The gravy was sadly forgotten, both in the photo and in my leaving the house. I'll have to make massive amounts of mashed potatoes this week to eat all of it. So sad.
The brussel sprouts were roasted in some vegan butter and topped with sea salt. Ah-mazing! The extra browned bits were my favorite, obviously. I only set off the fire alarm twice!
The mini cupcakes were perfect. It was the first time I tried this recipe, from "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World", because there are so many other recipes in that cookbook that I already love. But I wanted something Thanksgiving themed, and I had many, many bags of squash in my freezer. Technically, they were probably butternut squash chocolate chip cupcakes. They rose a "Mary Poppins" perfect amount. Sometime vegan cupcakes don't rise as well, or fall after baking, but not these. I topped them with a tiny dollop of cinnamon icing. They were so light and moist!
Look at those lovely bottles! One wine is a Rose from one of my favorite Vermont wineries. I've visited several and there are definite standouts. Lincoln Peak is one, the others are Shelburne Vineyards and Honora Winery in the south of the state. I did not try the Rose, I was drinking Gewurztraminer and I left the Rose as a thank you to the hosts. On the far left is a bottle of Hill Farmstead beer, which my better half got from the brewery, along with two growlers and another bottle of beer. He is a devotee of Hill Farmstead and it is available in only a few select restaurants in Burlington. Now, every time he is in the Northeastern Kingdom, he has to go and get more beer.
The hands down favorite was the kale and beet salad, because, well, it's Vermont. And we love kale. I had a request for the recipe, and since I was already typing it up, I decided to share it! It turns out much brighter than it looks in the photo; the green kale and red beets and pomegranate actually make it a good looking dish for a Christmas season party as well.
1 cup quinoa
4 large beets
1 bunch kale
Seeds of 1 pomegranate
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tbl sugar
2 tbl olive oil
2/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup mustard (yellow or dijon)
1 tsp wasabi paste (or chili paste or horseradish)
2 tbl soy sauce
juice from half a lemon
salt and pepper
Boil beets in salted water until tender. Rinse under cold water to rub off skins. Chop into bite size pieces.
Chop or shred kale. Prepare a large bowl with ice water (large enough to submerge all of the kale). Steam kale until bright green all the way through. Transfer kale from steam basket to ice bath with tongs. This is how you keep the kale bright green and tender.
Toast the quinoa in a pan, stirring over high heat until the quinoa is a shade or two darker. It should smell nutty and toasty. Add 2 cups water and boil until the quinoa looks like a white dot with a translucent ring around it. All the water should be absorbed.
Preheat oven to 425 F. Mix the sugar, spices, and oil together until blended. Toss the oil mixture with the chopped walnuts and spread on a cookie sheet. Bake 12 minutes or until the walnuts are toasted and sugar is carmelized.
Heat maple syrup and mustard in a sauce pan and whisk until blended. Add all other ingredients, except lemon juice and simmer until reduced about 1/3.
Let all components come to room temperature. Toss together kale, beets, quinoa, and lemon juice. Mix in the pomegranate seeds and dressing. Before serving, top with walnuts. The salad can be served room temperature or cold.