Friday, November 26, 2010

Vegan Thanksgiving

This year, I went to a Thanksgiving potluck that was hosted by some other students from my graduate program. I was pretty sure that I would be the only vegan at the potluck, so I decided to make my own version of a few of the "staple" dishes that other people had volunteered to bring. I also made some vegan side dishes and desserts to share with everyone. Here is what I made:

-Cornbread with vegan honey butter
-Sweet potatoes and apples in an "autumn spice"-flavored sauce
-Cornbread sage stuffing
-Handmade faux turkey from Cafe Indigo, wrapped in a phyllo dough "skin"
-Herbed gravy
-Pumpkin coconut creme brulee

The best part is that I was able to prepare all of this stuff in only 4 hours (without any help). I thought I would share some of my tasty recipes and time-saving tricks with you, dear blog readers!

Cornbread with Honey Butter

For the cornbread, I used Trader Joe's cornbread mix. The Trader Joe's cornbread mix is the best instant cornbread mix that I've found on the market AND it's vegan. In order to make the finished product vegan, I just substitute 1.5 tsps of Ener-G Egg Replacer mixed with 2 TBSPs of water for the "1 egg" that is mentioned on the back of the mix.

In order to make the honey butter, I combined 1/2 lb of Earth Balance, 1/8 cup of Just Like Honey Rice Nectar, 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract in an electric mixer. After mixing at a medium speed for 5 minutes, the texture because creamy and smooth. I transferred the mixture to a piece of waxed paper, formed it into long cylinder, then carefully wrapped and refrigerated it for 4 hours.

Sweet Potatoes and Apples

You can find my Sweet Potatoes and Apples recipe here (it's an old favorite).

Cornbread Sage Stuffing

I just used a mix this year (Olivia's Cornbread Stuffing). In order to make it vegan, I substituted Earth Balance for butter and vegetable broth for chicken stock. I wanted to give my stuffing a little extra "oomph" (and I was running low on large baking pans), so I spooned the stuffing into cupcake papers and baked them in a muffin tin. Rather than looking like a giant blob of toasted bread and onions, my stuffing looked pretty chic (if I do say so myself!).

Faux Turkey with Phyllo Dough Skin

Every year, I go back and forth about whether to get a faux turkey. I'm not a huge fan of Tofurkey, so ever since Unturkey went off of the market, I've been searching for a worthy product to take its place. The best option that I have found so far is a handmade seitan turkey from Cafe Indigo. $20 will get you a full-sized faux turkey, while $10 will get you a half-turkey (easily enough for 4 people, if everyone has 1 generously-sized slice). The seitan turkey has a nice gamey texture and comes filled with a savory stuffing.

I've found that adding a phyllo dough "skin" really adds a level of sophistication to an otherwise bland faux turkey, so I've been doing this for years. All that you have to do is melt some Earth Balance in the microwave and spoon it onto layers of phyllo dough as you wrap them around your faux turkey. After 8-10 layers and 45 minutes in the oven, your "turkey" will have a delicious flaky buttery slightly-browned "skin."

Savory Herb Gravy

I like to use the Savory Herb Gravy Mix by Road's End Organics. It's easy, fast and relatively inexpensive. One sauce packet is enough gravy for 2-4 people (depending on how liberally your spread it over your faux turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing etc.) and it's extremely easy to prepare. Just add 1 cup of water to the mix and pop it on the stove for 10 minutes (stirring continuously).

Pumpkin Coconut Creme Brulee

I posted a pumpkin creme brulee recipe a few years back, but here is my new-and-improved version. It has a much creamier texture and tastes just like the real thing.

1 13.5 oz can of coconut milk (for best results, use the unsweetened full-fat version)
4 TBSPs + 1 1/2 tsps cornstarch
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup So Delicious Vanilla Coconut Milk (or other vegan milk product of choice)
2 TBSPs of canned pumpkin
1 tsp Allspice
1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice

Whisk together ingredients in a sauce pan. Whisking constantly, heat the mixture (over medium heat) until the texture starts to thicken. Note: The texture should be noticeably thicker than it was before. Reduce heat to low, continuing to whisk for another minute.

Pour the mixture into shallow ceramic cups, then immediately press plastic wrap directly on top of the custard to prevent a skin from forming.

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours (preferably overnight). When you are ready to eat the creme brulee, sprinkle a generous helping of sugar over the top of the custard (as evenly as possible) and torch the sugar (using a creme brulee torch) until it caramelizes.


Beverly said...

Thanks for sharing! Looks yummy! I can't believe you cooked all of that in under 4 hours by yourself! I'm going to make creme brulee one of these days, I swear. Maybe I'll get a kitchen torch for Christmas.

Anonymous said...

Whoa, vegan Creme Brulée?! I can't wait to try it! And even better, it's made with So Delicious coconut milk. I am just crazy nuts for that stuff. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

Lola said...

Yeah... it was a little less time than I would have liked. I planned out the timing really well (starting with the items that needed to be refrigerated for 4 hours and then working my way towards the hot items) and made good use of instant mixes, but there's no way that I could have made everything so quickly otherwise :)

Lola said...

Beverly and Victoria - If either of you try my creme brulée recipe, please let me know how it turns out!