Thursday, November 26, 2015

Our Vegan Thanksgiving

After a couple of crazy busy weeks, with a lot of time away from home chaperoning field trips, I knew I would be too wiped out to handle Thanksgiving, so I handed it off to The Eldest. The Eldest is currently vegan and decided to do a vegan dinner for all of us; she was very excited and put a lot of effort and planning into the meal, and it turned out beautifully! And DELICIOUS!! I didn't miss the turkey at all. She started out with a "cheez" plate of really yummy nut based cheeses, along with fixins' like apple based "honey", fruit, crackers, and so forth. That was followed by butternut squash soup and the rest of the meal; I don't have the names for every recipe, but it was all very fancy and very tasty. Here are some pics:

The "cheez" plate; many of these are from Kite Hill, which makes delicious nut based faux cheese. We also had a tart from Kite Hill which was also most yummy.

She's got the presentation thing down! Apple slices and pomegranate seeds on a bed of spinach leaves, drizzled with vegan faux "honee" that is just as good as honey from bees. There's no weird after taste like you get with agave, that other honey substitute. (I detest agave.)

Stuffing; I don't have a link to this recipe.

Vegan mac and cheese in the back; vegan mashed potatoes in the front. I helped out with the 'taters and we just kind of made the recipe up as we went along. Martha Jr. started working on them and put in a little vanilla flavored almond milk (she was supposed to put in regular unflavored almond milk but grabbed the wrong stuff by mistake, but it worked!) and soy free Earth Balance. I added a LOT more Earth Balance, which I melted for a few seconds in the microwave, and veggie broth. (We use 365 brand from Whole Foods.) Salt and pepper to taste. I kept mushing it up with the potato masher and adding more stuff until I had the consistency I wanted and it tasted yummy! Another ingredient to include to make mashed potatoes delicious is mayo but I didn't put it in this time. We are using a new brand of mayo called Just Mayo but I was too lazy to open up the new jar; it's really good and soy free, which is good for me because I try to avoid soy and good for The Eldest because it's vegan.

Close up of the vegan mac and cheez. I'll try to add the link to the recipe later. It was OK; not as good as regular homemade mac and cheese, but better than the stuff out of the box. It was a little dry but flavorful.

The whole table!

The main dish, Vegetables Wellington! This was a delicious vegan take on Beef Wellington, all wrapped up in phyllo dough. (The Eldest swears she will never work with phyllo again; it was challenging, shall we say.) The dish was very elaborate, involving multiple steps and recipes-within-the-recipe, and she pulled it off like a champ. It wasn't wrapped up as tightly as the one in the picture that accompanies the recipe but that didn't affect the taste one bit, and it was quite impressive as the centerpiece on the table! (I wish I'd thought to suggest that she use a spray olive oil instead of trying to brush each piece with a pastry brush; I think that would have made things easier, but of course that light bulb went off well after the meal was done!!)

The Eldest did an incredible job on this meal, from planning all the way through execution. She was impressively organized too- she assigned jobs to her dad and Martha, Jr. and had the ingredients for their dishes in paper bags with the recipes stapled to the outside, then she lined up the bags on the kitchen table so everything was ready to go. She even shopped and paid for everything!! I am pleased as punch with her and so proud of all of the hard work and creativity that went in to this meal. This is one young adult who can do anything she sets her mind to, that's for sure.