Semi-vegan Thanksgiving

This year, I’m embarrassed to say that I hardly cooked anything for our annual semi-vegan Thanksgiving. I only cooked one dish -the turkey, and even then I was too busy eating to remember to take a final picture of it. I can’t say much about the process, other than that it was easy and came out very well, but that mid-way I forgot to turn the oven back on :T

So this year, I’ll be featuring the culinary feats of Charlene and Melanie, who may as well be a part of the family. They are, are quite frankly, two of the most inspirational people I know, both for food, life-advice, and everything else in between. Charlene is vegan, and Melanie is vegetarian, which make for very interesting and creative recipes. Also featured is Diana’s exceptional pumpkin pie (made very untraditionally), and a couple of other non-vegan dishes.

Enjoy the photos, and comment with your thoughts below!

First, Melanie made some pillowy soft bread loaves. Here they are in the oven.

Cooling… smelling warm and yeasty up in hurrr (that’s what he said)

We snacked on one of the fresh loaves, with olive oil, herb, and garlic dipping sauce.

Dipping sauce.

Bread at the table

Finished product

Melanie prepared these finely diced potatoes the night before, keeping them fresh by soaking the whole thing in a tupperware with lemon juice.

Lettuce sung is a dish great for its textural contrast. Its usually some kind of crispy, maybe fried filling that has its fat offset by the refreshingly cool lettuce cups. At the table, you usually take a piece of lettuce, smear on some hoisin sauce, and spoon on a bit of filling. Eat it like a mini taco.

You can see the filling in the back right.

Blanched brussels sprouts, which will later be finished in the oven or the skillet (I forget which).

Finished brussels sprouts.

Preparing shallots to be quickly sautéed over high heat with green beans

Green beans

The finished product

Savory rice filling.

Stuffed green peppers

Charlene, making one of “mushrooms in six ways”

I believe this was the korean peppers-inspired mushroom dish (white beech mushrooms and enoki)

Teriyaki-inspired mushrooms.

Also, the ever-incredible Charlene also had the patience to caramelize onions for THREE HOURS.

Charlene battering up oyster mushrooms and frying them. Sprinkle with salt and white pepper AND THIS IS INCREDIBLE.

Alex’s (famous) vegan stuffing. No leftovers for this dish 😦

Diana’s chicken adobo, which she’s improved every time she’s made it 🙂 Whats great about this dish is that it’s cooked in the crockpot. Set it and forget it!

Diana’s corn, and Charlene’s Jamaican-inspired, braised king oyster mushrooms (Char has a special way of scoring the mushroom so it absorbs maximum coconut milk and scotch bonnet flavors)

Diana’s pumpkin pie – not vegan but very special. She uses melted ice cream (which is pretty much a custard base) and tangerine peel.

Charlene wasn’t planning to but I insisted that she make her cranberry sauce. Ain’t nobody make a good cranberry sauce like Charlene.

You can tell from the photos that both Charlene and Melanie are very organic and creative cookers – they’re all about experimenting and taking risks!

It is my goal this year to let go of recipes a bit more. I want to cook food that reminds me of home and the people I love. This is what I think cooking from the heart should be 🙂

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