Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Vegan ThanksLiving


This past weekend I had the divine opportunity to speak at The Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary's ThanksLiving event. Fun! Amazing! Inspiring! I love my animal rights pals and it's such a privilege to bridge our two worlds - health and compassion. Naturally, I spoke about the effects of a plant-based diet in the role of prevention and reversal of disease and then my BFF Rory Freedman (Skinny Bitch) brought it home with some real deal horrendous facts about what goes on in factory farms.

Jenny Brown and her amazing hubby Doug Able (WFAS Founders) blew our minds with the most delicious feast and a parade of ridiculously cute animal friends. Get this, the turkeys were the guests of honor and they looked gorgeous. So regal. So elegant. Think Audrey Hepburn in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" but with white feathers.

The event really got me thinking about my holiday menu. Brian's family is trekking to Woodstock this year and since they are willing to take the leap and go veg for the weekend I want to make it extra special. But I keep going back and forth. Do I replace the traditional "meat in the middle" dish with a hearty vegan alternative (NOT TOFURKEY - damn that's nasty!) OR do I just make a bunch of little dishes and encourage my family to entertain the idea that a meal is complete without a main event?

Here's an option I'm considering sent by my new friend Gretchen. It's from some fancy vegan cookbook. I'm serving massive amounts of salad as well, but an all raw holiday? Nope, they definitely ain't ready for that (and either am I - pass the gravy!)

Chestnut Roast

Note: This recipe serves 4-6, so double or triple accordingly!

2 T Earth Balance
1 large onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 lbs chestnuts, peeled and roasted or three 15-oz cans whole chestnuts, or about ½ lb dried chestnuts, soaked and cooked
2 T parsley, chopped
2 T lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
the equivalent of 2 eggs in egg replacer
a few fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs
salt and pepper
¼ c oil
dried breadcrumbs for coating

Melt the EB and sauté the onion and celery over moderate heat for 10 minutes until soft but not brown. Transfer to a large bowl. Drain the chestnuts and add to the bowl, mixing then mashing together well.

Add the parsley, lemon juice, egg replacer, and garlic.

The mixture should be soft but firm enough to form into a roll; add breadcrumbs as necessary, more if you’re using canned chestnuts. Season w/salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 400. Pour a little oil into a roasting pan and put into the oven to heat.

Form the chestnut mixture into a roll about 8 inches long, pressing it together carefully, then coat it well with the dried breadcrumbs.

Put the roll into the roasting pan and carefully turn it so that it is coated with hot oil.

Bake for 45 mins, until it is crisp on the outside, spooning a little more oil over the roll from time to time. Serve cut into slices with delicious gravy/gravies.

How about you? Any ideas for alternative holiday meal planning?

PS. Check our my girl Corinne with her hubs Steve and their new pig pig pal!

Whirled peas,

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