Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving veggie menu

A (little) bit of food humor.

The customer is served his pizza. "Would you like that cut into four slices or six?" he's asked. "Only four," he replies, "I'm not that hungry."

There's nothing about pizza here, but there is a lot about (a lot of) food. It's the menu for my veggie Thanksgiving.

vegetarian Thanksgiving
---> First, the beverage: a bottle of The Brewer's Art Green Peppercorn Tripel. This wasn't the beer served during the meal, but it was the one drunk during the cooking. What beverage WAS served at dinner? It wasn't a Riesling or Beaujolais. But it was a beer. Read on.

---> Every Thanksgiving meal needs a gravy. Mine was modified from a mushroom sauce in Isa Chandra Moskowitz's book Vegan With a Vengeance. As she suggested, I thickened it, but with 1/4 cup potato starch. And where she called for 1/2 cup white wine, I substituted with Clipper City Brewing's Peg Leg Imperial Stout.

mushroom gravy

---> When cooking Brussels sprouts, I normally steam them until just tender. For this meal, I roasted them instead, quartered, for 15 minutes at 425 °F. The sprouts develop a caramelized sweetness prepared this way, but be careful not to overcook them. I finished them with a warm vinaigrette of lemon juice, lemon zest, fresh thyme, mustard, horseradish, and diced shallots.

roasted Brussel sprouts

---> The Mrs. Dash website has a recipe for what it calls Cauliflower Popcorn. Break up the head into popcorn-size florets. Toss with olive oil and 2 TBSP Mrs. Dash (or use whatever spice, s/p combo you might prefer). Roast for 60 minutes at 450 °F, tossing several times. I saved the stalk for later, cut into coins, and braised in veggie stock.

Popcorn Cauliflower

---> I eat eggs - that I know of - three times a year: Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving. Here's my version of my mother's Lithuanian Potato Kugelis. It's hearty Lithuanian fare, so it contains eggs. I borrowed a tip from beer blogger Bob Skilnik: adding 4 crushed Vitamin C tablets to the water prevents the potatoes from discoloring. Kugel preventing the common cold ... who knew?

Note the beer in the photograph below. My brother was serving Hennepin - a saison from Brewery Omemgang - a wonderful mate for turkey and the side dishes. (And yes, the others did have turkey.)

Nana's Potato Kugelis

---> Alice Brock - of Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant fame - has a recipe for Cream of Salt and Pepper Soup. It's sort of making it up as you go along, similar to the genesis for my recipe for Nut Loaf. It changes each time I bake it.

On this occasion, I used walnuts, peanuts, and chestnuts. The loaf was good, especially with the gravy, but I wasn't completely satisfied with the result. I'll post the recipe when I am.

Nut Loaf

---> My brother prepared the family recipe for Cranberry Relish: cranberries, oranges, orange zest, and apples - grated through an old-fashioned hand-cranked grater - and (his touch here!) sweetened with Splenda.

Cranberry relish

---> Now, it's time for dessert.

My brother's girlfriend baked a delectable lime pie.

I made, what I called, The Pumpkinator, a tofu pumpkin pie. It's the Washington Post's Kim O'Donnel's recipe from her What's Cooking blog. Tofu haters: this was delicious. Kim calls it a doppleganger recipe: that is, until you're told, you wouldn't know it was tofu. Use silken tofu for the proper texture. I 'cheated', using a pre-made Graham cookie crust and canned pureed pumpkin. For how to bake pumpkin itself, go here.

lime pie and pumpkin/tofu pie
Hope you enjoyed. Find more photos of our dinner here.

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