Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cooking: Cranberry Sauce and Green Bean Casserole


You may wonder what a vegetarian that does not eat faux meat eats at a meat-eaters thanksgiving feast. Well the answer is: I had plenty, actually, way more food than I needed. My sister-in-law made stuffing for me with veggie broth and there was corn, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, and broccoli rabe. I also made two items I knew I could eat and that I had been craving; green bean casserole and cranberry sauce. First off, its not Thanksgiving to me without cranberry sauce and secondly, I haven’t had green bean casserole in years since I avoid overly processed foods. 

When searching for my recipes for green bean casserole I took notes from Martha Stewart and Guy Fieri to create my own recipe. In the end mine looks nothing and I’m sure taste nothing like there’s but reminds me of the old school green bean casserole I used to love,. Except, much better, fresher, and better for you. I will never go back to eating the green bean casserole from canned goods.

For the cranberry sauce, I used a combo of my mom’s and one I found on allrecipes. I knew I had to incorporate spiced rum, it just seemed more festive than regular rum!

I’m so thankful for my family and getting to share Thanksgiving with them! Oh and have awesome veg items to eat at Thanksgiving!

Cranberry Sauce
1 bag of cranberries
1 cup of raw sugar
½ a peel of a Clementine, or orange zest
1 tsp of nutmeg
2 tsp of cinnamon
2/3 cup of captain morgan spiced rum
Combine all ingredients and cook until mixture is thickened and reduced. Then either leave whole or use a blender or an immersion blender to make the sauce thick and creamy. I used an immersion blender on mine. (NOTE: For the captain morgan rum it may have been more like a cup, I started at ¼ cup and started adding more and more until it tasted right)

 Cranberry Sauce

Green Bean Casserole
For the green beans and mushrooms:
1 ½ lbs of green beans 4 cups
1-2 tbs of butter
1 medium onion diced
1 lb of button mushrooms sliced stems removed
1 tsp of dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

First put a large a pot of salted water on to boil.  Next clean your green beans and if you are brave French cut them (cutting them lengthwise, note: this takes a long time and is tedious, but well worth it). Now blanch your green beans until they are tender but not mushy. Then clean your mushrooms and slice them and dice your onions. Sautee the onions and mushrooms in about 1-2 tbs of butter. After they are soft add pepper and salt to taste. Then add your green beans and your b├ęchamel sauce and mix together. When you are ready to eat: preheat oven to 350, butter a glass or ceramic 9 x 13, and heat the mixture all of the way through about 15 mins. Then add your French fried green beans to the top and place your onion on broil just to re-crisp the onions.

B├ęchamel Sauce
¼ cup of butter
¼ cup of flour
2 cups of milk
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper
Pinch of nutmeg

First start by making a roux, melt ¼ cup of butter on low and mix in the flour. Cook it for a few minutes to get the flour taste out of it. Then slowly add your milk. Cook your mixture until it has reduced and thickened. Then season with a pinch of salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

French Fried Onion Topping
1 onion thinly sliced
1 cup of milk or enough to cover the onions
A few splashes of Tabasco
4 cups of canola oil
Flour for dredging:
1 cup of flour
Salt and pepper
Pinch of paprika

First thinly slice your onions, I recommend using a mandolin if you have one, I couldn’t find mine so I sliced them by hand. Soak the onions in the milk and Tabasco mixture for a few minutes and then dredge in the flour mixture. When your oil is ready (bubbles at the end of a wooden spoon) start frying your onions in batches. Once you take them out of the oil let them drain and cool on a paper towel. Once they are cooled if you are traveling you can put them in an air tight container. This makes a really light and crispy onion.

 Green Bean Casserole after we already dug in

All together the green bean casserole was a HUGE hit and the people who liked cranberry sauce enjoyed my rendition. So it was a success, another happy thanksgiving.

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