Friday, November 27, 2009

Karina & Alma's Thanksgiving Twist..

Ariel kindly invited my friend Alma and me to join her family at Thanksgiving dinner. In discussing what foods Alma and I would cook and bring over, we both decided we wanted to take some risks and play with the traditional holiday dishes people have come to always expect.

First thing to spice up: Stuffing. We both agreed that stuffing is more often than not boring. It's dry, dull, and bland, yet it always makes its way to the table.

Seeing as there is no type of bread quite like a fresh loaf of Olive Bread, I decided to start by making french toast out of one. I chopped the loaf into small cubes and soaked them in my batter.

My batter was made up of eggs, vanilla hemp milk, salt, vanilla, cinnamon & a splash of OJ. I used about 6 eggs and estimated the rest of the portions until it looked like enough for my bread.

I cooked my french toast squares batch by batch in a hot pan with olive oil and sprinkled honey and cinnamon over each round to keep them sweet and moist.

I cut up some fresh mint, apricots, and edamame.

In a pan I sauteed onion until soft and translucent, then added sliced eggplant, Portabella mushrooms, and apples. I flavored with Braggs, lemon, salt, pepper, and various other spcies until it was too good not to pick at .

I added chopped up ginger to the mix.

Then I mixed my french toast with the sauteed mix, mint, edamame, apricots and pecans with a little bit of olive oil and packed it into two baking pans.

I melted some earth balance (butter substitute) with garlic and honey and drizzled it over each pan of stuffing. I stuck it in the oven at 350*.

I cooked it for about 30 minutes or so until the top turned dark and a bit crunchy. I drizzled honey over it throughout the process to help lock in the moisture and sweetness.

I'm not lying when I say it was by far the best stuffing I've had to date!

Next task: Mashed Potatoes.

Alma had the brilliant idea of making peanut butter mashed potatoes and it took no convincing me to get on board. We peeled and boiled the potatoes until soft.

After draining and cooling, we returned the potatoes to the pot and added chopped garlic, hemp milk, earth balance, salt, cinnamon, honey,a splash of OJ, and a jar of organic, crunchy peanut butter. We whipped and flavored our mash until smooth and well balanced. The acidity of the OJ and sweetness of honey really allowed the peanut butter taste to stand out without being overwhelming.

If you are like the some of the other guests at the party who admitted they had skepticism when they heard "peanut butter mashed potatoes", take my word that everyone was pleasantly surprised and relieved at this DELICIOUS concoction!

Last, but certainly not least:

No one should go without a juicy, savory protein on Thanksgiving- not even a vegetarian. Alma has gone through her whole adult life remembering a certain chicken dish her mother prepared once when she was a child, so she decided to do her best at recreating it using Seitan. She called it, "Peachy Keen Belly Dream".

She started by mixing several scoops of veganaise, two jars of peach jam, some cinnamon, salt, tangerine juice, lemon, and coarse black pepper.

Once she had a creamy, well-flavored sauce, she added in two packages of Seitan and spread it all out in a baking dish.

She hard boiled several eggs that she peeled and added to the mix.

She baked this for an hour at 450*, then kept it on low in the oven until it was ready to take over and eat. I can't fully describe just how flavorful this was- a perfect balance of sweet and savory. The seitan bites bursted with mouth-watering juices and the baked eggs offered incredible texture and flavor to make this a WOW dish. YUM!

We joined Ariel's family and had one amazing meal to certainly be thankful for!

1 comment:

  1. I love you guys. Alma looks beautiful. And so does all the food.