Thanksgiving by Govinda's

Good morning! Because I feel like speed of delivery is of the essence, I am going to keep this short and re-iterate the important dates for our service in the next few weeks. While writing up the menu descriptions this morning, I looked back at the newsletter from last Thanksgiving. Boy was it what I needed to hear, complete with a spontaneous mission/passion statement by me for Govinda's Catering. When times are tough, and you feel like a loser, it is important to remember to a) take a nap, b) check your blood sugar, and c) take a step back and reflect on why you do what you do, try to view the greater picture. If after doing a) and b), you are still unable to quite get the hang of c), then ask a friend for help. A very dear friend of mine posted this short video about smart asses (donkeys y'all) on my Facebook timeline, just when I needed to see it. (Totally wish I knew how to embed this for you) Thanks Dr. J. You're the best!

Please mark your calendars for these key dates. We will be cooking for Thanksgiving this week (11/20 - 11/24). The plan is to make traditional holiday dishes so you don't have to do all the hard labor yourself. Buy a side or two to augment your own feast, or have us make it all for you. We will then be off the following week, to give the staff and your stomachs a break. Have a beautiful couple of days off. May you be well and present to the gifts of life, no matter how small. Happy Thanksgiving!

In December, Govinda's will be at another fun event:

Sunday, December 3rd - Triangle VegFest Holiday Market, 11 am - 3 pm. This event will be held at the Durham Armory. Between 30 - 50 vendors are anticipated. I have discovered that the vegan community is very kind, open, supportive, and above all, fun! I highly recommend the VegFest events, if you are looking to meet lovely people and find quality products.

This Week's Menu:

**All Entrees - $8/serving (2 cups)**

**Please note price difference for Tamales.**

Entree #1 - Vegan Cauliflower Mac & Cheese

Back by popular demand! I solicited suggestions for the menu this week, since I knew people would either be using it to supplement their holiday meals or buying food to take with them when visiting their non-vegan families. This recipe has become incredibly popular because, well it is incredible. What makes it so scrumptious? The combination of cauliflower and cashews (to add creaminess), carrots (for color), and nutritional yeast (the ultimate vegan cheese simulator), synergistically combine to create a sauce that is deliciously satisfying, without being heavy or greasy. Served over gluten-free pasta, this outrageously nutritious sauce makes for a guilt-free pasta dish. Personally, I think it is even tastier than regular mac and cheese (and trust me, with my son's picky taste buds, there is a lot of mac and cheese happening around our house...) *GF, soy-free, nightshade-free

Entree #2 - Green Bean Casserole

Here we have another brave and spectacular veganization of a Thanksgiving classic. We only make it for this one holiday menu because, frankly, it is rather labor-intensive. We can't cut corners by using canned mushroom soup, so we first make our own sauce. Secondly, here at Govinda's we don't cook with alliums (garlic, onions, shallots, chives), so.... we have to make our own fried "onion" topping out of secret ingredients. Then you put all those elements together in a massive casserole pan (literally a cauldron) and then bake it. Even just describing the process, it sounds like a really once-a-year dish. But OMG is it worth it! The crunch, the creaminess, the succulence of the green beans... this dish is so special it warrents freezing and enjoying for weeks to come. *GF, soy-free, nightshade-free

(photo seriouseats.com)

Entree #3 - Black Bean & Zucchini Tamales

** Note pricing - $3/ea. or 4 for $10. The first time we made was tamales was at Christmas time. They were so labor-intensive that I stayed up all night making them and swore I would never ever make them again. The next morning I ate one of them. And another. They were incredible!! Making them was not sooo bad. I started to think, "We could do this again..." Ugh! Why are tamales so delicious?!

On one of my subsequent trips to Compare Foods, the Latin market, I noticed they had special pots for steaming tamales. Having improper equipment had a lot to do with the tamales taking so long. So I bought a pot - the biggest one they had. Afterwards I felt ashamed of my impulsiveness at buying such a gigantic pot for something we were never going to make again... Said pot made a huge difference in the cooking time for the last batch we made, which means that we can put this fun hand-held meal on the menu more than once a year!

PS. Tamales also freeze really well, just in case you want to stock up. *GF, soy-free

(photo cheftographer.com)

Side Dishes:

Brown Rice - $1/serving (1 cup)

Cauliflower Wild Rice Stuffing - $4/1 cup; $7/pint. When I was shopping in Trader Joe's last week, they were sampling one of their many seasonal offerings - Riced Cauliflower "Stuffing." In a world where there is a growing awareness of the benefits of eating more plants and whole foods and less grains and processed foods, I thought this was a brilliant, vegan/paleo-friendly product for TJ's to create. I didn't necessarily plan at the time to create our own version. Until I started making up the menu, that is. I received a request from a customer for some sort of stuffing. Being as I have only made a bread stuffing once, and it turned out very poorly, I was hesitant to try that again. Hmm... but vegetable and rice dishes that pass as healthy "stuffing", now that I thought I could do. Maybe whenever I am at a loss for ideas, I should just visit Trader Joe's! *GF, soy-free, nightshade-free

(photo mayihavethatrecipe.com)

Mustard Roasted Potatoes - $8/lb.

Every Thanksgiving menu must contain potatoes, right? When I was contemplating which kind of potato dish to serve, I had several in mind and finally settled on this one because it is so lovely, so crunchy, so very mustardy. Olive oil + lemon + rosemary + potatoes = awesomeness. We know that already. What you might not know is how exponentially enhanced the flavor becomes when you add some spicy mustard to the mix. You don’t want to miss these tasty taters this time around! *GF, soy-free, nut-free

(photo allrecipes.com)

Cranberry Relish - $4/1 cup; $7/pint. This is another one of my mom's recipes. My mother didn't work outside the home until I was already in junior high school. So as a domestic goddess, she did many things for the family, including making really good meals. It is funny how we absorb experiences, paradigms, and values from our family without really being conscious that we are doing it. Apparently my siblings and I must have absorbed a passion for good food because all three of us currently work in food service. Only my brother went to culinary school, but somehow here we all are. Certainly we have our mother to thank for educating us about world cuisine, exposing our young palates to things we might have thought "yucky" but now appreciate. Case in point - last night I gobbled down a serving of take-out Mei Fun, which tasted exactly like the Filipino version called Ponsit, which I despised being fed as a kid. Go figure. What does all this have to do with cranberry relish? Everything. Because this recipe, and my love creative cooking, and so much more comes from the loving attention that my mother gave me. Today is her birthday, and I offer this dish to you all as a tribute to this fine woman. This version of the holiday classic is mostly uncooked. It contains pecans, celery, orange pieces, cranberries, and pineapple, all set in a backdrop of vegan jello. Hear that y'all? Vegan jello! What is not to love about that? *GF, soy-free, nightshade-free

(photo foodnetwork.com)

Sweet Potato Pie - $4/slice, $10/ 6" pie, $25/ 9" pie. So this pie is an amazing breakfast treat... I mean dessert... Well, so I just let it slip that I might have eaten this pie a time or two for breakfast. That is a testament as to how delicious and healthy it is. Don't get me wrong, the pie is sweetened with organic sugar. However, by the time you add all that sweet potato, coconut cream and pecan crust, it adds so much nutrition that it is easy to overlook the sugar factor and just get swept away in the pie's down home goodness! *GF, soy-free, nightshade-free

(photo adashofsoul.com)

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