Nov 26, 2009

No-Turkey Day '09

Here's a brief description of what I made for Thanksgiving this year. I ate too much... so tired now... no recipes until later... ZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
French Onion Stuffed Mushrooms
A play on French onion soup, I cooked onions in olive oil, nutritional yeast, soy sauce, and a Muscato wine, seasoned with dried thyme and bay leaves, and reduced until it was jam-like. This was the filling, along with a layer of cheeze spread made of cashews, tofu, lemon, garlic powder, and a touch of Vegennaise. This was placed on grilled portabello mushrooms (destemmed), and topped with bread crumbs and baked. Very meaty and satisfying- everyone loved them.

The Sidekicks:
  • Cornbread Stuffing with celery, onions, green apples, raisins, and baby dill.
  • Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Parsnips, seasoned with freshly ground coriander.
  • Mashed Potatoes with Onion Gravy
  • Sauteed Garlic Green Beans
  • Coconut Pumpkin Pie
"Where's MY plate???"

Nov 22, 2009

"F" Faux Turkey!!!

If you're like me, and weren't raised vegan, there is just no substitute for real turkey meat, ham, etc. I gave up all those years ago and never turned back. But, since then, I have been having extreme "Turkey Anxiety" every year when it comes time to figure out what to make for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I think a part of me (the competitive, WWE, open a can of Whoop-Ass part), wants to make the ultimate Vegan Roasted Something to successfully face-off with the carnivore's reigning champion- the Turkey.

Some of you might disagree, but it CAN'T be done.

In no way, am I promoting the feasting on our beloved gobbly creatures. In fact, I think it would be lovely to invite a turkey over for Thanksgiving to eat with us. But, I'm sorry... there's NO wheat gluten-tofu-tempeh-lentil-loaf-thingy that can come close to the deliciousness of dead animal flesh. Ugh, that does sound terrible- but it is the ugly truth (at least for those who used to eat it).

So... I say, "Why try?" Why am I killing myself to make some Frankensteinian experimental faux dead animal every year? As a good friend reminded me- why not enjoy the TRUE meaning of Thanksgiving and serve something I love, and would love to share. Why not be truly thankful for being vegan, and cook up some beautiful seasonal whole veggies, legumes, etc.?

Yes, I want to impress. Yes, I want to make something that'll get some "ooohs" and "awwws," but if it must be considered a "side dish" by mainstream society, then so be it!

I was considering making a vegan version of this:

Creamy Stuffed Mushroom

It makes me say "oooh," and in the end- that's all that matters, right?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Coconut Pumpkin Pie ?!!

Yes! Coconut milk gives this pumpkin pie the richness and creaminess that is so lacking in those awful store-bought frozen vegan pies. Yeah, I had to throw mine out- don't even bother! At first, I was afraid that the coconut flavor would be weird with the pumpkin, but it's rather subtle, even more subtle if you use canned pumpkin, which has a stronger flavor than fresh. The texture is creamy, flavorful, and stands up to slicing (thanks to cornstarch and agar). If you don't like coconut at all, you should be able to substitute soy creamer.

Try it out, and let me know what you think!

I roasted my own pumpkin, using a sugar pumpkin which is a smaller version of the typical jack-o-lantern pumpkins used on Halloween. I simply cut the top off, halved it, scooped out the seeds (which I saved to roast), and put it in a 400 degree oven for about 20-30 minutes or until a knife goes in easily.

Sugar Pumpkin, left over from Halloween :)

After roasting, the skin peels off easily.

2 1/2 C. fresh roasted pumpkin
2 T. cornstarch
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg (I used freshly ground)
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 C. unrefined sugar
pinch of salt
1 can (13.5 oz) coconut milk
1/2 C. water
2 T. agar flakes

In a food processor or blender, add the pumpkin puree, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, and salt. Blend until smooth. Heat the coconut milk and water in a sauce pan until just simmering (do not allow it to boil). Dissolve agar flakes in the coconut milk, stirring often (5-10 minutes). Add the coconut mixture to the pumpkin mixture in the blender, and blend until smooth. Add to your pie shell and bake for 20-25 minutes until set in the center. Remove and let cool before cutting.

Pumpkin seeds tossed in a little olive oil and sprinkled with salt, ready to roast.