GF Vegetarian Thanksgiving 8: Apple/Pear Crisp and Stuffed Acorn Squash

November 21st, 2011 yum Posted in Blog Event, Blog News, Dairy Free, Dinner, Dinner Party, Egg Free, Thanksgiving, Vegan, Vegetarian 4 Comments »

I can’t believe I’ve been doing daily posts for our Gluten-free Vegetarian Thanksgiving event for over a week now! For this eighth episode of our event, my friend Alisa of Go Dairy Free posted an oat-free recipe for Maple-Walnut Pear Crisp along with a sister recipe for a Pecan Apple Crisp. I just love crisps, and she is absolutely right, they are one of the easiest and most forgiving types of fruit desserts if you are gluten and dairy-free. I love me some pie crust, but they are so much work. Crisps are fun, too, because they are one of the few gluten-free baking recipes that you can ad-lib and do “to feel”. I have been known to throw together many a crisp sans recipe. They are hard to mess up, honestly! Alisa’s recipe looks brilliant, of course. I love that she uses nuts AND gluten-free flour and sweetens with yummy brown sugar and maple syrup. Fabulously, naturally vegetarian and even vegan!

As Thanksgiving has gotten closer, I’ve been finalizing my own Thanksgiving menu. Here’s what I’m thinking.

For our main dish, we’ll have a recipe that has signified Thanksgiving to me ever since I first made it over twelve years ago living in Boulder, Colorado, My main dish for Portobella Mushroom Stuffed Acorn Squash (See below). I’ll top it with my favorite Nutritional Yeast Gravy. It might seem strange, but we’ve always enjoyed having some vegetarian or vegan Homemade baked beans with our Thanksgiving meal. This year I think I’ll make it in the our brand new slow cooker! We usually have plain old mashed potatoes, but this year Elise’s recipe for Duchess Potatoes (adapted to be dairy-free). Then I’ll make some Homemade Orange Apple Cranberry Sauce with a side of gluten-free, vegetarian homemade French Bread. For Desserts we will have pre-made gluten-free pie from Crave Bakery in Gluten-free Pumpkin Pie and Pecan Pie Varieties, as well as homemade dairy-free gluten-free pumpkin and Gluten-free Apple Pie.

What are you having for your Thanksgiving dinner menu?

Portabella Stuffed Acorn Squash
24 oz. gluten FREE bread, cubed (any type works, even bread that isn’t
that tasty)
1 tbsp. Olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 medium portabella mushrooms, diced
1/4 cup walnut (or pecan) pieces
1 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/2 cup fresh basil or other herb
1 cup warm vegetable broth
1/2 tsp. Black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt

For the Squash:
4 medium acorn squash, halved, with seeds removed
1 cup water
1/2 cup ginger ale
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tsp low sodium gluten-free tamari (San-j preferred)
1 tsp honey
juice of a lemon
pinch of cayenne pepper

Stuffing Instructions:
1) Place bread cubes on cookie sheet and dry them for 20 to 30
minutes in a 250 degree oven, uncovered.
2) Heat olive oil and butter in a large saute pan. Add onion and
carrots, and saute over medium heat for 3 minutes until lightly
caramelized. Add mushrooms, nuts, and poultry seasoning, continuing
to saute for 2 minutes. Add fresh herb, and transfer to a large
mixing bowl, then add dried bread cubes, and mix well with broth. Let
sit for 30 minutes until bread absorbs all the liquid and the
stuffing is fluffy. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Squash Instructions:
1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place squash halves cut-side-down on
a cookie sheet lined with foil, or use a nonstick pan. Add 1/2 cup
water and bake for 30 to 45 minutes, until nearly tender.
2) Combine ginger ale, orange juice, tamari, honey, lemon juice
and pepper. Mix well and set aside. Place squash cavity-side-up in a
roasting pan. Brush generously with the glaze. Fill the cavity of
each squash with the mushroom stuffing, using an ice cream scoop or
large spoon. Pack stuffing in the cavity, forming a uniform mound.
3) Pour 1/2 cup water in the pan and bake 30 minutes, until squash
is lightly browned and stuffing is thoroughly heated.

