Apparently, I’m not much of a traditionalist. I always seem to be trying out a new something or other for my holiday meal. This year is no different, with focus shifting away from a main dish and landing squarely on a side dish. And not just any ol’ side dish, but the best mashed potatoes and gravy ever.
Drawn in by the notebook style/theme of Tyler Florence’s latest cookbook, Inside the Test Kitchen, I came across the Vegetarian Thanksgiving Sauce (page 81).
Delighted to see a meat-free version, I knew I was making this sauce when I saw the recipe doesn’t include flour or cornstarch. It’s made from pureed vegetables (see ingredients photo above). You’re now free to smother your entire plate with gravy without having any guilt whatsoever.
Naturally, I had to make the Extra Potato-y Mashed Potatoes (page 192) to go with the gravy. They really are the best mashed potatoes ever. The recipe calls for the potatoes to be cooked in heavy cream instead of water, to retain more of the potato flavor. I subbed in full fat coconut milk instead and vegan butter.
For you mashed potatoes purists, no worries, it doesn’t taste like coconut, the predominant flavor is that of buttery potatoes. Soft, oh-so-fluffy, buttery potatoes. You can see the recipe here.
I also made the Fig-Hazelnut Fruit “Salami” (page 54) as part of a cheese plate. Easy to make out of just hazelnuts and dried Mission figs, it’s sweet and figgy.
There’s a few more recipes I’m excited to try like the Kale Waldorf Chicken Salad (page 74) and the Creamed Kale (page 155), all veganized of course. One already vegan is the Black-Eyed Pea and Charred Vegetable Chili (page 238). But the vast majority of the recipes are for omnivores (if looking at meaty things bothers you, it’s probably best to look away or quickly flip past those pages).
Inside the Test Kitchen is very nicely put together with its notebook design complete with rounded corners and elastic stretchy band/bookmarker on the outside. Inside, the theme continues in the page layouts and the content. The success and failures of various experiments by Tyler and his team, like the stretchy cheese test (I would love to see someone do a vegan cheese version).
The Test Kitchen is a real, actual place, located in Mill Valley, California. It’s where the recipes for the cookbook were created, written and shot entirely on an iPad by Tyler. The cookbook was such a fun read, I’m inspired to be like Tyler and try my own kitchen experiments.
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