Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Wild Mushroom Wild Rice with Caramelized Onions

 

Wild Mushroom Wild Rice | Spoonwithme.com-19

Rice, gone wild!  Double wild!  Mushroom madness!  All this Thanksgiving recipe testing and eating has put me into a food-induced euphoria.  Wild two times in one title is two too many wilds for one recipe, young lady!  Bring your torches.  Ban.  This.  Site.  Hide your childrens’ eyes!  With all this fungus among-us, it’s gettin’ crazy up in here.

Wild Mushroom Wild Rice | Spoonwithme.com-25Wild Mushroom Wild Rice | Spoonwithme.com-48

I bought a gigantic bag of assorted dried local Colorado mushrooms at the farmers market this summer.  We’re talking two freezer bags worth.  There will not be a mushroom shortage for the foreseeable future in the Spoon With Me house, in case anybody was wondering. What does one do with so many dried mushrooms, you ask?  You know that mouth-coating savory depth that can be hard to achieve in plant-based recipes?  Think of them as a way to boost the umami factor, especially in vegetarian and vegan dishes.  I love to grind them into powder to add savoriness to sauces gravies, and soups.  In this recipe, I used the broth from rehydrating them as part of the cooking liquid for the rice. If you’re a full or part- time vegan or vegetarian, you need dried mushrooms in your arsenal if you want to up the ooooh mommy!

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Tangerine-Port Cranberry Sauce

TangerinePortCranberrySauce|Spoonwithme.com-2

We all have our food quirks.  The Mister likes to figure out the best flavor combination on any given plate, then repeat that experience as many times as possible.  Salads are evenly tossed and big ingredients chopped up so that each bite has the optimized flavor.

TangerinePortCranberrySauce|Spoonwithme.com-19

I once ate dinner with a girl who had a phobia of her foods touching each other.  We were at an Asian restaurant.  Plain shrimp, plain vegetables, plain rice.  No sauce, not even soy.  Each part of the meal was eaten by itself, before moving on   I kind of wanted to put a carrot slice on her rice, just to see what would happen, but I figured that was a bit immature.  Phobias ain’t no joke.  I’m the mixing queen.  I like to see how many unique combinations of flavors I can put into each bite.

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Spiced Maple-Glazed Sweet Potatoes, Apples and Butternuts with Caramelized Pepitas

Spiced Glazed Butternuts|Spoonwithme.com-34

The way we’ve celebrated Thanksgiving throughout history has both changed and stayed the same.  What if, instead of the venison and freshly harvested vegetables the Native Americans and the pilgrims shared to celebrate the harvest, this happened:

Once upon a time, back on the first documented Thanksgiving in 1621, the pilgrims that had arrived on the Mayflower shared a feast with the local Native Americans.  

“Thank you for welcoming us to this bounteous land.  I offer unto you this can of cream of mushroom soup as a gesture of peace.  Please prepare it with your freshly harvested green beans and crispy fried onions.”

 “Why thank you, kind pilgrim.  Please, take this gift of congealed cranberries as a symbol of this shared celebration.  And as an extra special bonus offering, this bowl of mashed potatoes, from a tuber that will not actually make its way to ‘America’ until many years from now.”

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Maple-Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Bourbon-Glazed Pecans

Maple Whipped Sweet Potatoes|Spoonwithme-com (5)

I’m a little behind the Thanksgiving game this year!  Actually, who am I kidding?  I’m always down to the wire on holiday blogging and menu planning.  Mom and I will be sharing the Thanksgiving preparations this year.  She’s a planner.  She keeps me on track.  Mom keeps asking me, Did you figure out what you’re making yet?  Do you know what you’re making yet?  How about the pumpkin pie? In my head, I think, Be cool mama, be cool…I got this.  In reality, when I’m at the grocery store in holiday madness mode the day before Thanksgiving, my mom will be peacefully baking apple pie accompanied by the crooning of Frank Sinatra.  She may be onto something…

Maple Whipped Sweet Potatoes|Spoonwithme-com

For all my fellow menu-procrastinators, a recipe that went over really well last year (and didn’t quite get around to posting in time, surprise, surprise).  It’s inspired by one of my favorite sweet potato casserole recipes shared with my mom and I by a friend of the family.  The problem with most Thanksgiving recipes is that if you are lactose-ally or glutonially challenged (yes, I made up those words), you miss out on the best dishes.

