My friend and fellow blogger, Sundry, asked me to share my tips for holiday cooking, which I am happy to do. (Quick aside: Sundry writes a very fun blog called Any Given Sundry on wordpress – check it out!) With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I want to assure you that you can enjoy a vegan feast that is hearty and satisfying with all of the flavors that you’re used to. No problem! First, the visual proof:
And yes, it is every bit as delicious as it looks. How is this possible, you ask? In 2009, I had the good fortune of attending a series of cooking classes offered by Jessica Porter, a macrobiotic chef and cookbook author, at the home of the wonderful Sanae Suzuki and Eric Lechasseur, macro chefs extraordinaire and proprietors of Seed Kitchen in Venice, California. One of those classes was a holiday feast menu, and it has become our annual tradition (and the culinary highlight of Queenie’s life each year – she adores it). There are many options for vegan Thanksgiving meals, and I’ve tried quite a few of them, such as mushrooms in puff pastry, stuffed acorn squash, store-bought holiday loafs, etc., but if you’re like us, once you taste this one, you’re going to be hooked!
The menu: home-made tofu centerpiece dish with stuffing (I’m not calling it a tofu turkey because it’s not a turkey, it doesn’t look like a turkey, I don’t want to focus on the fact that most people eat turkey… but it does stand in for that place on your plate quite nicely); yam casserole with pecan topping; mashed potatoes and gravy; steamed green beans with lemon zest; cranberry relish; and pumpkin pie. It’s all the great flavors you’re used to, but entirely cruelty-free. It’s also super healthy, devoid of both animal ingredients and also processed sugar, something that macrobiotic cooking eschews. When I started making this feast, Mr. Man and I marveled at how light and happy we felt, even after stuffing ourselves! No food comas for us.
To begin, you’re going to turn a lot of tofu into something to house your delicious stuffing.
Using an immersion blender is the easiest way to do this. Whir and whip that tofu into a smooth, creamy puree. Here is Queenie blending in 2010. She is in charge of the tofu every year.
Next you will press all of that tofu into a colander that has been lined with cheesecloth. Weigh that down and let the excess liquid drain out in the refrigerator for a day, making sure to have something to catch said liquid underneath. You are creating a tofu dome, that you will then hollow out and stuff with the yumminess of your choice. The stuffed dome is then basted with a mixture of soy sauce and sesame oil and slow baked to heavenly perfection. Here are the complete instructions from Jessica Porter’s site: http://www.hipchicksmacrobiotics.com/blog/its-that-time-again/
Be sure to invite your loved ones over to enjoy the deliciousness.
And, naturally, you must have pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. Or, at least, I must. Vegan pumpkin pie? Of course!
There are a million vegan pumpkin pie recipes out there, both searchable on the internet and in cookbooks. I’m not yet sure which one I’ll be making this year. I will let you know!
Two added bonuses to this wonderful feast, one that’s typical and one that’s not:
1. Leftovers!!! This food tastes great for days, if it lasts that long.
2. You’re saving lives when you eat this way. That’s something to be thankful for, to be sure. This photo was taken at the Celebration for the Turkeys at Farm Sanctuary’s Animal Acres in Acton, California.
I encourage you to host a compassionate Thanksgiving celebration. With food this tasty, your friends and family should be won over and you’ll have tons of fun, amazing their taste buds. And your home will smell SO good while everything’s cooking! If, however, you are going to someone else’s house for the holiday meal, I suggest offering to bring some dishes that work for you. I have, upon occasion, brought this stuffed tofu dome, but an easier solution is to bring a variety of sides that will form a complete meal for you and complement the things being served by your host.
However you end up celebrating, may it nourish your body and your soul.