Christmas Dinner.

Loose recipes for traditional holiday meals, and a massive reminder to myself that Starchmas is perfectly well and fine.

Since moving, my last two Christmases have been food-filled, faraway, safe, and completely lack yelling, passive aggressive gift giving, and shitty food.

Christmas Dinner • Mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy, stuffing, cranberry orange sauce, roasted carrots and portobellos, Tofurky Ham w/ homemadeXreduction.

Mashed Potatoes
Easy peasy! Boil up quarted potatoes with the skin on (about 10) until tender, drain, and pop 1/3 cup vegan butter, 1/3 cup almond milk, s+p, and nutritional yeast flakes. Mash by hand (just this past year I've become more than happy with hand mashed vs using a mixer?) Taste taste and add more almond milk, nooch, seasonings or butter as needed.

Melt 1/4 cup vegan butter in a small sauce pan, add in one small box (about 8) mushrooms that have been quartered up. Shove a lid on it and cook mushrooms until tender. Add in a few pinches of tarragon, 1/2 tsp salt, coarsely ground black pepper, 2 tbsp nutritional yeast, and 2 cups water or vegetable stock. Stir, and taste test for seasonings. Scoop out about 1/2 cup of liquid into a mug or small bowl. Create a slurry with 2 heaping tbsp chickpea flour (adds a nice, rich, savoury taste!) or white flour. Pour back into your gravy and let boil until starting to thicken, about 1-3 minutes. Check consistency and seasonings one last time. If needed, create another small slurry and / or add in more water / stock if needed. If your consistency and seasoning is on point, pour into a small glass dish, with a metal spoon in the dish first.

Cranberry Orange Sauce
In a small saucepan or pot, pour in one small bag (about 1 1/2 cups) fresh cranberries, 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar (depending on your preference of sweetness), zest of one orange and a quick squeeze for juice. No worries if pulp gets in there. By keeping this on medium/medium high the sugars will break down the berries and it'll cook itself just fine. If you'd like it super smooth, mash down with a fork. This will also thicken on it's own! If it's still far too thick for you, depending on preference, squeeze in more orange juice or add a couple tablespoons of water.

Tofurky + Glaze
I followed Tofurky's instructions to make this ham and MAN, was it a good'r. I used three chopped carrots and 1 huge portobello in this roast as well, with 3 tbsp quality neutral oil mixed about before covering and cooking this whole shebang. I wasn't sure how beer-y the beer glaze was, nor was I interested, so I made up my own quick glaze. I cracked open a wee bottle of The Great Jamaican Beer Co's Ginger Beer open, and poured half of it in a small saucepan with 1 tsp molasses, 2 tbsp pure maple syrup, and 1 tbsp Kikkoman soy sauce. I let this reduce on the corner element of my stovetop while creating the rest of my meal. The Tofurky needed to cook, covered, for 1h 15m, then cook uncovered with the glaze for another 15 min. I did just that and it turned out rad.

Dessert was shortbread, maple pecan bars, and saskatoon nutmeg cake with buttercream frosting.

Maple Bars
These were quick and easy. I adapted this Martha Stewart recipe. I completely skipped on the egg in the crust, used vegan butter all around, and subbed corn syrup for maple syrup because uh.. these are maple pecan bars? Heavy cream was sorted with coconut cream, and these baked up just proper.

Saskatoon Nutmeg Cake
Another adaptation, I used a recipe from The Joy of Vegan Baking, the Blueberry Lemon Muffin recipe. I omitted the blueberries and lemon zest, and simply subbed with hand picked saskatoons from last summer and 1/2 tsp nutmeg. I baked this up in two small loaf pans, and once cooled, topped with buttercream frosting. I pulled out my favourite little cookbook, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and replaced the butter with cookie butter, added in 2 tbsp vegan cream cheese, and 1/2 tsp each cinnamon and nutmeg.

My forever no fail recipe. I can't recall if this is a recipe I saw in a newspaper ages back, or if it's a ratio I was told many moons ago. Whatever it is, it's rad. Always use the 1:2:3 ratio.
1 part sugar
2 parts vegan butter
3 parts white flour
+ splash of vanilla
I used 1 cup : 2 cups : 3 cups, plus the splash of vanilla, though vanilla beans are just as great. Feel free to add in a dash of nutmeg, cinnamon, or orange peel. Cream together the butter and sugar, then slowly mix in the flour. It'll be a bit softed than "traditional" shortbread, but I promise they turn out just as flaky and buttery. I pre heated the oven to 325 and rolled this into a log. I wrapped tightly in Saran Wrap, the diameter was about 2 inches. Throw this in a freezer while your oven preheats and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. This recipe makes 2 dozen on the nose. Slice with a sharp little knife, into 24 pieces, and pop on the baking tray. 4 down, 6 across, and poke holes into each cookie with either a chopstick, toothpick, or fork. Bake for 22-25 minutes until lightly browned underneath. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before transferring elsewhere.

Last but not least, some crucial mail from my fav Americans. Ashley and Ryan sent along the greatest card, Lenny & Larry's Complete Cookies, just. brand dressings, and gomaxgo chocolate bars! Damn, snacks are the true meaning of Christmas. Super stoked all my pals got their Christmas greetings in the post right on time this year (Canada Post pulled some serious solids this year, really.) and am really looking forward to mailing some goods back to New York the moment this cold snap flies the coop.

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