The Honor of Eating

So many recipes, so little time! Thanksgiving is a particularly wonderful holiday to cook for because the entire holiday centers around eating. During other holidays, you squeeze a meal in around other activities. However with Thanksgiving, there is nothing much else happening besides cooking and eating. Of course, for many folks, this is a time to get together with and celebrate family, and that is all done... When? While cooking and eating! I'm telling you, this scenario is a creative chef's heaven. You might be guessing that I had a lot of fun picking out the menu this week. I hope you will forgive and indulge me for committing the sin of talking about a holiday before its time, but I HAD to, since I will be away next week (and moment of honest marketing here - I wanted you to think about placing special holiday orders).

When picking out the recipes to include in the menu, I had an F&F (friends & family) theme in mind. The Sweet Potato casserole comes from my good friend Peggy. Fortunately for me this recipe is from a cookbook that is popular enough that at least two different bloggers put it up on their sites. The Cornbread Dressing was inspired by a mother-daughter duo, Janice and Sarah. When looking for an online recipe to share with you, I found that most of them needed too much veganization to really make them practical resources. Well guess what? Susan Voisin, my heroine over at Fat Free Vegan, came through yet again by having exactly what I needed - a vegan Cornbread Dressing recipe.

Here are the F&F Honorable Mention recipes that received serious consideration, but didn't quite make the final cut in our audition process:

Mom's Green Bean Casserole - creamy, savory, mushroomy

Sarah's Tamari Roasted Spicy Nuts - almonds & cashews coated with tamari, ginger, & coriander

Mom's Cranberry Relish - crunchy & light with the addition of celery & walnuts, it is more like a salad then a thick sweety sauce

The good news is that if you remember from last week (did you actually read the whole newsletter last week?), I am taking special orders for anything from this week's menu plus any of these honorably mentioned recipes. Thus if you want to do that hosting friends and family for the holiday, yet just want to focus on the eating instead of the cooking, Govinda's will come to your rescue! We will cook said special orders on Monday and have them ready for pick-up/delivery on Tuesday, the 24th.

This Week's Menu:

Entree #1 - Creamy Green Bean & Mushroom Soup with Papadam Noodles

This Govinda's favorite is the reason why I didn't include the Green Bean Casserole in the menu. It has so many elements of the casserole, with the added bonus of papadam noodles. Papadams are ultra-thin wafers made out of lentil flour and spices, that are usually fried or roasted, creating addictingly yummy crunchy snacks. However, when you break these wafers up and put them in a pot of hot soup, they soften up just like noodles. This soup is a big double thumbs up with most kids. *GF, soy-free

(photo vegetariantimes.com)

Entree #2 - "Three Sisters" Stew

I had to include this hearty stew because it hearkens back to the originators of this fine autumn harvest celebration. There would be no Thanksgiving, nor any USA for that matter, without our Native American ancestors. The least I can do for these great Peoples is to honor them by making one of their traditional autumn dishes. The 3 Sisters refer to corn, squash, and beans. These crops were named such because the Native farmers used companion planting, growing all 3 crops together in one plot in a happy symbiosis.*GF, soy-free

(photo vegkitchen.com)

Entree #3 - Jeweled Rice

My goodness, it has been a whole year since I last made this rice! That is almost inexcusable when I go back and review the recipe. Filled with tasty jewels like nuts, dried fruit, saffron, orange zest, mint, and pomegranate, this rice is so spectacular that I just can't believe I have been so stingy (or so spaced out more likely) as to not share it with you before now. You guys have to get on me when I haven't brought back something yummy for a while. *GF, soy-free

(photo mynewroots.org)

Side Dishes:

Brown Rice - $1/serving (1 cup)

Sweet Potato & (Soy) Chorizo Mole - $6/lb. My friend has two vegan stepsons, and this is a standard dish she makes when they come to town. Being as it has become such a favorite at her house and at every potluck that she brings it to, she insisted that I just had to make it for you all come fall. The original recipe is not actually vegetarian, yet it is super easy to veganize by substituting in soy chorizo and eliminating the cheese. What with the black beans, corn, caramelized sweet potato, and tomato-mole sauce, I feel confident that there will be plenty of flavor without the cheese. *GF

(photo cooklocal.com)

Cornbread Dressing - $6/lb. A disclaimer about this recipe - it calls for 10 slices of bread. Now since I have had difficutly to find a bread that is both gluten-free and egg-free, I am going to eliminate the bread aspect altogether. There are still plenty of wonderful ingredients like celery, mushrooms, homemade cornbread and herby herbs and spices to ensure that it will score plenty high on the yum scale. It just will probably come out more crumbly than firm and bready like what you see in the photo. *GF, soy-free

(photo fatfreevegan.com)

Creamy No-bake Pumpkin Pie - $4/slice; $20/pie (6 pieces) Now youknow I couldn't make this holiday menu without including pumpkin pie. That would be just unAmerican. Fortunately my other heroine over at Minimalist Baker had two vegan pumpkin pie recipes to choose from. Naturally I chose the no-bake version (there are already too many things going in and out of that oven). The crust is made from dates, nuts, & oats (yum!); the filling from fresh pumpkin puree & spices; and topped off with extra heavenly whipped coconut cream.*GF, soy-free

(photo minimalistbaker.com)

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