to be full. The highlight of this meal was the gratitude and happiness on my non-vegan brother’s face when he realized he was eating “real food” and the grace with which he went back for seconds and thirds and then took home leftovers. My other brother, who couldn’t join us for dinner, called me the next day to tell me how blown away he was by the meal and the pies and how they succeeded in “knocking him out on the couch” as a proper Thanksgiving meal should. The hours on my feet, the back pain that ensued…it was all worth it just to hear that.

I’ve included here the recipe for my homemade stuffing. I made a similar nut-less version last year, but I think the new changes take the cake! It was definitely the most popular item this year as was, oddly enough, the impromptu salad dressing I made. I will write up the gravy dressing as soon as I get a chance, but until then, please enjoy the stuffing! Continue reading

Pumpkin Pie with Gingersnap Apricot Crust

23 Nov

For some crazy reason, I didn’t think I was busy enough this holiday season and so I decided to make two pies for my small family Thanksgiving get together. There are four of us and two pies. It’s a bit indulgent, but hey, why the heck not? Like I said, I like pie and I like custard type pies especially. So, Thanksgiving wouldn’t be an experience to remember without a proper pumpkin pie, right? Right.

Here’s a recipe I came up with for two reasons. First, after making the pumpkin cheesecake with the gingersnap oreo cookie crust, I couldn’t wait to try a full-on gingersnap crust. It only seemed fitting to hold the crust together with delicious dried fruit like you would a raw crust, and dried apricots caught my eye so, dried apricots it was! The second reason for constructing this pie was an attempt to make a vegan pumpkin pie that was creamy, but didn’t involve using silken tofu (or any soy for that matter) in the place of heavy cream. One of my family members is sensitive to soy and since we celebrate our holidays vegan, I wanted to make sure that I had a traditional pie option that would please everyone. Naturally, I sought solice in cashew cream and as per usual, cashew cream saved the day!

What came of this creation was an incredibly creamy, rich pumpkin pie with a crust that you won’t be able to stop yourself from eating. I’m really pleased with how “rustic” and homemade in appearance the pie came out as well since I’m not a fan of heavily manicured food (think: cupcakes). Some of the edges of the crust burned a little during baking because I “flash baked” the pie for a few minutes at first. I’ve removed that step to (hopefully) prevent that from happening again, but even if it does, the pie is still delicious and it actually adds a nice color contrast to the crust. The taste will hardly be affected.

I’m excited to present it to my family. I hope you will consider sharing this with yours as well!

Remember folks, imperialism and cultural imperialism (a.k.a how the first Thanksgiving came to be) is super awful, but in the spirit of forgiveness, peace, and justice for all creatures — have a happy vegan harvest! Continue reading

Pear and Apple Pie

22 Nov


Dear pear and apple lovers,

As you all may already know, I don’t like apples. Or pears. The day you see me eat one of these fruits raw is the day that no other edible foods exist for me to eat. I’ll even admit, apple pie has never been my favorite of the fruit pies. When it comes to me and pie: it’s custards or bust. As far as fruit pies go, I mostly like the crust. I’m a bread girl, what can I say? That being said, I simply can’t resist apples or pears in baked dishes or in ciders. I don’t know how or why I make the distinction. Maybe it’s the sugar. Or maybe it’s the pure, mind blowing comfort of delicious pastry dough.

In any case, it’s a little surprising that I decided to make a pie with the two fruits I generally don’t enjoy. But it isn’t for me, really. My brother, Job, has always been an apple pie aficionado. I don’t know anyone else who devours apple pie as much or as efficiently as he does. This Thanksgiving, I’ve decided to do a nice little sisterly thing and make him one. Don’t worry, I won’t blow the surprise — he doesn’t read this blog anyway. My brother isn’t vegan (yet), but this pie will likely make him think twice about ever eating another non-vegan pie again!

