There are so many vegan recipes, Websites and resources available that my mother offered to undertake a fully vegan Thanksgiving this year. It was very generous of her to give up what is typically an omnivore’s table of delights to try a full spread of vegan goodness. I pitched in with a few recipes that I wanted to try and I will give brief reviews of how they went.
Savory Vegan Corn Pudding by Vegan Feast Kitchen
The Corn Pudding was to take the place of Mom’s classics Copes baked corn. It was warm, corn based and kind of smooth but just didn’t hit the mark. Partially because I opted to add the red and green peppers. It was a Mexicalli flavor for a Thanksgiving dish, probably because the seasoning I chose was basil and accidentally dumped in too much. I did fish a bunch out but the flavors I stupidly chose just didn’t go we’ll with all of the other traditional Thanksgiving foods. I did use fresh corn and a bit of rehydrated Copes but I think I will chose try to veganize the Mom’s recipe for the winter holidays next time.
This was one of the few Virtual Vegan Potluck recipes that I treated our family to. I wouldn’t change anything about the recipe nor instructions but I would clearly note that it serves a lot of people. We had 7 healthy eaters but maybe only ate about 1/3 of it and it was out all day. Another thing to note, don’t emphasize the “Brie” aspect without mentioning the macadamia nut. When I tasted the pâte, I realized it was very nutty and almost added in another teaspoon of mustard. Like I said, I made no alterations and it was well received.
Making my own “Tofurky” roll seemed like an overwhelming yet exciting undertaking. When I saw PPK’s recipe for Seitan Roast with Shiitakes and Leeks, I thought it looked amazing. Mom really doesn’t like mushrooms at all. She was being such a good sport about making the meal all vegan, I wanted to go out of my way to make the filling a bit more friendly to her. I adapted the stuffing to be much more like her southern-styled cornbread stuffing but kept the tips that PPK shared about making sure it had enough moisture and salt in it. In honor of Mom, let me call it:
Rita’s Vegan Stuffing:
2 Tablespoons Earth Balance buttery stick
1 Cup roasted chestnuts
1/2 Cup chopped celery
1 medium onion minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 Cup cornmeal and cracker crumb mixture (browned a bit in the skillet)
1/4 Cup vegetable broth
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
I added it to the seitan roll as in the original recipe. The baking time seems to be spot on and it was fine when drenched in vegetarian gravy. Unfortunately I heard Mom mention to someone that she found it to be “tough.” I thought it was just right but I forgot that some folks (well, the ones who decided it was worth trying) might be comparing it to turkey. In all fairness, Arron and Amy eat turkey and know what to expect from seitan and they thought it was pretty good. I loved it!!
Maple Syrup Pecan Pie based on a recipe by Gazing In
This turned out to be a most attractive pie and I was so excited to use Georgia-grown, paper-shelled pecans that were hand shelled by my Aunt Pat.
I only made a small tweak to the recipe that I don’t think had anything to do with how it was a bit runny at room temperature. I watched America’s Test Kitchen when the station was focusing on Thanksgiving, they had a Pecan Pie featured that day and suggested a maple/ brown sugar filling. Instead of 1 1/4 Cup pure maple syrup, I used:
1 Cup pure maple syrup
1 Tablespoon molasses
1 Cup brown sugar
It wasn’t at its best when served room temperature, it was much better chilled.
This recipe lead me to my happiest victory of the Thanksgiving meal, a custard pie that had a perfect texture tasted like it should! Leave it to Jim to bake up a pie that tasted so much like we have enjoyed for years just by giving a boost by doubling the spices and adding but a tablespoon of molasses to the mixture. It was the Moosewood Cookbook’s No-Fault Pumpkin Pie recipe that we had been making for year. This was to mark one year of no eggs nor dairy in our diet so, instead of veganizing the whole recipe, we opted for trying PPK’S. The crux of it was that it also need a bit more agave as sweetener and to balance the added moisture, we upped the starch and agar agar by again a 1/3.
Of all holidays, this one has a focus around food. It was very moving that my own mom would put aside the butter, eggs and animal products to make me and Jim feel welcome and honored. If my mother-in-law or father felt anything was missing from the meal, I am sure the warmth of visiting family helped to overshadow it. It was surely a day of splendor, sentiment and celebration.