Friday, October 31, 2014

Thanksgiving planning

I'm getting ready for Thanksgiving! Are you?
This year is especially exciting, because not only will I be seeing my family, whom I really enjoy being aroung, but I also may just have a new niece or nephew to spoil soon, so that's fun!

With some new cookbooks out (specifically Lindsay Nixon's Happy Herbivore Holidays and Gatherings) I'm debating trying something new, but when I asked Mia, she said she really didn't care as long as I made my cranberry sauce, stuffing, and mashed potatoes just like normal. Everyone else in the family will eat a traditional Thanksgiving, so my protien is really up to me, so I think I'm going to stick with my traditional seitan, because I like it best.

Roasted Seitan
Adapted from TVZ

Cooking/prep time: 2.5 hours

1.5 c. vital wheat gluten
.25 c. nutritional yeast
.5 c. garbanzo flour
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, chopped
4.25 c. vegetable broth
2 T. liquid aminos or soy sauce
2 T. olive oil
.25 t. cumin
1 t. each salt & pepper
1 T. parsley

Mix all the dry ingredients together in one bowl, 3 cloves garlic, 1.25 c. vegetable broth, 1 t. soy sauce, 1 t. olive oil, cumin, and salt and pepper together in a separate bowl.  Now combine both the wet and dry bowls, and knead for 10-15 minutes.  Cut the ball of seitan in two loaves, and shape accordingly.  Put loaves in oiled baking dish with the remaining ingredients.  Cover with foil and cook at 350 for an hour.  After an hour, flip the loaves over, and cook for an additional 45 minutes.

Vegan Mashed Potatoes

Cooking/prep time: 4 hours to soak, 1 hour actual fuss time

2 c. Raw cashews
2 lbs. potatoes, evenly cubed
0.5 c. Vegan cream cheese
0.25 c. Vegan margarine (optional)
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
2T. Dill
Salt and pepper

For this recipe, you need to make the cashew milk first. The raw cashews need to soak in 2 c. Water for a few hours hours, I like to let mine soak overnight.
The next morning, drain off the water, rinse the cashews and add 2 c. Fresh water with the cashews in a blender. Pulse on high until smooth and creamy. My blender has a "frozen drink" setting, and I've found that by doing that cycle twice I get great nut milk.

While you're fussing with the blender, you should be bringing a large pot of water to a boil on the stove. Add the cubed potatoes, and cook at medium heat for the desired tenderness.  I like my potatoes to be not too mushy, so I find they're just right when I can easily slide a fork's times into each piece.

Drain the water, and return the potatoes to the pot. Add the garlic, about 1 c. Of cashew milk, and the cream cheese and margarine, if using, and mash it all together with a potato masher or an electric mixer. Personally, I prefer the hand masher, leaving some lumpy bits of potato! Add dill, and salt and pepper to taste.

For this recipe, I use pre bagged crumbs, just because it is easy.  Feel free to use fresh bread. Just read your ingredients. If you're buying pre bagged, the cornbread flavor is often the vegan one!

Cook time: less than 30 minutes

1 bag stuffing bread crumbs
0.5 c. Vegan margarine
1 medium onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
2-3 carrots, chopped
1 c. Mushrooms, chopped
1 c. pine nuts (toasted)
2 c. Vegetable broth
1 tsp each: parsley, sage, salt, black pepper

I like to sautée my veggies first, and melt the butter with the spices in a saucepan. Meanwhile, I stir the broth into the bread crumbs. Then I add it all together and pop in the oven for about 15 minutes.

Cranberry Orange Sauce
Adapted from Anna Thomas' New Vegetarian Epicure

This is one of the things I make for Thanksliving each year that Mia loves. She generally starts talking about it in October!

Cook time:15 minutes, plus time to cool.
Make ahead: easily done the night before!

1.5 lbs fresh cranberries
1 c. Orange juice
0.5 c. Water
0.5 c. Red wine (whatever I will drink during dinner- but remember, I am a fan of the drier wines)
1.5 c. Sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
0.5 tsp ground cloves

Put everything in a pan over medium-high heat, and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Allow it to cool before serving.

Sauteed Kale
This is my own invention, and is addictive.  I never liked kale or any cooked greens growing up, they always seemed so slimy.  Then later, when I went vegan, I tried to like them, but it seemed like there was so much oil they didn't taste healthy.  I decided since kale was so darn good for you, I was bound and determined to eat it.  I concocted this recipe and everyone in my family loves it.  On top of this, it is super easy.

Cook:prep time: about 30 minutes

1-2 lbs Kale
1 vegetable bouillon cube (to make 2 cups vegetable broth with)
2 c. water
Optional: fresh ground black pepper, sliced garlic (1-3 cloves) to taste

I drizzle the tiniest bit of olive oil in the bottom of the pan, then stuff as much kale as possible in the pan.  I traditionally make this dish in my large, 3 inch deep, glass lidded pan.  Sometimes, the only kale you can get has a lot of thick stems.  If there are a lot of these, I would trim some of the woodiest parts away.  Generally, if you buy a large bag of kale, the stems therein will cook just fine.

