“Stuff Off” 2014 – A Greenway Tradition
On Wednesday we came together for the sixth annual “Stuff-Off” celebration, a traditional Greenway feast to honor each other, our volunteers, and another amazing season on the Greenway. We gathered around linen tables decorated with beautiful displays of dried hydrangeas and were warmed by twinkling votives, mulled cider, and the affections of our whole Greenway family together in the same room. This is truly what this tradition is all about.
But it’s also about competition. Fierce, prize-coveting competition that offers the winning cooks a full year of bragging rights.
Participating contestants entered in one of four categories: Best stuffing, vegan stuffing, side, and desert. Amid a very long buffet table full of the competing dishes, we also garnished our extra large plates with butternut soup, rolls, meatballs, chicken pie, green beans with crunchy onions, apple chutney, and an entire additional table of artisan cheeses, charcuterie, breads and crackers. Best way to beat the 2pm crash? Don’t! Just accept it with entire thanksgiving meal for lunch.
It’s hard to accurately describe the combined feeling of joy and concern upon realizing there was also a desert table!
After eating, chatting, and swooning, we made our final decisions and gathered our votes…
And here are your 2014 Stuff-Off winners!
These fine cooks and bakers have shared their recipes for your own Thanksgiving traditions! (For best results, wear turkey legs on your head during assembly).
Ultimate Peanut Butter Chocolate CakeFrom Lucas, Public Art Curator Courtesy of Lemon Sugar Print it here!
- 3 cups sugar
- 2 and ⅔ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 and ⅓ cups cocoa powder
- 2 and ¼ teaspoons baking powder
- 2 and ¼ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 and ½ teaspoons salt
- 3 eggs
- 1 and ½ cups milk
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 and ½ cups boiling water
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but cool
- 8 oz (1 box) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 and ¼ cup peanut butter
- 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
- 4 ounces (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
- Chopped Reeses Peanut Butter Cup Candies (I used one bag of bite-size and 8 full-size cups
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).
- Prepare three 8-inch round pans with cooking spray and parchment rounds. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all cake ingredients except boiling water (sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, eggs, milk, oil, vanilla and cocoa powder.)
- With a hand mixer, beat until just combined.
- Add boiling water, and carefully beat until just combined again. Use a spatula to clean sides of bowl, and beat one more time.
- Evenly distribute batter between three cake pans (I use a kitchen scale to help).
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a cake-tester comes out clean.
- Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then remove cakes from pans and cool completely.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and cream cheese until smooth and creamy.
- Add peanut butter and vanilla, and beat until incorporated. Use a spatula to clean the sides of the bowl, and beat again.
- Add confectioners sugar and heavy cream, and beat until smooth.
- In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, slowly melt butter. Remove from heat.
- Immediately add chocolate, and allow the heat to melt the butter, stirring with a rubber spatula until smooth.
- Set aside to cool slightly – for about 10 minutes.
- Once cake is cool, place bottom layer on cake plate.
- Using an offset spatula, smooth about a cup of frosting over the cake.
- Add second layer, and repeat with another cup of frosting.
- Add the top layer. Use the spatula to smooth the frosting around the outside of the cake, and refrigerate for 15 minutes to help solidify the cake layers.
- Remove cake from refrigerator, and spoon a large mound of frosting on the top layer (about 2 cups worth) and smooth the frosting over the top and sides of cake. Add more frosting as needed to completely cover the cake.
- Smooth frosting into an even layer on the tops and sides.
- Return cake to refrigerator for another 15-20 minutes to chill the frosting. Prepare the ganache during this time.
- Once chilled, pour the slightly-cooled ganache over top of the cake, slowly, starting in the middle of the cake.
- Once the ganache begins to drip over the sides of the cake, stop pouring.
- Top with chopped peanut butter cup candies, and drizzle with another bit of ganache.
- Refrigerate again for 10-15 minutes.
- Cut 8 full-size peanut butter cups in half. Use them to rim the bottom of the cake.
Vegan Stuffing with Red Wine Gravy
From Michael, Seasonal Horticulturist
I used Trader Joes cornbread, it comes as a crouton in little cubes and is made without milk or eggs. The cornbread box has a recipe for stuffing!
I mixed water and replaced butter with Earth Balance and boiled it and added sage, rosemary, garlic powder, salt, black pepper and some flour.
Then I removed from heat and stirred in the cornbread to soak up the mixture and covered it.
After ten minutes I fluffed the mixture. I think it was tough to get the right texture so I bought extra cornbread in case it was too moist to add in to soak any extra moisture up.
For the gravy I sauteed a sweet onion for 10 minutes then added Portabella mushrooms until browned.
I roasted minced garlic and added that.
Then I used Trader Joe’s Growers Reserve Zinfandel (It’s vegan!), about a quarter to half of the bottle to make a reduction.
I added water and flour to thicken it up and was heavy with the salt and garlic powder. Let it simmer down for 60 minutes or so.
Cochon BroyéesFrom Kelly, Development Assistant (Note: Cochon Broyées very roughly translates to “Ground Pig” in French. This recipe was created off-the-cuff by Kelly, who assigned it this fancy french name to up her anonymous status in the competition. She also made sure our Native French Horticulturist Thibaut went along with the “farce”)
5-6 yellow onions
1 lb. ground pork
3-4 Sage leaves
Bell’s poultry seasoning
Unsalted Saline Crackers
Chicken stockWhite wine
In a large pot boil water and place in peeled potatoes, cut in half to speed up process. Boil until potatoes are soft. Empty water, add half a cup of whole milk and butter, whip the potatoes so they are very smooth.
In a large frying pan add a tablespoon of olive oil and saute onions. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, splash of white wine and 3 full Sage leaves. Cook down. Remove Sage leaves and set cooked onions to the side. Use the same pan and deglaze with chicken stock. Add ground pork, with salt/pepper for seasoning. Keep stirring the pork, making sure it doesn’t burn and cook till browned.
Place mashed potatoes in large bowl, add cooked pork, about two packages of crushed unsalted saltine crackers, one tablespoon (maybe add more for taste) bell’s poultry seasoning and one egg. Mix together.
Place in baking dish and bake for 40-45 min at 350. Add foil to top if it is starting to brown.
Share your holiday traditions with us below or send ’em via twitter!