A Second Helping of Holiday Goodness! (Unless, of Course, You’re Still Digesting)

In American, Dessert, Fruit, Holiday, Rice, Vegetables on November 29, 2011 at 2:22 pm

It’s been nearly a week since my last post, but fear not blog followers!  This does not mean I haven’t been slaving away and taking photos for your visual pleasure.  With a four-day weekend nudged in between, it was difficult to find the time (or a working computer) to be so diligent.  I hope you find this post meeting your approval!

Ah, Thanksgiving.  It is my favorite holiday, and I am not alone in this favoritism.  I think the reason why is that it’s all about eating, relaxing, showing off your newest and fiercest fall outfits, and all without the guilt or obligation of religion.  My mother always made a big deal about this holiday, and with every year came more and more dishes and variations.  The tried and true in my family are Empire BBQ Turkey (I know it sounds weird but everyone loves it), potato pie, steamed green beans, corn, and luction kugel (hey, we are Jewish after all).  Last year was really hard for me because I was full-on vegan and I could only eat steamed veggies, but my mom made some yummy apps of guac, hummus, veggies, crostini, etc.  This year I just couldn’t eat the turkey and stuffing, so I had plenty to work with.

Usually, my only contribution is dessert (which until recently I would buy from a bakery).  This is because 1) there is already an abundance of food and 2) there is only one cook allowed in my mother’s kitchen (as I grow older, I realize the apple does not fall far from the tree).  I decided this year to not only bake a dessert, but to also make a side dish.  Last year I made this vegan pumpkin cheese cake with a chocolate cookie crust.  This year, I kept with both the vegan and pumpkin themes, only not so tofu-centric.  In fact, I waited to tell everyone it was vegan after they tasted it.  I wanted some sort of pumpkin swirled brownie, but when the Martha Stewart version came up first in Google, I couldn’t bare to use that much butter and sugar.  Instead I used a recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World for pumpkin pie brownies.

Just a note, I multitasked this recipe while cooking my side dish, but for the sake of continuity I will post pictures and steps after the dessert.

The first step was to create a double boiler using a regular sauce pan filled with water, covered by a metal bowl.

I measured out the 4 ounces of chocolate chips from the recipe.  I used a scale to make sure it was perfect.  I get very nervous with baking so try to be as accurate as possible.

I poured the chips into the bowl of the boiler and let it slowly melt away while I prepared the rest of the ingredients for the brownie layer.  When it was all melted it looked like this.  I wish I could bathe in it.

Then I combined all the wet ingredients – the pumpkin, sugar, oil, and vanilla  – into a mixing bowl.

I pulled out my pink hand mixer that my mom got me as a bridal shower gift.  She also got me a really cute apron that says “kind of on a diet”, which I was wearing while making this recipe! (Sorry, no photo of myself, as I was not having a good hair day.)

I mixed all the wet ingredients, and then sifted in the dry – flour, cocoa powder, arrowroot, baking soda, and salt.

After it was all mixed, I added the melted chocolate, and mixed some more.  I used a rubber spatula to spoon the mixture into the greased pan.  This was what the brownie layer looked like.

Then I prepared the pumpkin pie layer.  I used the rest of the canned pumpkin, some unsweetened vanilla almond milk, sugar, arrowroot, vanilla extract, and pumpkin pie spice blend.  I could have measured out what the recipe asked for, but I figured McCormick does a good enough job on its own.

I cleaned the whisky things on the hand mixer so I could use them again to mix the pumpkin pie layer.  Tada!

I poured the layer on top of the brownie.

I baked according to the recipe directions, then let it cool and topped with mini chocolate chips.

I took a picture of a cut up brownie at the dinner table, but I think my camera had beer goggles on.

Everyone loved it!  Even more than the bakery Peep with a turkey on it!

Okay, so now back to the side dish I talked about earlier in the post.  I had made this dish last year for my in-laws, so figured it was okay to re-purpose for my family this year.  It uses a wild rice blend, but mixed with butternut squash, apples and walnuts.  The original recipe was from the Lundberg website, but I can’t seem to find it.  Here’s a version that I also found on the Kind Life website.  The only additions I made were to throw in some dried cranberries.  I think it’s 1) pretty and 2) very Thanksgiving.

I cooked the rice in the rice cooker while I had been preparing the dessert.  When it was done, it looked like this.

Luckily, I had cut up all the butternut squash the night before, because I was using some for the Thanksgiving pizza the other night.  I had stored the remainder in a tupperware, and I chopped up some apples and diced some onions.

I used red onions instead of yellow/white because it’s more mild and prettier.  I sauteed them for a few minutes in EVOO.

Then I added the squash, apples, and 1 tbsp thyme.  I know it sounds like a lot, but it really works well with this dish.

During the 5-minute saute, I chopped up some parsley to top the dish with before baking.

I deglazed the saute mixture with 1 cup of vegetable broth.  After a minute, I turned the heat off, and added the veggies, rice, and cranberries to a greased baking tin.

After it was mixed up, I reserved some on the side for my grandmother.  She can’t eat nuts, so I wanted to ensure that there was some untainted rice for her.  I know, I’m so nice.

I topped the main portion with some walnut pieces, and then sprinkled some parsley onto both.  I also added salt, because I forgot to add it to the saute pan.

When it was all done, it looked like this.

I love this dish.  Not only is it beautiful and bright, but it tastes really yummy!  I make it all fall/winter long, but whenever I eat it I think of Thanksgiving.  My whole family loved it and requested that all leftovers remain there.  This applies to the dessert, as well (duh).

Thank goodness I ran the Turkey Trot that morning, because I don’t know how I would have been able to eat all the festive food.  Even so, I still managed to fall asleep at 8:30 and not wake up until 9 the next morning.  I’m blaming it on the wine.

Friday I had a wedding, so no need to cook!  Saturday we had an early bird’s special with the in-laws to recover from 2 straight days of eating and drinking.  The next meal was Sunday, so I’ll be happy to share that with you in the next post!  Let’s just say I got by with a little help from my friends.

  1. […] only needed about a cup for this recipe, but I knew I’d be using the rest for a Thanksgiving dish.  Since I was chopping anyway I attacked the whole squash and saved the rest for […]

  2. […] 3 days in a row of hustling, bustling, and food-in-mouth shuffling, Sunday came quicker than I could have hoped for.  It’s amazing how when you have a long […]

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