What We Ate: The 1st night of Chanukah & Thanksgiving, 2013

How was everybody’s holiday? It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving 2013 is already over, and that we are already onto the second day of Chanukah! Where does time go???

I decided that since both of these meals took place within about 24 hours time, I will combine them into one post. Here we go:

1st night of Chanukah:

Chanukah

When planning what to have for dinner I knew that I wanted something easy (because, hello, it was going to be the night before Thanksgiving!), but I also wanted to do something fun. I vetoed latkes for the first night (I’m going to save the mess from frying for a night that’s not the night before Thanksgiving!). I decided to do finger foods that could be made earlier in the afternoon, and we’d eat it picnic-style on the living room floor in front of the menorah.

Spiced Sweet Potato Gelt with Orange Honey Sour Cream Dipping Sauce

The first thing I made, which is what gave me the idea of doing that type of dinner, are these Spiced Sweet Potato “Gelt” with Orange Honey Sour Cream Dipping Sauce. I loved how easy these were to make, and I way more of them than I should have!

Baked Zucchini Coins with Tomato Sauce

In keeping with the “gelt” theme, I also made these Baked Zucchini Coins with Tomato Sauce. These were a little more time-consuming to make, because of the triple dipping you need to do, but they were very worth it because they were delicious.

Onion, Mushroom & Goat Cheese Mini Frittatas

The last thing I made were these Onion, Mushroom, and Goat Cheese Mini Frittatas. They are made in muffin tins, making them a perfect size for picking up and eating, no forks necessary. The tomato sauce from the zucchini coins was also incredible with these.

I set it all out in a side table in the living room, and after we lit the menorah we filled up our plates, sat down, and watched the candles flickering.

Thanksgiving:

Thanksgiving 2013

It was just the five of us again for Thanksgiving this year, so my goal was to have a variety of foods, but keep the prep simple and not have too many leftovers . I made several new recipes this year, many of which are from fellow bloggers. I think the meal I ended up with was perfect!

Pumpkin Glazed Turkey Legs

I knew I didn’t want to roast a whole turkey. Last year I made a roast turkey breast, but this year I decided to go with turkey legs. When I saw this recipe for Pumpkin Glazed Turkey Legs, full of wonderful fall flavors, I knew that it would be perfect. The glaze was wonderful! The only problem I had was that mine took a lot longer to cook, but that could be due to the size of the legs that I used. (You can see how many times I cut into them to check doneness—must get a meat thermometer!)

Bourbon-Vanilla Cranberry Sauce

Due to my insane love of vanilla, I added this Bourbon-Vanilla Cranberry Sauce to my menu the same day it was posted! So simple to make, and so delicious!

Spiced Sweet Potato Casserole

I wanted to make some sort of sweet potato dish, but I did not want anything that involved marshmallows! I went with this Spiced Sweet Potato Casserole, which I thought was wonderful.

Grandma's Saltine Stuffing/Dressing

It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving to me if I didn’t make my grandma’s saltine stuffing (dressing). I know it probably sounds weird to most of you, but I love the stuff! This year, I couldn’t resist baking it in a cast iron skillet!

Roasted Cauliflower with Chickpeas, Mustard & Parsley

The final recipe for our main course was Roasted Cauliflower with Chickpeas, Mustard & Parsley from It’s All Good. This has become my favorite way of serving cauliflower. Try it, it’s outstanding! (Recipe below)

Amaretto Apple Crisp

For dessert I made this wonderful Amaretto Apple Crisp that I served warm with vanilla soy ice cream from Trader Joe’s. Why store-bought ice cream , when I so obviously love to make my own? Well, we keep kosher, which means no dairy at a meat meal. T.J.’s does non-dairy ice cream very well, so I don’t mind relying on the when I need to.

Thanksgiving 2013

And that’s that! Enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend (and Chanukah, if you celebrate it)!

Thanksgiving 2013

I’m very obviously way more into the sides than the turkey! đŸ˜‰

Roasted Cauliflower with Chickpeas, Mustard, & Parsley

1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed & drained, and dried with a kitchen towel

1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets

Extra-virgin olive oil

Coarse Sea Salt

1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard

1 tablespoon seeded mustard (I use country-style Dijon)

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

Freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley

1. Place a rack in the middle of your oven, and preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Combine the chickpeas and the cauliflower florets on a large sheet pan, and toss with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and a big pinch of salt. roast for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until everything is dark brown and the cauliflower is soft.

