Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Thanksgiving! Featuring Sweet Potatoes with Pecans, Goat Cheese and Celery

I hope all the Canadians had a great Thanksgiving this past weekend! I was so ridiculously excited for Thanksgiving this year for some reason. My mom and I planned an epic feast with appetizers, punch, lots of of side dishes, and desserts. I'll be sharing the recipe for the sweet potato appetizer E made as it was my favourite new thing we tried. Looking at the photos on the camera now I see that some of them are actually quite blurry, but I wanted to eat and was taking them mostly for documentation purposes! :) Let's begin our journey through Thanksgiving 2011.

Appetizer - sweet potatoes with Thanksgiving on top. I ate way too many of these because they were so good, and then was worried I wouldn't be able to eat much at dinner. The topping was so flavourful and perfect for a holiday meal - shallots, celery, toasted pecans, dried cranberries, goat cheese, and herbs. Next time I'd try to fit more topping on each sweet potato, though it's kind of difficult and messy. Will definitely make these again! I've included the recipe at the end of this post.

Appetizer - cranberry cheese phyllo parcels, made by my mom. I just tried to find the recipe online but couldn't. She got it out of a Canadian Living holiday magazine I think. They were really yummy!

Punch! I don't actually like punch and almost always drink water, but I thought punch would be fun and I wanted to make neat ice cubes. I was going to make an ice ring with frozen fruit inside, but then decided to use my Halloween pumpkin silicon muffin mould instead. Don't think you can really see the pumpkin ice cubes in this photo though.

The table ready for dinner. Roasted garlic mashed potatoes (yummy but needed more roasted garlic - maybe 6 heads next time?), brussel sprouts, and homemade cranberry sauce.

Beets, salad, baked cheesy cauliflower, vegan gravy, and vegetarian stuffing. I really need to post about that baked cheesy cauliflower sometime as it's a family favourite. I made the vegan gravy from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan because Angela said it was really good. It was alright but I've had better vegan gravy, like this shiitake one that I need to make again and then post about. (There was also turkey, meat gravy, and sausage stuffing.)

Vegan green bean casserole. I've been dying to try making this for so long. Unfortunately I didn't think it was that good. Maybe because the mushroom sauce wasn't that flavourful or there wasn't enough sauce? I used this recipe from Fat Free Vegan. I used 3 tbsp flour instead of 2, unsweetened plain soy milk instead of soy creamer, and omitted the sherry.

My plate! Yum yum yum. Going clockwise from the bottom left corner - vegan green bean casserole, vegetarian stuffing (YUM stuffing is my favourite), roasted garlic mashed potatoes with vegan gravy, beets, baked cheesy cauliflower, carrots, brussel sprouts, salad, and homemade cranberry sauce.

Dessert! My brother and sister-in-law made sex in a pan, which I've never had before so was really excited to try. And I made pumpkin cheesecake.

I was really happy with how the pumpkin cheesecake turned out. I won't pretend that I can always make cheesecake this well though. A lot of times it cracks and the edges are a bit rubbery. Not this time. It was perfection. So creamy. What I did differently is used mini cheesecake pans (so I baked them for a shorter amount of time) and used a water bath. I posted a bit more of the details on my original pumpkin cheesecake post.

And thus concludes Thanksgiving 2011. We brought home tons of leftovers and I'm so looking forward to eating them all week.

Sweet Potatoes with Pecans, Goat Cheese and Celery [a.k.a. Roasted Marshmallow-y Sweet Potatoes with Thanksgiving on Top]
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 1/2 pounds sweet potato, scrubbed, unpeeled, in 3/4- to 1-inch coins
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/4 cup toasted and cooled pecan halves
2 tiny or 1 small shallot
2 stalks celery
2 tsp herbes de provence (original recipe used 2 tbsp fresh parsley)
1 tablespoon dried cranberries
2 ounces firmish goat cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon smooth Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 450F. Coat a large baking sheet generously with olive oil, about 1 to 2 tablespoons. Lay sweet potatoes in one layer on the oiled sheet. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast, without disturbing, for 15 to 20 minutes. Carefully flip each piece: the undersides should be blistery, dark and a bit puffy and should release from the pan with no effort. If they’re not, let it cook longer. Sprinkle them with additional salt and freshly ground black pepper and return the pan to the oven for another 10-30 minutes or so, until the undersides match the tops. (Ashley note: E was the one that made these, and he said that he had to bake the sweet potatoes a lot longer than the recipe suggested so that's why I changed it to 10-30 minutes.)

Meanwhile, prepare your salad. Chop your pecans well, mince your shallot, chop your celery, mince cranberries. Crumble your goat cheese and stir it into the mixture. In a small dish, whisk together 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon Dijon. Pour over salad.

When the sweet potatoes are done, lay them on a serving platter. Scoop a spoonful of the salsa over each round. Eat immediately. (Ashley note: We baked the sweet potato earlier in the day and kept the salad separate, then reheated the sweet potato just before serving and topped with salad.)


janet @ the taste space said...

This looks like a glorious Thanksgiving feast, Ashley! I love all the veg-friendly dishes! Way to go on the wicked awesome cheesecake. At Rob's place, they all devoured the pumpkin cheesecake instead of the pumpkin pie, but not sure I'd be willing to try to bring it veganized next time.. I made Candle Cafe's Paradise Casserole to share. The proportions were off (too much millet) but the sweet potato mash was great! I figured that your Root Salad may be a bit too wacky for Thanksgiving so I went with something more homey. :)

Joanne said...

I'm having my first vegetarian T-Day this year and I can't wait to cook up some of these delicious recipes!

Anne said...

I totally checked this blog a lot this weekend in anticipation of a Thanksgiving post. Yum. It's always kind of weird to see other peoples traditions I find, but everything looks amazing. Love the appetizers especially. ANYWAYS I don't have a blog so I will share this AMAZING discovery here for other veggies:

For years my mother has been kind enough to make veggie stuffing for me. And it was amazing. This year a friend recommended the following : stuff a squash with stuffing and bake it all together. It is SO AMAZING. I didn't realize what I'd been missing. Seriously ,veggies and meat eaters alike, TRY THIS.

ps we used buttercup squash, our fave

RFR said...

omg you are almost cruel for posting this: 1) so yummy looking and 2) so early...now we have to wait for a freakin' month+ to enjoy this! cruel! just cruel! ;-)

Genevieve said...

What a cute appetizer idea! Looks like you had quite the feast this year...and I haven't heard of sex in a pan but it looks pretty amazing too!

eatme_delicious said...

Anne: That's an excellent idea about stuffing the squash, thanks. :)

Kristie said...

This is amazing

Hannah said...

I'm all over your sweet potato appetizer- I never thought of preparing them in that way before! Swap in some tofu feta, and I'm sold. :)

kickpleat said...

sounds like you had a great thanksgiving!! those sweet potatoes look amazing and i'll try them out sometime soon - who needs to wait until thanksgiving again to try them?

kimberleyblue said...

What in the world is sex on a plate? Sounds right up my alley!

Those sweet potatoes sound amazing. Anything sweetish with goat cheese has be drooling. I also love the sound of those cranberry phyllo packages!

What a great Thanksgiving feast!

Hannah said...

Tell me more about this 'sex in a pan', that sounded creeptastic. But seriously, was it good? What's in it?

Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets said...

Haha I'm both hungry and full after viewing all that glorious food! Wish TG came earlier here too =D