laurenlikestocook

Thanksgiving 2012

In American, Beans, Dessert, Fruit, Holiday, Vegan, Vegetables on December 5, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Although I haven’t been cooking as much lately, I managed to conjure up a few new dishes for Thanksgiving week.  To contribute to the family meal, I made both a main dish and a dessert.  I find it’s always challenging as a vegetarian to eat during this holiday (unless you are fortunate enough to attend a non-turkey table).  As a result, I try to bring a dish that will not only supply me with protein and/or veggies and/or whole grains, but will also provide the other guests with a new delicious combination of flavors and textures.

The past couple of year the New York Times has posted a gallery of vegetarian and vegan recipes to make for Thanksgiving.  Aside from a tofu/tempeh concoction, or a huge lentil soup, there were mostly veggie and grain sides.  I found one recipe for a Cajun cornbread casserole that had a filling of red beans and veggies, and is topped with a ground cornmeal crust.  Back when I ate meat, I would make something similar using chicken instead of beans, but either way they are both delicious and hearty.

Cajun Cornbread Casserole

Adapted from Everyday Happy Herbivore

1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 small onion, diced
2 celery stalks, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning (commercial blend, or make your own)
1 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 to 2 tablespoons raw sugar (optional)
3/4 cup nondairy milk
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

Since I was making this at my in-laws, I had to pre-measure the cornbread ingredients.  The other ingredients were prepared on site.  First I chopped all the veggies.  Then I sauteed in a pan with water and the juice of the canned tomatoes.

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After a few minutes, I turned off the heat, added the tomatoes, beans, and seasoning.  Then I layered the filling into a pie dish.

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Just before hitting the oven, I mixed wet and dry cornbread ingredients.  Then I baked at 400 for 35-40 minutes.

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Leftovers, since I forgot to take pics day of.

I thought the casserole was really delicious.  The only qualm I had with it was that it didn’t really match the traditional flavors of stuffing, mash, and turkey/gravy.  It did, however, taste amazing with cranberry sauce.

For dessert, I made the pumpkin brownie from last year.  Earlier in the week, I made some amazing blueberry brownies from Veganomicon, but I didn’t bring those to dinner.  Half were in my belly, the other half pawned off on my coworkers.  I didn’t eat the entire half at once, just a brownie or two (or 4) each day.  It was a nice treat to have lying around.  I’ve been better lately about the quality of ingredients I’m consuming, so I actually eat fewer treats, sweets, and packaged products.  Especially with chocolate, since the majority of products not certified organic contain GMO soy (in soy lecithin), as well as HFCS, hydrogenated oils, or “natural flavors and colors”.

This recipe is also a great use-up for extra blueberries in the summer.  Although if you’re like me, you couldn’t bare to spare a single berry!  I made a slight variation by subbing unsweetened applesauce for half the oil.  I didn’t notice a difference, so hooray!

Fudgy Wudgy Blueberry Brownies

Adapted from Veganomicon

2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, plus
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
10 ounces blueberry preserves (spreadable fruit, smooth, no whole blueberries)
1/4 cup almond milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh blueberriesIMG_0364

I combined the blueberry preserves, almond milk, sugar, canola oil and extracts with my handheld mixer.

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Then I sifted in the flour, sugar, baking power/soda and salt.
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After feverishly mixing the wet and dry, the batter was ready for some melted chocolate chips.

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Mmmm, fudgy batter.  But oh wait, I still had to add more choc chips and blueberries.
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I spread the batter out in a 9 x 13 tin.
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While I let these babies bake at 325 for 45 mins, I had plenty of time to lick the bowl.  Bonus, no raw eggs so no problem!  Then it was time to take them out, and set to cool.
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Here’s one lonely brownie on a plate.  Don’t worry, it wasn’t lonely for long :).
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They were so moist and decadent.  I’d definitely recommend whipping up a batch if you want to impress someone.  Or just stuff your face with fudgy goodness.  Just another great thing for which to be thankful.
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