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November 2003
Giving Thanks! An Autumnal Vegan Meal

By Joshua Ploeg


Ah, Thanksgiving is upon us again, like so much stuffing and candied yams weighing upon your head. Often we find that the old Thanksgiving dinner is like a frequent entry in the Macy’s parade—rather an overinflated turkey. Instead of your day being thankless, I thought I would offer up something lighter but still hearty and perhaps more rewarding. Find your comfort in something new this year. Cheers!

The cranberry harvest has just occurred up here in the Northwest, so I thought it would be nice to share some new Oregon cuisine with you, also featuring the fabulous and local myrtle leaf.

Cranberry, Sorrel and Pearl Onion Hot and Sour Soup
8 C. Vegan Broth (use “golden”)
1 C. Dried Cranberries (you can use fresh or frozen, but pop them first)
2 or 3 C. Sorrel or Spinach, chopped (cut into strips is nice!), remove stems
2 C. Pearl Onions or other miniature onions, peeled
1 t. Lemongrass, minced
1 t. Salt (use less if you dislike saltiness)
Chili Flakes, to taste
Pepper to taste
1/4 C. Lemon Juice
2 T. Miso
4 Myrtle Leaves
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
Olive Oil

1. Bring broth to a boil in a soup pot with most of the salt, myrtle leaves, some pepper, chili flakes, lemongrass, and cranberries. Lower to a simmer and allow to cook for 10 minutes.

2. In a skillet, heat oil (not much) and briefly sauté onions and sorrel with some chili flakes, pepper, garlic and a bit of salt. Cook until greens wilt. Add to the soup pot after the 10 minutes are up.

Simmer this for about 15 minutes, add lemon juice and cook for 5 minutes more.

Adjust seasonings, remove from heat, stir in miso and serve.

It may seem strange, but I often crave something a little “gamey” in vegetarian cuisine. Fake venison I have never seen (sounds like an experiment for another day), but it’s always huntin’ season on the phony duck! Those of you with an aversion to faux fowl should try seasoned tofu slices in this recipe, or—even better—slices of portabello mushroom.

Fried Vegan Duck Breast With Lemon-Walnut Sauce

1 Lb. Vegan Smoked Duck or well-seasoned Seitan, thinly sliced
1/4 C. Tamari
1/4 C. Brown Sugar or Sucanat
Hickory Salt or Smoke Flavoring
1 C. Dry Garlic-herb Breadcrumbs
Oil for frying

1. Mix together brown sugar and tamari, and use to baste “duck” slices. (Save the rest for use in sauce.) Sprinkle lightly with hickory salt, then dredge them through the herb-garlic breadcrumbs.

Fry in light oil until browned on both sides.

Lemon-Walnut Sauce
2 T. Margarine
1 T. Flour
Salt and Pepper
3 T. Lemon Juice
1/2 C. Walnuts, chopped
1 t. Paprika
1 t. Sugar
1 C. Broth
A Few Pinches Parsley and Tarragon, minced

Melt margarine in a saucepan, and add walnuts with salt and pepper, and paprika. Sauté for a few minutes, then whisk in flour.

Stir in sugar and lemon juice to make a paste. Cook very briefly and then whisk in the broth and herbs.

Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, adjusting seasonings, until thickened and done to your liking. Add more broth if it gets too thick. Toward the end, stir in a few T. of sugar-tamari marinade to make this gravy absolutely delicious. Serve with “duck” and medley. A dash of wine may be added to this.

This dinner goes well with a mixed greens salad with a berry vinaigrette and toasted almonds.

Winter Medley
2 C. Potatoes, diced
2 C. Squash, diced (and peeled if the skin is tough)
2 T. Rosemary, minced
Salt and Pepper
2 T. Balsamic Vinegar, or other flavorful dark Vinegar
Olive Oil

Parboil diced potatoes (5 or 6 minutes in boiling water) and drain them.

Heat oil in a skillet. Add squash, some salt and a dash of vinegar. Cook for several minutes until squash is sweaty and browned.

Add potatoes, rosemary, the rest of the vinegar and black pepper to taste, along with several pinches of salt. Cook, flipping with a spatula occasionally, until browned and cooked, which will take up to 10 minutes. Salt to taste.

You may add a bit of water or broth to deglaze the pan if you wish and may also put the lid on to conserve moisture. Try not to stir it too much, you don’t want the potatoes to fall apart. You can add lemon juice or broth if it gets too dry.



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