Thanksgiving Feast 2013

Here’s a recap of the dishes I prepared for Thanksgiving.  Please forgive the poorly-lit sometimes blurry iPhone photography.  I didn’t follow a recipe for anything, but I’ll list the ingredients I used.

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Cranberry Sauce
Fresh cranberries
Juice and zest of an orange
White sugar
Water

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Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts
Olive oil
Salt + pepper

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Butternut Squash Chestnut Soup
Onions
Red bell pepper
Butternut squash
Chestnut paste
Coconut milk
Water
Salt + pepper
Cayenne pepper
Rubbed sage

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Roasted Golden Beets with Cashew Cream
Golden beets
Raw Cashews
Tahini
Lemon juice
Water
Salt

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Potato Galette
Red potatoes
Sweet potatoes
Olive oil
Fresh rosemary
Fresh thyme
Salt + pepper

I know it looks awful in the picture but it was amazingly delicious.  Next time, I won’t put any sweet potatoes on the bottom layer because they caramelized a little too much.

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Stuffed Acorn Squash
Roasted acorn squash
Farro
Dried cranberries
Almonds
Chickpeas
Olive oil
Pomegranate molasses
Salt + pepper

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I also baked an apple pie and made a huge batch of whipped coconut cream, but we were all too full to eat any dessert tonight.

What did you eat for Thanksgiving?

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Vegan on Vacation: Kauai

I had a late start contributing to the Vegan MoFo pandemonium because I was on vacation in Kauai the first week of October.  We went for my friend’s wedding and extended the trip to celebrate The BF’s 30th birthday, the following weekend.  At first, I was worried that I would have a hard time finding good food to eat, so I packed a bunch of Picky Bars and a weeks worth of Vega smoothies to make sure I didn’t starve.  It turns out, there was no need to worry, Kauai has many options to offer visiting herbivores!

In general, I try to avoid being the pain-in-the-ass vegan wedding guest.  I eat before and bring a snack bar in my purse so I don’t get stuck eating only garnish for the evening.  Planning a wedding is stressful, and I don’t want to make matters worse by expecting the bride and groom to cater to my relatively unusual dietary restrictions.  I hit the jackpot at this wedding and my emergency snack spent the whole evening in my handbag.  There was a bottomless platter of grilled veggies and the most awesome bride requested a special vegan plate for me (Curried lentil and rice cakes).  I imbibed in a few too many mai tais before the food arrived and forgot to take pictures.

The rest of this post is going to be light on words and heavy on pictures (mostly of food).  Here’s a list of things to do and places to eat that I recommend if you are fortunate to find yourself on the garden isle Kauai.

Places to eat:

Java Kai Kappa (Offering several non-dairy milks for your latte and a selection of vegan pastries)
Living Foods Market
Hoku Foods Natural Market  (The only place I found that still carries French Meadow sprouted grain bagels.  I bought every package they had in stock!)
Moloa’a Sunrise Juice Bar (The fresh non-alcoholic pina colada knocked my flip-flops off)
Postcards Cafe
Plantation Garden (This is where we had dinner for The BF’s birthday)

Things to do/places to see:

Waimea Canyon (and hike to Waipoo Falls)
Poipu Beach
Hanalei Bay
Hike the Kalalau and Hanakapi’ai Falls Trails (The 8-mile round-trip trek is worth the effort)
Tour the Na Pali Coast on a catamaran (we sailed with Captain Andy’s and the crew was fantastic)
RELAX!!!!

Lunch plate from Living Foods Market

Pina colada and fresh pineapple juice from Moloa’a Sunrise juice bar

Limeade and hibiscus cooler from Postcards Cafe

Seared polenta cakes from Postcards Cafe

The Tandoori with grilled tofu from Postcards Cafe

Chocolate silk pie from Postcards Cafe

The view from my morning runs

Fruits of our labor: free guava on the Hanakapi’ai Trail

View from the Kalalau trail

Yummy cocktails from Plantation Gardens

Tofu inari at Plantation Gardens

Tofu stir-fry from Plantation Gardens

A beautiful pair… of coconuts!

Funky Feta

I recently discovered that the April 2009 issue of Vegetarian Times featured a recipe for vegan feta cheese.  Some patience is required to make this cheese because it will not be ready to eat until two days after the beginning of the process. I’ve made two batches of the cheese, so far.  I modified the recipe for the second batch, and I think it improved the taste a bit.  My first modification was to omit the garlic.  I LOVE garlic, but I didn’t care for it in this cheese.  Second, I left the soaked almonds out on the counter for a couple days to develop a little bit of “funk”.  Probably, not the safest thing to do, but I didn’t get sick.

I was elated to find this recipe because it has allowed me to recreate many of the Turkish dishes I enjoyed as a child.  A great way to use the feta is in a grilled cheese sandwich.  Take a couple slices of good crusty bread and spread some Earth Balance on them, put some crumbled feta between the slices, and brown in a skillet.