I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving... whether it was sitting around at home, or a big feast with family and friends. We had a nice festive holiday, with the usual cast of characters. Here were my culinary contributions:
Stuffing, dressing, whatever you want to call it. It was good. But I feel ready to explore. I need a dressing that's truly wow-worthy. This is a "it's not you, it's me" moment. This stuffing is fine, but it didn't knock my socks off. I want everything I cook to knock my socks off. Y'know?! Anyhow, bring on the suggestions - I'm all ears.
Jumbo Shells Stuffed with Pumpkin-Tofu Ricotta-Fried Sage-&-Almonds with creamy tomato sauce.
I borrowed this idea from Vegan Visitor, but I felt like making my own spin on things. I'm sorry that this isn't a more appetizing photo, but I can assure you that these were really, really good - a hit with everyone. Mind you, this makes a lot, because we usually have about 18 or 20 people at our Thanksgiving gatherings.
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
about 8-10 sage leaves
1 large onion, sliced in thin half moons
4 large cloves garlic, in thin slices
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup parsley, chopped up, loosely packed
3/4 c. toasted almond slivers
3 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1 3/4 c tofu ricotta (I use the recipe from Voluptuous Vegan, but any recipe will do)
25 jumbo pasta shells (you may want to boil a few extra, because lots of times they fall apart in the water)
About 3 cups tomato sauce of your choice
(I used a mix of homemade tomato sauce & homemade bechamel sauce)
Preheat your oven to 350 F
Heat the other 1 Tbsp oil in a large skillet, over medium heat. Saute the onions for about 10-20 minutes until golden. Meanwhile, you can do your other prep work. Add the sliced garlic, and saute another 5 minutes. Then, set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a small skillet, over medium-high heat. Add the sage leaves, in stages if you don't have enough room. Fry until the sage leaves turn color and look crispy. Set on paper towels to drain, and set aside.
Get your water boiling. Boil your shells for about 10-11 minutes (or according to the package directions). Drain them and rinse with cold water to cool them off.
In a large bowl, mix together the parsley, almonds, pumpkin, tofu ricotta, sauteed onions & garlic. Crumble up the sage leaves and mix them in too. Add salt and pepper to your tastes.
Pour a little tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 dish. Gently stuff the pasta shells with the filling, and arrange them in the dish. Pour on the remaining tomato sauce. Cover with tinfoil, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 10-15 minutes.
Pumpkin Pie from Voluptuous Vegan (delicious! perfect! yummy!)
Pear-Cranberry Tart from "Vegan With a Vengeance" (delicious! perfect! yummy!)
You know, this Pear-Cranberry Tart has really become a family favorite. Such delicious and delicate flavors, such a great combination of flavors. Lucky for me, I made two, and we had one left over. I think it was even better the next day. Maybe I'll make them a day ahead of time next time...
Here's leftovers: a totally different Stuffed Shells recipe. I had leftover tomato sauce, tofu ricotta, and a whole batch of Pine Nut Cream (from "Veganomicon"). So I steamed up about 3/4 lb spinach, drained it and chopped it up. Steamed up about 1 1/2 cups of tiny chopped up broccoli florets. Mixed together the veggies, tofu ricotta, a dollop of pine nut cream, and stuffed it in the pasta shells. More pine nut cream wiggled on top. Yum! These were great!!
Now I get to start day dreaming about my Christmas menu!