Vegan Thanksgiving and a Trip to Nazareth Ethiopian Restaurant
Well, it’s that time of year again, it’s Thanksgiving (in Canada), and this time around, I’m all by myself. My family is back in Edmonton (celebrating with tofu steaks by the way) and work commitments made it difficult to leave town with friends. So while part of me thought, oh the heck with it, I’ll go treat myself to a dinner out… I decided to make something at home instead.
I had a great time in the kitchen, four things on the go at one time. I started out by crumbling some tofu and spreading and pressing it in a cheesecloth layered colander, baking some cornbread and using the excess heat from the oven to dry bread that was going to go in my stuffing. While reducing a mixture of balsamic vinegar and red wine on the stove as the starting point for my cranberry sauce.
I’ve mentioned before that I can’t follow a recipe without making massive alterations to it, and this was no exception. I made nearly everything (except the cornbread) from my own kitchen experimentation.
The tofu turkey was loosely based on a recipe off of VegWeb. Though I made a few modifications, primarily because 5lbs of tofu would be a bit much for me and I didn’t use the pepperidge farm stuffing mix, partially because I couldn’t find it, and partially because I bought an amazing loaf of Calabrese bread and wanted to use it to make stuffing. For the baste I used olive oil, vegetable stock, soy sauce and a tablespoon of orange juice. It came out of the oven nice and crispy on the outside, and very flavourful on the inside.
My favourite thing of the evening turned out to be the red wine & balsamic vinegar cranberry sauce. I’ve always enjoyed cranberry sauce, but this was delicious.
10 ml balsamic vinegar
80 ml red wine
2 cups whole fresh cranberries
1/4 cup brown cane sugar, loosely packed
80 ml water
as much freshly ground black pepper as you like. (I put approximately a 1tsp)
I reduced the balsamic vinegar and red wine in a pot over medium heat until it began to steam then poured in the sugar, water & cranberries. The smell that filled the house was heavenly. After most of the berries had broken open I topped it with black pepper and mixed it. After it cooled off a little bit I poured it in a serving dish and put more pepper on it. It was very nice and thick after I let it sit a while, and was even better in the morning on a piece of cornbread after the flavours had the night to mingle.
I made the cornbread with the recipe from the PPK (though the recipe database is being updated in the next couple of weeks so I’ll update this when the time comes), with a bunch of modifications. I used olive oil, put 2 tbsp of brown sugar as well as 1 tbsp of maple syrup and used Ener-G Egg Replacer instead of vinegar and baking powder. It turned out great. I’ve had trouble in the past with thick corn bread not cooking thoroughly, well this time I baked it for about 16 minutes and then cut the heat in half for 5 extra minutes. It seemed to do the trick.
The Rosemary Fingerling Potatoes were very straightforward, I rubbed them with a bit of olive oil, rosemary and a touch of salt. And put them in the oven at 350 degrees till they were tender but still slightly firm. I don’t know when I first had a fingerling potato but ever since, I’ve really loved them, they have such a complex flavour for a potato, and it was nice to pick up bag of local heirloom potatoes and then eat them.
The stuffing was good all on it’s own, it was yummy
Vegan Bread Stuffing
2 cups of diced dried bread
2 tbsp Earth Balance
6 stalks chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp sage
1/2 tbsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
1.5 cup vegetable stock
1/4 cup soy milk
I bought a loaf of bread in the morning and of course, bread takes on flavour much better when it’s dried out, so I sliced it up and put it on the oven exhaust burner and lightly dried the bread out while I was baking the cornbread. I tossed the bread, celery, and spices together, then added a mixture of soy milk, earth balance and vegetable stock. Mixed everything up again inside of a casserole dish, covered it, and tossed it in the oven at 350 degrees F again and waited until it was browned. It was even better the next day.
This would have probably served two people comfortably. My thanksgiving dinner was yummy, and I think all that was missing was a squash based dish, and potentially company. I had such a great time making everything, and then serving it that it didn’t matter.
Yesterday I went over to Nazareth Ethiopian Restaurant (969 Bloor Street W, get off at Ossington Subway Station) for the first time, and had a great time. We got there just in time because when we arrived they were nearly empty and it seemed as though in minutes, the restaurant filled up (and there was even a bit of a line up.) We got one order of the Vegetarian Combination plate (it’s vegan without any modifications) and it was huge. I’m amazed at how much food we got for 7 dollars. The injera was great, spongy and sticky, not too sour, and basically perfect. I don’t know exactly how I felt about the dishes we had, they were tasty, but not mind-blowing, but when you factor in the price, it was extra fabulous.
There was no way to making our plate look pretty. So I’ll spare you the photo, though I guess that didn’t stop me from posting a picture of that tofu lump of fake turkey. 🙂
Ibex is my favourite Ethiopian resto, it's just West of Greenwood on Danforth. The veg platter is $13 and well worth it. 🙂
Thanks for the suggestion! I'm always into trying new places.