November 28, 2011

Late, as usual ... | Featured

It seems I'm always the last one to post about holiday events — everyone has long since moved on, and here I go sharing our Thanksgiving meal — with photos taken in a rush under the worst lighting possible. Even color correction couldn't make the tart look like a normal shade of blueberry. But without further apology, here's what we ate. Above is a glamor shot of the tofu turkey, described in more detail, here.

This is the brown basmati, wild rice, toasted walnut and mushroom stuffing that went inside the tofu turkey, and also into a casserole dish. It's pretty much the same stuffing I always make but this year I didn't include bread cubes. I also made a mushroom gravy with ingredients as varied as the liquid left from cooking the wild rice, and the remains of a bottle of leftover beer, kept in the fridge for just such a purpose — simmered with a cinnamon stick and seasoned with fresh sage. Best gravy ever! (But maybe not gluten-free because of the beer?)

Here is the scrumptious potato-buckwheat stuffing (kugel) made by our oldest son. It's from a recipe handed down from several generations of my family, and a holiday wouldn't seem complete without it. My mother used to stuff the turkey with it, but there was always a great quantity packed into casseroles as well. The original recipe used bread rather than buckwheat, but we were going for gluten-free this year. Actually, I started making the stuffing with buckwheat years ago when I was cooking macrobiotic. Potatoes are very yin, and the buckwheat helps to balance them a bit (take that as you wish). I actually prefer the buckwheat, so usually prepare the dish with buckwheat now.

As a side note, I'll mention the original recipe also contained egg, which the buckwheat nicely compensates for. I still remember the year my mother accidentally dropped an eggshell into the blender as she ground up the potatoes. It was immediately pulverized, so my mother hoped it wouldn't be detected in the cooked stuffing. It was. And it was horrible. That wouldn't have happened during all the years she grated those potatoes by hand! Or if she were vegan.

My husband was in charge of the salad and dressing.

Our daughter-in-law brought a big pan of delicious rutabaga fries. The rutabaga was from her garden, making these especially cool. I've never been a big fan of rutabaga, but these were sensational.

Our middle son prepared roasted Brussels sprouts and carrots — one of my favorite veggie treats. Roasted Brussels sprouts have become a standard at our holiday table, and these were especially delicious.

Naturally we had pleasingly tart cranberry-apple sauce. I never get tired of cranberry sauce.

For dessert we had Happy Herbivore's no-fat pumpkin pie. This year's pie came out a little too firm, and slightly weird. Maybe it was because I used spelt flour instead of wheat, but maybe it wasn't. I have to say, though, that the pie improved over time, and last night it tasted quite good, but I think I'm returning to my old p-pie recipe, if I can find it.

The blueberry-pineapple tart didn't photograph well, but it sure looked good in person. This was my first attempt at a gluten-free crust, and I thought it was a big success. It had both pleasing taste and texture, despite the fact I didn't follow an actual recipe. I have a question, though, for experienced xgfx bakers. Although the tart was great when I served it, the leftover crust got kind of mushy the next day. Is that typical or was it because of my ingredients? (brown rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, coconut flour, walnuts, Earth Balance, maple syrup.)

Oh yes, we also had pre-dinner tidbits, but they didn't get well-photographed, unfortunately. I made baba ghannouj, a tray of calamata olives, stuffed green olives and marinated artichoke hearts, accompanied by a bowl of Food Should Taste Good tortilla chips. The eggplant for the baba ghannouj was roasted over our gas stove burner so it would taste smoky, like the grilled eggplant traditionally used for this dish, but the eggplant was so huge, that I got discouraged about halfway though the roasting, and finished baking it in the oven. The time spent toasting on the stove-top was enough to impart a smoky flavor, so now I know I can partially roast in the oven if necessary. Or maybe I can just use liquid smoke next time. :)

The mystery cat (I call her Tinkerbelle) showed up to join the family for our Thanksgiving celebration, and made herself right at home.


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  1. What a feast! It all looks incredible. I had roasted brussels for the first time this evening..can't believe I waited so long.
    I'm loving reading about everyone's thanksgiving meals. I'm in the UK so sadly have never had one but one day I'm going to have to invite myself to a vegan thanksgiving in the US!

  2. Everything looks divine, but I have to admit that the ruttabaga fries actually made me gasp in delight.

  3. Don't worry, I'll be the latest one to post about the holiday...if I ever get around to it. Seems like I cooked all weekend, but it was such a whirlwind, I couldn't tarry over photos much.

    Your spread looks fabulous. I made a similar sort of stuffing with wild rice and walnuts, but added apple and rye bread instead of mushrooms.

    I've never had kugel before...must try it.

    Oh, and Tinkerbelle is a doll. So, is she becoming part of the family...or just staying on as a regular visitor?