3. In a small measuring cup or bowl whisk together 1/4 cup of olive oil, the 2 mustards, the vinegar, a big pinch of salt, and a few big grinds of pepper. Pour over the still-warm chickpeas and cauliflower, add the parsley, and toss to combine. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 4 servings

From It’s All Good, by Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Turshen

Tabbouleh Veggie Burgers

Tabbouleh Veggie Burgers

I got the idea for these burgers when I was making different bulger-based veggie burgers a few weeks ago. Bulger is traditionally used in tabbouleh, a lemony salad filled with lots of herbs. I knew that the flavors in tabbouleh would make a great summery veggie burger.

I served these for dinner over mixed greens drizzled with a garlicky tahini sauce, with a homemade pita on the side. I was originally planning on serving these in the pitas, but for some reason my pitas ended up pocketless. I’m not sure if it was the recipe or if it was an error I made (possibly rolling the dough too thin?). However, they were still delicious—so soft and fresh. You can find the recipe on one of my favorite baking blogs, A Pastry Affair.

Homemade Pitas

This recipe makes a lot of burgers, but the leftovers reheat wonderfully (I reheat them in the toaster oven). I ate the leftovers for lunch on leftovers pitas (I cut the pitas in half, making two half moons, and just used it as I would a bun), drizzled with sriracha. This was actually my favorite way of eating them!

Tabbouleh Veggie Burgers

Tabbouleh Veggie Burgers

If you do not like feta, or want these to be dairy-free, you can leave the feta out. Feel free to add more herbs, if you would like.

1 cup bulger

2 cups water

1 (28 oz.) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

3 large eggs

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1/4 cup chopped mint

2 scallions, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 cup crumbled feta

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

Optional: Tahini Garlic Sauce, for serving (recipe below)

1. Place bulger and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.

2. Puree the chickpeas and eggs together in a food processor until smooth.

3. In a large bowl, combine the cooked bulger, the chickpea mixture, parsley, mint, scallions, garlic, lemon juice, feta, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Divide into 8 large burgers.

4. Heat a large skillet (I used cast iron) over medium heat. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom.

5. Add the burgers to the pan, 2 or 3 at a time. Cook until browned and crisp on the outside, about 6 minutes per side. Add more oil to the pan as needed between batches.

Makes 8 servings

Tahini Garlic Sauce:

I made half a recipe of this sauce, but if you make the whole thing the leftovers are great as a dip for pita, vegetables, and falafel.

2 to 3 cloves garlic, very finely minced

Salt

1 cup tahini

1/2 cup lemon juice (or more, to taste)

Water

In bowl whisk together the garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and tahini. Whisk in the lemon juice; the mixture will stiffen up. Whisk in water, a little at a time, until the sauce has the consistency of a runny yogurt (you may need to use up to 3/4 cup of water for this). Add additional salt and/or lemon juice to taste, if desired.

Makes 1 1/2 to 2 cups

*Tahini sauce adapted from Mediterranean Harvest, by Martha Rose Shulman

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Pesto Pasta with Chickpeas and Tomatoes

I wanted to make something to use up some pesto I had in the fridge, and after looking through a few cookbooks I decided on this recipe. The pesto is mixed with some of the pasta cooking water and tossed with the pasta, and then the pasta is topped with a delicious tomato-chickpea sauce.

This was a very tasty meal that came together really quickly, making it great for a weeknight dinner.

Pesto Pasta with Chickpeas and Tomatoes
366 Delicious Ways to Cook Rice, Beans, and Grains, Andrea Chesman

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups diced vine-ripened or canned tomatoes
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flaked (I used just a dash)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained (I used canned)
1 pound orecchiette or shells
1/2 cup store-bought or homemade pesto

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are translucent, about 3 minutes. Increase the heat to high. Add the tomatoes, wine, and both, and cook until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Add the hot pepper flakes and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the chickpeas and cook another 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta until just al dente. Drain well, reserving a few tablespoons of the cooking liquid to thin down the pesto. Place the pasta in a large serving bowl. Thin the pesto with the reserved cooking liquid, add the pesto sauce to the pasta, and toss well.

To serve, spoon the pasta into individual bowls. Top with the tomato-chickpea mixture. Serve at once.

