Even though we ate some hot dogs and dabbled in some other meat consumption—during which we learned red meat is just plain not for us—we’re still sticking to a meat-free Thanksgiving this year. Honestly, we realized a long time ago that we didn’t know if we ate turkey for the big day because we liked it, or because there was a lifetime of society, like, telling us we liked it, man. Turkey is pretty dry, and before anyone emails to let us know that you just have to cook it whatever way, we know...it’s just...we’ve never had a turkey that wasn’t too dry. It’s kind of like how we like our pizza, even when we ate meat: no meat. Thusly, we’ve scoured the web for recipes that would make excellent meatless additions to your feast next week.
Like this one-pot butternut squash soup recipe from Country Living-dot-com. There’s a granny smith apple in the recipe! There’s also chicken broth, which you can sub out for vegetable stock or, if you’re feeling adventurous, white wine! You’ll find no shortage of veggie stock instructions online, but the thing we really liked about this particular recipe is in how it suggests garnishing with croutons or even popcorn for an added crunch.
We really liked the look of the creamy kale and gnocchi bake recipe from Delish-dot-com, because it kind of reminded us of the most excellent artichoke/parmesan dip thing that people make (dang, that one at the old Zia Diner sure was awesome before that spot closed). Apparently it’s a good one for fans of creamed spinach, and legend has it that by combining Swiss and gruyére cheeses, you can achieve some amazing profiles.
If the idea of gnocchi works for you but you don’t want something crammed with cheese, Food & Wine-dot-com has a solid garlic-heavy gnocchi recipe with brown butter and sage. Dang, that sounds good immediately. “But, The Fork,” you just shrieked inaudibly from within the prison that is your silly little mind, “that doesn’t sound Thanksgiving-esque!” Yeah, maybe, but you ain’t eating traditional eel soup, are you? Get real and get gnocchi.
Food and Wine-dot-com also has what appears to be a most delicious recipe for pumpkin lasagna. Now, we can’t tell from the images if it’s sweet or what, which could be about our relationship to pumpkin pie (which we love), but we do know we’re kind of dying to try it. Does anyone out there ever make pumpkin lasagna? If you do, can you tell us about it?
Over on Bon Appétit-dot-com, we found no shortage of festive vegetarian comestibles, but the one that piques our interest the most is the Brussels sprouts and cranberry mostarda. Now, we know a mostarda is more traditionally used as an enhancer, but we think this one could do well on its own, served atop mashed potatoes or even eaten in tandem with a salad of some kind...maybe a salad with some gorgonzola? Your call. Anyway, this one appeals to us because it not only has the earthy flavors of the sprouts, but the tangy zip of the berries. Smart. It’s just smart.
What about a main dish, though, right? Right. We got you there, too. And as much as it pains us to share anything from a non-Martha Stewart food maven’s site, we’ve gotta go with Pioneer Woman-dot-com’s quinoa and mushroom stuffed acorn squash. With plenty of mushrooms and almonds and cheese, it’s a heartier meatless option than you might expect. We also think you could add some crushed walnuts and/or cashews for extra texture, and the itty-bitty amount of maple syrup makes it sound ever-so-subtly sweet.
How about you longtime vegans and vegetarians out there? What do you do for these meat-heavy holidays? Don’t say Field Roast, though, because we’ve tried them, and they’re disgusting.
As is our tradition, find this-here turkey song from Nerf Herder frontman Parry Gripp.
¡BONUS RECIPE ALERT!
Turns out we’ve got one of our own, and though we can’t recall if we’ve shared this before, we’re gonna share it now because it’s apt—APT, DAMMIT! Oh, and we’re not gonna do that bullshit recipe thing where we include a 4,000-word personal story, we’re just gonna get to it. It’s simple, too.
