Friday, November 26, 2010


When it comes to Thanksgiving, I’m still pretty much a traditionalist. It’s a meal where everyone has pretty strong opinions of what’s appropriate and what’s not. This was my first vegan Thanksgiving, and except for not having a turkey, our meal was pretty traditional. We had seitan and chickpea cutlets with smoked mushroom gravy, onion, sage and apple dressing, cranberries, mashed potatoes with roasted garlic cashew cream, and roasted Brussels sprouts with onion and apple. The seitan and chickpea flour cutlets were something I came up with previously. The mushroom gravy was also a repeat, but I made a double batch and I used smoked mushrooms, which gave an incredible, almost bacon like flavor. One of the keys was making a batch of roasted vegetable stock, which is richer, sweeter and more intense than plain vegetable broth. I used it in the gravy and the dressing. In retrospect I should have used some to it in the cutlets instead of water, but they cutlets still had plenty of flavor. Hope the rest of you had a great Thanksgiving as well.

Roasted Vegetable Stock
Makes about 2 quarts

3 large onions, peeled and quartered
4 large carrots, halved lengthwise
6 button mushrooms, cleaned
3 leeks, washed thoroughly and halved lengthwise
Handful of celery leaves
4 stalks of celery, chopped into 2-3 pieces each
6 dried shitakes mushrooms

Toss the onions, carts, leeks and white button mushrooms with the oil (or spray with spray oil). Roast at 450 degrees until browned, around 30 minutes. Add to a stock pot with the celery leaves and stalks and the shitakes mushrooms. Bring to a boil and simmer for 60 minutes.

Cranberry Sauce

12 oz. whole cranberries
½ cup of sugar
Zest from two oranges
Juice from two oranges
1 inch piece of ginger grated

Combine everything in a sauce pan and cook until the cranberries break down, about 15-20 minutes. Cool. Serve room temperature or slightly cooler, but not too cold.

Onion, apple and sage dressing

1 large onion, finely diced
2 large or 3 small apples, diced (go for a mix if possible)
4 teaspoons dried sage
2 teaspoon of dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon dry sherry
¼ apple cider
12 oz. dried bread
¼ cup olive oil
2-3 cups of roasted vegetable stock

Sauté the onion and apples in half of the olive oil until the onions are translucent. Add the sage, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook for a minute and then add the sherry and apple cider. Cool slightly. Put the dried bread in a bowl and add the remaining olive oil. Add enough stock to moisten everything and have it come together, but be careful not to add too much to where it becomes a large sodden mass.

Mashed potatoes with roasted garlic and cashew cream

½ cup of cashew pieces
½ cup of water
4 heads of roasted garlic
2 ½ lbs. of yellow potatoes
Almond milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix the cashews, water and garlic in a blender and blend until it’s creamy. Boil the potatoes until they’re tender. Mash them, add the cashew cream and as much almond milk as you need to make it smooth and creamy. Taste for salt and pepper.

Roasted Brussels sprouts, apples and onions

2 lbs. Brussels sprouts
2 apples, cubed
1 large onion cut into 3/8 inch wedges
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut the Brussels sprouts into halves. Toss the Brussels sprouts, onion, and apples with the olive oil. Add the salt and pepper. Roast on a sheet pan for 30 minutes until they’re lightly caramelized.

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