Victoria's Vegetarian Victuals

Sometimes I get so tired of hearing people tell me that it is not possible to celebrate Thanksgiving without a turkey. Our woods are full of wild turkeys, and they were here before we were, and they are welcome to stay, as are the deer, like the four does that met us at the foot of the driveway the other night at dusk, as we drove home along our winding, crunchy-gravel road. Of course, Lorelei, our German Shepherd, barked at them as she always does, and they ran like the dickens. They'll be back. Every year we pray that they will have the sense to hide on our posted lands, or that of the neighbors during hunting season.

We own out to the center line of our road, and last year my mom went out, in her bright red jacket, to make them remove their car, which they had parked on our land. They had guns. She didn't. They moved.

Half the time, here, there are rabbits in the driveway, and sometimes we see a really beautiful skunk. 'Possum are all over the place, too. We had three large tins of popcorn go stale because we forgot to eat it. Mom dumped all of it on the path behind the house. There was none left the next day. I found a half-drowned baby mouse in the driveway, and we moved it, on a dustpan, up to the grass at the edge of the woods, and when we looked again, it was gone.

These woods are so full of life, and those animals are our neighbors. Eat them? We're not barbarians. And we're glad that you folks are not, either. Can't be thankful without eating Turkey? Sure you can. Here's how.

Mohawk Corn

  • 2 cups whole kernal corn
  • 3 tablespoons margarine
  • 1/2 cup black walnuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon black walnut flavoring

Saute 2 cups of whole kernel corn in 3 tablespoons of margarine. Add 1/2 cup of black walnuts and 1/2 teaspoon black walnut flavoring. Heat and serve.

  • Yields: 2 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Maple-Molasses Baked Beans

  • 1 pound dried navy, kidney, baby lima, pinto, or black beans
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • salt (optional)

Place beans in a large pot and cover them with water completely. Soak overnight. In the morning, drain and cover with fresh cold water. Cook beans in liquid, over low heat, for 2 to 3 hours until tender, adding more water as needed to keep beans from sticking. Drain water from beans.

In a mixing bowl, combine beans, syrup, molasses, and mustard. You may want to add a little salt. Pour bean mixture into baking dish and bake, covered at 300 degrees F for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Uncover and bake 30 minutes longer.

  • Yields: 6 servings
  • Preparation Time: about 5 hours (plus the overnight soaking)

Walnut-Apple Stuffing

  • 2 tablespoons margarine
  • 6 cups firmly packed diced whole grain bread
  • 1 l/2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped red onion
  • 1 l/2 cups peeled, diced tart apple
  • 3 bunches scallions, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon each: dried thyme, savory
  • 3/4 teaspoon seasoned salt, more or less to taste
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons currants
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • l l/2 cups apple juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the diced bread on a baking sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until dry and lightly browned.

Heat the margarine in a large skillet. Add the red onion and saute over moderate heat until golden. Add the apple and saute for another 5 minutes.

In a mixing bowl, combine the bread cubes with the onion and apple mixture. Add all the remaining ingredients except the apple juice and toss together. Sprinkle in the apple juice slowly, stirring at the same time to moisten the ingredients evenly. Transfer the mixture to an oiled shallow 1 1/2-quart baking pan. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until browned and still slightly moist. Stir once during the baking time. Transfer to a covered serving container.

  • Yields: 8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour and 40 minutes

Butternut Squash with Whole Wheat, Wild Rice, and Onion <p>Stuffing

Butternut Squash with Whole Wheat, Wild Rice, and Onion Stuffing

  • 4 medium-small butternut squashes (about 1 pound each)
  • 3/4 cup raw wild rice, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 heaping cup chopped red onion
  • 2 1/2 cups firmly packed torn whole wheat bread
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon each: dried sage, dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt, or to taste
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Halve the squashes and scoop out seeds and fibers. Place them cut side up in shallow baking dishes and cover tightly with covers or more foil. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until easily pierced with a knife but still firm.

In the meantime, bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in the wild rice, reduce to a simmer, then cover and cook until the water is absorbed, about 40 minutes.

Heat the oil in a skillet. Add the onion and garlic and saute until golden.

In a mixing bowl, combine the cooked wild rice with the sauted onion and the remaining ingredients. When the squashes are cool enough to handle, scoop out the pulp, leaving firm shells about 1/2 inch thick. Chop the pulp and stir it into the rice mixture. Stuff the squashes, place in foil-lined baking dishes, and cover.

Before serving, place the squashes in a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or just until well heated through.

  • Yields: 8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour

Honey-Glazed Brussels Sprouts

  • 2 pounds Brussels sprouts
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 l/2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

Trim the stems from the Brussels sprouts and cut an X into the base, about 1/4 inch deep.

In a small bowl, combine the wine, honey, and soy sauce and stir together. Transfer to a 3-quart saucepan along with 1/2 cup water and the Brussels sprouts. Stir together, then cook, covered, at a gentle simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 10 minutes.

Dissolve the cornstarch in a small amount of water. Stir into the saucepan quickly, then cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a covered casserole dish to serve.

  • Yields: 8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 45 minutes

Amish Potato-Bread Stuffing

  • 5 or 6 medium potatoes, cooked or microwaved in their skins
  • 1 cup low-fat milk or soymilk
  • 4 average slices whole-grain bread
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons Mrs. Dash or other salt-free
  • herb-and spice seasoning mix
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Once the cooked potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel them and place them in a large mixing bowl. Coarsely mash the potatoes with 1/2 cup of the milk or soymilk.

Cut the bread into 1/2-inch dice. Place them in a small mixing bowl and pour the remaining milk over them. Soak for several minutes.

In the meantime, heat the oil in a medium-sized skillet. Add the onion and celery and saute over low heat until the onion is lightly browned and the celery is tender.

Combine the onion and celery mixture with the mashed potatoes in the large mixing bowl. Stir in the soaked bread, parsley, and seasoning mix. Season to taste with salt and lots of pepper. Pour the mixture into a well-oiled, 2-quart baking dish. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top is a crusty golden brown.

  • Yields: 6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes

Baked Sweet Potatoes and Apples

  • 4 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons whipped natural canola margarine, melted
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 large apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • Cinnamon
  • Ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup apple juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Bake or microwave the sweet potatoes until done but still firm. When cool enough to handle, cut them into 1/2-inch-thick slices.

Oil a deep, 1 1/2 quart baking casserole. Arrange half of the sweet potato slices on the bottom. Drizzle with half of the butter, then half of the maple syrup. Top with the apple slices. Sprinkle lightly with the cinnamon and cloves. Repeat the layers, then pour the apple juice over the top. Bake for 30 minutes, covered, then for another 10 minutes, uncovered. Serve at once or cover and keep warm until needed.

  • Yields: 6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour

Cranberry-Apple Relish

  • 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries
  • 4 sweet cooking apples, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Pinch of allspice or nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins

Combine all the ingredients except the raisins in a large saucepan. Stir together; bring to a simmer, then simmer gently, covered until the cranberries have burst and the apples are tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Stir in the raisins and allow to cool, uncovered. Transfer to a serving container and serve at room temperature.

  • Yields: 8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 45 minutes

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