Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving - Harvest Feast

 I'm pretty new to the idea of Thanksgiving. It has been 10 years of learning this tradition , and still very is so much to discover. As a vegetarian I do have a little bit different approach to that day. No pressure on perfect turkey that day in my kitchen.

 The most essential part that I so adore the most about that day is mandatory rule for all family members to help out with cooking.  So far I didn't even have to ask for help, kids just flee the kitchen with joyful heartwarming need to help mama with preparation of the FEAST.  Oliver and Maya are pro potato peelers and really wish for bigger gatherings and more potato dishes. So far we are stuck with sweet potato fries, baked mini potatoes and mashed potatoes...they said that next year we should have two more variations.

  Amelie is definitely my pro chopper, she actually manged to make Waldorf  salad all by herself !

 Delicious Waldorf Salad was one of my finest discoveries of culinary adventures during  my very first Thanksgiving dinner.Simple recipe : celery, apples, raisins,walnuts, lettuce and yummy dressing mayo/ yogurt/ honey with a little bit of chives totally blends beautify with potato dishes or succotash.

Apple Waldorf salad recipe
  • 3 or 4 apples, unpeeled, cut from the core, and chopped into bite size pieces (about 3 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1 cup celery, cut in long sticks
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, toasted taste better
  • 1/3 cup yougurt 
  • 2 table spoons of mayo
  •  honey, splash or 2 
  • pinch of salt
  • chives, as much as you wish 
  • lettuce , about 2 cups, shredded or chopped
Don’t bother peeling the apples unless their skins are really unattractive. Cut up 3 or 4 of them, until you get about 2-1/2 or 3 cups of chopped apples. Sprinkle the lemon juice over the apples. The acid in the lemon juice prevents the apples from turning brown. The raisins will taste best if you plump them first. Do this by measuring them into a cereal bowl and adding enough warm tap water to cover them completely. Allow them to sit for a few minutes, absorbing the water, and softening up. Drain them very well when you need them. I actually squeeze them to make sure they are very dry. Chop up the celery, it should take about 2 stalks or so.Toast walnuts in the oven on 350F for about 7 min. Mix everything together in a medium sized bowl with the mayonnaise, yogurt , honey and salt, coating all of the ingredients with the dressing. It is now ready to serve, or you can chill it overnight and serve it tomorrow instead. This is so crunchy and chewy, perfect sweet and tangy salad.

  Another  great family tradition for that day is baking those delicious Rolls Baked in a Jar . Kids skip the rosemary part, but it still tastes pretty awesome, and they love the idea of many little steps of baking that goodness ...of course with grand finally of pulling out the rolls from the jars.

 And yes, those yummy rolls go fantastically well  with cranberry sauce, that  kids make. Super easy recipe, fresh orange juice, cinnamon sticks, maple syrup , stir it here and very and hear it pop .

 One of my favorite foods for that day is fantastic succotash , traditional Native American food dish made with primarily of corn  and lima beans or other shell beans. The very first step is very important - blanching onions with butter ! that gives the whole dish a little bit of sweetness. After that add peppers, red or green, saute a little bit, add beans and corn, cook about 15 minutes. I like adding herbs as well, sage, thyme and oregano bring a nice earthy flavors of harvest season.

  We also have mushroom spinach tart, baked brussel sprouts with almonds ( yum), vegetarian gravy made with mushroom stock and nutritional yeast ( yes, that is super yum ).

   The grand finally for the evening is the glorious pumpkin pie made with assistance of Oliver -my sweet pastry chef  and Maya -dough rolling girl .

 Making vegetarian Thanksgiving feast is totally possible, it happens every year in my house. We celebrate our family with delicious foods giving thanks for a delightful harvest . And we let one turkey run wild.


  1. I'm in Australia and don't celebrate Thanksgiving, but as a vegetarian I love reading about how other people cook up all of these yummy recipes instead! Your feast looks amazing.

  2. SO happy to know that you have visually enjoyed our feast all the way in Australia :).I'm originally fro Poland, so Thanksgiving is a new tradition to me. It took me few years to figure out how to make the Turkey Day fun and interesting for vegetarians and kids. It's definitely working for us, and yes, we all do love cooking and hope to spread that love to the world :) Vegetarian dishes are super healthy, yummy and fun. I can't think of substitute for that.