Adventures in Ethics and Science

Here are the rest of the recipes for dishes that I’m making for Thanksgiving this year (with the exception of pumpkin pie — I’m still shopping for a pumpkin pie recipe).

I’ll mention here (and should have mentioned in the previous post that all the measurements here are U.S. quantities (cups, teaspoons, tablespoons, etc.). Those of you using non-US measuring cups and measuring spoons will want to find a good conversion guide.

PEARL ONIONS IN MUSTARD CREAM SAUCE

You can trim, peel, and boil fresh small onions, but you can also use a bag of frozen pearl onions. Either way, you want to boil them until they’re tender, not crunchy.

Then, you’re going to make a cream sauce with dijon mustard. If you have a favorite cream sauce recipe, go with that. Ours is something like this:

In a saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Stir in 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour and cook until lightly browned but not burned. Add 1.5 cups whole milk (or a mixture of milk and cream) and stir well so there are no lumps of flour. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the mixture thickens up and starts to bubble. Add 1 tablespoon prepared dijon mustard and stir to incorporate. Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Add the cooked onions to the cream sauce.

We have also made a vegan version of this sauce using vegetable oil instead of butter and unflavored soymilk instead of milk. It was pretty good.

CITRUS SLAW

Shred 1 small head cabbage and 1-3 carrots (enough to make 10-12 cups of shreds).

Combine:
juice of 1 large orange
5 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin or sherry
0.5 teaspoon sugar

Toss cabbage and carrots with dressing. (If it’s going to be awhile before you eat the slaw, refrigerate the shreds and the dressing separately.)

VEGETARIAN BREAD STUFFING

This is the one dish without which it doesn’t feel like Thanksgiving to me. It tastes a lot like my mother’s (non-vegetarian) bread stuffing cooked in the bird, and it took me several Thanksgivings of trial and error to work out the proportions.

Dry out about 16 slices of bread in an oven at 200 oF. I use a mix of whole grain breads, usually including some sourdough. When cool enough, break the bread into rough cubes. You should end up with enough dried bread cubes to fill a gallon zipper bag.

Finely mince 1 large onion and 2-3 celery ribs. Wash, trim, and thinly slice 12 oz. white or crimini mushrooms.

In a large Dutch oven, melt 8 tablespoons (1 stick) of butter. Add the onion and celery and saute until translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook a few minutes more.

Add 1 tablespoon each dried marjoram, dried thyme, dried sage, and dried parsley and 1 teaspoon seasoned salt and stir the mixture. Add the dried bread cubes ad stir to coat.

Gradually add 1 quart vegetable broth (we use the organic vegetable broth Trader Joe’s sells) and stir until all the bread cubes are saturated.

Transfer the mixture into a baking pan (either a 9 inch by 9 inch cake pan or a “5 lb. loaf” pan works well). Cover with foil and put in an oven at 300 oF. After about 30 minutes, remove the foil and return to the oven until the top of the stuffing is nice and crispy.

Sometimes I’ll add a cup of walnut pieces, but then you have to watch the last (uncovered) period of baking more carefully to avoid burning the nuts.

CRANBERRY RELISH

Have you bought a 12 oz. bag of fresh cranberries? There’s a good chance this recipe is on the bag.

Wash 12 oz. whole raw cranberries. Put the cranberries and a navel orange (cut into quarters) into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped but not liquified. Stir in about 0.75 cups sugar (more or less, to taste).

I usually add a heavy pinch of ground cardomom. Also, if I have Meyer lemons on hand, I sometimes throw in a quarter of a Meyer lemon for one of the navel orange quarters and increase the sugar a little.

PERSIMMON SEMIFREDDO

I used this recipe from the New York Times, with a few adjustments:

Our tree produced a bounty of Fuyu persimmons this year, so I used those instead of hachiya. Because the ripe Fuyu persimmons were firm rather than squishy, I halved them, put them in a lidded microwave-safe container with a couple inches of water, and microwaved them on high for 5 minutes. When they were cool enough to handle, I peeled them and pureed them with an immersion blender.

Instead of Grand Marnier, I used Patron Citronge. (It’s what we like in our sidecars.)

I didn’t do the thing with marbling the mixture with a table knife. The scoops of the two mixtures ended up mixed enough just going into the loaf pan.

TORTA DELLA ZUCCA

Puree from 1 medium butternut squash
1 cup crushed ginger thin cookies
1 cup crushed almond thin cookies
6 crushed Pepperidge Farm Bordeaux cookies
1 egg
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa
grated zest of one lemon
1 Fuji apple, peeled, cored, and grated
1 tablespoon butter

Mix cookie crumbs into squash puree until completely incorporated. Mix in egg, brown sugar, cocoa, lemon zest, and grated apple.

Transfer batter to a buttered 10-inch springform pan. Dot with butter. Bake on center rack at 400 oF for 70-80 minutes (until toothpick inserted into center of torte comes out clean).

Based on a recipe in the Fall 2008 Wellesley College alumnae magazine. I made significant changes in the method of preparation and some of the ingredients.

Important update: These baking instructions produced a burned torte! Oy! The second try, baking 45 minutes at 325 oF, succeeded. I suspect all the sugar from the cookie crumbs make this a burn-risk, so keep an eye on it!

Comments

  1. #1 chezjake
    November 25, 2008

    Yum! Your taste seems to mesh very well with mine.

    A few thoughts:
    - Consider adding 1 tbsp (or more) capers (and a bit of the juice from the caper jar instead of salt) to the mustard cream sauce for onions.
    - I like your stuffing recipe, except I’m rather amazed it doesn’t call for any black pepper. Perhaps that should be added, freshly ground, at the table.
    - I’ve had good success with adding 2-3 tbsp freshly grated ginger root to the standard cranberry/orange relish (and I always use less sugar than called for).

    I’m looking forward to trying the Torta Della Zucca.

    Thanks again for sharing.

  2. #2 Barry Leiba
    November 25, 2008

    On the pumpkin pie: I’ve long ago switched to pumpkin cheesecake — just made mine this afternoopn. I’ll be happy to send you my recipe for that, if you like.

  3. #3 Cathy
    November 27, 2008

    You have Fuyu persimmons and you like cranberries. Try this recipe: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Persimmon-Cranberry-Sauce-233000

    It was a huge hit at our table this year.

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