Hi, gang. It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is upon us again. Three weeks from now will be the day that turkeys around the U.S. refer to as Black Thursday. Well, I’m sure they would if they could speak. For vegetarians, it’s a nightmare. With the turkey being the center of attention, what can they eat?
With traditional American Thanksgiving feasts, this would be an issue because one can only feel full on mashed potatoes and peas and carrots for so long. But as people from different cultures have incorporated their beloved dishes and flavors into holiday meals, and as Americans have expanded their palates to include multicultural fare, Thanksgiving is not the meat-and-potatoes affair it used to be.
Take my family, for example. Growing up, Thanksgiving always included such things as lasagna or ravioli; broccoli rabe; stuffed artichokes, mushrooms and peppers; and antipasti, which would be any combination of cheeses, salami and dried sausage, prosciutto, olives, roasted peppers, marinated mushrooms and artichokes, and whatever else the cooks (usually my mother and my aunt) decided to throw in. And the meal (before dessert) would end with pieces of fennel to encourage digestion. With the exception of the above mentioned cured meats, the antipasti, with some fresh Italian bread, could be a meal unto itself.
Vegetarians also have the option of having a Tofurky, a soy-based product made to look and taste like turkey. But, honestly, if you have a diverse enough meal, you don’t even need the “turkey.” If you are a guest, you can always bring a side-dish contribution instead of, or in addition to, dessert, wine, and flowers. Bring something that you know will satisfy you, but make sure that you bring enough for everyone. A quiche is a great idea because it’s filling, elegant, and many people love it, including meat eaters. So, I’m giving you here a trio of quiche recipes from Epicurious.com and Quicherecipes.net. Give them a try–I think you’ll have to fight people off for a piece.
Okay, the countdown is on. I’ll offer some more Turkey Day options next week. Ciao.
From Gourmet, March 1994
1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1 tablespoon cold vegetable shortening
1 1/2 tablespoons ice water plus additional if necessary
1/3 cup sliced red bell pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups packed fresh spinach leaves, trimmed and washed thoroughly (about 5 ounces)
2 large eggs
1/3 cup heavy cream or milk
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
Preheat oven to 425°F.
In a bowl with a pastry blender or in a small food processor blend together flour, butter, shortening, and a pinch salt until mixture resembles meal. Add water and toss until incorporated, adding additional water if necessary to form a dough. Pat dough onto bottom and one half inch up sides of a 7 1/2-inch tart pan with removable fluted rim or a 9-inch pie plate and bake shell in bottom third of oven until set and pale golden, about 7 minutes.
While shell is baking, in a large skillet sauté bell pepper in oil over moderately high heat, stirring, 1 minute. Add spinach and sauté, stirring, until wilted and tender, about 1 minute. Remove skillet from heat and season spinach mixture with salt and pepper. In a small bowl whisk together eggs and cream.
Sprinkle feta over bottom of shell and arrange spinach mixture on top. Pour cream mixture over spinach and bake quiche on a baking sheet in middle of oven 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350°F. and bake until set, about 10 minutes.
4 cups of sliced carrots.
2 cups of tofu, mashed.
¼ cup of water, from the carrots.
1 teaspoon of sea salt.
1 small onion, minced.
½ teaspoon of dill seed.
2 tablespoons of chopped parsley.
1 whole wheat pie crust.
2 tablespoons of sesame seeds.
Steam the carrots until they are tender.
Blend together the tofu, water and salt. Use enough water to obtain a thick, creamy consistency like that of mayonnaise (the amount of water needed varies depending on the moisture content of the tofu). Add the minced onion, dill and chopped parsley to the tofu cream. Mix thoroughly.
Spread the tofu-carrot mixture over the crust in a 7-inch by 11-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake at 350°F (175°C) for 40 minutes or until set.
One deep nine-inch pastry shell.
1 packet of frozen spinach, chopped.
2 medium eggs.
½ stick of butter.
1 cup of milk.
1 cup of Swiss cheese, grated.
½ cup of onions, chopped.
½ cup of celery, chopped.
½ cup of cottage cheese.
1 teaspoon of salt.
½ teaspoon of pepper.
¼ teaspoon of nutmeg.
Cook spinach in salted water as directed on its packaging; then drain.
Sauteé the onion and celery in butter until the onion is soft.
Spread cottage cheese over the bottom of the pastry shell. Mix the spinach with the onion/celery mixture and spread over top of the cottage cheese. Sprinkle Swiss cheese over top.
Combine the eggs, milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg, and pour over all.
Bake at 350°F (175°C) 45 minutes.