Maple Whipped Sweet Potatoes|Spoonwithme-com (1)

Not anymore!  If you are strategic and resourceful (which of course you are–all my readers are cunning and clever!), you’ll volunteer to bring the dishes that are traditionally dairy or gluten heavy, and you’ll wow everybody with the fact that yes, food can be stupid good, even without loads of milk, flour and sugar!

Maple Whipped Sweet Potatoes|Spoonwithme-com (9)

The sweet potato casserole I used to eat at our Thanksgiving table growing up was sugar-coma sweet with the help of syrupy condensed milk, and topped with a brown sugar walnut crumble topping.  So delicious.  Since I just can’t do it anymore, I’ve enjoyed re-vamping my favorite recipes into less processed, less sweet versions that still satisfy my warm cozy tradition craving.

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This version is made of velvety smooth sweet potatoes with just a hint of bourbon and spice, topped with crunchy cinnamon spiced bourbon and toasted pecans.  Its sweetness hints at dessert, doesn’t spoil it, and it goes perfectly with the cranberry sauce that will inevitably make its way over to the sweet potatoes on your plate.  Thanksgiving is not a holiday for the food separatists!

Maple Whipped Sweet Potatoes|Spoonwithme-com (7)

If you’re a procrastinator, here’s your recipe!  If you are a planner like my mom, tuck this one in the file for next year.  I hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving, and enjoy some kitchen shenanigans!

 Maple-Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Bourbon-Glazed Pecans

Serves  10-12

For the sweet potatoes:

5 pounds yams or orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, peeled

1 stick (1/2 cup) vegan butter such as Earth Balance (or use real butter)

3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

3/4 cups real maple syrup

big pinch of kosher salt

2 tablespoons bourbon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

For the glazed pecans:

2 cups pecans

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 1/2 tablespoons bourbon

1/3 cup vegan butter

Cut the peeled sweet potatoes into 1 inch pieces and place in a large saucepan.  Fill with water to cover the potatoes by 1 inch, and bring to a boil over high heat.  Once it begins to boil, set the timer and boil for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft but not falling apart.  Drain, then mash with a potato masher or wire whisk in the bowl of a mixer.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, almond milk, maple syrup, salt, and bourbon.  Heat and stir until the butter melts.

Add the melted butter mixture to the potatoes in the mixing bowl.  Using the whisk attachment of an electric mixer, whip the potatoes at medium speed until completely smooth.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

Toast the pecans in a nonstick frying pan over medium heat.  Once the pecans are fragrant and appear slightly darkened, remove them from the pan and chop.  Put them back in the pan over medium high heat.  Add the maple syrup, sugar, salt, and cinnamon.  Cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar melts.  Once the sugar melts, add the bourbon, and let it the liquid cook off for about a minute.  Add the butter and stir to coat.

Spread the sweet potato mixture into an 11×8 inch casserole dish.  Spread the nut mixture evenly on top.  Bake at 350˚F for 20-30 minutes, until hot.

Note:  This recipe can be assembled and refrigerated the day before.  The cooking time may need to be increased by 5-10 minutes.

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Spiced Apple Croustades

Thanksgiving is a day where you can eat dessert during dinner (sweet potato pie, anyone?), and still eat bonus dessert after dinner is all over.  It’s a time to eat slowly, and together, with friends and family.  Is your time spent laughing and joking, as was par in my family, or participating in more “mature” grown-up conversation?  Growing up with my comedian of a brother, there really was no other option.  Either way, Thanksgiving is sacred time.  Not sacred in the traditional sense, but sacred as in upheld; a time when cell phones are off, no television commercials blaring in the background, and no reason to run off to the next errand.  A time for the face-to-face conversation with people who hopefully uplift you, or if not, at least people who help you grow.

Thanksgiving also marks the starting point to the holiday finish line.  It’s really the calm before the holiday storm, although it may not feel calm now. Ovens on full whack,  family members stuffed into small kitchens, dishes full of Thanksgiving feast components…  Soon enough, there will be concerts to hear, and parties to throw and attend, and gifts to buy…  And more gifts to buy (as I’ve been reminded by all the gurus of black friday advertising).  After the turkey is roasted, and all food is magically hot and ready to put on the table at the same time (ha!), you can let out a big breath and enjoy just being for a little while before the real craziness ensues.

