Monday, October 11, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

We had Thanksgiving dinner at my place this year, and it was AMAZING! My dad brought a couple of pies from the Tartan Pie Bakery in Errington, including their specialty, a Tartan Pie. I'd never had, nor heard of one before - it's basically an entire turkey dinner in pie form. And it's GOOD! There's turkey, stuffing, veggies, and even cranberries, all topped with a mashed potato crust. So tasty!

I made a delicious ham with help from the always incredible Jackson's Meats on 4th. The glaze suggestion of beer (I used Guinness), brown sugar and dijon mustard was fantastic.

I also made Mark Bittman's recipe for simmered sweet potatoes, as well as an herb-glazed carrots recipe I've been carrying with me since highschool. It's super simple - you just simmer carrots with a little sugar, butter, and a pinch each of thyme and oregano. They look fancy, but are a cinch to make.

But the part I was really excited about was the dessert. My brother has been raving for a while about a vegan Mexican restaurant he went to once that used cashews as a replacement for dairy products, and he was especially excited about their vegan cheesecake. I have been dying to try making one ever since.

I found this Vegetarian Times Recipe for a vegan raw cheesecake made with cashews, and decided to give it a go. Since I don't actually care if it's vegan or raw, I modified it a whole lot: instead of making a crust, I used a store-bought graham crust; I used cashew butter instead of raw cashews; I used honey instead of agave syrup, and I used vanilla flavouring to replace the ridiculously expensive sun-dried vanilla beans. The cheesecake was very rich and filling, and actually a little too sweet for me. Less honey may have been better.

My grandma also brought over a bag full of pears that came from her friend's tree - way more than we can eat, and some of them were already starting to spoil, so I decided to make up a big pot of compote.

Compote is basically a fruit stew - it can be made with just about any fruit, but I usually use apples. It's super easy to make: you just throw all the ingredients into a pot and simmer until the fruit is soft. For this batch I used:

-about 10 small pears
-2 cinnamon sticks
-about 10 whole cloves
-4 large shavings of orange zest
-roughly 2 tablespoons of sugar
-enough water to keep it cooking evenly.

I never measure anything when I make compote, but really, no matter what you put into it, it will always taste good - especially while warm!

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