23 November, 2011

Thanksgiving Prep, Day 2

Since the day BEFORE Thanksgiving is always the most hectic, be prepared to spend a little more time in the kitchen today.  My day started a might bit early in the kitchen...8 am rather than 9 am like yesterday.  I just finished ALL my work for today a couple minutes ago, 2:30 pm.  Either way, I accomplished everything I needed today and I still have time to go out and play in the new fallen snow with my Mister and the Sprout...  Let's get to it!

Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup
10 oz. can organic mushrooms, reserve juice
3 T. vegan buttery spread
6 T. flour
1/4 c. soy creamer

In a medium sized saucepan over medium heat melt butter until just before sizzling.  Toss in flour quickly mix with a whisk, remove from heat when butter and flour begin to become a paste.  Make sure you whisk butter and flour together completely.  In small spurts of 1 T. at a time, begin whisking in the mushroom juice from the can.  Keep doing this until you have added all the mushroom juice to the pan and it is whisked in thoroughly.  Add the creamer in small bursts at a time, whisking after each addition.  If you don't like how thick it is, add more creamer.  But keep in mind when you make the casserole goop you will be adding MORE cream, soy sauce, etc.  Having it slightly thick NOW isn't an issue.  Allow to cool to room temperature and put in a airtight container until tomorrow.

*Note:  Make sure whatever you use for mushrooms are organic.  If you try to make this with fresh mushrooms make sure you have enough and that you know how to sweat these out.  I don't even mess with fresh when it comes to something like this.

Pumpkin Pie Filling
1 c. canned pumpkin
1/2 c. organic brown cane sugar, firmly packed
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
2/3 c. soy creamer
2 eggs

Whisk together pumpkin and sugar until thoroughly combined.  Add in all the spices at once, followed by the eggs and creamer.  Whisk together.  Put in an airtight container in the fridge until you're ready to fill your tartlet cups.

Pecan Pie Filling
2 T. vegan butter spread, melted
3/4 c. organic brown cane sugar, firmly packed
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. crushed pecans

Melt butter in the microwave on low.  Stir in sugar, vanilla and egg until thoroughly mixed.  Add crushed pecans, blend well.  Put in an airtight container inside the fridge until you're ready to fill your tartlet cups.  *After these have baked and cooled COMPLETELY, dust them lightly with organic powdered cane sugar before serving.

 Tartlet Dough
1/2 c. vegan buttery spread, room temperature
3 oz. soy cream cheese, room temperature
1 c. flour, plus 1/4 c. flour
bowl of flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (if you have convection, use it for baking these)

Cream together butter and soy cream cheese completely.  Add in flour and mix until thoroughly blended.  Dough should not be sticky anymore, it should feel like playdough and be easy to work with.  Make 1 inch sized balls and toss a ball into each of the wells of a mini tart tin.  There should be 24 wells in each pan.  This recipe makes 1 24 welled tin.  I doubled this recipe for my purposes today.  You will need a Pampered Chef Mini-Tart Shaper to flatten your balls or something like it.  Before flattening, stick the tart shaper into the bowl of dough a couple times, then into a small bowl with your 1/4 c, of flour.  Every time you shape a tart, dip your shaper back into the flour; this prevents the shaper from sticking.  When you flatten the dough balls make sure that you flatten them evenly so they have the proper room for pie filling.  The dough will rise up the side of the tart shaper a fair amount.  Don't be scared.  If it feels like the dough won't let go of the tart shaper twist it while pulling up.  Works for me every time.

To make the tartlets take your Lemon Curd, Bluberry, Pumpkin and Pecan pie fillings out of the fridge.  Fill each tart well 3/4 of the way, leaving room for expansion.  ESPECIALLY for the pumpkin and pecan fillings as well as the lemon curd.  Don't worry if anything overflows, it removes easily from the non-stick mini tart pans.  When you are ready, shut these babies up in the oven for 25 minutes or until the crust edges are golden brown.  Remove to cooling rack.  When COMPLETELY cool (I am waiting until Thanksgiving Day), dust the pecan and lemon tarts with organic powdered cane sugar.  I am making some whipped soy cream tomorrow for the pumpkin and blueberry tarts...watch for that post tomorrow!

Minnesota Wild Rice Casserole
1 1/2 c. wild rice
8 c. unsalted chicken stock
1 tsp. celery seed OR 1 c. diced celery
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
1 medium sweet onion, minced
1/2 tsp. fresh minced garlic OR 1/4 tsp. dehydrated minced garlic
1 lb. ground turkey
5 strips of bacon
1 can organic mushroom pieces, drained

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Prep all your vegetables first.  Dice the bell peppers, onion, celery (if you are using fresh celery) and drain your mushrooms now.  Toss it all in a bowl together while you wait for the bacon grease.

