I’ve been a vegetarian for many Thanksgivings now and I truly never miss the turkey. We’re hosting Thanksgiving this year in Madrid, and I’d prefer doing an all-veg feast, but Mr. Dame in Spain, who has increased his meat consumption five-fold since moving to The Land of Ham, wouldn’t stand for it. So he basically volunteered to make the turkey for Thanksgiving. This, from the man whom I have witnessed cooking just once, back when were dating. Should be interesting. Am I secretly hoping it’s a disaster and all of our guests think the turkey is blah but the vegetarian sides are AMAHZING. Well, yeah, so now it’s not a secret.
Here’s what I’m making this year in the battle of Vegetarian Sides vs. Turkey.
I’ve never made a less-than-awesome dish when following a Smitten Kitchen recipe, and this homemade green bean casserole is no exception. I’m not even sure why I wanted to make this last year, considering green bean casserole – at least the 1960s throwback that uses canned green beans and Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup – sounds wholly unappetizing. But something about this recipe spoke to me. The green beans keep their crispness, the homemade mushroom soup is velvety, and the fried onions, well they’re so good I was worried I wouldn’t have enough to spread on top because so many went into my mouth.
This Cranberry Pear Compote recipe comes from my mom, who has been concocting this tart and sweet dish for years. I use fresh pears (peeled, diced, and cooked) because I generally like to make recipes more complicated, but the canned pears are perfectly fine. Also, there’s no real reason to push the whole thing through a sieve unless you’re the type of person who enjoys picking teensy tiny cranberry seeds out of your fine mesh sieve for the next six months. Spain doesn’t have fresh cranberries so lucky for me, our friends who are visiting us from DC were kind enough to toss a few bags into their luggage.
In years past, I haven’t gone through the trouble of making vegetarian gravy. Come the big day, I look a little sadly at my dry mashed potatoes and wish that I had. This year is going to be different. In fact, I already made this vegetarian gravy from Umami Girl last night. And oh my goodness, I”m on this gravy train for life. While I don’t have any Marmite handy here, nor did I have white wine in the house (I used some sherry instead) this umami-rich, buttery, mushroomy gravy was so good I was chasing Mr. Dame around the apartment begging him to try a bite. He wouldn’t, because apparently a spoonful of gravy doesn’t sound good to everyone? I don’t get it. I cannot wait to ladle this over practically everything on my plate tomorrow.
This isn’t exactly a special-occasion dish, because I make it a few times a month. I love brussels sprouts. I love their cabbageness, their peppery bite, I even love that they’re spelled brussels sprouts even though no one pronounces that “s” after brussel. To make these crispy, sweet and salty gems, you simply quarter your brusselS sprouts, drizzle olive oil and sprinkle a little salt, toss, and roast in a 400 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Some leaves should be golden brown. When you remove them from the oven, drizzle about a tablespoon of maple syrup and stir. If you’re feeling more decadent, and if it’s Thanksgiving, you are, add a little butter and let that melt all over. Add more salt if necessary.
The Dame in Spain