Saturday, November 29, 2008

thanksgiving photo essay

Well!  Michael and I just rolled back into town today and I have lots of pictures from my family dinner to show you.  After one somewhat major (at the time) disaster, I managed to pull off a pretty decent dinner, with the help of my mom and Michael and maybe a little luck.  Here's what we ate:
green beans (by Mom)

mashed potatoes with EB and soymilk

gravy (by Michael)

cranberry sauce (by Mom - she used agar agar!)

steamed brussels sprouts w/seasoned salt and pepper

upside down pear cake

seitan roulades w/stuffing #1

stuffing #2

sweet potato casserole w/pecan topping

place setting with salad

thanksgiving plate (Mom made biscuits too, they're on here)

Michael set the table :)

dessert table (Mom made us a vegan pumpkin pie, it's the smaller one)

Looks like we made out ok, right?  And now for some recipe linkage (all recipes are linked from the website name):

Seitan Roulades idea came from Vegan Yum Yum.   However, I ended up using the seitan recipe from VWAV because when I first tried to make these, the seitan fell apart into a million pieces, triggering a major breakdown in my kitchen the night before Thanksgiving.  The re-do turned out fine, but needed to be baked longer than that recipe calls for...they were a tad mushy.  Also, in the stuffing, I used pistachios and oyster mushrooms instead of crimini mushrooms and chesnuts.  That stuffing was oh. so. good.

Stuffing #2 recipe came from VegWeb.  And seriously, can you ever have enough stuffing?  Mom kept saying that she really thought that we only needed one, to which I scoffed mightily and disagreed heartily.  Results?  I got massive stuffing leftovers to take home with me (which I get to eat for dinner tonight).  I think we all know who was right.  (me.)  Anyway, I didn't use all those nuts it called for.  Or apples, or raisins.  I used about 1/4 cup of pecans and 1/4 cup of dried cranberries instead.  This stuffing was also good.  In a different way.  I never realized how easy it is to make stuffing.  Jeez.  I'd make it for every meal if it wasn't for the fact that we really only eat it on holidays for a reason.  (hey - it's not that good for you apparently.)

The sweet potato casserole came straight from FatFree Vegan Kitchen.  This was really good, which came as a surprise to me, for some reason.  In my omni days, I never ate the sweet potato casserole.  Mainly because it had marshmallows on it and that seemed...weird to me.  Like...why would I want to eat something sweet with my Thanksgiving dinner?  Now I get it.  You eat a little bit of it at a time and it's wonderful.  Actually, I might eat the leftovers of this for dessert tonight.  You know.  Just to shake it up a bit.  Because it's actually sweeter than either of the desserts I ate at dinner.

I don't have the recipe for either the vegan pumpkin pie or the cranberry sauce.  But rest assured that they were both totally awesome.  And so were the biscuits.  My mom's a helluva cook.  We're alike in that way (ha!).  Oh, by the way, the consensus is that agar agar thickens like the dickens.  My mom was a little apalled at how well it worked in the cranberries and was even afraid that they would be too hard to eat!  However, they were very nice.  And cruelty-free.  I didn't even ask her to do that, she just did.  Taking culinary risks is FUN, isn't it?

Finally, the upside down pear cake.  This came from a recipe that I veganized from Body & Soul Magazine.  I can't find the recipe online, but I doubt that Martha Stewart is trolling vegan blogs to find people to prosecute for sharing veganized versions of her recipes, so I'll share it with you.  Because it was really, really delicious.  And actually, easy.  Here, go make it yourself:

2 Tbsp vegan margarine (I used EB)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 Bosc pears, cut in half and into 18 wedges (I used those big, red pears...I'm not sure of their name.  also, you'll get more than 18 pieces out of your pears probably, just use the nicest whole slices)
1 cup AP flour
1 cup WW flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp EnerG Egg Replacer mixed into 4 Tbsp warm water (or whatever equivalent for 2 eggs you'd like...the energ worked really well here though)
1 cup soymilk with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar mixed in (buttermilk replacement)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup walnut oil (i used canola)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract (recipe calls for 1/2 tsp, but since i didn't use the walnut oil, i upped it to 1 full tsp)

1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Melt margarine with 1/4 cup of the brown sugar in a 12 inch cast iron skillet over medium.  Arrange pears in a circular fashion, around the edge of the pan.  (Michael did this part for me, since I'm inept.  We used 2 layers of pears because 1 didn't seem like enough.)  Cook, without turning pears, until pears are golden underneath, 18-20 minutes (rotating pan as necessary for even browning).
2. First, mix vinegar into the soymilk and set aside.  In a large bowl, combine flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt; whisk to combine.  In a medium bowl, combine remaining sugar, egg replacer, soymilk mixture, applesauce, oil, and vanilla; whisk to combine (seriously, martha...i used a fork for all my 'whisking').  Add wet mixture to dry and WHISK until just combined.  What is with this whisking obsession.  Your fork works just fine if you don't have a whisk.
3.  Pour batter over pears, spread to cover.  Transfer to the oven;  bake until a toothpick comes out clean, 25-30 minutes (mine took exactly 27 minutes).  Allow to stand for 5 minutes.  Run a knife around the edge and turn out onto a serving platter.

