I’m writing this while rain pours down outside my windows and thunder crashes in the distance. It’s been so long since we’ve experienced a proper rainstorm — probably the last one was in January in Casa — that I’ve almost forgotten how cozy it is to be inside on a rainy day with an extra cup of coffee and cooking plans ahead. And yes: it is so very, very cozy.
I imagine we’ve all fully planned our Thanksgiving menus, or plotted what we’ll bring to dinner, and maybe have even started on some of the dishes already. We picked up a frozen 7-pounder at Carrefour over the weekend and I plan to nicely slick it with olive oil, lemon juice, and white wine plus plenty of salt and fresh rosemary from the plant in the yard. We’re keeping dinner just us three on Thursday but are having friends over for dinner Wednesday night and more on Friday afternoon to share seasonally inspired desserts.
1. Nuts + cheeses + crackers
Sweet potato dip
3. Roast turkey with plenty of lemons and rosemary
(Vegetarian option: baked sweet potato topped with lentil stew)
Sauteed carrots + parsley
Roasted cauliflower + red onion + almonds
Sweet potatoes + kale
Raddichio salad with sliced apples + pomegranate seeds
4. Pumpkin pie
We’re keeping things simple this year, with a vegetable-heavy meal that’s on the lighter side. It’s all naturally gluten-free as well and mostly vegan (except for lots of butter in the mashed potatoes) not because of anything in particular but because that’s how I tend to cook my vegetables. I do love a variety and so have included a bit of greens, lots of yellows and orange, and a raw salad to round out our plates.
For tomorrow night’s dinner I’m making a sweet potato/spinach lasagna with arugula pesto, white bean dip, and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. Our post-Thanksgiving dessert hour will include pumpkin pie, persimmon cake (see below), a spelt-apple cake and oatmeal-applesauce cookies with dried cherries (swapping cranberries for the cherries).
(Click on recipe names for links to the recipes!)
If you’re in need of more vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free recipes, please go here for a list of Thanksgiving-inspired recipes on this site.
And finally, I wrote about this persimmon cake last year but it deserves another mention. I made my persimmon puree yesterday and am looking forward to baking my cake tomorrow. It’s such a lovely thing: moist and rich from the persimmons and just lightly spiced so not to take away from that very persimmony taste. I was thinking it might also bake up wonderfully as a bread or muffins if you’re looking for a little treat to add to your Thanksgiving breakfast table, though I haven’t tried myself. Persimmons are such a lovely fall fruit and I’m so glad I was able to find them here in KSA; nothing beats persimmons from a neighbor’s tree but however you can get them — get ’em!
Wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays xo
**Small housekeeping note: I’ve updated/changed the rss feed; the new link is up top.
If you don’t have access to persimmons – or if they aren’t your thing – try a cup of pumpkin puree or even applesauce though of course apples will certainly change the flavor profile. If you are not keeping gluten-free, use 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour and 1 cup all-purpose flour for the gluten-free flours. If you don’t drink whiskey or keep any in the house, sub 1/4 cup strong-brewed tea. I think this cake tastes best the day after it’s baked and keeps getting better.
Makes 10-12 servings.
1 cup (gluten-free) oat flour
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
1/2 cup millet flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 cup persimmon purée
1/2 cup plain whole fat yogurt
1/4 cup brandy or whiskey
3 large eggs, at room temperature, slightly whisked
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
optional: 1 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted and finely chopped
Heat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 10-cup (2.5-liter) Bundt cake or tube pan with butter or nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Stir in the brown sugar. In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, persimmon purée, yogurt, eggs, whiskey, and vanilla.
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, add the persimmon mixture, and gently stir. Fold in and the nuts if using. Mix just until everything is moistened; don’t overmix.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Once cool, invert the cake onto a serving plate.
Leftovers will keep, well-wrapped, in the fridge for up to one week.