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Born Free USA Blog

Born Free USA Blog

Pardon the Turkeys

Published 11/24/08
By Monica Engebreston, Senior Program Associate

Thanks to Alaska Governor Sarah Palin we have at once been reminded of the brutal reality of turkey dinners and of how thankful we should be that she will not be our next Vice President.

Thanks Sarah. Really. Thanks.

Lest someone argue that not all turkey farms look like the one in the Sarah Palin interview, or that there are "humanely raised" turkeys available, let me just point out that even “free-range” turkeys have been genetically altered to grow so abnormally large that their bones are often unable to support the weight of their muscle tissue causing them to hobble in pain or become totally crippled prior to slaughter.

In addition, turkeys are so genetically altered that they can not even breed naturally therefore, all turkeys are forcefully inseminated by artificial means. Imagine what that might look like for a minute ... it's not pretty.

O.k. I'm done with Thanksgiving horror stories.

Below are some vegan holiday recipes to help you and yours pardon all turkeys everywhere.

Cranberry and Currant Stuffing:
8 cups whole wheat or whole grain bread, cut into cubes
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried currants (or raisins)
2-1/2 cups apple juice
1 cup red onion, chopped
1 cup celery (including leaves), chopped
1-1/2 Tablespoon vegetable or nut oil
3/4 cup pecans, chopped
3/4 cup green onion, thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup freshly parsley chopped

In a large bowl, place the bread cubes, and set aside for 30-45 minutes to dry out the cubes. In a small bowl, place the dried cranberries and raisins, pour the apple juice over the top, and set aside for 20 minutes until absorbed. In a non-stick skillet, fry the onion and celery in the oil for 5 minutes until soft. Add the pecans and green onion and fry an additional 3 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and pepper, and fry an additional 2 minutes. Add the dried cranberry mixture, vegetable mixture, and parsley to the dry bread cubes, and toss well to combine and moisten the cubes. Lightly oil a large casserole dish. Transfer the stuffing mixture to the casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown on top and slightly crispy.
Yield: 2 Quarts or 6-8 servings

 Butternut Squash Soup:

1 Tablespoon sunflower or corn oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 butternut squash
4 cups of water or vegetable broth
salt and pepper to taste

Peel, seed and cube butternut squash. Fry the onion and garlic in the oil for a few minutes and then add the squash and stir well. Add water and bring to the boil — turn down to simmer and cook until the squash is tender (about 20 minutes). Place the soup in a blender and mix until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste.

Savory Seitan Loaf:
1 cup onion diced
2 Tablespoon olive or walnut oil
1 Tablespoons garlic, chopped
2 teaspoon ginger, grated
4 cups vegetable stock or water
3/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
4-1/2 cups vital wheat gluten
3/4 cup unbleached flour

In a non-stick skillet, fry the onion in the olive or walnut oil, over low heat, until lightly browned. Add the garlic and ginger and fry an additional 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat.

Transfer the onion mixture to a blender. Add the vegetable stock, nutritional yeast flakes, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, thyme, marjoram, parsley, salt, and pepper, and blend for 2-3 minutes or until smooth.

Transfer half of the blended wet mixture to a small bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, place the vital wheat gluten and flour, and stir well to combine. Alternately mix 1/2 of the blended mixture with the dry ingredients until a firm dough forms. Knead the dough in the bowl for 2 minutes.

Lightly oil a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Stretch the dough slightly and then press it into the loaf pan. Pour the half of the reserved blended wet mixture over the top of the dough.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, then remove the loaf pan from the oven and pour the remaining reserved blended wet mixture over the top of the loaf. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees and return the roast to the oven. Bake an additional 20-25 minutes or until all of the liquid is absorbed and the loaf is firm.

Remove the loaf pan from the oven and set aside for 10 minutes to cool slightly. Transfer the loaf to a cutting board and using a sharp knife, cut into slices of desired thickness.

Yield: One 9x5x3-inch roast

Pumpkin Pie:
Have Ready:
1 Flaky Pie Crust prebaked for 10 to 12 minutes at 400 degrees F.
Or 1 vegan graham cracker pie crust (store bought or homemade)
Pumpkin Pie Filling:
1-1/2 cups lite silken tofu (firm)
1-1/2 cups unsweetened canned or pureed cooked pumpkin
1/2 cup pure maple syrup or light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Mix until smooth.

Pour the blended mixture into the cooled crust.  Smooth out the top.  Bake the pie on the center rack of the oven for 45 minutes at 350.

Remove the pie from the oven and cool before cutting.

Yield: 8 servings

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