My favorite vegetarian “turkey”- excellent with gravy. Of course I
use a vegetarian gravy made from scratch using nutritional yeast, but
you don’t have to. The stuffing is good on its own as well. Mmmm.
Thanksgiving memories.
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Gluten Free Vegetarian: Delicious Peanut Tofu Recipe with Coconut Rice Recipe

November 27th, 2007 yum Posted in Dinner, Nuts, Peanut, Rice, Thai, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian, coconut, tofu 10 Comments »

peanutc2.jpgAfter all the squash I’d been eating, I suddenly started craving tofu like nobody’s business. But not just any tofu would do. No, somehow I wanted tofu in peanut sauce. The inspiration actually came from a coconut rice recipe I’d invented for Thanksgiving. My dairy-free, soy-free Mom had mentioned a childhood favorite recipe based on a little bit of rice, maraschino cherries, and pineapple. Usually people add whipped cream or some other dairy based ingredient, but she wanted to try making some without any dairy. I thought about adding rice milk, but didn’t think it would add much flavor- and then it occurred to me to substitute a healthy swig of coconut milk for some of the water in the rice cooker. After all, coconut milk should go well with tropical fruits, and it is way more decadent and flavorful than demure rice milk. So, I added a small (not light!) can of coconut milk to the rice. Mom used a little of the rice for her salad, and I decided to try some of the leftover coconut enriched rice with my acorn squash. It was delicious drizzled with vegetarian gravy or even topped with some cranberry sauce- and I couldn’t help but think it would be even better with a savory peanut sauce Asian-fusion dish. I thumbed through one of my favorite vegetarian cookbooks, the simply named and brilliantly themed “Peanut Butter Planet” and picked one of the recipe for “Szechuan stir fry with Fiery Peanut Sauce.” The only trouble was, we didn’t have any of the vegetables they used, so I had to improvise with the onions, portobello mushrooms, and carrots in our fridge. I also decided to kick up the tofu preparation methods a notch to add more texture to the dish. To my delight, these ingredients resulted in a rich, savory peanut dish that would do a Thai yellow curry proud. Indulge your taste for savory peanut sauce, meaty portobello strips and satisfying tofu with this dish… and while you’re at it, why not try this subtle rice variation. Take a plain spoonful of this heavenly coconut rice and close your eyes while you chew- it’s that good.

In the mood for coconut?
Try Coconut Carob Truffles
Karina’s Coconut Recipes
By the Bay’s Coconut Mashed Yams
Naomi’s Chocolate Mint Coconut Cream
Or my Ginger Coconut Peanut Sauce, perfect for grilled vegetables!

Share your favorite coconut or peanut recipes in the comments, or share your post URL’s…
I’ll add them to this yummy list!

Savory Tofu Peanut Sauce Stir Fry Recipe with Coconut Rice Recipe
Coconut Rice:
2 cups (rice cooker measurement) short grained white rice
1/2 can lite coconut milk (or small regular coconut milk)

1/2 cup water
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
1/8 cup San-J low sodium wheat free tamari
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp ketchup
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (more if you like the heat)

1 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 1 tbsp water, reserved

Stir Fry:
1/2 yellow onion, sliced into thick strips
1 portobello mushroom, including stem. Slice cap and dice stem.
1 1/2 carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks.
2-3 fresh garlic cloves, diced
1 pkg. firm organic tofu (a la Trader Joes), cut in half and pressed
2 more fresh garlic cloves
kosher salt
peanut oil (or your favorite oil)
sherry or other flavorful cooking wine

Rinse your rice until the water is no longer cloudy. Shake off the water and then put your rice in your rice cooker. Pour half of a can of coconut milk into the rice cooker and add water until the liquid reaches the two cup mark. (Or, just substitute coconut milk for half the water in your favorite rice recipe.)

Make your sauce by combining ingredients from water to red pepper flakes into a blender. Blend. Then heat on the stove in a saucepan until the sauce begins to boil. Lower heat and let simmer for five minutes, whisking occasionally. Add cornstarch slurry and let sauce thicken, take off heat and reserve.

I like two styles of tofu in my dishes for texture variety. (Optional- pick one style if you prefer.) Take one slab of tofu and slice it thinly into strips. Cut the remaining slab of tofu into cubes. Heat 1 cup or so of peanut (or canola, etc. oil with a high smoke point) over a high heat in your wok , toss in some kosher salt (if desired) and fry half of the tofu strips. Turn over when the tofu looks golden brown on one side. When fried golden on both sides, put on a rack so any extra oil can drip off. For your tofu cubes, clean your wok and pour a little (1 tbsp. or less) fresh peanut oil in the pan. Let it heat until almost at smoking point, add a whole garlic clove, let it brown and then remove from pan. Add a little salt to taste, and throw in your tofu cubes. Add your diced garlic and toss. When tofu cubes are browned on all sides (turn frequently), remove and reserve.

Add a tiny bit more oil, season it with the remaining garlic clove, remove the clove, and throw in your onion strips. You may need to do one half recipe at a time. When onion looks slightly softened, throw in your diced mushroom STEM. Toss frequently. When onion looks done and browned on the edges, remove and reserve. Throw in your portobello mushroom slices and saute. When they start to soften but the pan seems dry, throw in a little sherry (tablespoons, not cup measurements). Add your carrot matchsticks and stir fry for a minute or so. Throw in the rest of your reserved ingredients, mix, and then begin to drizzle your sauce on the stir fry, mixing sauce thoroughly into the dish.

You will have leftover stir fry, so you can double the rice if you prefer.
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