Vegan Thanksgiving sets a delicious holiday mood

The Tenant returns…the non-vegan Tenant who nonetheless has been enjoying the Bistro’s Vegan Dinner Series very much, and enjoying the special Thanksgiving vegan dinners doubly so…and this latest one was no exception!

We began our feast with a mug of a hot spiced rum drink, which to my mind was just what the doctor ordered on such a cold, rainy, miserable day. It may have been nasty outside, but spirits inside the Bistro were as warm as that drink, and they stayed that way, because our first course was another seasonal spirit warmer: Celery Root Soup with Granny Smith Apples and Chive Oil. The soup arrived thick and hearty, full of flavor, with a small sprinkling of apple chunks and just the slightest drizzle of bright-green chive oil. It was just as delicious as last year’s chestnut soup and seemed to be a big hit with everyone.

The second course, Roasted Pear and Toasted Pumpkin Seed Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette, was a fascinating contrast in tastes, textures and temperatures. The centerpiece of each salad was a warm pear roasted to potato-like tenderness, sitting on the bed of mixed greens. Not only pumpkin seeds but a healthy scattering of pomegranate seeds added to the sweet-tart nature of this dish, along with the delightful vinaigrette. I’ve never had a salad quite like this one, and it was just marvelous.

Our entree was a really imaginative work that provided plenty of protein as well as savory classic fall flavor. We each received a phyllo-dough Beggars’ Purse tied with green onion–a huge, plate-sized sack–with an interior stuffed with a mixture of onion, lentils, quinoa, wild mushrooms (I believe Ruth said they were chanterelles and shiitakes), and sun-dried cranberries. This was kind of like the most fortified stuffing you could ever eat, only it was stuffing phyllo purses rather than the traditional bird. Each purse was drizzled in the rich Roasted Curried Butternut Squash Sauce and surrounded by the Roasted Brussels Sprouts and French Chestnuts. Altogether, this made for a rich and satisfying dish indeed. Both the Brussels sprouts and chestnuts had been roasted to caramelization and could not have been more delicious. Truly, if you don’t like Brussels sprouts, you owe it to yourself to try them cooked this way–they’re not even the same vegetable! As for the chestnuts, they were sheer heaven. I learned some years ago, from a man who both had a real fireplace in his house and used it, that chestnuts roasting on an open fire are not just some nostalgic cliche from a Christmas tune: they are unbelievably yummy. So were these. For this course, we were all poured a very nice Pinot Noir to add to our enjoyment.

Finally came the dessert that just couldn’t miss being amazing: the Pecan Pie with Spiced Vegan Whipped Creme. Surrounded by a scattering of fresh raspberries, it was every bit as tasty as anticipated. And all of it done without a single animal product. Once again, hats off to the Bistro for creating a true vegan pleaser! It certainly looked as if everyone else was enjoying it just as much as I did.

If you couldn’t make it to this one, you can enjoy it secondhand through the video. Then make sure you sign up for the next Bistro vegan dinner. You won’t be sorry!

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