This recipe is pretty standard. You can chose to use all apples and so, you don’t have to use pears if you don’t want to. I chose to add them–Comice pears, to be exact–because it seemed fitting and different. And as far as pears go, Comice pears are deliciously soft, sweet, and juicy; the perfect match for tart Granny Smiths. The apricot jam glaze is something I’ve always used to replace the egg glaze used for browning the top of conventional non-vegan pies. You can use another jam if you prefer. I simply chose apricot because it’s lighter in flavor and because grape jam doesn’t lend itself to the aesthetics of this pie.

This recipe is pretty straight-forward and simple, but it will take you some time (most of which is just waiting for ingredients to chill properly). Take it along with you to your Thanksgiving feast (and don’t forget the vegan vanilla ice cream)! When everyone is telling you how delicious it is, remember to tell them it’s totally vegan too! Then follow up with stories of all the other awesome things you eat, wear, and use that don’t contain animal products.

As always: spread the love, share the food, be merry, and stuff your vegan face!

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Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Oreo Cookie Crust

16 Nov

Although VeganMoFo is over, I feel like I’m still in a mad dash to come up with fun, delicious recipes for the masses. Ah, the holidays: a time centered around families, food, and good will towards men. Why not aim for good will towards all creatures and make your holidays vegan? It’s super easy, super fun, and no one gets hurt–well except for Uncle Bob, but that’s because he over does it on the spiked cider. Oh, Uncle Bob…

One of my roommates has been on an intense pumpkin pie kick lately. So, as much as I’ve wanted to bake pumpkin pie in preparation for the upcoming holiday, I figured we were all maxed out on the pumpkin pies for now. So, naturally, a cheesecake was in order. A pumpkin cheesecake. With cookies. Because…well, because why the hell not? I rarely venture through the cookie aisle in grocery stores, but something drove me there this past week, right to the Newman O’s. When I saw they had ginger oreos, I knew–I knew the time had come for a miraculous, simple, cookie crust. And so it was. And so it is.

This recipe is so easy, you basically have no excuse not to try it this holiday season. The cheesecake filling is thick and smooth and so much like dairy cheesecake, you’ll have everybody fooled. The crust is gingery, crunchy, and practically caramelizes, giving it an overall flavor reminiscent of dulce de leche.

Ok, enough. I can’t say anymore without drooling unattractively, and I’ve got pies to bake, stuffing to pursue, and gravies to concoct! There’s only a little over a week left until my family’s anti-Thanksgiving vegan harvest. I hope this makes it onto your dessert plate; I know it will be on mine! Enjoy!

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Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

18 Oct


I’m still here, still alive, still in MoFo mode. But, it’s been a tremendously busy few weeks. Moving and working full time and MoFo-ing? What was I thinking?! I think I’m still in this. I think I can, I think I can! Anyhow, I finally finished packing and after a 13 hour move out of state, I’m finally settled in and in my new kitchen. So of course after all the cleaning and organizing and attempts to find the perfect lighting for photographing food, I put myself to work on one of my favorite recipes.

My roommate’s boyfriend who works on a farm, graciously bestowed us with a bounty of winter squash. Among them, my favorite — the acorn squash. If you haven’t noticed already, I really like stuffing food into more food (stuffed peppers, stuffed pasta, stuffed apples, stuffed summer squash).  Maybe someday I’ll invent a vegan version of TurDuckEn. So of course, seeing the squash, I felt the need to stuff it. It just had to happen.

This is a recipe I first tried out last year at thanksgiving time and really enjoyed. It went over really well with my family too. It’s very easy to make, has a lot of fall flavor to it, and is very comforting. You can adjust the spices as you wish. If you want it to be more spicy, add more chili powder; more cinnamon-y, add more cinnamon. There’s really no way to make this “the wrong way.” Also, I like to play around with other ingredients. Sometimes I use raisins or dried apricots, this time, I used dates and cranberries. Usually, I like to make this with red quinoa because it looks really beautiful against the orange squash, but I had only white quinoa on hand and that worked well too. If you’re all about presentation come vegan harvest (thanksgiving), then I’d definitely go with the red!

‘Til tomorrow! Continue reading

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