In a large roaster pan add your wild rice and 4 c. of the chicken stock then set it aside.  Fry your bacon in a large skillet over medium high heat until crisp.  Remove cooked bacon with a fork to a plate with a paper towel on it and allow it to cool 5 minutes.  In the same pan you cooked the bacon in, saute your veggies in the bacon grease making sure they all sweat their juices (about 8 minutes).  Stir them frequently.  When they are finished turn them into the roaster pan.  In the same pan fry your ground turkey.  Throw it in there and let it start to cook.  While it is cooking, use kitchen shears to snip the bacon strips into the pan.  Stir the bacon into the turkey after a couple strips go in.  Make sure the ground turkey is really crumbled into small pieces.  When the turkey is completely cooked add the turkey/bacon mixture to the roaster pan.  Stir everything together very well.  Shake the pan a bit to level out the contents.  Bake in the oven uncovered for 1 hour or until the wild rice "pops" (opens).

This makes quite a bit of casserole.  For the stuffing you'll only need 2 cups.  The fabulous thing is it freezes SO well.  Save the rest for soup!  My Dairy-Free Cheesy Wild Rice Soup recipe will be up November 30th and this casserole is my main ingredient for that soup.  Yummy!

Cornbread Stuffing Completed
3 T. vegan buttery spread
2 c. organic turkey STOCK (don't use broth...ick)
1/2 c. dehydrated cranberry
2 c. Minnesota Wild Rice Casserole
4 c. seasoned cornbread stuffing cubes

Microwave about 1 c. of turkey stock just until it begins to boil.  Toss in your dehydrated cranberries.  This will help reconstitute them a bit so they don't dry out your stuffing by stealing moisture from your cornbread.  Allow to steep in the stock for 5 minutes.  With a slotted spoon remove cranberries and set them aside in a large mixing bowl.  Pour the turkey stock from the cranberries into a glass measuring cup, bring the level of stock up to the 2 c. mark.  In a small saucepan heat butter and stock together until just boiling.  Remove from heat and stir in seasoned cornbread cubes.  Your cornbread WILL start to break down.  That is okay, you won't be able to roll this in your turkey breast very easily if you have huge cubes that don't break down.  Once all the cornbread is moistened, you are ready to put this together.  Add the cornbread to the cranberry and add your 2 c. of wild rice casserole.  Mix together well.  Set aside for rolling the turkey.

Turkey Roulade
1 large turkey breast, deboned
I recipe of Cornbread stuffing
fresh cracked black pepper
fresh cracked sea salt
kitchen twine
10 toothpicks
kitchen shears
large sheet of tin foil

When I say "1 large turkey breast, deboned" what I mean is most supermarkets will have not been able to move their over abundance of turkeys that they ordered for the holiday.  When you go to the meat case sometimes you'll notice an inordinate amount of legs, thighs and breasts of turkey rather than whole turkeys.  Sometimes a butcher will remove all of the while meat of the turkey in one fell swoop.  It will be sold tied up into a roll and just be called "turkey breast, deboned"....but what it really is is MAGIC in plastic wrap!  When it is unrolled it will look almost like a long flap of meat.  The outer skin will still be on it as well which helps with creating juices for your "Awesome Gravy" tomorrow.  

Untie your turkey breast and unroll it across your cutting board.  Take note which is the thicker end (sometimes they aren't even), that is the end you want to END your roll on.  Also...make sure that the direction there is the most length to is horizontal in front of you.  Now, start spooning on your cornbread stuffing as close to the thinner end of the turkey breast as you can.  Really mash it into the turkey.  This will make this sucker easier to roll in a couple minutes.  Load it on there until you get to the thick end of the breast.  Stop with the stuffing about 1 inch from that edge.  This will make meat to meat contact and a nicer, tighter roll for presentation (if you care about that part).  Time to roll.  From the thin end, start rolling your turkey breast towards the other end, making sure you press firmly but not too firmly...you don't wanna squish out all your stuffing.  If you mess up, don't be afraid to unroll it at begin again.  No one is gonna know, and I am sure the turkey will forgive you.

Once you have it rolled up, grab your tooth picks and stick them in the end flap through to the rest of the roll.  Leave enough toothpick sticking out so you can pull them out before roasting your turkey tomorrow.  Once the turkey is secure enough that you can stop holding onto it, grab your twine and tie it up.  You can either do this with several separate strings of twine or one continuous piece that you wrap around and around.  Either way gets the job done.  When you are done with the twine you can leave the toothpicks in or take them out.  I took mine out.  When you're ready, salt and pepper whatever side of the turkey roll is facing you.  Move turkey roll to foil, seasoned side DOWN and salt and pepper the side now facing you.  Tightly wrap in the foil and keep in the fridge over night.  Refrigerating the meat rolled up like that a day before will also help the meat to hold its rolled shape when it is baking the next day.

Whew!  Everyone still with me?  Good!  Tomorrow is THE day...  Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes, Awesome Gravy, Soft Vegan Dinner Rolls, Vegan Green Bean Casserole gets thrown together and tossed in the oven...and then the Thanksgiving Feast is ON!  Can't wait to meet you here tomorrow...  Spreading this work out over 3 days makes it SO much more enjoyable for me.  I hope it does for you and your family this year as well!

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