Vegan Thanksgiving 3.0: The Food

I can’t believe Thanksgiving has already come and gone. I hope you all had a good one! We decided to make our vegan Thanksgiving spread yesterday since we had family obligations all day on Thursday. I got a little bit of a late start yesterday, but it came together pretty quickly and turned out really well. I’d say, it took me about 3 hours total to make everything, and that’s with a crappy oven and hardly any counter space (one day I will have a new-ish, more spacious kitchen … one day).

While I still opted for a traditional spread this year, I did make a few changes from last year. For example, instead of making Sweet Potato Balls, I just made simple roasted butternut squash and Brussels sprouts. Not only did it cut down on time, but the vegetables were a nice change in texture. I also changed up my Green Bean Casserole recipe from last year, and for the better.

But one major change from the past couple of years was that I made my own vegetable stock, and, wow, what a difference in flavor. I used the Simple Stock recipe from “Vegan Soul Kitchen,” and made it on Wednesday evening. (You can find the recipe here.) I poured the finished batch into large pitcher so it was ready to add to my dishes when needed. Prior to this, I had never made my own stock before, but I was so surprised at how easy (and cheap) it really is; I highly recommend it.

The Cumin-Cayenne Mashed Potatoes from “Vegan Soul Kitchen” were just as good as I remembered them. I had planned on making a mushroom gravy recipe, also from the same cookbook, but I ran out of mushrooms between the stock and the green beans. Instead, I just made a simple brown gravy that actually turned out really well.

I’ll post recipes for my gravy, along with my Green Bean Casserole, and Sage, Apple and Carrot Stuffing soon. I’ll also post dessert pictures.

I know it’s a little late, but I am so thankful for all of you coming to and reading my blog!

Holiday Cookies and Appetizers

My husband and I, along with our fabulous downstairs neighbors, had a holiday gathering last night, with cookies being the major theme. We both provided a few savory snacks in addition to the sweets, and it was a chance for me to try a few new dishes. And with me being the procrastinator that I am, I was down to the wire trying to get everything onto the table, so I didn’t get a chance to take any pictures. But, this morning, I was at least able to snap a shot of some of the leftover cookies that we made for the get-together.

Cookies

For cookie ideas, we turned to Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. I decided to make the Linzertorte Thumbprint Cookies, and my husband decided to make the Espresso Chip Oatmeal Cookies – his first ever attempt to make cookies from scratch, I might add. Both cookies turned out perfectly. We took the recipes directly from the book without any variation, so I’m not going to post the recipes here, but like all of Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s and Terry Hope Romero’s books, I highly recommend that you purchase them for your cookbook collection.

The thumbprint cookies looked very fancy, but they were surprisingly easy to make. They consisted of a lightly-sweetened shortbread dough, rolled in crushed hazelnuts, and then topped with a tiny dollop of raspberry jam.

The oatmeal cookies, according to my husband, were also easy to make. The instant espresso powder and chocolate chips really took the oatmeal cookies to a whole new level. They were chewy and sweet, without being too sweet.

Appetizers

For the savory portion of our spread, I decided to try three new recipes: Chestnut Lentil Pâté, Asparagus and White Bean Pesto Tart, and vegan cream cheese topped with red pepper jelly and walnuts. They were all incredibly easy to make and turned out way better than I had expected.

The pâté recipe was pulled directly from Veganomicon. I discovered a few days ago, after buying two pounds of chestnuts and roasting a few of them, that I really don’t like chestnuts. At least by themselves. But their strange, meaty texture works perfectly for a pâté. Now, I’ve never had real pâté before, but to me, this looked just like the real thing. It had a touch of sweetness from the chestnuts, and paired well with melba toast.

My favorite appetizer of the entire evening was the Asparagus and White Bean Pesto Tart, which you can find here on Vegan Yum Yum. It was super-easy, and looked beautiful on the tray. It was also a big hit with our guests (I should have made more!). The white bean spread was very reminiscent of a hummus, but the Dijon mustard, cashews, and pesto set it apart from its chickpea cousin.

Last weekend, my friend, Erin, and I venture up north just outside of Cincinnati to check out Jungle Jim’s, which is what can best be described and the “Las Vegas of grocery stores.” The place is overwhelmingly huge, and has an incredible international food section. We stocked up on fun party foods while we were there, and using her suggestion, I picked up a bottle of red pepper jelly. For the party, I spread it over vegan cream cheese and topped it with walnuts. The spicy and sweet jelly paired perfectly with the tangy cream cheese, and the walnuts added a nice crunch when spread over a cracker.

Our spread also included some other goodies, but I was most proud of our cookies and other new recipe additions.

I hope you’re having a wonderful holiday season!