Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving Recap

Hello Everyone!
Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving Day or Harvest Season, I hope that you had/have a blessed day, month and year!
I truly love being in the kitchen and I especially love preparing a healthy and delicious Holiday meal. Here's a recap of what I prepared for my family.

Tofurkey with Asparagus and Brown and Wild Rice Pilaf

Oven Baked Sweet Potatoes

Cranberry Grape Relish

Pumpkin Streusel Pie

Tofurkey Experiments

Sounds like something macabre, but it's just me trying out different tofu turkey recipes. :)

I have tried and really enjoyed the store bought tofurkey made by Turtle Islands foods.
I generally don't see a need for a turkey stand in at our Holiday meals, but one year my husband and I decided it was time to give the tofurkey a go. We have always enjoyed the deli slices and the tofurkey was just as good. I added a few things to the gravy it comes with and basted it with a marinade before roasting in the oven with asparagus. Delicious indeed.

This year, I decided to try one of the tofu turkey recipes I had been hearing about.
I tried this one http://video.about.com/vegetarian/How-to-Make-Tofu-Turkey.htm

The only changes I made was to use a pinot noir that I had on hand and yellow mustard instead of dijon. The marinade in itself is quite good. I will use this for many other things in the future.

Before baking, I stuffed the tofu loaf with a brown and wild rice pilaf. I added toasted almonds, fresh sage, fresh rosemary and chopped dried apricots to the pilaf. Yum!

When it was almost time to take the loaf out, I added my asparagus brushed with some of the marinade. Another yum!

The tofurkey turned out very flavorful, but I'm not sure that I absolutely love the texture. That may have been my fault of not draining the tofu properly or it just may be the texture you get when you blend the tofu and then press it.

I will try this recipe again. Next time I will use a Asian inspired marinade and also I won't blend the tofu before draining. I think I will just break it apart and then press it. I'll let you know how it goes!

Pumpkin Streusel Pie

This pumpkin pie is more of a pumpkin custard than pie.
The filling is very smooth like a pudding. It's lightly sweetened, but full of flavor.
I could eat the sreusel topping all by itself, but I try to control myself!

2c oven roasted pumpkin
1c coconut milk
1/4c cornstarch
1 1/2tsp pumpkin pie spice
1tsp vanilla extract
your favorite pie crust (I used a vegan shortbread crust and prebaked it)

Mix all ingredients in a blender and set aside.

1/2c sucanat sugar
3/4c oats
1/4c flour
2tbs natural balance
1tsp vanilla extract

Put all topping ingredients into a bowl and mix with a fork until combined.
Mixture should be slightly moist, but crumbly.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Pour filling into prebaked pie crust.
Add topping and bake 45 minutes or until top is brown and filling is set.

Oven Baked Sweet Potatoes

I am not a fan of recipes that add a ton of sugar to the already decadent sweet potato. I can't bring myself to messing up one of natures wonderful creations by putting candy on top of them and cooking them to death.

These lightly baked potatoes are allowed to really shine by just adding a touch of seasoning. The olive oil gives a wonderful mouth feel and the smokey paprika marries well with the rich sweetness of the potato.

sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped uniformly
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and cracked black pepper
smoked paprika

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Put potatoes on top of foil and drizzle with olive oil.
Add seasonings and toss well.
Tent potatoes by pulling foil up over top and folding.

Bake until fork tender. About 30 minutes.

Cranberry and Grape Relish

I usually make this, but using oranges. However, my oranges were not very sweet and I don't like adding processed sugar to my berries. I searched the fridge for something else to use and decided on some nicely sweet globe grapes. I figured the color and taste would go well with the cranberries. I use grapes a lot as a sweetener for smoothies and juices, because they mix with other flavors well and they can be quite sweet on their own.
I loved this combo so much that I'm going to make it this way from now on! It was so refreshing and a perfect accompaniment to the other parts of our meal. I wound up eating the rest straight from the bowl for breakfast the next morning!

1c fresh cranberries
1 1/2c grapes
the zest of 1 small orange

Pulse in the food processor until your mix is in small chunks You may find you want to add more grapes, but this ratio was perfect for me.