8 AM – I’m up and ready to go. First things first: There is a dark, cold pit in my stomach. And no, it’s not that I’ve not had any coffee yet. I have to do the thing I thought I’d prepared enough to avoid…I have to GO TO THE STORE ON THE WEDNESDAY BEFORE THANKSGIVING. I got home after doing the Thanksgiving shopping only to discover that we don’t have any banana peppers for our Thanksgiving eve pizzas Jules: You know what they call a Quarter Pounder with cheese in France? Brett: No. Jules: Tell 'em, Vincent. Vincent: A Royale with cheese. (and since I’m a worrier, I’m also thinking that 1 bag of flour might not be enough). Coffee and then off to the supermarket!

(One of the things I must make today are three pizza doughs. One of the pizzas we plan on making for John’s parents is my BBQ Burger Pizza, and I’ve discovered that something similar is now being made by the good folks at Peace O’ Pie and called “The Royale.”)

9:33 AM – Just got back from Stop and Shop. It was relatively peaceful, except that only two cashiers were working. Also, apparently 8:30 AM is the time where the supermarket becomes a race track for little old ladies. There were blue-haired power walkers doing laps! I’m back home now, with banana peppers and more flour, ready to roll. Eliot has jumped up in my chair to help me blog about it. (He does this pretty much any time I’m trying to do something on the computer).
The first thing I am going to make is a modified version of Oh She Glows’ butternut squash Mac and cheese. I am going to use Cavatappi because it is the most fun shape for fancy mac n’ cheese.

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11:10 AM – Mac n’ Cheeze is in the oven.  I tasted some of the pasta in the cheese sauce and it reminded me of something….then I realized it tasted a lot like those Snyder’s Honey Mustard pretzel bites.  I love those things!  If you like them too, make this sauce with Dijon mustard for your pasta.  If you don’t like mustard, leave it out.  Here’s my version of the Oh She Glows recipe with picture how-tos!

Butternut, Kale and Pumpkin Mac and “Cheese”

(serves 8)

Ingredients:

  • 1 half of a butternut squash (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • olive oil, salt, pepper
  • 1 stick (8 tbsp) Earth Balance
  • 1.5 cups soy creamer
  • 2 tbsp. arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
  • 3/4 cup nutritional yeast, or more to taste
  • 4 tsp Dijon mustard (less if you don’t like mustard, or none at all)
  • 1 tbsp. brown miso paste
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 lb. box Cavatappi pasta (or another fun shape that will hold sauce, like spirals)
  • 1 colander full of kale (or spinach, collards, etc.), rinsed and torn into small pieces
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh sage

1. Preheat oven to 425F.  In a glass baking dish, coat chopped butternut with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for about 40 minutes, uncovered, or until tender.

2. While that is roasting, make that sauce! Add Earth Balance over medium heat and make it melty. In a bowl, whisk together creamer and arrowroot powder, then add to pot and whisk again. Reduce heat to low. Stir in dijon mustard, garlic and onion powder, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, miso and pumpkin puree. Heat until nice and thick.

3. Cook your pasta according to package directions, drain and put back into the pot. Butter a large glass baking dish (to prevent the mac from sticking).

4. Using an immersion blender (or a regular blender), blend the sauce with the butternut squash. Add the fresh chopped sage.

5. Add the cheese sauce and the kale to the pasta and combine well.

6. Pour the pasta mixture into the baking dish, cover with panko, and cook on 375 for 20-30 minutes or until the panko is golden brown and delicious.  Serve with salt and pepper to taste.

11:45 AM – Time to make three pizza doughs (2 regular, 1 wheat) for Pizzasgiving tonight. 

Also, time to assemble the artichoke dip so that it can be baked upon arrival at my parents house.  Here is the recipe I’m using for the dip, from C’est La Vegan.

The main departure I make from this recipe is that instead of 1 clove of garlic, I use 6.

12:36 PM – Dip is done, doughs are done, next on the list is the apple galette with caramel sauce.  I think I might have a lunch break first, though.  Go figure, all this food is making me hungry!  Think I’ll have a kale and avocado salad.  It’s the most trite vegan hippie food ever but it’s also delicious and we are about to go into a feast day where all the food is tan or brown and very rich.

2:31 PM – Lunch was tasty, and Wayne’s World was on.  Bonus. I prepped apples and the dough before sitting down to eat.