The Fork’s Vegan Mushroom Gravy
- 1 lb mushrooms (we recommend baby bella and shiitake—together at last!) You can do more, though
- 1/4 cup olive oil...you can use vegan butter, but we’ve never found one that doesn’t make things taste weird
- 1/3 cup flour—dealer’s choice, but all purpose is probably safest, ya maniacs
- 4 cups mushroom broth, which you can get at the store, or you can make your own, which we won’t get into here, but Whole Foods has a decent recipe for that
- Sea salt and black pepper—as much or as little as you like
- Chopped thyme and rosemary, though a little more thyme than rosemary as the latter has a strong flavor profile
- Get to slicing your mushrooms to whatever thickness you like. #DownWithTheThickness.
- Once they’re sliced, heat your olive oil over medium heat in, like, a pan...like, a pan you would use on your stove, y’know? Like, you maybe would make pancakes in it for breakfast? That kind of pan.
- Toss just a pinch of salt in with the oil and dump them mushrooms all up in there. Keep ‘em simmering at medium heat until anything wet seems to have evaporated. This should take roughly 18 minutes—maybe a little more, maybe a little less.
- Add the flour and continue to stir and simmer for about 3-5 more minutes.
- Add a cup of your mushroom broth and then keep stirring that until everything comes together in a glorious, lump-free melange. You’ll notice it. Like, if you think, “Is this a little lumpy?” it just might be. This should take between 3-5 minutes total.
- Once it looks good like that, slowly pour in the rest of the of the broth and mix it good. Toss in that thyme and rosemary and stir it good again.
- Turn to medium-low and let simmer until it’s the thickness you like. Decide if you want more salt and/or pepper. It’ll thicken more, too, once it’s just sitting there in a thing on your counter later.
The end! See? Easy, right? We promise it’s good on potatoes and probably lots of other things. Except for a Field Roast. That thing is disgusting.
-The New Mexico Restaurant Association (being that association dedicated to New Mexico Restaurants) held its 2022 Hospitality Industry Awards earlier this week, and Sazón chef Fernando Olea was named Chef of the Year. Dang, that dude’s on fire lately, huh? He won a Beard. A BEARD! And, no, we don’t mean he entered some weird contest wherein the prize was a disembodied beard—we mean the James Beard nerds think his food slaps. Anyway, You can see more of the winners from the Restaurant Association thing and some pics from the ceremony by clicking riiiiiiiiiight here.
-The Gruet Winery would like us to let you know that you can, and we’re quoting here, “make your holiday events sparkle with Gruet.” Since they make champagne, we get it. That’s rich. Anyway, turns out you can rent out Gruet tasting rooms in Santa Fe or Albuquerque for parties and stuff, so just know that. With rates starting at $300, it seems pretty reasonable, too. Email email@example.com for more info.
-Annie Montes from Edible New Mexico has a pretty good one this week about the secret of piñon. In fact, the story is called The Secret of Piñon. As we are a fully-fledged member of Team Piñon (a team that believes piñon makes everything better), we are down with this story. We will now eat some piñon with caramel. Ever had that? It’s amazing.
-A few of our readers have already reached out about our recent contest/offer thing. In case you missed it, anyone who donates a few bucks to The Food Depot and sends us proof to firstname.lastname@example.org (like a screenshot of a confirmation email) will be entered to win a little something-something from our prize vault (by which we mean desk drawer). Thanks to everyone who has donated so far. The rest of you? Click here to help out—and remember that as much as you think food banks want your old canned green beans or, like, evaporated milk, a few bucks goes a much longer way.
-With the holidays coming up, we were thinking on the originator of The Fork, Mr. Rob DeWalt. Rob died in 2016, and while we don’t really have much to add about that, we just wanted to mention his name, because pretty much everything we do is designed to make Rob proud (or laugh, anyway). Miss you, Rob!
-ICYMI: Felipe Martinez of Felipe’s Tacos announced that he’ll retire next month. While we wish nothing but luck to Rodrigo Rodriguez—a former Felipe’s Tacos cook who’ll take over the space with his Tacos El Charrito once Martinez wraps up—we’re pretty much heartbroken, too. We’ve been trying to brace you for this news for some time; just know you’ll have until Dec. 16 to stop by and grab a bite.
