Saturday, November 1, 2008

November Feast!

We celebrated Thanksgiving a little early this year, with our own holiday meal, vegetarian-style, of course! The presenters this month were five Veg Group members who veganized (or made vegetarian) traditional Thanksgiving dishes or ones that were family favorites.

First up was this beautiful homemade stuffing, made just this morning with real bread cubes (toasted) and a variety of other seasonings, spices and fruits. Delicious! This was presented after a discussion of the "unsavory" ingredients typically found in a bag of ready-to-make store bought stuffing. The member who made this also brought two Quorn meat-less rolls for us to try (vegetarian, not vegan), which were quite a hit for their meat-like texture. (I forgot to get a photo of them - sorry!)

The second presenter is famous for her "off the cuff" dishes, which always amaze us. This time, she described how she caramelized onions as the base for this dish using wild rice and barley. She typically adds whatever other leftovers she has around when she is cooking at home, such as chickpeas. Slivered almonds were later scattered across the surface for a beautiful display.

The third presenter talked about her father's famous potato salad, and how everyone always begged him to make it every year. Thankfully for them, he always relented! Here is her version of a German potato salad, with far less mayonnaise (Nayonnaise, this time) than her father might have used. Fresh and comforting!

The fourth presenter, a certified chef and local restaurant owner, brought in this dish to share: an apple-flavored stuffing. Soft and creamy! There was plenty to go around! She discussed how she had grown up avoiding meat at Thanksgiving anyway, and we all agreed that side dishes are the best part of any holiday meal!

The fifth and final presenter ended the sharing time with desserts, of course! Here is her Nana's famous apple crisp. The recipe is direct from the school cafeteria where she used to work (although cut down in size!).

She also presented her Nana's easy peanut butter-chocolate no-bake cookies. In fifteen minutes, with no special ingredients, these can be in your mouth (I mean, on your plate) and ready to take to your next holiday gathering!

Of course, all the other Veg Group members (and some newbies - welcome!!) brought their special dishes, too. Everything was devoured!

Here is a rice, bean and corn dish, comforting on a cold fall day!

This rice dish (we make a lot of rice dishes because we have several Celiac members) had a twist of dried fruit and diced veggies.

Our raw foodist of the group brought an amazingly creamy zucchini dip. We can't wait to see what he'll make when he presents in April!

Butternut squash is a fall favorite at many Thanksgiving meals. Mixed with a little sweetener and chili powder, this was another perfect dish!

What would our meals be without Bob's famous rosemary focaccia bread?

A bright and cheery beet salad/slaw gave us fiber and vitamins with every crunchy bite!

A bean and pepper salad was a cool contrast to the other warm dishes.

Of course, what would a feast be without a salad and homemade salad dressing?

(I apologize if I missed taking photos of anyone's dish! I really tried to get them all.)

Then, we all chowed down. See you next month for a presentation on vegan desserts! (N.B. - we may be meeting on the second Saturday in December (the 13th), instead of the first. We'll keep you posted!).

Happily absent was the ubiquitous turkey. Perhaps she was wandering around Farm Sanctuary?