Meatless Monday – Happy Thanksgiving Canada!

I can’t count how many times I’ve received sympathy from carnivores at Thanksgiving. I would just like to say:

“I STILL ENJOY THANKSGIVING DINNER & SHALL BE EATING EXTRA SERVINGS OF VEGETARIAN DRESSING, MASHED POTATOES & PUMPKIN PIE. THANKS FOR YOUR CONCERN (that last part was sarcasm by-the-way).”

The other great thing about being vegetarian at Thanksgiving is not having to deal with the side effects of turkey consumption: a comatose turkey torpor and days on end of leftover turkey sandwiches. That part of my life is well and truly over and for that I AM THANKFUL.

There is a cornucopia of recipes in books and on the web listing ideas for a vegetarian/vegan Thanksgiving feast. For this week’s Meatless Monday I’d like to share with you some recipes for the foods that play bit parts in Thanksgiving theatre. All recipes listed are 100% Grade A vegan.

Cranberry Mustard
2 cups of fresh organic cranberries. (No need to use frozen; they should be in season.)
1/4 cup of orange juice
1.5 Tablespoons of prepared mustard (Regular will do or you could get fancy and use the Dijon. If so, reduce the quantity; that stuff is potent!)
2/3 cup of maple syrup
a sprinkling of dry mustard powder (Literally a sprinkle – just like you are lightly salting your fries.)
1 small shallot
1 Tablespoon of vegetable oil
2 teaspoons of dried rubbed sage (You don’t have to do the rubbing yourself. It should come this way. Use less if you are not a big fan OR don’t use at all if your really don’t like this herb.)

  1. Place freshly washed fresh cranberries in a pot. Cover with water. Turn heat on high and when the water starts to boil, turn the heat down to just below medium. Let the berries bubble away in their own sauna bog, about 5 minutes. They should start to ‘relax’ a little and loosen up enough that their tough skin exterior breaks down. Turn heat lower and use a potato masher to gently coax the cranberries to break out of their skin.
  2. Meanwhile back at the ranch…in a small pan, heat the oil. Add finely chopped shallot and cook to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the dry mustard powder -this is your big ‘sprinkling moment’. Enjoy. Add the sage. Continue cooking until fragrant, another minute or so.
  3. Add the shallot mixture to the cranberries along with the other ingredients. Leave the heat at a steady medium/low temperature for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. The pectin in the berries combined with the steady heat should cause the mixture to thicken. Let cool slightly then spoon into sterilized glass jars. Give as gifts or eat it all for yourself.

Suggestions for use:

  • Serve with seitan or tofu loaf.
  • Use as condiment in sandwiches.
  • Spoon onto melted (vegetarian) brie and serve with crackers.
  • Serve as an accompaniment to roasted sweet potatoes or baked plantains.

Even the carnivores will like to use this on their leftover turkey sandwiches! May I suggest you sell it to them unless you’re feeling generous and would like to give it away. 

Excalibur Condiment. Photo by Kimberley (c)2013
Excalibur Condiment. Photo by Kimberley (c)2013

Pumpkin Butter
If using canned (splurge on the non-BPA can) pumpkin and you have some left over that isn’t enough to bake yet another pumpkin pie, then make pumpkin butter. It doesn’t actually contain butter but is spreadable like butter. Enough use of the word butter.

  1. Combine the pumpkin with enough maple syrup to taste. A good guideline is a 4:1 ratio i.e. 1 cup of pumpkin to 1/4 cup maple syrup. Use less if you don’t like it too sweet (the real stuff is so inoffensively sweet, though, who would want less?).
  2. Cook on medium/low heat until the mixture thickens, about 10-15 minutes. Stir constantly!
  3. Just slightly before it is thickened, add some pumpkin pie spice (ready-made or DIY). Stir until mixture is homogenous.
  4. Let cool and spoon into sterilized glass jars.

Suggestions for use:

  • Cook into your oatmeal.
  • Spread on toast or muffin.
  • Use in baked goods for moisture and taste: i.e. pumpkin butter cookies, brownies, muffins, scones
  • Heat non-dairy milk. Melt some chocolate with pumpkin butter. Combine the 2 and drink. Throw a delicious ‘Dandie‘ (amazing vegan marshmallow brand) on top and you will convince the meat-eating folk that vegetarians/vegans have cool food!
Photo by Kimberley (c)2013
Photo by Kimberley (c)2013

DIY Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon cloves
pinch each of nutmeg, salt and pepper
*The quantities of the above spices refer to the already ground variety. *This mixture should suit 1 cup of puréed sugar pumpkin.
*You can play around with the spices e.g. omit some, substitute mace for nutmeg, reduce even further the amount of the latter spices. *Just maintain the proportions: cinnamon is always in highest quantity, followed closely by ginger (a 2:1 ratio). *The other spices combined should not exceed the total amount of ginger.*

Pumpkin butter cookies. Photo by Kimberley (c)2013
Pumpkin butter cookies. Photo by Kimberley (c)2013
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