Friday, December 4, 2009
Ulpia's Thanksgiving - Pastry-Wrapped Portobellos with Madeira Sauce; Sweet Potato and Apple Gratin; Chocolate Mousse Cake
This year I celebrated my first Thanksgiving as a vegan and as a devoted cook. My family very obligingly gave me free reign with the meal preparation. So I packed my spices, measuring cups, and a cake pan into my luggage (causing the man at the airport to curiously open said luggage up), enlisted my grandmother's help, and got to cooking. The entire meal, two desserts and a gratin included, took me almost nine hours to complete (with plenty of breaks for snacking in between, and some waiting around the oven). But boy was it worth it! Batgirl's post about the Pastry-Wrapped Portobellos (page 331) with Madeira Sauce (page 546) convinced me I had to make them the centerpiece of my meal. Completely independently, my mom thought so too; minutes after I'd decided, she sent me an e-mail telling me as much.
With my grandma's invaluable cleaning, chopping and dough-rolling help, it came together wonderfully (and a lot faster than if I had been on my own). And it was pure glory. Alongside, we made the Sweet Potato and Apple Gratin (page 379)—oh sweet, sweet baked goodness. I had no gratin dish, but a deep pan worked splendidly.
My dad's words were “This fits everyone's tastes.” and then “I could eat ten of these!” (They're pretty big...and I agree with him completely.) I think I've succeeded in impressing them. No, actually, I floored them. Well, I was just the medium; this book is what came through for me—yes. Just, yes. A hearty, please-more-now yes! This is most definitely and without a shred of a doubt something I will be making again for festive occasions or any time I'm looking to impress. (Don't let that nine-hour-comment deter you from making this, the mushrooms themselves took less than an hour to make. Which means I really did take a lot of snacking breaks.)
And of course, no festive meal is complete without plenty of dessert. The Chocolate Mousse Cake (page 445) which I'd made before for them was requested. I happily obliged. (And baked up a Double-Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake too for good measure.)
My friend and her mother who live a few houses down happened to drop by and I instantly put together plates for them—they had to try this stuff too. They were particularly enamored with the gratin, insisting that I share the recipe. Then I pushed some dessert on them, too, and they loved it. That makes six omnivore vouches for this meal.
My grandma got creative with the stuffing I had left over, added more mushrooms, and made a lovely salad (we use the term “salad” loosely in Romanian, obviously). My dad and I scarfed it down before anyone else even saw it. It was very delicious. Very.
My first vegan Thanksgiving was a smashing success. Simply smashing!
- - Ulpia, thankful for her wonderful sous chef and trusting parents - -