-The Santa Fe Foodies Facebook group kicked off an Albuquerque Foodies Facebook group, because if there’s one thing ABQ people love, it’s people from Santa Fe telling them what’s up in their town. Naw, jay-kay, they have an ABQ-based admin, so we’re sure it’ll be fine. If nothing else, we’re aware that nobody from either group reads The Fork in that we’ve been dunking on them relentlessly and no one has said a word about it. And anyway, we learned about this cool umami resource through the SF group, so that’s pretty cool.
So, did the parents of the 1980s just band together and decide all the kids’ haircuts were gonna be trash, or...?
-Can someone tell us why USA Today is so fucking obsessed with Ina Garten? Seriously, just look at their food landing page and tell us it’s not too much. Setting aside how Garten is NOT EVEN CLOSE to as cool as Martha Stewart in any way, we’re sick to death of people with teams telling us how to be less stressed at holidays. In fact, how about anyone with super-wealth just stops telling poor people anything forever?
-Absolut vodka has clearly entered its Who The Hell is This For? phase with a new handbag that looks like an espresso martini for some reason. Yeah, that’s what you want in your car while you’re driving; that’s what you want to get stopped on the street by cops for carrying. Ugh. Do you ever think that if these companies just directly donated to things instead of making plastic nonsense that looks stupid, maybe everyone’s lives would be better?
-Continuing that line of thought, we’ve learned Coors Light has a new nail polish (why?) that changes colors when the beer you’re holding is cold (why?), and this cold-informing technology will soon make its way to the cans of Coors Light themselves (why?). What a great product for people who don’t know what cold feels like, right? Actually, we bet there are likely folks out there with nerve damage or issues with feeling cold, so we apologize for being insensitive. Still, we have to believe that such people have worked out how to have a cold drink sans-nail polish.
-Somehow continuing the line of thought even further, the Swiss Miss cocoa company just released a sweater that smells like cocoa. WHY?! Actually, we could maybe get onboard with this one. Do you think it smells like watery nonsense and unsatisfying freeze-dried marshmallows? Fuck outta here, Swiss Miss.
-In even worse news, SPAM company Hormel has released a new variety of SPAM—and it’s figgy pudding flavored. What. The. Hell?! Turns out that when the company released a pumpkin spice version of whatever it is, people were really into it. And look, we’re not really even down on SPAM. It has a proud place in Hawaiian cooking and sushi, for example, so...y’know, have at it. In figgy pudding form? Naw, that’s gonna be a no for us, dawg. The Washington Post agrees, saying the product tastes like, “a hot dog fruit cake,” before adding, “Run away.”
-Apparently there’s a chef in Miami named Jay Lyon whose private brunch catering company is all about horniness? According to Rolling Stone, people love the way Lyon “seductively” hand-feeds them. We can’t think of a worse nightmare, but to each their own. Maybe you could wear your dumb cocoa sweater to sexy brunch while this dude crams his fingers in your mouth, right? Ugh. There’s still COVID, y’all—why is this a thing?
-Lastly this week, in stories-that-are-more-worth-your-time-than-the-chef-who-puts-his-hands-in-your-mouth news, Time has a pretty good one featuring Indigenous chef Sherry Pocknett (Wampanoag) and what she’d like all y’all to know about Thanksgiving and its associated foods. Having sampled some bonkers good Indigenous cuisine from chefs like Ray Naranjo (Santa Clara Pueblo and Odawa), we’re very much here for the rise in restaurants run by Native folks.
A Totally Scientific Breakdown of The Fork’s Correspondence
In the print edition of SFR this week, shed a tear for Felipe Martinez, Felipe’s Tacos and then be pumped for the guy to move on and enjoy his life.
Number of Letters Received
*So y’all just don’t care about pumpkins, huh?
Most Helpful Tip of the Week (a barely edited letter from a reader)
“It’s not my favorite gourd.”
*OK, then, so what is?
Actually Helpful Tip(s)
None of you had anything even remotely helpful to add.
*Naw, some of you donated to The Food Depot, so we’re down with that for sure!
Boycotting Swiss Miss Until Its Sweater Ceases to Exist,