Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

Lois and Mark hosted the clan up in Matawatchan for Thanksgiving with a full house. Gord, Linda, Sarah, Brenda, Bill, James, Ryan, Alex, Penny, Rob and I. Lots of laughter, an amazing sunset, a fantastic meal, a bonfire under the stars and waning moon.

When the fire was going strong, we tossed handfuls of sugar to boost the flames with a magical 'bam.' Then inside to play Cards Against Humanity. It seems most everyone slept pretty soundly, although someone said they woke briefly to a symphony of snores in the middle of the night.

In the morning, I opened my eyes to mist rising on the hills and three deer wandering in the frost. Breakfast, a walk in the woods, and then a leisurely drive home with Penny and Alex. We made a few stops along the way. A quart of honey from a roadside stand, a bunch of fresh garlic from a charming cottage called River House, and then apple-picking at Pieter's Appleyard. We stopped in Port Hope to watch the salmon run on the Ganaraska River, cheering for them to make the jump against the rushing water. Listening to music, playing 20 questions when we got bored.

A perfect two days!

One of the best-tasting Thanksgiving meals ever, partly because of all the vegetarian dishes. Lots of recipes for meals to come, to be served with side accompaniments of happy memories.

Sweet Potato Casserole

6 extra large sweet potato (8 medium)
3 large eggs & 1 egg white
1/4 c brown sugar
1 c milk 
1tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ginger
1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
4 tsp butter melted
3/4 c brown sugar
2/3 c all purpose flour
1/4 c butter softened 
1 and 1/2 c chopped walnuts
Note:  Bake the sweet potato rather than microwave and you'll have a sweeter potato but microwave can be substituted.
Preheat oven to 350 
Put the sweet potato's right on the rack.  (No need to scrub or peel.)
Cook for 90 min. Let cool slightly.  Cut the skins off.  
Whip up the eggs until nice and fluffy.  
Add sugar, melted butter, spices, milk & vanilla and mix in well.
Add skinned sweet potato to egg mixture and blend until smooth.

Spaghetti Squash

Bake or microwave Spaghetti squash halves (scooped out) over some water to steam them. (Cover dish with foil if baking. Do NOT use foil if microwaving, but poke holes in the top of squash halves with a fork if nuking. Microwave is great if doing a smaller dish - 8 to 10 mins on high. Details for cooking easily Googled.

String cooked squash into a bowl with a fork and add chopped Roma tomatoes, lots of fresh or dried basil, butter until it seems right, ground black pepper. Leave it all together in a bowl for flavours to mingle.

Place squash mixture on the bottom of baking dish. Add shredded cheese and top with grated parmesan. Cook.

Stir-Fry Veg & Tofu

Combine and set aside:
1/4 c. soya sauce
1 tbsp. hoisin sauce
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
2 tsp. corn starch

Finely mince together and set aside:
1" piece ginger
3 cloves garlic
1 small onion (chopped more coarsely)
2 jalapeño peppers with seeds 

Chop, combine and set aside:
3 or 4 Portabella mushrooms (sliced fat)
Shiitake mushrooms if you got em
3 carrots sliced on the diagonal
3 celery stalks sliced on the diagonal
Green, Yellow or Red peppers sliced
1 bag mixed stir fry veggies (optional) 

Have ready on the side:
1 bag snow peas (I like to cut the top and string off)
Unsalted cashews (optional)
5 or 6 chopped green onions 
Sesame oil to drizzle 

1 or more firm or extra firm tofu brick, cubed 


Stir fry tofu in oil over medium high heat until brown, place on paper towels (takes longer than you think, about 12 mins?

In large wok, stir fry ginger/garlic mixture in a bit of oil until fragrant, about a minute, but don't brown it. Add mushroom/carrot mixture about 4 mins.

Add 1/2 cup water and cover (to steam the veggies). Reduce heat to medium low for about 3 minutes.

Remove cover and stir in soya/hoisin mixture until thickened. 
Add tofu, cashews and peas until peas just done.

Before serving add chopped green onions and a bit of sesame oil for flavour

Seven Layer Salad
(Gord's famous) 
1. One head of regular lettuce washed and pulled into reasonable sized pieces put aside to dry.
2. One average sized Vidalia onion chopped small.
3. Several stalks of celery chopped small and mixed with two tbsp. of sugar.
4. Light Hellmans mayonnaise enough to fully conceal the celery.
5. Cover to conceal mayo with frozen sweet peas.
6. Cover peas with shredded old cheddar.
7. Layer cheddar with generous Portion of cooked bacon.
If you have a clear 4" x 10" salad bowl it should all fit perfectly but if you have to improvise, it all compresses rather well.
You can serve right away but it always tastes better when left overnight.
So easy and so good.

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