Friday, December 4, 2009


Oh, holidays! Hope everyone had a lovely day.

This was my first time trying to do a somewhat traditional Thanksgiving (apparently, chili and a cornbread boat aren't traditional for Thanksgiving. Who knew?). My family doesn't really have many traditions (the only thing that seems to happen with any regularity in my house around Thanksgiving is the basement flooding), so I stole some from my friends and the Internet (and my friends on the Internet). Here's what I came up with:

Clockwise, starting with the white casserole full of fluffy goodness, we have:

Cauliflower mashed potatoes (caulipots), Bajan salt bread, ginger mashed sweet potatoes and apples, cranberry relish, silky chickpea gravy, Almost All-American Seitan Potpie, garlicky roasted asparagus, chickpea cutlet roulade and green beans with carmelized onions and almonds.

But before all that, we started with the corn and edamame-sesame salad from Veganomicon. Here it is, served in a cabbage leaf and looking kind of like a water slide (that ends in your belly):
This salad is awesome to serve before a large, semi-impressive meal (or any other time, really) because it's pretty, light and requires absolutely no chopping. It also happens to be delicious. Thanksgiving was days ago and my father has asked me to make more of the dressing (which only has three or four ingredients) every day (but I've been busy). The dressing is sort of like a Japanese vinaigrette. Thanksgiving bonus: corn! See? It's traditional!

For dinner, I stole Madcap Cupcake's idea and made a roulade from Veganomicon chickpea cutlets and my friend Paula's dried fruit/pecan stuffing. Here's how it happened:

I followed the regular VCON instructions, but made the dough into two cutlets, instead of four, and pan fried them for just two minutes on each side.

I spread stuffing over the cutlet, leaving a margin on each side, for easier rolling.
I was nervous about rolling the cutlets up because they were pretty dry and I was afraid they'd crumble as soon as I put any pressure on them (you may have noticed one of the corners had already fallen off before I even began. It was tasty). My worry was for naught; they rolled easily and even stuck closed, but I used my new foodloops just in case.
Then I tossed one in the oven while some other things were baking. The other, I set aside and currently resides in the freezer for the next time we want a slightly fancy dinner. Everyone loved it and thought it must have been extremely difficult to make, so please don't tell them otherwise. With every bite, my grandmother kept saying "God! It cuts like meat! This is amazing!"

Over there on the left are green beans with caramelized onions and almonds, made from a recipe my friend Sharlene sent me in a recent recipe swap. Caramelized onions kind of make everything dreamy and toasted almonds (or any toasted nuts, really), turn everything up to eleven, so saying this dish was a winner is a wee bit of an understatement. Our staple garlicky asparagus is on the right.

The other centerpiece of our meal was the Almost All-American Seitan Potpie from Veganomicon.
The crust was a little messy, but that didn't ruin anyone's enjoyment of it. For the seitan, I used the steamed white seitan recipe from Terry Hope Romero's upcoming Vegan Vegan! (Ooo! It's pre-orderable, hint hint!). I'm pretty sure steaming is my seitan making method of choice. Not only does it solve the broth problem, it comes out much firmer, and I like my seitan as firm as possible. The rest of the filling was peas, carrots, potatoes and all the rest of the goodness you'd expect from a potpie. Majorly comfort foody savory goodness.

Most of our sides were recipes I was testing for upcoming cookbooks.

We had the Silky Chickpea Gravy from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's upcoming whole foods cookbook. It only took about twenty minutes to make and was chock full of chickpea and thymey goodness, but the way it came out when I made it, I can't really call it silky. But since I can call it yummy, I don't really care. And, of course, you can't have gravy without rolls:
These are Bajan Salt Breads from the upcoming Vegan in the Sun. Have I mentioned that I'm excited about this book? I'm excited about this book. Like all raised rolls, these were somewhat time consuming, but not particularly complicated. They are so soft and just...comfy. I could have slept on one of them. Check out the inside:

They're so good, that my grandmother ate one for breakfast the next day and took one home with her and she absolutely HATES leftovers.

Our other sides were caulipots (cauliflower mashed potatoes) and ginger mashed sweet potatoes and apples, both from Isa's upcoming book.
I love mashed potatoes. I love them more than...almost anything. I love them so much I was a bit apprehensive about trying to replace them. Naturally, all my concerns were baseless because these caulipots are just as satisfying as straight up mashed potatoes, but with bonus nutritional value and less carbs. Win, win. They may not have come out as creamy as some people make their potatoes, but we're a lumpy potato kind of family and everyone enjoyed the new addition of cauliflower bits.

On the other hand, I hate sweet potatoes. I make them twice a year: Thanksgiving and when I'm trying to convince myself not to hate them. I think I've made a discovery, though: I may only hate sweet potatoes that other people make. Or, I hate sweet potatoes that don't come from a recipe Isa made up, because they four times I was cool with eating them were from her recipes (last Thanksgiving, we had the VCON tzimmes, there's a sweet potatoey recipe in Vegan Brunch and another in the upcoming book). Either way, this recipe is good. The apple isn't so overpowering it's like eating apple sauce, but it's definitely there, balancing out the sweet potato, and the agave is just right. It's not too sweet at all.

And we had cranberry, of course.

That's the Vegan With a Vengeance cranberry relish, which is nice and orangey and I have to admit being kind of tempted to eat it for dessert.

I'm pleased to report that I lost track of the number of times variations on the sentence "If I could eat like this every day, I wouldn't need meat at all" were said during this meal. I consider that success.

Stay tuned for dessert, leftovers and assorted other shenanigans!

(Sorry about the unattractive photos. I didn't even realize how blurry they were until today. It's hard to remember to tidy everything up when a bunch of hungry people are clamoring for dinner - and the lighting was less than awesome.)


Anonymous said...

holy food. You made all of that stuff. It all looks really good D. So much variety and they say vegan is bland and boring tsk
Your salt bread looks good. Tell your bff to offer you some old fashion ones and some modern rolls from Nicholls Bakery. I want you to taste the difference

Anonymous said...

OMG, this feast is incredible! Delicious from top to bottom. I'm making those roulades again for Christmas. Hmmm, suddenly I'm hungry.

nicocoer said...

Looking at this now and DROOLING! was looking again not for myself this time- a friend is looking to learn vegan recipes, and I rec'd you and then I saw the thanksgiving spread and had to look. . .


Seitan Said Dance said...

Thanks, everyone!

Nico, if your friend needs some vegan references or has any questions, feel free to give her my email address (seitansaiddance @ gmail . com).