Thank you guys so much for your kind words about our Thanksgiving meal! As promised, here are some of the recipes that we used:
Daiku is known for his pecan pies. (Funny story: the first Thanksgiving he ever spent at my parents' house, he brought over two pecan pies. My mom, who had never had any before, fell in love with them, and spent the next week happily eating a slice with her afternoon coffee). So he was a bit leery of veganizing it, but we both agree that this pie kicked some major ass! It had all the flavor of a regular pecan pie, without that unpleasant "scrambled egg" aftertaste. And, it set up really well. If you miss this dessert, I encourage you to give this recipe a try. And after we made it, we noted how totally healthy it is- no processed sugar or flour, a reasonable amount of fat and sweetener, chock full of fresh nuts- it's a winner!
Vegan Pecan Pie (Recipe from: http://www.veganforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1781)
From Lorna Sass's Complete Vegetarian Kitchen
Oatmeal Pie Pastry
1 c. rolled oats
1 c. whole-wheat pastry flour
1/4 tsp. cinnamon or allspice
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 c. canola oil
2 T. maple syrup (here is the only change we made to this recipe: Daiku used Steen's dark syrup instead of maple syrup, to give the pie an even more traditional southern flavor - you can take the boy out of Louisiana...)
2-3 T. apple juice or water
image courtesy of: http://shop.chefpaul.com/
Mix oatmeal, flour, spice, and salt together in a bowl.
In a measuring cup, whisk together the oil, syrup, and juice or water. Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and stir.
With moist hands, press the dough into an oiled 9-inch pie plate or 10-inch tart tin, put in beans or pie weight, and bake for 15 min. in a preheated 375-degree F oven.
1 1/2 c. brown rice syrup
1 1/2 c. water
1/4 c. agar flakes
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 T. arrowroot or kuzu (we used arrowroot)
water to cover arrowroot or kuzu
2 c. toasted pecans
1 tsp. vanilla
In a heave saucepan, prepare the filling. Whisk together the rice syrup, water, agar flakes, cinnamon, and salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer over low heat until the agar dissolves completely, stirring occasionally, about 5 min.
In a small bowl (or coffee cup ), dissolve the arrowroot in water to barely cover and add to the agar-rice syrup mixture. While cooking the mixture at a low simmer, whisk it until the chalky color becomes clear.
Let the mixture cool for 15 min. Stir in the pecans and vanilla and pour into the prepared pie crust, distributing the pecans evenly.
Let the pie cool to room temperature and set, about 2 hours (or refrigerate for 1 hour).
Next up, we have the Sicilian Crostata recipe from the Silk Road Cooking book. We were both instantly attracted to this dish because it looked so good, and featured two of my favorite things, lima beans and dill. That is one fabulous flavor combination, if you ask me. The recipe for the crust was easy to veganize- we simply omitted the egg. The filling, however, was a bit more challenging, because it called for several eggs and parmesan cheese. We played with that a bit, and were really happy with the results- and it set really well, too, so take that, eggs.
Vegan Sicilian-style lima bean and dill crostata filling (to pour into a pre-baked crust and bake for 30-40 minutes at 375 degrees)
1 1/4 C. unsweetened soymilk
1/4 C. vegan sour cream
1 - 2 TB nutritional yeast
1/2 C. fresh (refrigerated) silken tofu
1 tsp. Ener-G egg replacer (we put this in as security because we were replacing eggs, it may or may not be crucial!)
mix the above in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer at medium-high speed for at least 2-3 minutes, until well-incorporated.
Meanwhile, sauté the following with some oil in a wok, until onions are translucent and just beginning to caramelize:
1 small onion, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, crushed
a handful of fresh and 2 TB dried dill
1 lb. lima beans (we used frozen Fordhook lima beans- they were huge!)
salt and pepper to taste
Add the liquid mixture to the veggie mixture and heat through. Add a slurry made up of 1 TB cornstarch and water and stir through. (Again, we did this as egg replacement insurance- it may not be crucial!)
Pour the mixture into your prepared and pre-baked pie crust (we used a 7" X 10" rectangular dish, but I imagine a 9 or 10-inch pie dish would have been good too) and bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes, until golden.
The results were awesome! It might have resembled a quiche more than a crostata, but I'm not complaining! We will be making this again.
Finally, we have the jerusalem artichoke soup. (Jenna, we loved them!) Never having tasted jerusalem artichokes (or sunchokes, as they're alternately known), I was surprised by the flavor- so light, so sweet, so creamy- a perfect ingredient for this type of soup. Daiku and I came up with funny ways to try to describe the flavor- my favorite was "a mixture of blond wood and ice cream" - somehow, this soup struck us as the Ikea furniture of the food world (don't ask!) - don't let the crazy description stop you, though, this is a definite must-try.
1 - 2 TB extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion
2 TB sherry
1 pound jerusalem artichokes, sliced, peels intact
1 cube veggie bouillon (we used Rapunzel brand), dissolved in 3 1/2 C. warm water
1 C. unsweetened soymilk
1 TB vegan sour cream
Sauté the shallots and onion in the olive oil for 5-6 minutes, until they are beginning to turn a golden color. Pour the sherry into the mixture, to deglaze. Add the 'chokes and bouillon/water mixture and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a rapid simmer, and cook for 20 minutes.
Pour the soymilk and sour cream into a blender, then add the soup. (This is where I really wish I had an immersion blender!) Blend on high, for at least a few minutes. This is important to ensure that everything is uniform, the peels of the 'chokes disappear, and the soup achieves a frothy, ethereal texture.
Serve warm, topped with caramelized shallots and some truffle oil. (Note: after blending this soup, we kept it on low heat for almost an hour, and it held up just fine)
Looking back, our Thanksgiving meal turned out to have been a fairly healthy one. We didn't plan it that way, but most of the dishes are free of processed sugar, we only used white flour and margarine in a couple of them, and they were chock full of fruits and veggies, so I consider the meal a success. I hope you try some of these recipes- perfect cozy, Autumnal food for cold, brisk days.