Welcome to Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a Progressive Dinner Party. This month’s theme is all about A Vegetarian Thanksgiving and is hosted by Susan Pridmore who blogs at The Wimpy Vegetarian. This may be heresy to many who yearn for the traditional dinner, but this menu will either motivate you to nix the turkey this year, or at least provide inspiration for a new fabulous appetizer and side dishes. And we didn’t forget dessert for some sweet (gorgeous) endings to your meal.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats, a theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out.
We have a core group of 12 bloggers, but we will always need substitutes and if there is enough interest would consider additional groups. To see our upcoming themes and how you can participate, please check out the schedule at Creative Culinary or contact Barb for more information.
A Vegetarian Thanksgiving
It’s Progressive Eats time again! I love this group because it helps me stretch my creative muscles. This is how I usually operate: I see the theme for the month, then I decide if I want to stay in my dessert wheelhouse or branch out. Once I’ve decided that part, I come up with the name of a dish that sounds like it would be delicious. The Beloved helped me come up with this name: Caramel Pumpkin Mousse with Cocoa Nib Streusel. Yum! Then, I figure out how to make it. And then I make it. Since I’m a terrible planner and since this weekend was also my Birthday Extravaganza Weekend (my birthday is November 23), I didn’t even give myself test runs. I just went for it on my birthday, and I am here to tell you that you should
probably definitely make this pumpkin mousse!
First of all, if you can caramelize sugar, you can make the base in about 10 minutes and then chill it. Whip the cream and fold it into the pumpkin mixture when you have the time and then all you need is a quick garnish and it’s ready to serve. The pumpkin flavor shines through, and you also get just a hint of caramelized bitterness which keeps the dish from being too sweet. It’s familiar yet a bit sophisticated and so easy to make. If you’re not sure of your caramelizing skills, it will still be delicious. Just heat the first amount of cream with the sugar (you may want to use a bit less than called for since caramelized sugar is less sweet than regular sugar) to dissolve it, and you’re in business!
Hooray for Thanksgiving and hooray for this month’s Progressive Eats meal. Honestly, while I do love some well-cooked, juicy turkey, for me it’s all about the sides and desserts, which in my family anyway, are almost exclusively vegetarian except for the stuffing. Just feast your eyes on the Progressive Eats deliciousness, and thanks again to Susan for the wonderful, seasonal theme!
A Vegetarian Thanksgiving for #ProgressiveEats
- Caramelized French Onion Dip with Homemade Potato Chips from Creative Culinary
- Spiced Acorn Squash with Charred Poblano-Chickpea-Cornbread Stuffing from The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Moroccan Pilaf and Vegetable Stuffed Squash from The Heritage Cook
- Mushroom Leek Cornbread Stuffing from Mother Would Know
- Celery Root Mash from Stetted
- Stovetop Green Bean Casserole from All Roads Lead to the Kitchen
- Carrot Puff from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Broccoli Casserole from Never Enough Thyme
- Potato Gratin from Miss in the Kitchen
- Maple Pumpkin Bread Pudding from Whole Food Real Families
- Caramel Pumpkin Mousse with Cocoa Nib Streusel from Pastry Chef Online
Quite the menu, wouldn’t you agree?! Please go visit all my Progressive Eats friends and feast your eyes on all their offerings. I hope you consider making this mousse. It is delicious, and I am so pleased to be able to share it with you! I even made you a long pin so you can save it!
Caramel Pumpkin Mousse with Cocoa Nib Streusel
- 7 oz (1 cup) granulated sugar
- 2 oz (1/4 cup) water
- 8 oz heavy cream (about 1 cup)
- 1 15oz can pumpkin (not pie filling)
- 1 Tablespoon sorghum syrup, Lyle's Golden Syrup, mild molasses or honey
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- several gratings of fresh nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 12 oz (1½ cup) heavy cream
- 1 oz (2 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, soft
- 1 oz (about 2 Tablespoons) granulated sugar
- ½ oz (about 2 Tablespoons) all-purpose flour*
- ½ oz (2-3 Tablespoons) rolled oats*
- 1 oz cocoa nibs
- heavy pinch of fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- several shakes of chocolate bitters (optional)
- Lightly sweetened and softly whipped cream (add some cinnamon if you like)
- Crumbled streusel
- Rosemary sprigs**
- In a heavy bottomed saucepan, heat the sugar and water to boiling. Boil with the lid on for a minute to wash down any sugar crystals. Take the lid off and continue to boil until deeply caramelized. You can swirl the pan once it starts to color to keep the color even. Immediately remove from the heat and pour in the cream. Stir until smooth.
- Add the pumpkin puree, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla and stir well.
- Press the mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove any pumpkin strings or any other little bits of whatever that will keep your mousse from being smooth and silky. This is optional, but it doesn't take too long and the texture will be much better if you do this step.
- Put the puree in a metal bowl, press plastic wrap down on top of it and refrigerate until at least cool if not cold, about an hour or up to four.
- Whip the second amount of cream to medium to medium-stiff peaks and fold the pumpkin mixture in gently but thoroughly.
- Pour into individual compotes or wee dishes or wine glasses of into whatever vessels make you happy. Chill until serving.
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and blend until no dry flour or sugar remains.
- Spread onto a parchment-lined sheet pan and bake until golden brown and crisp, 13-18 minutes, depending on your oven.
- Let cool on a rack and then break into pieces. Can be made a day or two in advance. Store in an airtight container until serving.
- Dollop a bit of cream on each Vessel of mousse. Add a piece or three of the streusel, or chop it and sprinkle it all over--your call. Add a festive bit of greenery and serve.
**I don't usually like to garnish with anything that isn't actually in the dish, but in this case and for a festive occasion, I think it's fine. You can also garnish using whatever herb/s you like--even a mint leaf or two would be lovely.
I wish you and yours a most wonderful Thanksgiving. To my friends around the world, I wish you love, peace and deliciousness on Thanksgiving and every day. Thank you so much for spending some time with me today. Take care, and have a lovely day.
What’s your favorite Thanksgiving recipe?