Happy Thanksgiving to my family, friends, and blog followers. As this is my first Thanksgiving as The Kosher Vegan, I am so excited to have a chance to tell you how much much I enjoy having this space to share wonderful food with all of you.
I’m glad that Thanksgiving is here, since I appreciate any opportunity to be around my loved ones and let those I care about know just how much they mean to me. Cooking for my family allows me the chance to express my love. Nothing makes me happier than cooking and sitting around the table with my family. So happy and relieved that on this holiday, school, work, and most other distractions take a back seat to good old fashioned family time.
I am aware that Thanksgiving denotes and connotes different popular associations for each of us. In my world, it’s a short list: family, friends, food. Since I have sons, football gets added to the list. Some of the other popular things that I don’t personally indulge in, such as shopping for black Friday deals and cyber Monday bargains are what the retailers and wholesalers spend all year waiting for. To each, his own. I imagine everyone has been busy gathering ingredients, perusing recipes, cooking, and baking to be ready for their special meal.
For Thanksgiving, I don’t really depart from the traditional meal too much. If I did, my husband and children would likely mutiny. I’m not really a tofurky kind of gal, not that there’s anything wrong with that. But I am so happy with the soup, salad, sides and veggies, that a mock turkey isn’t on my radar for this particular holiday.
Several of my blog follower friends have described things and sent me photos of what they’re serving for the big meal- often from recipes they found online, and have given me permission to post these pictures along with their names. As always, I appreciate and you should feel free to send in your recipes, photos, and ideas.
Hope I don’t sound like a Thanksgiving renegade, but I’m about to post a completely different sort of recipe on this night before the big bird event. Not even close to what you might expect of a vegan at Thanksgiving. Not even close. While my new blog post isn’t Thanksgiving themed, I am excited to share with you my newest recipe, that I perfected, with my husband’s help, at the request of our dear friend, Amy. I’m sure by now she completely forgot. After all, how long can you wait for a recipe????????? As summer came to an end, Amy asked if I could come up with a borscht recipe that would be better than the one from the popular diet club she had tried and wasn’t in love with. I think I’ve nailed it with this one.
While eliminating meat from the list of ingredients definitely decreases the calories quite a bit, there’s no reason that the taste should suffer. She probably hoped I’d have created something in time for the Jewish New Year, which was a week or two before when she asked me about this. But that was months ago.
To me, borscht, which I grew up eating, is a cold weather food. I have always considered borscht in a category I think of as Russian peasant food, along with pumpernickel with a schmeer of schmaltz, pickled and chopped fish, and something my family particularly loved when I was young: lox and potato soup. Have you had that one? Either borscht is my brother Richard’s favorite food, or else he just likes saying the word. Still haven’t figured it out.
Not long after I received Amy’s request, my friend Mayda sent me a vegan borscht recipe, and then I began researching others online. Then I forgot all about it. But when I was outside today without a coat and really feeling the chill in the air, I was struck with the sudden realization that it is finally borscht weather. This recipe may sound like a couple more steps than you’d like, but it sure was worth it. It tastes amazing. Reconstituted porcini mushrooms give this a delicious and “meaty” flavor. Full of vegetables, this soup is a main course meal.
Have a lovely Thanksgiving. Enjoy your family and friends. Give thanks as often as possible and give a lot of hugs. Thanks for reading my blog. If you haven’t already done so, please sign up to get The Kosher Vegan sent directly to you each time I post a new recipe. And please share the recipes and my blog with your family, coworkers, and friends. Betayavon! Eat Hearty!
Borscht for Thanksgiving!?!?!?!?
The Pilgrims Probably Didn’t Make This One
10 dried porcini mushrooms
1 1/2 cup boiling water
1 medium onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 cup veggie broth
1/4 cup red lentils
1/2 bag shredded cabbage and carrots
2 cups water
two carrots, sliced into thin rounds
13.75 oz. box or can chopped tomatoes
1 large bunch of fresh dill, soaked, checked, rinsed, and chopped
1 large beet, boiled, peeled, and shredded
4 small red skinned or 1 large potato of your choice, peeled, boiled, and cubed
salt and pepper, to taste
small bowl for soaking dried mushrooms
fine wire mesh strainer for straining reconstituted mushrooms [please do not discard the soaking water as it forms a very hearty broth]
2 small pots and lids
cutting board and knife
measuring cups and spoons
large soup pot and a spoon for stirring
Boil water, measure 1 1/2 cups of boiling water and pour over dried porcini mushrooms that you place in a small bowl. The boiling water will reconstitute them. Allow to sit for half hour.
Meanwhile, wash four small red skinned potatoes or one large potato of your choice and place in a small pot. Add enough water to come halfway up the potatoes. Bring to a boil, then lower light to simmer until they’re soft. Drain. Save for later. Won’t get added to soup or it will get too mush, but to individual serving bowls.
In another small pot, place the scrubbed beet. Not necessary to peel the beet. If you don’t have another small pot, wait until the potatoes are soft, drain, and use the same pot for the beet. Cover the beet 3/4’s of the way up from the bottom of the pot with water, and boil, lower light to simmer, and cook until a fork inserted in the beet pierces it easily. Drain. Cool, remove skin, and grate into a bowl. My husband did this for me. Won’t get added to soup as it will turn the soup beet colored. Add to individual serving bowls.
In the large soup pot, sauté the chopped onion in a tablespoon of olive oil. After three minutes, add 1 cup of vegetable broth, salt and pepper to taste, and one cup of water. Add 1/4 cup of red lentils, which will both thicken your soup and give it a really meaty texture. Use your fine wire mesh strainer to pass the soaking porcini mushroom water into your soup pot. Some debris may remain in the strainer that you’ll toss out, but you want that delicious soaking liquid, as it will greatly enhance the flavor of your borscht, and give it a very meaty flavor. Much better than flanken does, if you ask me! Save the mushrooms to put into each serving bowl. Don’t want to dilute this incredible flavor by overcooking or making them rubbery.
Add half a bag of shredded cabbage and carrots or just shredded cabbage. Slice two carrots into thin rounds and add to your soup pot. Dice a large bunch of dill that you’ve soaked, checked, drained, and removed stems, and add to the soup. Add the box of chopped tomatoes, then fill the box with water and add to your pot, as well. Just bring the whole thing to a boil and turn off the light, which will allow the veggies to remain a bit crunch while allowing all the flavors to blend.
Finely chop those now soft porcini mushrooms that you had soaked in the boiling water.
Into each serving bowl, add a diced potato, 1 tablespoon of the diced beets, and 1 teaspoon of the boiled and diced porcini mushrooms.
Cover with the soup, making sure to swirl everything together with your spoon.The beets give it such a deep hue, as you’ll soon see.
This was so yummy. I will say that my kids were amazed how much they liked it.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!