On top of the kale, I place the bouillon cube, and pour the water.  Then I cover the pan with the lid, turn on the stove top to a medium heat, and cook for 10-15 minutes.  The longer you let it cook, the softer and gooier it will get.  Mia prefers it when I cook it for 15-20 minutes, but Rob likes it better on the raw-er side, approximately 10 minutes.  15 seems to be a nice compromise.

Try to resist lifting the lid.  Keep that steam in! Stir when you're ready to serve!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts
This has been such a hit in my house lately that we needed to include it in our celebration!

Cook/prep time: 30 minutes

8 c. Brussels sprouts, washed and trimmed, and sliced in half if large
3 t. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 T. Nutritional yeast

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, place the sprouts on a cookie sheet, and drizzle with oil. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast, toss, and bake for 15-20 minutes.

Shopping list for Thanksliving:

2 Onions
1 bunch celery
3 Carrots
1 c. Mushrooms
1.5 lbs. Cranberries
2 lbs. Kale
8 c. Brussels sprouts
2 lbs. Potatoes

vital wheat gluten *
Nutritional yeast *
garbanzo flour *
Box vegetable bouillon cubes *
1 bag stuffing bread crumbs

liquid aminos or soy sauce
olive oil
Agave nectar

Orange juice
Red wine

Vegan cream cheese
Vegan margarine (earth balance)

2 c. Raw cashews
1 c. pine nuts
Rolled oats
2 T. Chopped almonds

salt & pepper

Task list for Thanksliving:
Wednesday, make cashew milk, cranberry sauce
Thursday morning, Go for a run, preheat oven to 350. Make seitan, and put in oven. Chop all veggies, and potatoes on to boil. Blend cashew milk. Flip seitan. Watch some of the Macy's day parade. Make stuffing. Put sprouts in the oven, mash potatoes, steam kale,
Serve, eat, drink, and laugh!

Now, in the meantime, to get in that holiday eating mood, one of these days soon I'm going to have to make this recipe by Vegan Dad, which just oozes Thanksgiving flavor without being overpowering with any clichés:

Stuffed Maple Tofu
Served with apple-cranberry chutney, this tofu makes a gorgeous centerpiece for your autumn dinner table. This mouthwatering, multi-layer masterpiece from Nathan Kozuskanich, the blogger behind Vegan Dad, is sure to impress guests with its three-part punch of maple-apple cider tofu, sourdough-thyme stuffing, and tart fruit compote. For more recipes that celebrate the best flavors of the season, check out our Recipe Round Up of 7 Fall Favorites on
Serves 5
What You Need:
For the Apple-Cranberry Chutney:
2 tablespoons vegan margarine
4 Gala apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
2 tablespoons maple syrup
3 tablespoons apple cider, divided
10 fresh sage leaves, chopped

For the Stuffing:
2 tablespoons vegan margarine, plus more for spreading
2 slices sourdough bread
1 leek, white and light green part only, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons apple cider
1 teaspoon dried thyme
4 cups packed baby spinach
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Maple Apple Cider Tofu:
2 tablespoons vegan margarine
1 package extra firm tofu
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons apple cider
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
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What You Do:
1. For the Apple-Cranberry Chutney, in a large pan over medium-high heat, heat margarine. Add apples and cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Add raisins and cranberries and cook for 3 more minutes. Add maple syrup and mix well, then add 2 tablespoons of cider. Cook until cranberries burst and apples are soft but still have some texture. Lower heat and let simmer while you prep the other components of the dish. When ready to assemble the dish, mix in sage leaves and remove from heat.

2. For the Stuffing, preheat oven to 300 degrees. Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Lightly spread margarine on both sides of sourdough bread and fry each side for 2 to 3 minutes, until golden. Remove from pan and cut into 1/4-inch cubes. Into a large bowl, measure 1-1/2 cups of bread. Return pan to the stove. Melt 2 tablespoons of margarine, and add leeks and garlic. Fry for about 5 minutes, until leeks are translucent. Add apple cider and thyme and mix well. Add spinach and cook until wilted but still a vibrant green. Season with salt and pepper then add to the bread cubes. Mix well. Reduce oven to 200 degrees, put in an oven-proof container and keep warm in the oven.

3. For the Maple Apple Cider Tofu, cut tofu in half vertically, then cut each half into 5 thin slices. Use a 2.5-inch biscuit cutter to cut out 10 rounds. While cutting tofu, heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add margarine and swirl pan to melt, then add tofu circles. Fry for 3 to 5 minutes, only on one side, until a nice golden brown. Add maple syrup and shake to distribute. Flip tofu over and shake again. Add cider and shake to distribute. Season lightly with salt, and add freshly ground pepper. Flip tofu over and let reduce for a minute or so, then remove from heat.

4. To assemble, on a plate, place one tofu circle fried side down. Place 2.5-inch biscuit cutter on top of tofu, then pack in stuffing, pressing stuffing down with a spoon. Carefully remove biscuit cutter, then top with another tofu circle, fried side up. Top with a generous spoonful of Apple-Cranberry Chutney, and serve.

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