Friday, November 22, 2013

A Very Vegetarian Thanksgiving...

     So you guys know I totally love me some Thanksgiving sides, but I realized I haven't posted any main dishes for vegetarians, so I thought I'd do one up.  And then I decided to do a couple more sides.  Because whatevah, I do what I want.  For those of you with ovens full of turkey, this vegan bean dish is perfect for the slow cooker!

vegan emergo white runner beans for Thanksgiving

Slow Cooker Herbed White Beans

1.25 lbs bag of Emergo (aka white runner) beans, pre-soaked, other options are cannellini, navy beans*
6 C water
1 tsp butter
1/2 C chopped scallion
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 3-inch sprig rosemary
3 2-inch sprigs thyme
6 leaves fresh sage
2 tsp.salt

Quick-soak the beans in salted water by bringing them to a boil, turning the heat off, and letting them sit for an hour.  Drain.  Melt butter in a pan and cook scallion till soft.  Press in garlic and cook till fragrant.  Pour beans into crock pot, add water and salt, stir, then add the rest of the ingredients.  Cook for 8 hours.  (Cooking time/water ratio may vary with different beans)

*If you decide to sub another kind of bean, be cautious using kidney beans in a crock pot, they can make you very sick if they are under cooked.  Using a modified quick-soak method on red kidney beans is the ideal way to make sure you have removed the poison, making sure you boil them for 10 minutes before leaving them to soak.

roast green beans with balsamic thyme reduction for Thanksgiving

Roast Green Beans with Balsamic Thyme Reduction
Yield: 6-8 small servings

2 lbs fresh green beans, stems and strings removed
1 Tbs sea salt
1/2 C balsamic vinegar
2 sprigs thyme
1/2 tsp honey (optional)
1/2 C raw pecans

Preheat oven to 350°.  Rinse greenbeans and drain slightly spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle with salt.  Bake greenbeans for 10-15 minutes until beans are tender, but not too browned.  Timing may vary depending on how wet they are when they go in.   On a smaller separate tray, spread a layer of pecans and bake for 2-3 minutes until roasted.  They will burn easily so keep an eye out!   In a small pan, add vinegar and thyme and heat balsamic until it boils.  Stirring constantly, to keep from burning, boil vinegar until it thickens and becomes syrupy.  It doesn't take long.  Sweeten with honey if you'd like.  Pour reduction over beans and stir to combine.  Sprinkle with pecans.

mashed potato ratio for large gatherings

     Most people know how to make mashed potatoes and there are tons of recipes and discussions on the best potato type out there so I won't bother.  Instead I will give you a good ratio for making as many mashed potatoes as you need no matter how large your guest list.  Incidentally, this ratio applies for mashed cauliflower, turnips, rutabagas, or even sweet potatoes.  Mix it up a little this Thanksgiving!

Ratio Mashed Potatoes:
1/2 lb potatoes per guest
3 Tbs milk per 1/2 lb*
1 tsp butter per 1/2 lb
2 tsp sour cream per 1/2 lb (or plain yogurt)
1/4 tsp salt per 1/2 lb
1/8 tsp pepper per 1/2 lb
chives, parsley, thyme, or rosemary as garnish
*liquid ratio may vary depending on potato type

Peel, cube, and boil potatoes until tender.  The smaller the cubes, the faster this will happen.  Drain.  Mash with a potato masher or use a ricer.  Stir in milk, butter, sour cream, salt, and pepper.  Taste for any adjustment.  Top with garnish when serving.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!  I'll keep you posted on my heritage bird adventure!

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