Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

This year, for Thanksgiving, I decided to cook things well in advance. I'm heading to two gatherings, the first at Jefferson's and the second at BBJ House. My initial plan was to just cook roasted root veggies flavored with rosemary and thyme. I swung by my favorite little organic grocery, Buffalo, and picked up a golden beet, red beets, a turnip, purple potatoes, a sweet potato, a yukon gold potato, and carrots.

The recipe is simple. Chop the veggies into bite-size chunks, toss with 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 Tbsp of dried rosemary, 1 Tbsp of thyme, 1 tsp of pepper, 2 pinches of salt, and bake in a single layer in a preheated oven at 375 F for 40 minutes, tossing once in the middle (pot in image was not used for the actual cooking).

While making the potatoes, I was sufficiently motivated to try my hand at a vegan seitan "turkey." I'm pretty proficient with homemade seitan, but the recipe I wanted to try was very different. Back when I was vegan, I often heard of seitan roasts by Bryanna Clark Grogan, a popular vegan chef. Unlike the quick seitan recipes I was used to (30-45 minutes of boiling wheat gluten), Bryanna's most celebrated recipes required upwards of 3 hours in the oven. I was curious, but I just never got around to trying any of them.

I generally mess around with recipe instructions, but this time around, I followed Bryanna's instructions to the letter, including the use of a soaked clay pot.

The addition of nutritional yeast flakes to the mix was no surprise, as it gives a poultry-like flavor to seitan. I first learned of that from Jo Stepaniak back in my vegan days. The surprise ingredient for me was the full-fat soy flour in the dry mix and the block of tofu added to the wet.

Unlike other seitan recipes, this one required two kneadings broken by an hour rest for the dough.

Bryanna's parchment paper tip worked wonders.

It's very easy for seitan to stick to the bottom of pan, but with the parchment paper, turning the dough was a breeze.

Three and a half hours later, I was left with one of the best tasting meat analogues I've ever cooked!

The first stop was at Jefferson's, where we had an early dinner with his roommate, Britney, and his good friend, Nikki. Jefferson cooked the turkey and sweet potato biscuits, while Britney served pan-fried & roasted brussels sprouts and green beans with parmesan.

Nikki prepared cranberry sauce, deviled eggs, and roasted garlic mashed potatoes, my favorite dish of the meal. I was so busy munching down on all the great food, that I forgot to take a picture of the table! Jefferson and I planned to pace ourselves, but... well, that didn't happen.

When we arrived at BBJ House, we were greeted with this snazzy display.

Baker, Ben, Justin, and their LA friends Ben and Scott cooked so much food:

Turkey - Baker
Mapo Tofu - Baker (a BBJ House Thanksgiving tradition)
Fresh baked bread - Ben
Stuffing - Justin
Mashed Potatoes - Baker
Asparagus & Pearl Onions - Baker
Date Nut Torte - Justin
Ricotta Pie w/berry - Justin
Ricotta Pie w/chocolate chips - Justin
Shrimp stuff - Baker
Cranberry Sauce - Baker
More desserts 'n Wine - Scott 'n Ben

After the meal, we all settled down to watch The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. Food, friends, and a great film, all added up to the best Thanksgiving I've had in recent memory.

1 comment:

J. Campbell said...

that looks fantastic!