  4. Congratulations on getting featured! I'll have to check out her site.

    Your feast looks so wonderful! I make the pup treats with buckwheat flour, usually, and just love it. The stuffing and rutabaga fries sound especially good to me right now. Beautiful spread!

  5. Emma,
    Well, Emma, I'm sure you'd be welcome at any blogger Thanksgiving — including mine! Isn't it amazing how roasting veggies transforms them?

    Don't think I didn't let out a small gasp myself. And they were gasp-worthy, trust me.

    I feel like I've been cooking since last Wednesday, including making a brunch for 10 yesterday. It was all fun, but cooking can distract from photo-taking and blogging, weird as that sounds. :D I look forward to your photos.

    The cat continues to visit, each visit becoming longer, but the space between them is still a couple of days or more. At some point, she desperately wants to leave, so we let her go. She comes in, eats, heads to the bedroom or couch for a nap, eats some more, hangs out with us, then says goodbye.

    Do you make your own buckwheat flour? The fries and stuffing were good, especially the fries. I may have to get a rutabaga for a re-do.

  6. Aaaah, that all looks so lovely and delicious, but still healthful!

    RE: your spelt pie - I used spelt in Bryanna Clark Grogan's Maple Chocolate Shoofly Pie last night (which is amazing, but probably too sweet for you?), and it didn't really set properly. It was still delicious, but a little more like a chocolate custard pudding.

    Thanksgiving seems like such a lovely concept, other than most Americans eating a turkey. It's good to take time with your family and/or friends and be thankful for something.

  7. Good gracious, what a splendid meal, and I love that everyone brought something. I'm really fascinated by that buckwheat potato dish--never thought of mixing those flavours but now that they're mixed in my mind I'm dying to try it. I *love* rutabaga, and those fries look so good! And dang it, I am *not* going to let 2011 pass without just a little pumpkin pie of my own.

  8. That meal looks fantastic! I've got this page bookmarked as inspiration for next year :)

  9. Mathew,
    Hopefully somewhat healthful. Re: spelt flour. The flour was supposed to form a crust-like outer edge, and last year with white whole wheat flour, it did. I made a couple of other changes to the recipe that may have caused problems, but I suspect the spelt after what you said. As for being thankful, I agree that it's good to take stock of your blessings AT LEAST once a year.

    Well, I never would have thought of it either if it weren't for the macros. But it's a good combo. In fact, it's quite addictive, and delicious cold the next day. I love pumpkin pie, and may have to make another small one that tastes the way I want — though not right away. I first have to recover from eating pumpkin pie every day for four days.

    I always mark things to make for Thanksgiving, then make practically the same thing I made the year before. :D

  10. Mmmmmm, everything looks absolutely delicious! We just had roasted brussels sprouts for dinner this evening, so it must be the season for it. Lucky for you to have all the cooking kids! If the girls were here, they would have cooked too. Eli brought some beverages (also appreciated).

  11. Claire,
    It wasn't too bad. Sorry the girls are both so far away, but at least Eli was able (and willing!) to come. I loved seeing his picture.

  12. I'm even late to your party! Got any of those delicious foods left over? I'll eat them frozen, even.

  13. You're hardly late! Seriously, I'm not even ready to start considering the successes and failures of Thanksgiving yet, so I'd say you're on the ball here. Everything looks delicious, and your homemade tofu turkey is very impressive!

  14. Wow...what a feast you guys had! Everything looks and sounds amazing. I think all the pictures look great too.
    I think Tinkerbelle may be looking for a new home. She sure looks comfy there. :o)
    Congratulations on getting featured. I'll have to go check that out right away.

  15. GiGi,
    Oh GiGi, I'm so sorry. The last of the cranberry sauce went into my morning smoothie. Maybe next year? Oh wait. There's still some leftover blueberry-pineapple tart filling. Maybe you could bring over some ice cream and we could spoon it on top.

    It always takes me so long to recap events that maybe I just assume I'm late. Actually, by my usual standards, I might even be early! Maybe I should change the title?

    Tinkerbelle seems to be using us for free food and crash space. She never wants to stay once she's got what she needs. She was here the entire day and evening of Thanksgiving, lounging, interacting with all the guests, eating Buffy's food — then she left and didn't come back for two days.

  16. I don't care if it's late--I love reading about your holiday meal! (And since we celebrated Thanksgiving in October, over here it's REALLY late). ;) Everything looks great--those rutabaga fries in particular. Mmm!

