happy thanksgiving.

it’s my second thanksgiving spent on the cape, and i could not be more thankful to have great people to share it with. it’s usually a slow, lazy day, which is my favorite. i’ve been reading bossypants by tina fey. somuchrandomness. we started the day off with gingerbread pancakes that were inhaled immediately. a recipe for that in the future.

a small rest break, and we were in the kitchen preparing for the main event–thanksgiving dinner. m and i were in charge of the veggie main dish, dessert, and gravy. m’s mom was in charge of the rest–sweet potatoes, cornbread stuffing, and the turkey (not for m and me).

in m’s opinion, thanksgiving isn’t complete without canned jellied cranberry. the first time i had it was last thanksgiving. it’s charming in its own way. it’s not my favorite part. my favorite is always the veggie main dish. this year, it’s spaghetti squash.

i love spaghetti squash. i had it for the first time two years ago, and i’m addicted. it’s a great substitute for pasta, because you get the same effect. plus, who knew you could scrape the inside of a squah and have it look like spaghetti? thrown in some peas and goat cheese, and it’s delicious. i wouldn’t be mad if you chose feta instead of goat cheese. or if you added mushrooms into this mix. also delicious. no mushrooms this time, because there’s already mushrooms in the gravy…

spaghetti squash with peas and goat cheese
printable recipe – yields 4 main course servings

1 medium-size spaghetti squash
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup of peas, frozen or fresh
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
goat cheese, to top
olive oil, for drizzling
a pinch of salt
a few cracks of pepper

preheat oven to 400 degrees. cut the spaghetti squash in half and scoop out all seeds. drizzle olive oil to coat lightly on both sides. salt and pepper the inside of the spaghetti squash. place on baking sheet cut side down. roast in oven for about 30 minutes or until knife tender. take out of oven to cool. once cooled, use a fork to scrape out the squash strands into a large bowl.

melt butter in a large pan over medium high heat. once the butter has melted, add the spaghetti squash. stir until hot. add peas and incorporate. add nutmeg. season with salt and pepper, as needed. serve hot, topped with goat cheese.

next, mushroom gravy. i have a different mushroom gravy that i’ve been using since i’ve turned vegetarian about 5 years ago. i didn’t have it on me, so i looked for another recipe to try. a tweak here and a tweak there, and it turned out pretty darn tasty. my mushroom gravy recipe i’ll share on another occasion.

mushroom gravy
printable recipe – adapted from martha stewart’s vegetarian mushroom gravy
yields 3.5 cups

2 portobello caps
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms
1/4 pound shitake mushrooms
4 cups vegetable stock
7 tablespoons butter
2 shallots, finely diced
1/4 c red wine
4 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon fresh thyme

dice portobello caps. slice cremini and shitake mushrooms. place 3 tablespoons of butter in a large pan. once melted, add shallots and saute until translucent. add mushrooms and saute until brown. add red wine and cook.

in another pot, add the remaining tablespoons of butter until melted. add the flour and stir until combined. you should end up with a paste-like consistency. slowly whisk in the the broth. boil until thickened. add mushroom mixture and thyme. stir until combined and hot.

as for dessert, we decided to go a bit on the healthier side. well… healthier than the traditional pumpkin pie route.

stuffed apples (served with vanilla bean frozen yogurt and caramel sauce)
printable recipe – adapted from my baking addiction’s inside out apple crisp
yields 4 servings

stuffed apple ingredients:
4 granny smith apples
1/2 cup of oatmeal*
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
a small pinch ground cloves

*i used steel cut oats. i should have used regular quick cook oats. i didn’t like the texture.

preheat oven to 350. hollow out apples. m found that using a small knife and a spoon helped to hollow out apples effectively. you only want to hollow out the apples a little further than the core or else they’ll fall apart in the oven.

combine brown sugar, spices, and oats in a small bowl. add butter and use your fingers to combine. add filling to apples making sure not to pack firmly or else they’ll burst. place on baking sheet and bake in oven for 30 minutes. remove from oven and top with frozen yogurt and caramel sauce.

3 out of the 4 of mine burst, but they were still tasty anyway.

vanilla bean frozen yogurt
printable recipe – adapted from david lebovitz’s the perfect scoop
yield 1 quart

3 cups plain greek yogurt
3/4 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

split vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape vanilla bean filling into bowl. add all remaining ingredients and stir until sugar is dissolved. refrigerate for 1 hour.

follow your manufacturer’s instructions for your ice cream machine. mine took 15-20 minutes–not long at all.

scoop into container and refrigerate until a bit more firm.

caramel sauce
printable recipe – yield 1 cup

1 cup vanilla sugar
5 tablespoons butter
pinch of salt
1/2 cup cream*

*i used light cream, mostly because that’s all they had left in the grocery store. don’tgoshoppingthedaybeforethanksgiving. but, i liked the consistency of this much better than when using heavy cream. it’s syrup like instead of thick and rich. give it a try.

add sugar to a saucepan on medium heat. stir constantly until melted and an amber color. it’ll burn in an instant, so keep an eye on it. add butter and whisk. remove from heat. add cream and whisk. easy.

all in all, i’d say a wonderful, food-filled thanksgiving. somuchfood. next time, not so many recipes in one post. promise. it is thanksgiving, so this had to be an exception… right?

also, one of the football games that was on today was the cowboys vs. the redskins. also interpreted as the cowboys vs. the indians. yes, that’s real life. why anyone thought today of all days was the appropriate day to have that game on, i have no idea. my social justice lens will never turn off.


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