Tis the seasoning

Hello my lovelies!  The holiday season is upon us and for those of you in the U.S., Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  It’s a time for loved ones to gather, usually for an extravagant meal, and whoever prepares it becomes an artist in the kitchen with the audience of the year. I’m sure that this close to the day, you already have your plans mapped out and the shopping completed, but if you’re still wondering how to make the event just a little more special, I’ve asked my dear friend Annie for a few suggestions to share with you.  Annie is a marvelous cook, and has given me a few super simple recipes for rustic, artisan side dishes that can be used to spice up your Thanksgiving spread or as vegetarian alternatives.  They all use seasonal produce, so whenever possible look for organic options or buy items fresh from your local farmer’s market.  The perfect hostess is always sensitive to the dietary needs of her guests, so in any of the dishes below, you can substitute in soy, almond, or rice milk; your favorite alternative sweetener; soy yogurt or vegan butter.  Bon appetit!

maple sweet potatoes  Image from Everyday Maven 

Maple Mashed or Whipped Sweet Potatoes

  • You’ll need six or seven sweet potatoes, 4 tablespoons unsalted melted butter, 1/4 cup pure maple syrup, and seasoning of choice.  I suggest basic salt and pepper or nutmeg.  I also like this dish when made with vanilla soy yogurt instead of butter.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Prick potatoes with fork.  Bake on sheet until tender, about one hour.  Next, halve potatoes and remove skin.  Then mash or whip while adding butter, syrup and seasoning till smooth.  Serve warm.

roasted-garlic-mashed-turnips Image from Grass Fed Kitchen 

Roasted Garlic Mashed Turnips

  • You’ll need one head garlic, 3 pounds turnips that have been peeled and quartered, 1/4 cup olive oil and seasoning of choice.  Usually just salt and pepper.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Peel garlic and separate cloves.  Loosely wrap them in foil and roast in oven about 35 minutes.  Place turnips in a pot and cover with water, then put on lid and and boil till tender (about 25 minutes).  Remove turnips from water and mash or blend while adding garlic, oil and seasoning till smooth.  Serve warm.

Stuffed-Acorn-Squash Image from Renee Blair, Daily Burn 

Wild Rice Stuffed Squash

  • You’ll need 2 acorn squashes, halved with seeds scraped out; 2 tablespoons butter, minced shallots and garlic, dried sage, 6 ounces uncooked wild rice, 1/2 cup dried cherries and 1/2 cup dried pecans.
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  On baking sheet place squash cut side down and cover with foil.  Roast until tender about 40 minutes.
  • In a saucepan heat butter, shallots, garlic, sage and seasonings of choice for about 3 minutes.  Add rice and 1 3/4 cup water until it boils.  Reduce heat and cook about 25 mintes.  Remove rice from heat and add cherries and pecans.  Spoon stuffing into squash and serve.

roasted_figsImage from Bran Appetit

Roasted Figs

  • You’ll need 1 pound fresh figs, thyme, 2 tbsp red wine or liquor such as Chartreuse, Pernod, Grand mariner or Cointreau.  Also 1 tablespoon dark or light brown sugar, 2 tbsp honey, and lemon zest.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Remove stems from figs and slice lengthwise.  In a baking dish add all ingredients, making sure figs are cut side down.  Cover the baking dish with foil and bake 15 to 20 minutes.

pumpkin_hummusImage from Spoonfuls of Spice 

Spicy Pumpkin Hummus

  • You’ll need 2 cups chickpeas that have been shelled and boiled until soft, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1/4 cup water, 1/3 cup olive oil, salt and pepper, 3 tbsp tahini, and a 1/2 cup pumpkin puree.
  • Blend chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, water, and tahini in a processor until smooth.  Add pumpkin and seasonings, then drizzle in olive oil until blended.  Season further to taste.

ginger-pumpkin-souffle Image from Yummly

Ginger Pumpkin Souffle

  • You’ll need 1 1/2 cups unsweetened full-fat soy milk, 1 tbsp minced and peeled ginger, 4 large egg yolks, 3/4 cup sugar, 5 tbsp flour, 1 cup pumpkin puree, and 8 large egg whites.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Over medium heat bring soy milk to boil.  Add ginger, remove from heat, cover, and let sit 30 minutes,  Remove ginger and set aside.
  • In a bowl whisk egg yolks and 6 tbsp sugar.  Then add flour, and gradually the hot milk, whisking constantly.
  • Return mixture to pot and put back over medium heat.  Whisk and cook until custard boils and then then put mixture back in bowl.  Whisk in pumpkin and set aside.
  • In a separate bowl beat egg whites until foamy and opaque.  Add 6 tbsp sugar and beat until stiff, but not dry.  Fold egg whites into pumpkin mixture and spoon into individual baking dishes almost to the top, running your finger lightly around the inside rim to create a moat. Place individual dishes in a large pan and add 1 inch hot water to pan, surrounding the individual dishes, to create a water bath.  Bake until souffles have risen above rim and tops are golden brown, about 25 minutes.  Serve immediately.