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Thanksgiving treats with recipes and recipe links

Posted Dec 01 2013 10:00am

I usually get around to posting about Thanksgiving about two or three weeks after it occurs, but much to my relief, I'm close to right on time this year. We had a small group of only four adults and two kids at our celebration, though there didn't seem to be less cooking than usual. I can't help making a large spread no matter how many guests are expected. A holiday is a holiday is a holiday, and I'm so grateful to have nearby close family members to share it with.

Carrots taste better when they have crinkles, don't you think? :)

I like to cook as much as possible the day before so I don't feel stressed out on the day of the event, and I chose foods that could be prepared in advance — or whose components could be made ahead and combined and cooked right before serving. One of the things I actually made on Thursday was the first dish you see pictured above. You must try this, it's easy and fantastic. It's spinach artichoke dip with garlic cashew cream that I found on Glue and Glitter. It was so quick to make, and the taste and texture were excellent. Our omnivore guest said she would never guess that it was vegan. The only changes I made to Becky's recipe were to defrost the spinach by cooking it briefly in a sauce pan, baking the dip 15 minutes covered and 15 minutes uncovered, and sprinkling some coconut bacon over the top for decoration. I served it as an hors d'oeuvre with carrot and celery sticks (cut the day before) and corn chips, and, I'm not gonna lie — it was so good I ate the leftovers for breakfast on Friday. With carrots, of course, not chips.

Our main dish this year was Dreena Burton's  festive chickpea tart paired with a quinoa crust from Pies and Tarts With Heart (review). To be perfectly honest, I wasn't sure I liked the tart on Thursday, but when we had leftovers the next night for supper, covered with the leftover gravy, I loved it. It tasted so good I was wondering if, in spite of my efforts to pace myself, I'd had 'cooking fatigue' clouding my opinion on Thanksgiving,. I actually made the crust and filling on Wednesday, but combined and baked them on Thursday, as part of my do-ahead scheme, but I just wasn't so excited about the tart as I'd hoped I would be after reading all the great reviews. The leftovers, though, as I said, were pretty great. I'm going to try the tart again as it's very easy to throw together, before forming my final opinion.

Because one of our guests doesn't care for pumpkin pie, I didn't make anything with pumpkin for dessert, so I had to get pumpkin into the meal somewhere. I made pumpkin biscuits — heart shaped pumpkin biscuits because the only cutter I happened to have was heart-shaped. I adapted a recipe from Opera Singer in the Kitchen, turning them into gluten-free biscuits. I really liked these, which is why I'm including a recipe below. I think they taste best in a smaller size, so if you have smaller cutter, use it.

It just wouldn't be Thanksgiving for me without my beloved cranberry-apple sauce. I've been using the same recipe for at least 20 years, but this year I changed it a little just for fun, and I like the new version better. If one of our guests wasn't a raisin-hater, there would have been some raisins in there, but it was still pretty good in spite of that. I'm posting the recipe below, mostly so I remember it for next time.

We also had our family's standard potato stuffing made from an old family recipe that came with my great-great grandmother from Russia. Our son made it, and used buckwheat instead of bread so it would be gluten-free. (I actually used to make it with buckwheat long before I ever knew what it meant to be gluten-free.) I love this stuff and could happily eat it for my entire meal, though of course I don't do that. I failed to photograph it but it was delicious.

And, of course, there was pie and whipped cream from Chloe's Vegan Desserts. The last time I made the recipe I made it into tarts instead a pie, so I thought I might as well try the pie this time. I used a different crust (which didn't work so well so I'm not sharing the recipe) and actually had to make the crust twice. The first time I put it into the wrong sized pie plate and there wouldn't have been enough room for the filling. I also over-baked the crust. I made a second, larger crust, and over-baked that, too, so the crust was not the best. The filling, though, was perfect  — rich and bittersweet. The whipped coconut cream in Chloe's book has 3/4 cup of powdered sugar which I reduced to one tablespoon of coconut sugar plus a spoonful of vanilla.

Here is one of our esteemed guests, before he became covered in cranberries and other assorted colors. He moved as I snapped the photo which is why he looks a bit blurry. Or maybe it's because he wasn't feeling his best. In any case, it was his first Thanksgiving, and he really liked the biscuits!

Pumpkin biscuits (GF)
  • 2 tablespoons flax meal plus 5 tablespoons ice water
  • 2 cups gluten-free flour mix (I used Bob's Red Mill) plus extra sorghum flour for kneading
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon evaporated cane juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 Tablespoon frozen Earth Balance margarine, cut into small pieces
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup So Delicious coconut milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. 
  2. Place the flax into a small bowl or glass measuring cup and add the water. Let sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. 
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and spices. Blend in the margarine using a pastry blender, or buzz the flour mix and margarine in a food processor a few times until the mixture is like coarse breadcrumbs. 
  5. Whisk the flax and water with a whisk or fork until it is viscous (like an egg).
  6. In a medium bowl, combine the pumpkin, coconut milk, and flax goo.
  7. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir until the mixture holds together. Knead lightly in the bowl, using just enough sorghum flour to cut the stickiness. Pat out to 1″ thickness. Using a 2″ (or smaller) biscuit cutter, cut the dough into circles. Or use any shape cutter you prefer, such as a heart.
  8. Re-shape the scraps and cut out biscuits until all the dough is used. Place on the prepared baking sheet.
  9. Bake 12-14 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with gravy, jam or vegan butter.
A flax egg after sitting and whisking — thick and gooey.

Cranberry-apple sauce
  • 16 ounces fresh cranberries
  • four medium cooking apples
  • one heaping cup frozen pineapple chunks
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  1. If the apples aren't organic, peel them. Core the apples and cut into 1/2-inch cubes.
  2. Place the pineapple and water into a blender jar and purée. 
  3. Place all ingredients into a large pot and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down, and simmer until the cranberries and apples are soft. Cool. Place into a dish and refrigerate until cold.

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