I have never let my schooling interfere with my education. - Mark Twain

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Leftover thanks, and everything

All of the leftovers are long gone by now, not that I had that many to start out with. When Thanksgiving is at somebody else's house every year, you go home with the remains of what you brought (although sometimes I sneak a hunk 'o pie in to take back for breakfast the next day). This year I took cranberry sauce as usual, but simpled it up compared to what I usually bring.

For the past several years, I've done a cranberry chutney, which I of course love, but it seems only a few other people in the family do (don't think I've posted it before, so I will do so before Christmas for anyone who likes a little more adventure in their sauce). This year I did almost straight cranberry sauce as instructed on the Trader Joe's package, but added three peeled, cored, and diced Jazz apples, and 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice. Wowza! I am usually so tired of cranberry sauce after a few days that it ends up getting thrown, but this was so good it was gone in two days. And I am actually happy that there is an extra bag of cranberries in the fridge! More sauce!

I cooked it longer than you would a straight cranberry sauce to get the apples to soften, and frankly it could have cooked even more with no harm done. It was definitely a cross between cranberry sauce and a chunky applesauce, which means it was great on a toasted "everything" bagel with Tofutti cream cheese. No kidding, you have to try this. If I had any bagels left I would make some cran-apple sauce NOW just for this purpose.

This year I also had mashed potato duty. It's easy to make really good mashed potatoes if you return the potatoes to the pan after cooking to dry them out a bit, and then add the milk/butter/salt/pepper. But I didn't get the full mashed potato experience because my family does gravy from the bird so I passed on that, since I like my gravy bird-less. There was a small container of mashed potatoes that returned home with me, and alas, no gravy.

BUT. As luck would have it, Tofu Mom did a month of gravy posts during Vegan MoFo, and what did I find there but a recipe for cashew gravy that I swear has made gravy a food group at my house. Now I love gravy anyway, but it always seems more trouble than it's worth. Not so here, even with my substitutions it was basically blend the beejeepers out of the raw ingredients and then heat through to thicken up (although Tofu Mom's original recipe is not at all time consuming, I am pathologically incapable of doing anybody's recipe as written the first time around).

I ended up using vegetarian broth made with "Better Than Bouillon" Vegan Chicken Broth paste instead of water, upping the cashews to 1/2 cup instead of 1/3 cup, reducing the tamari to 1 Tbs., increasing the nutritional yeast to 2 Tbs., taking out the onion powder/garlic powder, and using a half tsp. of poultry seasoning instead of the sage. Better Than Bouillon is really good as an instant broth, but it is quite generous with the salt so I could have probably gotten away with no tamari, or only a teaspoon or so.

And the results were...

Gravy noodles! Please try not to faint from excitement...

OK, OK, plopping boiled noodles on a plate and dumping on the gravy is not exactly cuisine, but this is the kind of leftovers I'd want if Thanksgiving were at my house. So no worries, I had to make some of my own leftovers after the fact, but in addition to mashed 'taters or noodles, guess what else "leftover" gravy is good on?

Toasted "everything" bagels! No kidding again, this is just as legit as chipped beef gravy on a biscuit- there just ain't no cow chips in the gravy!

This is a rather late wish, but I hope everyone had a fab Thanksgiving, and lots of leftovers for which to give thanks. Bring on the rest of the holidays! (I think...)

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