Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Thanksgiving - Not My Job

It's been a while since I cooked a Thanksgiving dinner or an Easter dinner.  It seems that Christmas is my territory and since I am often on call or working in clinic on Thanksgiving it has fallen to others.  My sister in law Rose really loves Easter and does wonderful dinners, and my oldest daughter Jen and her fiancé Jeff are the crowned rulers of Thanksgiving. I'm also really happy that they have their dinner Sunday, a second-call day for me, rather than Saturday when I was on call.

We left late as usual, I was doing house calls which took longer than expected.  When I got home at 5, expected in Vancouver (an hour away) at 6,  Kenny was ironing his not-quite-dry pants.  Jimm was playing guitar, the kitchen was a mess and Travers was doing whatever Travers does all day - it doesn't usually involve being out of his room anyway.  Jimm decides to go get gas while waiting for Ken to be ready. I clean the kitchen and thank all the cooking gods I am only bringing wine. The photo shows Jen in the middle between Jimm and her friend Steph.  My portrait of Jen was blurry. 

Back row is Jeff talking to their housemate Sarah's parents.  Foreground is Travers and Jen's friend Liang.  

Narrowly avoided a political argument in the car as we are approaching an election and Kenny, who has Autism Spectrum Disorder, often gets annoyed by Jimm's opinions, and vice-versa.  Travers tries manfully to be heard without breaching the bounds of politeness - he seems to get ignored because Ken and Jimm are preoccupied with demolishing each other's arguments.  We reach Jen's with everyone's tempers intact.

I think Jen had 18 people for dinner, and I'm always amazed by how relatively unruffled she and Jeff are by the magnitude of this dinner.
This is the menu:
All the food and Kenny's legs

  • Roasted kabocha squash soup with crème fraîche
  • Cream of mushroom soup with herbs
  • Maple basted turkey with sage butter and bacon
  • Roasted garlic mashed potatoes
  • 3 kinds of stuffing - Vegan, vegan and gluten free, and cooked in the bird
  • Lentil loaves
  • Roasted kale with mushrooms with sesame and chili oil
  • Roasted brussels sprouts, red and yellow beets with balsamic vinegar and roasted garlic
  • Sweet potatoes with apples in a spiced glaze
  • Cranberry sauce with orange zest and fig
  • Turkey gravy
  • Vegan mushroom gravy
I think the big favourites were the vegetables - particularly the roasted sprouts and the kale.

 It's a shame Thanksgiving food is so....brown.  It doesn't photograph as delicious as it is.
Jimm was particularly impressed with the kale, a food he has tried many times (at my insistence) and not liked.  Yes, I'm going to try to get the recipe.  The lentil loaf is one of my favourite vegetarian dishes.  Really hearty, excellent texture, and not pretending to be a hamburger when it isn't.  You can actually add meat instead of TVP if you want to make a better-for-you meatloaf.

1 c. TVP
1 large onion, diced finely
1 small yam, 5 cloves minced garlic
dry lentils to yield 3 cups cooked - about 1.5 c dry
about 1/2 c. toasted pecans
1/4 cup each soy sauce, ketchup, nutritional yeast, flax seed (I presume ground to replace eggs)
1 1/4 c. rolled or quick oats
4-5 chopped sage leaves, 1 sprig of fresh rosemary, chopped
1-2 tbsp maple syrup, dash of mace

To cook lentils:
2 tbs soy sauce, 1 tsp chicken seasoning, 1/2 tsp each rosemary, oregano, whatever you like,
1 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp molasses.

Cook lentils and TVP separately.  Allow lentils to absorb as much of the water and spices as possible.  Grate the yam, combine in a bowl with the onion, garlic, yeast and flax. Finely grind the nuts in a food processor. Add to the processor bowl 3/4 of the lentils and half the yam bowl.  Pulse until mushy, then combine with the unprocessed ingredients.  Add the remaining ketchup, soy, oats, herbs, syrup and stir.  Taste and add more herbs if needed.  Don't worry - it's vegan.  Bake in a foil covered loaf pan for 30 minutes at 400.  Remove foil, bake another 30-40 min at 375.  It will firm up a bit with standing.  Jen notes that she uses 2 c. lentils to make a double batch of this so 1 c is probably closer to the amount of dry you want to start with.  The chicken seasoning is salt, pepper, parsley, tarragon etc in a grinder - Jen has a garden and grows a lot of herbs.  You could probably use some salt and pepper and poultry seasoning.

Now that we are all healthy, here are the desserts.
Pumpkin Pie served with cognac whipped cream

White chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake

Apple Pie - I believe GF 
Not shown are homemade vegan coffee ice cream and vegan maple pecan ice cream.  So I think we know why I don't do Thanksgiving anymore.  

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