The galette is now in the oven and the apple glaze topping is simmering on the stove.  Here’s the recipe I adapted from the Smitten Kitchen (who adapted it from Alice Waters):

Vegan Apple Galette

Dough:
1 cup (125 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick or 85 grams) Earth Balance, cold
3 1/2 tablespoons (50 ml) chilled water

Filling:
2 pounds (910 grams) apples (Granny Smiths are what I used, but any tart apple will do) peeled, cored (save peels and cores), and sliced
2 tablespoons (30 grams) Earth Balance, melted
5 tablespoons (65 grams) sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon

Glaze:
1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar

MIX flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl; add 2 tablespoons of the butter. Work the cold butter with your fingers and a fork until it resembles coarse cornmeal. Add remaining butter; mix until biggest pieces are no bigger than large peas.

DRIBBLE in water one tablespoon at a time, working it in gently with your hands. A soft dough should easily form, don’t overwork it. Flatten into disk about 4 inches wide and place on a plate in the freezer (yes the freezer–I heard this tip from the Pioneer Woman on Food Network’s Thanksgiving Live). After at least 30 minutes, remove; let soften so it’s malleable but still cold. Smooth cracks at edges. On a lightly floured surface, roll into a 14-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Brush off excess flour with your fingertips.

PLACE dough in a lightly greased 9-inch round tart or pie pan.  Heat oven to 400°F.

OVERLAP apples on dough in a ring  up to the sides, starting on the outside and working your way inward. Continue inward until you reach the center. Tuck excess apples into places that look sparsely populated. Fold any dough hanging over pan back onto itself; crimp edges.

BRUSH melted Earth Balance over apples and onto dough edge. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar over dough edge and the other 3 tablespoons and a dusting of cinnamon (1 tsp) over apples.

BAKE in center of oven until apples are soft, with browned edges, and crust has caramelized to a dark golden brown (about 35 minutes), making sure to rotate tart twice during the baking time.

MAKE glaze: Put reserved peels and cores in a large saucepan, along with sugar. Pour in just enough water to cover; simmer for 25 minutes. Strain syrup through cheesecloth or mesh colander.

REMOVE tart from oven. Let cool at least 15 minutes.

BRUSH glaze over tart, slice, and serve.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I wasn’t totally satisfied with the tart as is as a decadent Thanksgiving treat to make the omnivores drool, so I glazed the top a little more with my homemade salted caramel sauce…

The recipe for that is sadly for another show.  However, this recipe from Domestocrat is what inspired my caramels.  I took her recipe and method and left out the cider, used soy creamer in place of heavy cream, Earth Balance in place of butter, and brown rice syrup instead of Lyle’s golden syrup. I also added the Earth Balance last–after all the cooking was done–as it tends to make a burning oil smell when overheated.  I sprinkled the top with black lava sea salt.

2:50 PM – The tart is finishing up and I’m in the home stretch.  Don’t think I’ll get to clean the house like I wanted to before we leave, but maybe I can sucker kindly coerce the husband and his brother to take out the trash and the recycling.  It’s time to make gravy for our Field Roast Hazelnut Cranberry Roast en Croute!

Rejoice in our wheat meat, lord and savior of vegans!

4:20 – John’s brother Ben just arrived from Florida earlier than expected, so we’re now on an accelerated time frame to get down to Rhode Island.  Thankfully, I finished the dijon-mushroom gravy for the Field Roast.  Unfortunately, it means I have to type it up fast so…here we go!

Dijon-Mushroom Gravy

1 onion, chopped

1 shallot, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

salt and pepper

1 lb. cremini mushrooms, sliced

2 tbsp. Earth Balance

3 cups vegetable broth

splash of sweet vermouth

1 tbsp. dijon mustard

1 tbsp. fresh thyme

SAUTE the onions, garlic and shallots in the butter on medium heat.   Season with salt and pepper.  Add the mushrooms and heat until soft and fragrant, stirring often. (about 10 minutes)

ADD the vegetable broth, the thyme and the sweet vermouth. Turn up the heat to medium high and let simmer and reduce by half.

PUREE using a stick blender or blender.  Add the dijon mustard.  It will be thick.  Serve with any dry roasts–also would make a good sauce for pasta or rice. Note: this is a flourless gravy, so I guess it’s more of a sauce.

And that’s it!  I live blogged my prep like it was my job (on my day off).  Happy Thanksgiving to all of you out there who dared to read my grand experiment, and thank you.  I’m thankful that I was able to make such a bountiful feast without any animal products.

I’m thankful that I have a great family, great husband, great cats, great friends, and great jobs. I am thankful that it’s the holiday season, where we all get to see each other a little more often.

What are you thankful for?

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