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Category Archives: Thanksgiving

Harvest Dinner Part 1

Well, I can’t believe November is almost over! So is the semester! Woo hoo! It has gone by really fast which sounds like a cliche but is true. Since we were in Vegas (lucky us) for Thanksgiving this year, I was determined to  have a big dinner when we were back. It finally happened a week or so ago and this post will also happily coincide with our American friends ‘  Thanksgiving. We had a couple of couples over including one tiny guest who was only interested in mashed sweet potato for some reason (probably because she only has 2 teeth). I did three courses and I’m going to share the details of the salad course today!

I wanted to do something fairly hearty but not too filling. I recently went to a great new vegetarian restaurant in town called The Acorn and had a delicious main that really inspired this dinner; it had spelt and mushrooms  and a beautifully savoury peppercorn sauce. I  loved the chewy and flavourful spelt and was determined to make some soon. I was a bit worried that the spelt would be labour intensive and would require like overnight  soaking and rinsing and have a four hour cooking time but when I looked it up I was pleasantly surprised. It’s easier to make than rice! I wanted some fall elements and some classic Thanksgiving flavours so cranberry was a must; arugula is one of my favourites so that was a must too. I hope you like the result!

Next week I’ll post about the main which was a Mushroom Pie with Roasted Vegetable Gravy

Spelt and Arugula Salad with Cranberry Apricot Dressing (serves 4-6)

the salad

1 C spelt (cook according to instructions here)

2/3 C. walnut pieces

2/3 C. dried cranberries

6 oz arugula (about half of one of those plastic containers of already washed leaves)

-once spelt has cooled combine with walnuts and cranberries

-place arugula in a separate bowl

the dressing

1/2 can cranberry concentrate, thawed

1/3 c. apricot jelly (I had apricot on hand but raspberry or strawberry would work too)

1 T balsamic vinegar

1 T sugar

1/2 c. olive oil (you can use a little more or less)

-place ingredients except oil in blender and turn on low

-pop that little thing out of the lid and add olive oil in a slow stream (I take no responsibility for blender spray mishaps!)

-once emulsified, check that the flavour is to your liking and add a little salt and pepper

-toss the spelt mixture with about half the dressing and let marinate for an hour or so

-toss the arugula with the other half right before serving

-place 2/3 C  spelt on the plate and top with some arugula- pile it up high for the best presentation


The Finished Product




Yes, I know the other Octoberfest is spelled with a K but this October fest is all about me! October is my favourite month for a few reasons: 1) my birthday! 2) Thanksgiving! 3) Hallowe’en!

It’s jam packed with action and I love planning outings (or innings) around all the holidays. Even though technically my birthday isn’t a holiday (yet). So far I’ve gone to a pumpkin patch, Fright Night at Playland, had a super duper birthday, gone to a wedding reception at a club, had the fam over for thanksgiving, been treated to dinner  and scoped out the latest opening at the Vancouver Art Gallery! On top of mid-terms this has been quite the month!

I was going to a post-Thanksgiving recipe post with a menu of everything but there was just too much going on! I wanted to take pictures but was too busy eating! Most of the stuff I made was just traditional Thanksgiving fare (mashed potaters, yams, glazed carrots, stuffing etc) but I did make a great salad dressing! It was a  killer creamy cranberry dressing but unfortunately I didn’t write down the recipe while I was making it (bad girl!). The salad had caramelized walnuts, dried cranberries, goat cheese and butter lettuce. I’ll just give an informal idea of what I did instead. So, salad dressings are basically made up of two things: a fat and an acid (the most basic being the classic oil and vinegar). To this basic formula you can do anything you want but I think a lot of people forget that oil isn’t the only fat out there and vinegar isn’t the only acid; for this recipe I used cranberry juice (reduced, sweetened and seasoned with black pepper) for my acid and cream for my fat. I emulsified the cream with my hand blender (I think when using cream a true emulsion is needed so it doesn’t break and get all curdled and gross looking) and the results were pretty awesome! It had a wonderfully luxe mouth feel and was sweet and tangy.

When it comes to different combinations, the possibilities are pretty much endless. Have a spoon at the ready; constant tasting is necessary when experimenting. And remember that  less is more, adding salt is easy, taking it out not so much! Keep a notepad to mark down what you’re doing while you’re doing it; if I hadn’t been too lazy I would be posting my dressing recipe right now! Coconut milk is a good option as well, maybe with some ginger infused pineapple juice and a tick of curry paste, toss with some cold cooked soba noodles, bean sprouts and julienned mango and red pepper! Add some sesame crusted tofu and you have a full meal. But I digress. Pomegranate juice would probably work well also.

I took some pictures of my cornucopia and am hoping to improve my photography skills soon! I found a great blog about food photography called Taylor Takes A Taste and am picking up some great tips. Hopefully my next post will show some improvement in the pics!

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