The road trip theme is once again eclipsed by more local events. I hope to get one or two more road trip posts up, but today I'm talking family feasting.
We celebrated Thanksgiving at my mom's place and shared dinner with her and one of my brothers. Mom and bro ate some unmentionables, but we brought our own main course, our own gravy, and the pies. My mom is such a sweetie, she made all the side dishes vegan.
The salad above was really lovely, mom made a raw cranberry salsa and stuffed some anjou pear halves with them, a nice dish. The sweet, soft pears went nicely with the crunchier, more tart cranberry salsa.
Our main course was based on the Portabella Wellington recipe from the Cafe Flora cookbook, which is a mushroom-pecan pâté, layered with braised leek and portabella mushrooms, then wrapped in puff pastry.
In my version, I used crimini mushrooms for the pâté, and instead of the portabellas, I used a layer of maple-cranberry sauce (find Laurie's delicious recipe here!) and maple-roasted kabocha squash. Ground flax and nutritional yeast stood in for the eggs and cheese in the original recipe. The leeks are braised in white wine, and add a very nice mild allium dimension:
My brother said they looked like pop tarts, lol, and that's exactly what I thought of too as I put them together. These were about 6-inch pastries, and one of them is plenty for a meal. They are nice because everyone can eat one, or half of one, as an extra side dish. I have to say, these were delicious, and were also very popular with the non-vegans at the table.
Here's the mushroom-pecan pâté after baking:
Not exactly eye candy, but it's rich and super tasty. And, as the cookbook guides, leftovers that don't go into the Wellingtons are excellent in sandwiches. The pâté can be made a day or two in advance.
Pecan-Mushroom Pâté, based on Portabella Wellington recipe from Cafe Flora Cookbook, by Catherine Geier and Carol Brown
1/2 pound crimini mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely diced,
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1/4 cup dry sherry
1 tbsp chopped, fresh thyme / or use herbes de Provence (I used both, probably 1 tbsp fresh thyme and 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1.5 cups lightly toasted pecans, chopped into small bits
3 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp water
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
Grease a bread loaf pan and line with parchment/baking paper. Preheat oven to 350 F.
Pulse the mushrooms in a food processor, until finely chopped...maybe 4 or 5 pulses.
Saute the onion over medium heat until translucent, add the garlic and chopped mushrooms and saute for another ~8 - 10 minutes. Add the sherry and the herbs to deglaze the pan. Continue cooking until most of the sherry has evaporated, add salt and pepper to taste and fold in the chopped pecans, ground flax/water mixture, and the nutritional yeast.
Put pâté into the lined loaf pan and bake for ~45 minutes. Allow to cool completely, then chill in the fridge for at least an hour before cutting pâté into slices.
For the braised leek, just clean and chop one large leek and saute in olive oil until the leek begins to caramelize, then add 1/4 cup white wine and allow to cook for another ~ 10 minutes, or until most of the wine is evaporated. Add salt and pepper to taste.
For the squash, brush 1/2-inch slices of kabocha, or other winter squash of choice with maple syrup, salt and pepper to taste and roast in 350F oven until tender.
Here's another delicious side my mom put together, roasted yams with apples and pecans:
And mom's yummy rolls:
We did imbibe quite liberally, and I think I must have had a little too much wine, because all the photos of the plated dinner came out somewhat blurry:
Blurry or not, it was quite satisfactory. The gravy is a rich red wine gravy, but any kind of gravy that suits your fancy would be good with the Wellingtons in my opinion.
Road trip resumes soon, (hopefully).