Well, it’s time I get off my butt and post photos and recipes from last week’s Thanksgiving dinner. Even though DH is starting to get more finicky with age, I still managed to include some savory dishes. We basically holed up in his parent’s cabin in the woods of middle Michigan, got snowed in, read, surfed the Internet, watched movies, cooked and I crocheted while he played guitar in front of the fire. Sort of. Ok, well, I got started crocheting something but I don’t remember what it was going to be so I’ll just keep going on it, some day. He started recording his annual Christmas Squirrel Song [UPDATE: the song is done and you can get it here] but didn’t get very far because he realized he wanted some background harmony and I wasn’t going to cooperate.

We also invited some friends to join us for a few days and eat leftovers. Yes, I served leftovers to our best friends. I just couldn’t figure out a way to get all the cooked food back in the car for a 5-hour drive back to Chicago on Sunday. Speaking of which, we barely made it. Now everything near the cabin is snowed in again.

Field Roast’s Hazelnut Cranberry Roast En Croute, corn, beans and Wild Rice with Drunken Raisins.
Shown clockwise from noon are: corn muffins from VwaV, roasted green beans with garlic, corn with sauteed shallots, Wild Rice with Drunken Raisins, tangerine cranberry sauce from Vegan Yum Yum, Hazelnut Roast slices, mashed potatoes and garlic with mushroom gravy, and centered is sauteed Swiss Chard.

The tangerine cranberry sauce and mushroom gravy recipes can be found here at Vegan Yum Yum’s website. The cranberry sauce is amazing and I’m using it now in place of preserves for toast and corn muffins. The mushroom gravy is awesome although DH swore he tasted sage in it  ;-]

The corn muffins are in Isa’s Vegan with a Vengeance cookbook although I substituted frozen corn in place of the blueberries. These are sooo yummy fresh from the oven but if you keep them several days, try keeping them NOT tightly covered. I kept mine in Tupperware® and by the end of the 2nd day, they were starting to get soft and lost the crunchy crusty outside.

The Hazelnut Cranberry Roast En Croute was had at the Whole Foods deli counter 4 days prior to T-day. I wrapped it tightly in foil and froze it ’til morning of. Thawed in the fridge, basted with Earth Balance margarine and reheated in the oven on 350°F.

Here are the recipes for the rest, some so simple I shouldn’t even be writing them down:

Wild Rice Dressing with Drunken Raisins

This is the kind of dressing you can serve the in-laws and be a hit. The cognac is very fragrant and makes the little raisins like little bursts of sweet drunkenness. Of course, it’s all cooked so you can serve it to children, but why waste it?

  • 1/2 c. white raisins
  • 1/4 c. cognac (those little tiny bottles are about this much)
  • 6 T. margarine
  • 1/4 c. finely chopped shallots
  • 2 c. boiled rice (I use 1 c. brown rice to 1 c. wild rice)
  • 2 c. chopped pistachios

1. Soak raisins in cognac for 10 minutes.
2. Saute raisins and cognac in margarine in a large saucepan.
3. Add shallots and saute until translucent.
4. Toss with rice and nuts.

NOTE: I know this sounds like a lot of pistachios but trust me, it’s worth it. It’s also worth it to mix your rice types. The wild rice adds visual interest and a bit more crunchiness than you get from the brown rice. Just make sure you cook your two types of rice separately since their times and water needs are different, per package instructions. Also, chop the shallots and pistachios to be about the same size as the raisins. It ensures that there are no long stringy shallot pieces or humongous nuts to interrupt the eating experience.

Easy Corn and Shallots

  • 4 cups of frozen corn
  • 1 shallot, halved and then sliced thin with a mandolin
  • 2 to 3 T. Earth Balance margarine
  • 3 T. water
  • salt and pepper to taste

Melt margarine in large saucepan. Add shallot and saute until translucent. Add corn, water, salt and pepper and toss with margarine and shallots. Cover tightly and simmer for 15 minutes. This is pretty close to my grandma’s corn in southern Indiana but without the lard.

No Brainer Roasted Green Beans

  • bag of washed, long, nice looking, green beans, with stem ends trimmed
  • big bowl to toss them in
  • about 3 T. olive oil
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • salt and pepper to taste

Toss the beans, oil, garlic, salt and pepper in the bowl until beans are well coated. Spread beans on a large cookie sheet or shallow roasting pan. Broil in the oven about 10 to 15 minutes but not too close to the broiler element. Lower the rack at least two notches. Watch ’em and pull when they start to get those roasty looking welts.

Lazy Smashed Potatoes

  • big pot of water
  • enough chopped potatoes to fill it yet stay under water
  • Earth Balance margarine, as much as you want
  • 2 to 4 cloves of garlic, crushed, use as much as you want if you’re sleeping alone that night
  • soy or rice milk, only enough to make creamy and NO MORE

Bring potatoes to a boil and boil the hell out of them, no really, just till a fork goes into a big chunk easily and they look like they’re cracking up. Drain those puppies gently so you don’t smoosh them in the drainer. While they’re draining, melt the margarine in the same pot, saute the garlic until bubbly and smelly. Gently plop (yeah, plop) the potatoes back into the pan with the bubbly and smash with a hand held potato masher. Personally, I think handheld electric mixers are for wimps and you really can’t get a feel for the taters unless you’re doing the smashing. You can also use the potato masher to stir them around the pot when you add the soy milk, which, you’re going to add in tiny dribbles until you get a creamy yet stiff texture. Don’t overdue the milk unless you want a potato slushy.

Insanely Simple Swiss Chard

  • 3 bunches of swiss chard
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced or crushed
  • 1/2 c. water
  • salt as needed, likely a teaspoon or so

1. Cut stems and ribs from chard leaves and slice, set aside. Chop leaves coarsely and keep separate from stems and ribs.
2. In the biggest sauce pot you’ve got, heat oil until hot and saute stems and ribs until crisp/tender. Stems will start to look like those chopped pieces of red licorice at this point.
3. Add garlic and saute until smelly.
4. Add leaves and toss until wilted.
5. Add water and cook covered until leaves are tender, about 5 minutes.
6. Season with salt.

NOTE: Serve using a slotted spoon so folks can choose to strain out the ruby red juice from the leafy greens if they don’t want their roast or potatoes turning red on their plate.