Monday, November 12, 2012

A Friendly Thanksgiving Potluck

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because it is a holiday about gratitude, which is such an awesome thing. It's amazing how reflecting on the things we are grateful for amplifies their presence in our awareness - just the feeling of gratitude makes me feel more expansive and less contracted. Of course, Thanksgiving Day is usually spent with my family, so my vegan pals and I decided to do an early Thanksgiving potluck so that we could cook up some autumnal delights and celebrate our excellent friendships together. It was really a perfect day.

Such a beautiful seasonal spread!

Josh made these amazing Spice-Rubbed Tofus with a Bourbon Reduction Sauce (not pictured). Man, these babies were GOOD, and the sauce was totally magical. Even though I was stuffed, I went back for a few more of these tofus. Tofu is pretty amazing - how it can be transformed from such a neutral blah to such a glorious flavor vehicle. 

Sophia & Max brought along a big dish of Brussels Sprouts with mustard and caramelized onions that were so delicious. Brussels are so tasty, and no Thanksgiving celebration is complete without them!

They also made these amazeballs sourdough pull-apart rolls. Sophia and Max are becoming real bread-making geniuses... and these rolls were totally great. They had white flour, whole wheat flour, and rye flour ~ and then were topped with poppyseeds. They were moist and had a perfect fluff-to-density ratio. Just look at how they are exploding with plump perfection! I am indeed very grateful for the existence of bread in this world.

I made the Caramelized Onions, Butternut Squash and Chestnuts Casserole from Veganomicon. Honestly, I thought it was just okay. I tried to spruce it up a little, but the whole thing seemed just a little bland and underwhelming for me. The other pals liked it, but I think that if I ever make it again, I'll look for some way to zip up the flavors a bit more.

Ms.A made the Autumn Fatoush from Vegan Eats World. Holy Wow, Batman! This salad was super great! It's a massaged kale salad with whole wheat pita bread crisps and big chunks of roasted sweet potatoes. It was super super good, and I'm definitely planning on making it again - soon! Such a great combo of flavors, colors, and nutrition - and fully flavor-packed.

Here's my whole plate of delicious vegan bounty. Another reason I love doing a vegan pals Thanksgiving party is that I can eat every single thing on offer! What a great feeling!

Why, YES, there was dessert. Don't be silly!
ColdandSleepy made her amazing Pumpkin Caramel Dip with sliced apples and pears for dipping. I loved the little pear turkey she made! So cute. This dip was really super good - pumpkiny and caramelly without being too super sweet at all. We all nibbled at it like crazy, and still there was a ton left over afterwards for them to keep noshing on. 

She also made this really excellent Pumpkin Bread with cranberries. I think she said it was one of Isa's recipes from the Forks over Knives cookbook. I really loved it - it was moist and dense but just lightly sweet at not too naughty at all. She gave me an extra piece to take home at the end of the party, and it's all snugged away in my freezer waiting for a big cup of coffee and a chilly evening to make its appearance.

I made a giant Autumn Galette: Pears, Apples and Quince with orange zest and rum. I have been thinking about apple pie almost daily for about 6 weeks now, so I seized this potluck opportunity to finally make one! It was so delicious and totally hit the spot. Don't be surprised if you see a nearly exact replica of this make an appearance at my family Thanksgiving dinner. :) I really love the rustic feel of galettes... somehow they just feel a bit more down-home-hearty with their misshapen lumps of tastiness.

Down in the bottom corner of my dessert plate, you'll see the dessert that Ms. A brought along - it was some sort of Date Sweetie from Vegan Eats World (I don't remember the exact name of it). She thought they came out too sweet and didn't really like them... but the rest of us thought they were totally delicious and great. There's no accounting for taste! ha ha. We still love her, even if she's a little crazy in the tastebuds on this one.

It was such a totally wonderful day, and it was so fun to just hang out and chat and watch the babies and kiddos play... I really am so super grateful for this special group of friends. We first found each other online at the PPK, and now they are all a meaningful and important part of my life. They are all smart, interesting, curious, compassionate and kind people. I'm so lucky to have them as my friends!

21 comments:

  1. Are you going to post recipes for any of these?

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    1. hi mobilediesel - I don't usually post recipes on my blog, because I don't usually create recipes. However, I always say the name of the recipe, and the cookbook it came from. A lot of my vegan pals have written cookbooks, and I've learned from them how important it is to protect a cookbook author's copyright. If everyone just shares all the recipes they make from a book, people will have no reason to buy the actual book. So, that's my policy... every once in a while I make up recipes of my own - or modify them enough that I feel okay about sharing them. :)

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    2. You are awesome, and this potluck looked absolutely magical. Yum! The kale fatooush looks particularly awesome.

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    3. yeah that kale fatooush was outta sight! :) xo

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  2. We've all been cartooned!! I LOVE IT!

    We are so grateful to have you in our lives too! And lucky for you, our group keeps expanding.

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  3. I need to start getting brussels sprouts into my Thanksgivings, I love the little things! And I am also grateful for the existence of bread, ha ha. :) Apparently the bookstore here has started carrying Vegan Eats World, which means I have no excuse not to buy it! I heart Terry. Galettes are the best things ever - I just don't have the patience to make pretty pies. Glad you had a great vegan friend Thanksgiving! :)

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  4. Aw, I love that doodle so much. It really made me tear up a little.

    It was an excellent potluck and made me reflect on how lucky I am to have met you all!

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    1. I love how perfectly the Emperor came out - somehow it looks just like him! :) Yeah, we have an awesome little gang, for sures!

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  5. i'm so grateful for our little community too—it has really made my time here in santa cruz something special and i appreciate all of your company so much.

    and i love the sweet doodle too (that cartoon looks just like me! how do you do that?).

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    1. yay! xoxoxoxo I just had to summon up my pal sophia in my mind's eye - and the doodle came out great! I had to look at a picture to remember Max's hairdo, though. :)

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  6. Wow this looks super great! Perfect inspiration for my Thanksgiving extravaganza next week! And that galette looks extraordinary...

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  7. Y'all had fun! That's awesome! I don't really have enough vegan friends (or any at all ahah) to have a special Thanksgiving dinner, but I'll have lots of vegan options next week too :)

    Question: why did you call the pie galette? Galette refers to a savory crepe in France, or to the galette des rois (same idea as King's Cake in Louisiana but very different: puff pastry with almond buttery filling), or to dry small cookies. In short, it does not refer to a pie... Just curious!

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    1. sophie, how interesting about the word "galette"! For us, it means a free-form pie that is made without a pie dish. So, any open-faced or closed pie that is just formed with a round crust wrapped over the filling is a galette. If the same thing was made in a pie dish, it would be a pie. How interesting!

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    2. Ah! Interesting! One more meaning then to add to the long list! I guess since pies never have a top crust in France there is no specific name for those cases.

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  8. What a fun day! Everything looks delicious and I know exactly what you mean about tofu, I'm pretty convinced that it's the best food in the world!

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  9. What a gorgeous feast, with warm strings of friendship tying it all together <3

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  10. Sounds like a great meal with great people! I LOVE the cartoon, you got everyone spot-on!

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  11. What a cracking spread - those rolls look great, and I'm a sucker with anything tofu or brussel sprouts!

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  12. wow everything looks amazing!! mmm!!

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  13. fashionismydrug45.blogspot.com

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  14. Thanks for the inspiration, my sister is a vegan so now I can use your ideas for the Thanksgiving feast!

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Happy VeganMoFo! I love comments, they really make my day!