Saturday, November 27, 2010

An On the Vedgy Thanksgiving.

We approached Thanksgiving this year as an opportunity to introduce new foods and swap in light, clean alternatives to the traditional dishes. After consulting with the family, it was clear that we need to change things up, let go of the rules, and live a little. We wanted our guests to ask questions, to have colorful plates, and to end the meal feeling comfortable. The concept of "Thanksgiving food" is not very exciting, especially when there is 1 vegan, 2 vegetarians, and handful of veggie-friendly folks who love good food that is good for them.

Josh decided to make his Signature Stuffing, which just gets better every year I spend with him.  We went from having multiple stuffing each year to only offering the vegan version, after declaring Josh the victor of the dish. Some apple sage sausage (v), butternut squash, stale ciabatta, loads of reduced sodium veggie stock, and heaps of sage are the components of this otherworldly bread pudding.

I wanted scones, savory ones at that, so I tweaked the Babycakes recipe with olive oil and sage, made a triple batch, and the rich flavor went over well with our crowd, especially the younger lot.

The night before, the men in the family stuck to the one tradition that I hope never ends: Soup Making.
They drank beer and peeled taters all night, which culminated in the Sweet Potato Parsnip Soup from the Skinny Bitch Ultimate Everyday Cookbook (though Josh kept the recipe source a secret that night). The final touches for the soup: Miso swirled throughout and a garnish of toasted pistachios and herbs. It had a smooth heat and was a hydrating course before the main meal.

 Josh and I planned on a Tempeh Mushroom Fricassee from Cooking Light and Stir-fried Brussel Sprouts with fresh figs and hickory tempeh strips. Lots of proteins for added pops of flavor and depth.

I had also ordered a Vegan Pumpkin Pie from Sweet Freedom Bakery, which was the kicker I was looking forward to. With all of that, I figured the veg heads were covered.

But I did not anticipate that we'd have an impressive dairy-free starter from our family friends (they own a local cheese shop), who contributed a flavor-packed pepper stuffed with eggplant that was a terrific way to begin.

Or that my mother-in-law would have Earth Balance in the fridge and Dandies vegan marshmallows in the cupboard for the classic dish that we were not quite ready to dismiss from our Thanksgiving: Sweet Potatoes. Except this year? Vegan, by chance.

And especially the Soy Nog  that we brought a pitcher of, that was passed around in little glasses and sampled and enjoyed by many. An elevation of the original, with tofu, soy milk, and highly approvable rum.

We had Yorkshire Pudding this year (not vegan, but definitely a fun addition to the feast) and it lended even more perspective to the meal. We were combining talents and tastes for something truly memorable and distinctive.

The Brussels Sprouts and Stuffing were the best takes on both that I have experienced. The pumpkin pie from Sweet Freedom (made with coconut milk) had a thick, indulgent texture and a solid crust.

Smoky Sauteed Brussel Sprouts

1.5 lbs brussels sprouts, sliced thinly (as if you were slicing carrot coins)
1 package of Lightlife Tempeh Strips, chopped
4 fresh figs, diced
1 clove garlic
2-3 tbsp oil
Salt, pepper, to taste

You can use a wok or a large saute pan. Heat the oil and garlic together and then add the tempeh. Cook for a few minutes and then add your sprouts. Drizzle with more oil and stir occasionally, until sprouts are tender. Toss in figs for last couple of minutes.

Serves 4-6 (we tripled this recipe for the crowd)

A family that eats tempeh together. Could a girl ask for any more than that?


Wright Computing said...

I am not a veggie but I did really enjoy all the vegan dishes.

hellopa said...

nice work kids :) how was the pie??

kellywhitephillips said...

So good that I am already placing an order for next year's pie. Rich and decadent, made with coconut milk and the crust was pie skills pale in comparison.