    Re: the tart crust, yes, I do find the same thing if I fill a GF crust with something moist like a berry filling (happens to my GF pizza crust, too, when I use a tomato sauce base). I'm not sure what to do about it. . . I've tried oiling the crust and pre-baking before filling, which helps a bit, but I'm not much of a crust person anyway. Maybe more experienced GF bakers will have an answer! (I guess I should have checked that before posting. . . ). :)

  17. I love your gluten free Thanksgiving! Are you avoiding gluten now? I am woefully behind on my blog reading as my November has been insane with lots of unexpected things coming up, so I may have missed something. I try to be mostly gluten free myself, so I will be excited to see more gluten free recipes from you if you are avoiding gluten :-)


  18. An amazing looking Thanksgiving feast! Doesn't matter if it's "late", it still looks good! Nice job on the tofu turkey, I always wimp out on trying to make a main dish like that. :-)

  19. Ricki,
    Hmmm. I did pre-bake the crust. The filling was cooked separately and added to the baked crust. I've been looking on the Internet but haven't found anything conclusive, though I did find a suggestion that eggs be included, but that won't work.

    I have noticed your absence, but no, you didn't miss anything. I've been experimenting with gluten-free and wheat-free cooking but haven't addressed the reasons on the blog. I have tons of gf general recipes but I've never labeled them as such because I wasn't trying to avoid gluten. Baking, however, is an area I've never approached before.

    Chow vegan,
    Thanks! The "turkey" wasn't hard to make, but it did require pre-planning which is something I usually try to avoid. :)

    Would that be just for leftovers or for the official meal? I am looking for more guests. :D

  20. I'm late commenting, so we're even! The rutabaga fries are pretty glorious. The kugel is also pretty intriguing. I made one once for Easter but I don't think anyone liked it and I didn't eat it. The top is so smooth! Is everything blended together?

  21. It all looks so yummy! Is there someone in the crowd who is GF? Or were you expecting me? ;-)

    As for the tart, well, first of all GF baking just is a whole different thing than regular. Some things just don't work GF. That is why I often follow some other genious like Manifest Vegan to come up with something that works. Pie crusts are particularly tricky area of GF vegan baking. So the fact that it even held together at all is great! Often GF baked goods will not taste right the next day. It's because the structure of the dough when cool has a different composition. Even GF baked goods from famous bakeries like babycakes are not as good the next day. Something to do with the structure changing. I would say with the tart, just make the filling less liqudy to see if that helps.

  22. ff,
    Even. The potatoes and onions for kugel can either be grated (old school) or food processed, which makes them much smoother. It tastes a lot like potato pancakes, since that's essentially what it is except for the frying. It's a traditional Russian Jewish food, I think. That's probably why buckwheat goes so well with it.

    I was hoping you'd show up, but alas the gf was for me. I've been experimenting with removing gluten from my diet for various reasons that I'm not ready to go into. Or possibly just removing wheat. My stomach feels much better without it. Since, except for baking, I cook with so little gluten, no one would probably notice a difference. The tart crust was wonderful — the first day, but I suspect gf crusts in general don't hold up well overnight in the fridge. I also bake with spelt which isn't gf, and if I need something to hold up, I'll use that.

  23. Congrats on getting featured, Andrea! And how awesome your family gets to eat a kugel which recipe has been in the family for so long.

  24. Ha, if "never" counts as "latest" then I win the Thanksgiving Post Tardiness contest! :-) And since I'm also providing stiff competition in the Comment Tardiness competition, I'll be forced to echo what nearly everyone else has said ~ "What a feast!" That was one heck of a beautiful and festive spread, and I think you did a great job of photographing it, despite the lighting conditions.

    Rutabaga fries - whodda thunk? I love rutabaga (as a kid I preferred it over squash - I was such an odd child, lol), bet I'd enjoy those a lot! And is that chocolate drizzled on your pumpkin pie? The tofu turkey is a thing of beauty. I'm trying to imagine the flavor of your gravy, but I think the cinnamon stick is throwing me off. Can you please include a sample to taste in your next post? (Wouldn't it be fun if we could do that?!)

    Everything looks absolutely scrumptious and it's no wonder Tinkerbell showed up to join in the festivities. Is that the kitty you mentioned on Rose's post about Molly? She sure is pretty! I think she should just adopt you. :-)

  25. PS. Congratulations on having your wonderful blog featured on L³, hope you get lots of new readers as a result!

  26. Mihl,
    Tradition and holidays — the perfect pairing!

    Better late than never was one of my mother's favorite sayings — and I totally agree with the sentiment.

    As for the fries, they were pretty oily, making them delicious but not so appropriate for an oil-free diet. You could just roast them, though, without the oil!

    Yes, Tinkerbelle is one and the same. I don't really want a cat — especially an outdoor cat — but she seems to have adopted us. And I still don't know if she has a "real" home elsewhere.

  27. Rutabega fries! Yum! Great holiday meal you had.

  28. Dreaminit,
    Thanks! Holiday meals are a lot of fun — and a lot of work. But mostly fun. :D

  29. How did I get so behind?! Catchin' up now!


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