Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Gruyere-Crusted Root Vegetables

You can use whatever kind of root vegetables you want here: try a mix of potatoes, something assertive like turnips or rutabagas, and something sweet like beets, parsnips or sweet potatoes. If you use parsnips or sweet potatoes, be careful not to put them on the bottom, since they'll burn easily. If you're going the beet route, use golden beets or chioggia beets so you don't turn the entire dish pink. We served this with a dollop of kale pesto.

3 lbs root vegetables (we used chioggia beets, golden turnips and Yukon gold potatoes)
4 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Slice root vegetables 1/8 inch thick (please, for the love of all things holy, do this with a mandoline if you've got one). Melt the butter and toss with the root vegetables in a medium-sized cast-iron skillet. Cover with aluminum foil (or a lid, if you were smart enough to register for a cast-iron skillet with a lid. Next time we get married, next time...). Bake for half an hour, then uncover and bake 10 more minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and bake another ten minutes, until bubbly and golden-brown on top.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Pumpkin Coconut Milk Ice Cream

We've been perfecting our coconut milk ice cream technique for a few months, ever since we realized we were busting our grocery budget on Coconut Bliss, the most rich, delicious frozen treat on the market for the lactose-intolerant among you. This rendition is our creamiest and most authentic yet--it really has the texture and decadence of ice cream. Try this for Thanksgiving and please everyone from Grandpa Meat-and-Potatoes to Cousin Vegan-Liberation. We prefer to use our low-glycemic index friend, agave nectar, but any sweetener will do.

1 14-ounce can coconut milk (regular, not low-fat)
3 tablespoons cooked pumpkin puree (canned works well -- but make sure it's unflavored)
1/4 - 1/2 cup sweetener (agave, honey, maple syrup, sucanat, sugar)
1 inch piece of ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
a pinch of allspice

Grate the ginger and then squeeze it between your fingers or in a cheesecloth to extract the juice. Discard the squeezed ginger pulp. Combine the ginger juice with all of the ingredients except the sweetener and whisk well.

Heat the mixture over a low flame and add the sweetener slowly, tasting as you go. (It won't need to be very hot, just enough to dissolve the sugar and meld the flavors.) Transfer to the fridge until it's cool, then follow the directions for your particular ice cream maker.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Yogurt-Mashed Parsnips and Potatoes with Thyme

Take a break from mashing your spuds with milk and butter--these mashed potatoes are enlivened with fresh flavors from parsnips, thyme and yogurt. The sweetness of the parsnips works wonderfully with the tang of plain yogurt, and you get some extra probiotics and calcium out of the deal, too.

3 medium-sized Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and diced (we keep the skins on)
4 parsnips, scrubbed and diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons plain whole-milk yogurt
salt and pepper to taste

Place the potatoes and parsnips in a saucepan with water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes, until vegetables are fork-tender. Drain, return to the pan, and mash with the thyme, olive oil and yogurt. Add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Whole-Grain Stuffing with Apricots and Allspice

Perusing the mainstream Thanksgiving stuffing recipes available, we once more found ourselves thinking, "Again with the day-old artisan bread?" Apricots and allspice bring a little Syrian flair to this complex-carb incarnation, which is comforting and delicious on its own or stuffed inside whatever festive protein you're into. This serves 4-6 as a side dish, so scale up if you have a bigger crowd.

2 tablespoons butter
1 small leek, white and pale green parts, diced
3 ribs celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
6 slices whole-grain bread (we used Alvarado St. sprouted bread), cubed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon allspice
1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped roughly
1 egg
1 and 1/2 cups vegetable stock
Olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add leeks, celery and garlic and saute 5 minutes, then transfer to a greased 9 x 13 inch casserole. Reheat skillet and toast bread cubes and add those to the casserole with the vegetables. Mix in thyme, allspice and apricots. Beat together egg and stock and stir into stuffing. Drizzle olive oil over the top, salt and pepper to taste and bake for 30 minutes.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Raw Cranberry Sauce

The last thing you need while you're trying to make Thanksgiving dinner is another simmering pot to keep track of...especially one filled with popping cranberries. This year, just go raw. All you have to do is throw everything in a food processor and press go.

Try to get an organic orange, since you'll be using the whole thing, peel and all.

1 and 1/2 cups cranberries
1 whole unpeeled Valencia or other juicy orange, chopped
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger

Combine all ingredients in your food processor and grind.