We didn't need to run the knife around the edges because it just came out beautifully.  You all know how to turn out an upside down cake, right?  Put your plate on the cake and THEN flip the pan over, so that it's nicely nestled against the plate instead of just trying to flop it down onto one.  That could equal disaster.

Anyway, the cake is good.  Not too sweet, nice and moist, very yummy with a scoop of Rice Dream (vanilla of course).

Michael and I spent the following day at his sister's house for an after Thanksgiving get together.  She was very accomodating and made us some lovely pumpkin/bean burgers that were really good and also some gnocchi with a zesty veggie tomato sauce.  Oh!  And an apple crisp that was seriously delicious.  The prize winning food of the day though, was the giant trashbag-full of chex mix that we all made together.  This chex mix involved 3 big boxes of cereal, 1 giant bag of pretzels, a can of nuts, 2 sticks of margarine, hot sauce, soy sauce, and seasoned salt.  There was plenty left over for us to take some home (yay!).  I don't have the recipe for the pumpkin burgers just yet, but when I get it from her I will share it with you.  They were a nice mixture of savory and sweet.  Also, I was being really lazy and didn't take any pictures.  I was exhausted from the day before!

Anyway, I hope you all had lovely UnTurkey Days as well.  Mine turned out very nicely.  But I'm glad it's over, yeah?


Anonymous said...

Yummy! Everything looks GREAT!
And I am DEFINITELY jealous of the table setting! It's beautiful!

Anonymous said...

I was drooling by the first picture! Everything looks amazing. Especially the seitan (I almost made those) and the desserts of course!

Gina said...

Everything looks so delicious! Seems like you ended up having a great day :)

Valerie said...

Everything looks wonderful, and your tablesetting is so beautiful.

aTxVegn said...

Lovely table, lovely food, and a great family gathering.

I love trash mix!

Susan said...

It all looks amazing!
I always wondered about marshmallows and the sweet potato pie being served at dinner time. But I am not american so I have no idea.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful table! I'm so proud of your mom for rockin' the agar and vegan pumpking pie! I am sorry about the seitan almost-disaster, but things really did work out!

Alice (in Veganland) said...

That's a lot of food! and everything looks amazing! I've never celebrated thanksgiving, but I wouldn't mind eating all those delicious things you and your mom cooked :-)

Anonymous said...

Pesky! I left you a long rambling comment this morning (or it seems I just 'thought' I did!) then got grumped at by T.V because I was meant to be helping him do something and he'd done it all himself by the time I'd finished. *sigh* The interweb must have eaten my comment.
Suffice to say~ Awesome, awesome, awesome. Thanks for sharing >:o)

Sal said...

wowza, that all looks soooo good. But that upside down cake is calling me....


Hannah said...

Happy belated Thanksgiving! Looks like you had an amazing feast, with everything you could ever want for this holiday.

Jeni Treehugger said...

All that looks soooo good.
You mum's so creative with that Cranberry Sauce - I LOVE it!

jessy said...

hooray for a rock'n photo essay! everything (especially the brussels, smashed potatoes, and stuffing) looks freak'n glorious, indeed! mmmmmmmmmmmmm! i love your subbing of pistachios & crimin mushrooms - damn good call on that one! your mom = the best ever! hooray for cranberry sauce made with agar agar! glad it worked out. that's crazy that agar agar firms up like crazy! eek! good to know, too! i have yet to work with it because it intimidates the hell outta me, but one day i'll be brave! ahahahahaahaa! thanks for the recipe on the cake, too! it looks super scrumptious! wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! hope you're get'n your mojo back, Jessica! and i'm glad thanksgiving is over with, too! it wore me out!

oh yeah - and chex mix?!? i'm totally gonna have to make some now. yay!

Virginia said...

im glad thanksgiving is over, too! now on to christmas! everything looks scrumptious, btw!

Jes said...

What a beautiful feast! And so much food!

miss v said...

i made seitan roast too (i'll post it soon), and i had corona too! happy thanksgiving - a little late. but your meal looks superb!

michelle said...

I'm glad everything ended up happy! I JUST finished my leftovers today. sooo muuuccchh foooooood. :)

Alison said...

your food looks amazing, I saw the recipe from Vegan Yum Yum too late, otherwise I probably would have made that, too.

Your pictures are making me drool!

Vegan_Noodle said...

Wow! What an awesome thanksgiving meal! I made a roulade too.. those things are a bit finicky.

Veg-a-Nut said...

Your Thanksgiving meal looks fantastic. I am coming to your house next year!