Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013: Thanksgiving Casserole

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you all had a wonderful day with your loved ones. We had a wonderful time in Tracy, thank you so much Lori and James for having us! 

I have a lot to be thankful for this year:
  • I am thankful to have married the man of dreams two months ago. Thank you for taking care of me this past few months, I know I have not been the easiest pregnant lady. 
  • I am so thankful for my unborn son (I keep forgetting to make a gender reveal post....). This pregnancy has not been very fun so far, but I know he will be worth it. I can't wait kiss his sweet little face in April. 
  • I am thankful for my amazing parents. Thank you for always supporting me and loving me. We all might be crazy, but at least we can be crazy together! 
  • I am thankful for all my amazing in-laws.  Thank you to my wonderful parents-in-law for being so kind and supportive through these crazy few months. And thank you to my wonderful sisters-in-laws for being so open and accepting from moment Michael brought me home. 
  • I am thankful for my cats. Penny makes me smile everyday with her antics (Did you know a cat can be condescending?). And, I am grateful for Zoey's snuggles. I am so happy my kama'aina kitties came to California. 
So, as I said in my menu post, I made a layered casserole thing. I wanted baked tofu, stuffing, and mashed potatoes---but I did not want to bring 3 separate dishes. So I just combined them into one. It's not that complicated to make, but a little time consuming.  

Thanksgiving Casserole
Tofu Turkey Layer:
28 oz (2 blocks) of firm tofu, frozen then thawed
7 oz (1/2 block) silken tofu
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbs herb de Provence 
1/2 tps pepper
Stuffing Layer:
3 cups vegetable broth 
1 cup fresh cranberries
2 tbs celery leaf 
1 tbs herb de Provence
1 tbs sugar
4 cups vegan stuffing mix (just check the label, it's not that hard to find)
1 medium carrot, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
3 stalks of celery, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
1 cup onion, chopped finely
Mashed Potato Layer:
5 medium russet potatoes, peeled and quartered 
1 tbs vegan butter
2 tbs vegan cream cheese
1 cup vegetable broth
Salt and pepper, to taste
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. 

Coat a dutch oven pot or a deep casserole pan lightly with olive oil.

Tofu Turkey Layer:

In a colander, drain the firm tofu very well. I mean get it as dry as you possibly can. Squeeze it out with your hands. Don't worry about crumbling it. 

Drain off the liquid the packaging liquid from the silken tofu, but leave this tofu still moist.

In a food processor, all the tofu, soy sauce, garlic, herb de Provence, and pepper. Blend until smooth. 

Pour into the dutch oven and smooth so the top is even. It will only cover an inch or so on the bottom. 

Cover with foil and bake for one hour.

In the mean time...

Stuffing layer:

In a small sauce pan, bring the vegetable broth, cranberries, celery leaves, herb de Provence, and sugar to a boil over.

Reduce to a simmer. Cook until the cranberries burst open and soften. 

Remove from heat. 

In a large bowl, add the chopped stuffing mix, carrots, celery, and onion. Pour the broth/cranberry liquid in slowly, stirring gently. 

Once the tofu has cooked for an hour, remove from the oven and spread the stuffing over top (without burning yourself on the hot pan). 

Cover with the foil again and bake for 45 minutes.

And while that cooks....

Mashed Potato Layer:

Once your potatoes are peeled and quartered, add them to a large pot of cold water. 

Cover and bring to boil.

Remove the lid and let them boil until tender (when a fork can be easily inserted).

Drain and return back to the pot. 

Add the butter and cream cheese. Mash very well.

Slowly add a little bit of vegetable broth at a time until the potatoes come to a creamy but firm consistency. 

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Once the stuffing layer has cooked for 45 minutes, remove the oven and spread the mashed potatoes on evenly (again, be careful).

Turn up the heat to 425 degrees.

Cover with foil and bake for another 30 minutes. 

I served this with some simple gravy. I also had some cranberry sauce and corn. It was so delicious, all the flavors of Thanksgiving all rolled into one. Everyone else tried it too and said it was good! I would totally make this again next year. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013: Slow Cooker Seitan Roast

As I mentioned in my previous post I was going to make a seitan roast in my crockpot for my work's Thanksgiving potluck. It came out awesome!!! This is my new favorite way to make seitan. So easy, very little mess, and it was so juicy! 

Crockpot Seitan Roast
2 cups vital wheat gluten
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 soy sauce
1 tbs herb de Provence
1 garlic, minced
1 large carrots, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
4 large potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 stalks of celery,  cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 onion, cut into quarters
4 cups vegetable broth
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large blow, mix together the vital wheat gluten, 2 cups vegetable broth, soy sauce, herb de Provence, and garlic. It should form a moist---but not sticky-dough.

Knead the dough gently for a minute or two.

(I made my dough the night before and left it in the fridge overnight. I don't think this changes the flavor or texture, so this step is optional).

Shape the dough into a loaf.

Place in your slow cooker.

Cover the loaf with the cut carrots, potatoes, celery, and onion.

Cover the loaf and veggies with the remaining vegetable broth.

Turn your cooker on medium-low and let it cook for 4-6 hours (I put mine in at 8 AM and it was ready around 12:45).

It's ready when the seitan firm (but not hard) and no longer chewy....and obviously when vegetables are soft. There should be a little broth left (which should have tons of flavor by now and will make a great thin gravy).

I found a nice platter in the cabinet at work, so I sliced up the seitan and plated everything nicely. The president of the company---who is a big meat eater---took a sliced and liked it! I had to go back to work so I forgot to see if any was left  I am going to imagine it was all gone :-)

This is a seriously awesome and easy meal, any time of the year.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Thanksgiving Menu 2013

My seitan roast from 2011
I am SO excited for this Thanksgiving. Not only do I have so much to be thankful for, but this pregnant mama has been craving stuffing and mashed potatoes for weeks now.

Michael got me a job at his work a few weeks ago, which is going very well. Tomorrow we are having a company Thanksgiving Potluck. I am bring a seitan roast with veggies, similar to the one I made two years ago. However, since I have to be at work at 8 AM and the party is at 3PM, I decided to try making it in a crockpot in the break room. It will be pretty much the same recipe, just minus baking in the oven. I will post how it went tomorrow.

For actual Thanksgiving we are going to Michael's Brother-in-law's Mom's (that's confusing to type out...) house in Tracy. It's about an hour car ride, so I have some logistical issues. I want potatoes, stuffing, baked tofu, and veggies. But, I don't want to have 5 dishes with me in the car. Then I would have to heat all those dishes back up when I get there. Too big of a hassle. Then I realized  I could make a casserole-like thing with all those layers. It would be easy to transport and heat back up.

I am thinking of doing the bottom layer baked tofu, then stuffing with cranberries, and the top layer mashed potatoes. I will post the recipe later. Until then, check out all my other holiday recipes!

Stuffed Pumpkin
Stuffed Roast
Seitan Roast
Mashed Cauliflower
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Green Beans with Caramelized Onions
Chocolate Pumpkin Pie