Butternut Squash Dressing
I’ve always found that it’s hardest to be a vegetarian around the holidays – so much of the celebration revolves around food and so much of that food involves meat. From turkey to brisket to ham to venison, the traditional feasts revolve around a core protein of the animal variety. When I first went vegetarian I had to accept that my holiday meal would consists of sides and for the first few years that was rather rough though there was always one exception: the dressing. More often then not, the dressing would feature breadcrumbs of some form with vegetables and even tho it was normally on the dry side since no gravy – most of them were rather amazing. For the past few years my contribution to the holidays have been my sweet potatoes but this year I wanted to try and completely veganize a stuffing that would be moist and amazing regardless of gravy. So I set out to search the internet and various grocery stores to see what all was out there for me to mess with. In the end I came up with this (in my opinion) awesome dressing that could work for more than just the BIG holiday meals. In fact, I think it would be the perfect stuffing for an acorn squash!
I was surprised how many stuffing mixes were vegan as I was expecting most of them to feature whey, eggs, and/or turkey. Most of the “plain” and “original” varieties turned out to be vegan while most of the ones featuring spices or seasoning were generally vegetarian – featuring whey. The stuffing was fantastic and moist tho most of us did enjoy it with some vegan mushroom gravy from Whole Foods (seriously, that stuff is insanely good). All in all an awesome side dish that can be enjoyed by vegans and turkey-eaters alike!
As of now I’m not really that much of a fan on 2015 – the year has just started and so far it’s been rather annoying. Our first attempt at DIVF was a bust, our FET has been put on hold, my car is on the verge of dying as is our oven, while my cell phone had an accident this morning so it’s basically busted. I know that most of these things, okay all but the cell phone, are out of our control but at the same time – this is just insane!!! I thought bad things happened in groups of three and so beyond three at this point.
Quinoa with Beets, Beans, and Berries
I still can’t believe this year is almost over – and that /52weeksofcooking is almost done (again). It’s been a fun adventure with new ingredients and techniques and cuisines, which is why I can’t wait to see what themes are picked for next year. I’m also a little behind, so today’s dish is actually from week 49 where dried fruit were the theme. I debated going with something sweet, oatmeal raisin cookies or similar, but after seeing some fantastic looking beets at the market I decided to go with something savory. After all, there is more than enough junk food this time of year! The beets I picked up still had the greens attached, however I know that’s not always the case so feel free to switch out for some swiss chard or collards.
This dish is one where layering the ingredients really comes off – and keeps the leaves from turning bright pink. I enjoyed this dish “naked” while Joe topped his with some grated Parmesan cheese, soy crumbles would also work for those wanting to add more salt to the dish. I’m more of a bitter person, which is why I loved how the tart of the cranberries went against the natural sweet of the beets.
Acorn Squash with Dried Fruit
When I saw the challenge for /r/52weeksofcooking was Native American – I was a bit nervous but not for any of the normal reasons. Recently there has been some uproar on blogger “feedback” sites about the insensitivity of bloggers as it relates to other cultures/religions/practices with a focus on cultural approbation. While I would hope that posting a recipe would not be considered cultural stealing, I still paused to weigh if it would be worth being a potential target on one of those more venomous sites, especially after “yelpgate” a few weeks ago. In the end I decided that sharing recipes should always be allowed, regardless of where (or where not) a person is from. After all, everyone has to eat!
In the end, it’s a balancing act – and I can only hope that this post strikes the right note as I would really like to avoid getting messages (again) about how I need to be hit by a truck. I enjoyed this dish as is, while my cheese loving spouse adding some Parmesan Cheese to his. I think in the future I’ll go full stew, instead of debating back and forth while making the dish.
I’m also sending this over to Simple and in Season, hosted by the always fabulous Ren Behan since Acorn Squash is in its prime right now – and there is something very fall-like when it comes to dried fruit treats.
Plov: Vegetarian Style
Sometimes I make a dish with no idea what is going to happen at the end – to include if it will even be edible. I had heard of Plov before, thanks to Silk Road Bistro, but wanted to make it more of a main dish without the standard lamb. Lots of googling gave me a good list of vegetables to start with: carrots, onions, and garlic – along with the addition of some variety of currant. When it came to the main protein all I knew is that I didn’t want to go with tofu, I wanted something with a firm bite to it as a contrast to the soft vegetables. I decided to go with chickpeas since their origins in Turkey led me to believe they would have easily spread to the Central Asia region that I was focusing on for this dish.
Another thanks to /r/52weeksofcooking for sending me on another delicious food journey – I’ve learned so much in doing these weekly challenges and can’t wait til the next one! Though of all the dishes I’ve made for this challenge, this one is easily in the top 5 as the ingredients are all standard ones making it super easy to prepare. Ever since Wegmans added cranberries to their bulk food section I’ve had a fresh supply in my pantry – and while they aren’t burberries they are delicious.