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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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« Half and Half: Whole Again Vegan Waffle Study »

Feature Fri Nov 16 2007

Thanksgiving Through a Vegan Lens

The holiday season is approaching, which means that you're going to be at a party or holiday celebration staring at food. A lot of food. You will be expected to make hard choices between what you want to eat and what you should eat. The holidays are often a time for letting go and having that extra helping, but if you're surrounded by vegan dishes, you'll likely eat good-tasting food that won't require use of a defibrillator afterwards. Chris Brunn, our resident vegan chef, weighs in on how to innovate gourmet holiday recipes.

Reading the November 2007 issue of Bon Appetit, which includes a slew of Thanksgiving recipes, I thought of ways to renovate the dishes that require dairy or meat. If you skip the turkey in the first chapter, "Turkey and Gravy," the guide is quite vegan-friendly. I see a recipe like Three-Mushroom Dressing with(out) Prosciutto (Chapter 2, Stuffings), and think, "Mushrooms, tasty." I'd follow the recipe, just omitting the meat, eggs and changing the butter for margarine (non-hydrogenated of course) or a good olive oil. I don't see how I could go wrong with rosemary, white wine, sautéed onions and three types of mushrooms. The wild rice and roasted grapes and walnuts recipe is vegetarian straight away (at least after changing to vegetable stock). Again, substitute out the butter for vegan.

In Chapter 3, Cranberry Sauce, all four recipes are vegan by default. In Chapter 4, Potatoes, take out dairy and you'll be laughing through five recipes: a bourbon-walnut sweet potato mash, red potatoes with ancho chiles, a wasabi mash, a hash of sweet potatoes, and a recipe for roasted fingerlings. Vegetables, in Chapter 5, are an obvious score, from Brussels sprouts with caramelized shallots to smashed rutabagas with ginger-roasted pears, green beans and almonds to parsnips with carrots and rosemary to roasted fennel.

If you're still with me on the vegan tip, skip over to the November/DecemberVegetarian Times for cranberry-cherry lattice pie and upside-down apple-cinnamon pie (both vegan). They have Thanksgiving meal plans, too, and a short feature on sage with a mention of flash-frying sage leaves for a "potato chip-like garnish." Crispy sage leaves sound fun.

If you're wondering how you'd go without meat on Thanksgiving, or at least how my family is going to do it, Chicago Diner has posted the tofu roulade recipe that I've been cooking for the last few years and it's brilliant. When the roulade is rolled up inside plastic wrap, just before baking, I love to twirl the ends of the plastic around and around to smooth any edges (or more honestly, primarily to amuse myself).

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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