4-6 servings

(Based on 4 serving:) 795 Calories, 26 grams Protein, 18.9 grams Fat, 1mg Cholesterol, 9 grams Dietery fiber, 243 mg Sodium, 108 mg Calcium  

Bruschetta with White Bean Puree

I’ve tried several white bean dips, and this one is by far my favorite. It’s really creamy and fresh tasting. I had to hold myself back from going back for thirds!

(I forgot to save the bean broth, so I just used water in the puree and it came out fine. Also, my beans were finished cooking after the first hour, so make sure to keep a close eye on them.)

Bruschetta with White Bean Puree
The Very Best of Recipes for Health, Martha Rose Shulman

This recipe will give you more white bean puree than you’ll need for the bruschetta. The savory, hummus-like mixture makes a great high-protein, high-fiber dip or spread, so you’ll be glad to have plenty left over. You can use canned white beans for this, though they won’t taste as good. Substitute milk for the bean broth and omit the garlic.

1 cup dried white beans, rinsed and picked over, soaked for 6 hours or overnight in 1 quart water
1 medium onion, halved
4 garlic cloves, divided
1 bay leaf
Salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Ground black pepper
4-8 slices country bread, preferably whole grain
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage, rosemary, or parsley

Drain the beans and transfer to a large, heavy saucepan. Add the onion, 2 of the garlic cloves, the bay leaf, and 1 quart of water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 1 hour. Add salt to taste and simmer for 30 minutes to 1 hour, or until the beans are thoroughly tender. Drain through a sieve set over a bowl. Set aside the cooking liquid. Discard the onion and bay leaf.

Mash 1 of the raw garlic cloves with 1/4 teaspoon salt with a mortar and pestle.

Place the beans and the mashed garlic in a food processor and puree. With the machine running, add 2 tablespoons of the bean broth, 2 tablespoons of the oil, and the lemon juice. Stop the machine, taste, and adjust the seasoning with salt and black pepper. Add more of the bean broth as needed for a creamier consistency. The mixture should have the same consistency as moist hummus.

Lightly toast the bread. Halve the remaining garlic clove and rub the toast, then brush with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Top with the white beans, sprinkle with the herbs, and serve.

4 servings (plus extra white bean puree)

362 Calories, 16 g protein, 49 g carbohydrates, 16 g fiber, 12 g fat, 2 g sat fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 177 mg sodium 

Island Bean Burgers with Caribbean-Style Creole Sauce

One of my favorite go-to cookbooks is Donna Klein’s Vegan Italiano. It’s filled with delicious recipes that are healthy, inexpensive and easy to make. When I saw that she had a new cookbook out, The Tropical Vegan Kitchen, I immediately checked it out from the library.
Last night I tried my first recipe from it – Island Bean Burgers with Caribbean-Style Creole Sauce. Although I have tried many bean burger recipes before, and liked them, I never thought I’d classify one as an “Oh, my God!” recipe. But that is exactly what I exclaimed when I took my first bite of this. The burgers themselves were very good, but the sauce just took them over to fantastic! Seriously. I’m already looking forward to making them again.
I had them with roasted sweet potato wedges… which I dipped into the extra sauce, of course! Yum!

Island Bean Burgers with Caribbean-Style Creole Sauce
The Tropical Vegan Kitchen, Donna Klein

For a spicier burger, add a dash of hot pepper sauce or a pinch of cayenne pepper to the bean mixture before cooking.

1 cup rinsed and drained canned black beans
1 cup cooked brown rice, preferably warm
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon peanut oil (I used canola)
4 hamburger buns, preferably whole wheat
Caribbean-Style Creole Sauce (recipe follows)

In a large bowl, mix together the beans, rice, onion, ketchup, chili powder, oregano, cumin, garlic, salt, and pepper until well combined. Mash well with a potato masher. Divide mixture into 4 balls. With wet hands, form each ball into an even patty.

In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the patties and cook until browned, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Place each patty inside a hamburger bun and serve at once, passing the Creole sauce separately.

4 servings

Caribbean-Style Creole Sauce

1 tablespoon canola oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or cilantro
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup tomato ketchup
1/4 cup water
1/2 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/2 tablespoon fresh lime juice, or more to taste
1 teaspoon molasses
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, or more to taste (I used sriracha – Thai hot chili sauce)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a small saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Add the parsley and thyme and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Stir in the ketchup, water, vinegar, lime juice, molasses, hot pepper sauce, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally; reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remover from heat and let cool to room temperature. Mixture can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator up to 5 days.
Makes about 1 cup