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Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Pot Pie

Since we are vegetarians, Thanksgiving is an adventurous holiday for us. I have to whip up our own gravy and stuffing, since those are my two favorite parts and are usually made with some sort of meat product, and I have to come up with a main course. I usually buy the Quorn Turk'y Roast because my boyfriend likes the idea of something resembling turkey. I could care less, but the Quorn company does make a good alternative to everyone's favorite white meat - it tastes almost exactly like the white meat of a turkey breast. But I like something different. This time of year is filled with luscious root vegetables, and since Thanksgiving is supposed to be about celebrating the harvest, this a great time of year for me to experiment with rutabagas, parsnips and sweet potato. My favorite thing to make is a veggie pot pie. When I was a kid my parents used to buy those terrible frozen pot pies in the freezer section, and I was traumatized by them. Last Thanksgiving, though, my step-daughter requested pot pie for our meal and I trusted her. Thankfully. It was delicious and I couldn't wait to make it again, served with sweet potato soup, it was the perfect fall meal.

Fall Veggie Pot Pie
2 9inch pie crusts (store bought or home-made, or get creative and try something different altogether!)
1 large parsnip, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
2 large potatoes, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 handful of greens
1 1/2 C gravy
3/4 C vegetable stock
3 T butter
salt and pepper
2 T oil

Make pie crust or pull out of package and put bottom layer in pie pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, parsnips, carrots, and potatoes and saute for 10 minutes, until tender. Add 1/2 cup of stock and simmer gently over medium high heat until most of stock is gone. Add garlic and greens and mix thoroughly. Add gravy and stir to coat everything. Add last 1/4 cup of stock to veggies then pour into pie plate. Place 3 T of butter, over top of veggies then cover with other crust. Cut a few small slits into top crust (or make a decoration with it if you're crafty), then place on baking sheet. Bake in oven about 45 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and let sit 5-10 minutes in order to set before cutting and serving. Enjoy with stuffing, sweet potatoes and gravy for a full Thanksgiving meal.

Spaghetti Squash Alfredo

I got my Thanksgiving holiday CSA share from Little Ridge Farm and was overwhelmed with all the beautiful squashes. Most exciting was the 2 beautiful spaghetti squash because I knew those would be a giant hit with the kids - I just tossed in greens (their favorite) and made a quick alfredo sauce for a hearty, healthy meal.

Spaghetti Squash
1 large spaghetti squash, halved

Heat oven to 400 degrees and place squash, cut sides down in a baking dish with a little water. Bake 30 minutes, flip over and bake another 15, until center is soft. Remove from oven and scoop out seeds, then use a fork to scrap insides into a bowl.

Braised Greens
1 clump of greens - I used swiss chard, stem removed and diced, leaves roughly chopped
1 small onion, halved lengthwise and sliced thin
5 cloves garlic, chopped
3 T oil (use something with good flavor like Safflower or Olive or Grapeseed)
Salt & Pepper

Heat oil in pan over medium heat, then add onions, garlic, and diced chard stems and saute 5 minutes. Add leaves, sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper and stir thoroughly. Let cook 3-5 minutes until leaves are wilted. Add some water, maybe about 3 T, cover and gently simmer for about 5 minutes. Turn off heat and keep covered until alfredo sauce is ready.

Not-Alfredo Sauce
1/2 C butter
1/2 C milk or cream (I used almond milk and it added a nice sweetness to the sauce)
3/4 C nutritional yeast (you could also use parm cheese, but this is what I had on hand)
1/2 t salt

Melt butter with milk in pan over medium heat (careful not to boil), stirring constantly. Add nutritional yeast, salt and sprinkle with pepper.

Serve piles of spaghetti squash on each plate, top with a large helping of greens then pour alfredo sauce over it all. Add a nice salad or a hearty roll and voila, a healthy alternative to pasta!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Root for the Veggies!

I love this time of year - the weather is crisp and refreshing, the colors are beautiful, and the eating is good. Sure, gone are the days of fresh luscious tomatoes and cucumbers, but I am just as happy with big bright squash and vibrant turnips. My latest CSA share from Hatchet Cove Farms was full of root vegetables and I couldn't wait to chop up a bunch and roast them. Here was the first of many yummy root vegetable roasts at our house.

Roasted Root Veggies
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 small turnips, peeled and cubed
6 or 7 small carrots, cut into 1 inch chunks
2 small bulbs fennel, sliced thin
3 small beets, peeled and cubed
1 large shallot (or onion), sliced
6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped into large chunks
olive oil
fresh rosemary
fennel sprigs
salt & pepper
3 T butter

Side Dish:
1 C Quinoa (I used Inca Red, our fave!)
1 1/2 C water/stock
1 small onion, chopped
1 bunch turnip greens
1/3 C white wine
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and chop all veggies and put in a baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, rosemary and fennel sprigs then pour olive oil over (4T should be good, but all depends on how many veggies you have). Mix thoroughly and roast in oven until soft, about 45 minutes to an hour. Pull out of oven and add butter to it and stir.

20 minutes before the veggies are done, boil water/stock in a saucepan and add quinoa. Cover and cook about 15 minutes or until liquid is evaporated.

Once quinoa is going, heat 1T oil in skillet over medium heat and add onions and turnip greens. Stir thoroughly and add wine and cover for 2 minutes. Remove from heat when wilted and set aside.

To plate, put down greens, put some quinoa over the top and spoon roasted veggies over everything. Enjoy!