Christmas II and III were successful in all areas – the pleasant gathering of families, all coming together to celebrate and toast each other in the holiday season; the uber consumption of holiday goodies, leaving our already stuffed bellies bursting at the seams; and the sneaky vegan menus I bestowed upon them all.
He, he, he.
Christmas II was an enjoyable menu, featuring a lot of the basics with a couple of twists. My uncle and cousin, both of who said that “all they wanted was mashed potatoes”, loved the slightly altered version. Not a fan of the smushed spuds myself, this way I knew I would like better, allowing me to make something that I, too, would love. Based (but greatly altered) from a “classic” recipe of my mom’s, I made mashed, non-starchy potatoes (that I was forced to cooked only peeled, despite my claims of the importance of fibre and the earthy deliciousness) because my mom refused to have the guests eat peel. I guess, this time, she was right. I mashed them with almond milk, nutritional yeast, salt, fresh dill, and green onions (just the tops). They were fabulous! My uncle, the biggest potato lover I know, asked a few times for the recipe, but I shrugged him off, explaining I used “weird” ingredients. (I can only imagine trying to explain what “nutritional yeast” is).
I also caramelized three large onions, then stirred in 2 cans of beans – butter beans and cannellini beans. Then I sauteed up a whole lot of chard with garlic, salt, and pepper, and tossed it all together. Really, I aimed to make this mostly for myself, but was surprised to see that everyone else enjoyed it, too.
I also made a caesar salad – my favourite recipe because everyone thinks it’s real caesar – from my book Mission in the Kitchen, with romaine and baby spinach.
The potatoes (and turkey) was served with a mushroom gravy. I used a mushroom/shiitake broth that I prepared the day before, then made a rich gravy with the broth, onions, shiitakes, portabellos, button mushroom. I added a pinch of poultry seasoning, and used sweet rice flour for thickening, since I planned to reheat leftovers for the following day.
I finally made a homemade cranberry sauce. I used 2 bags of cranberries and 2/3 cup of agave nectar. It turned out perfectly, although the next day I added about another tablespoon of agave, because I decided I wanted it a little sweeter. I also had used juice and zest from one orange, but couldn’t really taste it enough. However, it might have, unknowingly, added to the taste.
Before all this, we enjoyed veggies and hummus, alongside some Mary’s Gone Crackers. We put out a shrimp ring and a pickle tray also.
We smiled, laughed, ate, laughed some more, ate some more and had a great time. By the end of the night, my voice was gone (still from being sick), but I went to bed, excited with the childhood memories of Christmases past.
Christmas II, 2008, was a success.