Speaking of all the upcoming festivities,  now’s the time to put a few tricks up your sleeve. You’re going to need a few show-stoppers in your repertoire.  The kind that people ooh and ahh over, and think you spent hours on.  The kind you want to set on the table underneath a silk scarf, and reveal like a rabbit in a hat.

I first laid eyes on these fancy little croustades in the October issue of Bon Appétit. After a little bit of customization (the original recipe needed a few tweaks to turn out right), I was thrilled with the results.  With a medium amount of effort (ie: not this, but certainly not that)  They emerged from the oven in their own little packages, tops all crackly and crisp, filled with gooey spiced apple.  A dusting of powdered sugar put them over the top, and they tasted as good as they looked.  I served them with chinese five-spice coconut milk ice cream (that’s a whole other subject, for another time), and decided to field test them for you, eating one during breakfast time, snack time, and dessert time.  I’m happy to report with confidence that these croustades are equally suited for breakfast (think apple turnovers) as they are for dessert.

Happy cooking, eating, and conversation today, and remember to keep this little gem in your repertoire for when you need a fancy little bite to add to your upcoming festivities.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Apple Croustades

Loosely Adapted from Bon Apetit

Makes 12 Croustades

The apples mixture can be made and refrigerated a day in advance, so all that will be left to do is to layer the phyllo and assemble the croustades.  It’s hard to find dairy-free desserts at this time of the year, with everything filled with heavy cream and butter.  If you’re lucky enough to be a butter-eater, by all means enjoy, but for my dairy-free friends, the results are equally good with Earth Balance.  Oh, and do be sure to thaw your phyllo dough in the refrigerator overnight, as phyllo doesn’t take kindly to thawing in most other ways.

Filling

3 pounds apples, a mix of tart and sweet

1/4 cup unsalted butter or Earth Balance vegan butter, melted

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons of cornstarch mixed to a paste with 2 teaspoons water (optional)

Pastry and Assembly

12 13×18-inch sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed (from a 1-pound package)

1 stick butter or Earth Balance Butter, melted and cooled, plus more for pans, at room temperature

1/3 cup (approximately) sugar

All-purpose flour (for pan)

powdered sugar for dusting

Equipment

Standard muffin pan

Preparation

For the filling:

Peel half the apples.  Core and chop all of the apples into 1/2” pieces.

Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium high heat.  Add the apples, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla extract, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and kosher salt.  Stir to coat.  Reduce heat to medium and cover the pan.  Cook, stirring occasionally for 10-15 minutes, or until the apples are soft but not mushy.  If much liquid remains, add the cornstarch mixture and stir well.

Set aside to cool completely.  Filling can be made and refrigerated a day in advance.

Assembly:

Preheat oven to 375˚F.

Butter the muffin cups and dust with flour, tapping out excess.

Unroll the phyllo onto a work surface and cover with a damp kitchen towel (squeeze out as much moisture from the towel as you can).

Carefully transfer 1 sheet of phyllo to a clean work surface.  Using a pastry brush, brush the surface of the phyllo with a thin layer of butter, and sprinkle with a generous teaspoon of sugar.  Top with another sheet of phyllo, brush with butter and sprinkle with sugar.  Repeat 2 more times, for a total of four layers of phyllo.Cut the layered phyllo in half lengthwise, then cut both pieces in half crosswise, for a total of four pieces.  Set aside, covered with plastic wrap to prevent drying.

Repeat the process of layering and cutting two more times with the remaining phyllo, butter and sugar, for a total of 12 rectangles.

Arrange the phyllo into each muffin cup, gently pressing the dough down the sides.  Fill each cup with 1/4 cup apple filling.  Gather the edges of the phyllo and press toward the center to make a purse.

Bake, rotating the pan halfway through, until golden brown on top, 27-35 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly.  Dust with powdered sugar.  To remove from pan, run a paring knife around the edge of each croustade, and lift them out of the muffin cups onto a serving plate.

Croustades can be returned to the muffin pan and re-warmed if needed.

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