Thanksgiving is one of the biggest holidays in the United States in the entire year. It signifies the giving of thanks, for the blessing of the harvest. It was celebrated after the first harvest, by the Pilgrims in the New World. Thanksgiving is celebrated in different forms now but all lead to the same meaning, to get together as a family, or friends and be thankful for all that you have, and celebrate by eating a meal together.
Simply Organic is an organic spice brand that I really love. I have been using their spices and seasonings for a long time. They are always so fresh and vibrant, and make all my meals extra special. The variety they carry is pretty amazing, which includes all global spices as well, making it a one-stop shop!
Simply Organic has an ongoing campaign(click here to find out more) for the holidays with the hashtag #cookforachange, and it is basically to get people more involved in home cooking, cooking to inspire personal change and social good. It means spending more time in the kitchen, during the holidays with your dear family and friends, and coming together as a community, cooking and eating together. Simply Organic is also running a #cookforachange Challenge and a Giveaway on their website. They will donate one meal to the Ceres Community Project Healing Meals Program for every hashtag used. Their goal is to provide 1,200 organic meals* to critically ill patients during the holiday season! Together, we can help many. For details on the Challenge and the Giveaway, click here ! It is really easy and fun, and a great way to make a difference! Plus the giveaway prize is worth $1300 and some great prizes are included as well. You can read up more about the Ceres Community Project Healing Meals Program on the link provided.
I am really excited to partner with Simply Organic Foods, for this wonderful cause. Since I moved from India, to California 18 years ago, I rely on my friends to be my family, as I do not have any family here. All my family is back home in India. I have a close knit group of girl friends, who are a lot of fun to hang out with and we celebrate birthdays/major holidays together. My way of thanks for their friendship is by hosting an International Friendsgiving Vegetarian Brunch! The whole idea behind this is to bring us together, as a community, and make a dish from different countries, to enjoy various cuisines with good conversation and laughter!
For me, cooking is a joy, that I cherish, and a way to de-stress from my everyday life. It is a way to feed my family, and when they love the food I make, it brings me happiness. To be able to whip up dishes in no time and be able to see their satisfied faces, is very fulfilling. Even with my busy life as a working mom, I make sure that there is fresh food on the table everyday, and I do not mean using processed foods. I mean going to the farmer’s market every Sunday, getting fresh vegetables and fruits for the week, and eating local and fresh everyday. I want to be able to provide nourishing foods for my family. Making food from scratch brings me joy, and I know what I am putting in their bodies. If I am able to encourage anyone be it my family, friends, or my blog readers to make a change at a time and start cooking, I will be the happiest person.
For the International Friendsgiving Brunch, the menu consisted of Mexican Chilaquiles, Italian Fall Frittata, Indian Samosa and Chole, American Gingerbread Persimmon Cinnamon Buns with a Pomegranate Glaze, Cheese Board and some French Mimosas(Freshly squeezed Orange, Grapefruit, Pomegranate juices) to wash it down! Talk about going global with food :). No brunch is complete without eggs, and hence I had the chilaquiles and frittata with the eggs. Both are really easy to prepare and super delicious as well. Cheeseboards and mimosas are a must for brunch and they adorned the table as well.
For the Frittata, I went delicata squash(it being my favorite squash). I sauted the squash with onions and garlic on a pan, to soften it, and then simply mixed it in the eggs with a bunch of Simply Organic Spices, and fresh herbs and some gruyere and mozarella cheese. It goes into the grill for about 10 minutes until it sets, and then it is ready to eat! It makes for a simple and delicious meal that can be enjoyed over breakfast, lunch or dinner!
Indian brunch is not complete without good samosa and chole, and that is what I decided to have from my heritage! Samosa and Chole is a meal enjoyed by many! My non-Indian friends love samosa and chole too. You see chole being prepared internationally all the time so this meal was essential as part of the international brunch theme.
Lastly for dessert, I had Gingerbread Persimmon Cinnamon Rolls! What better way to brunch than with cinnamon rolls! These rolls are very fallish with all the spices used in it, along with the fall fruits, where persimmon and toasted pecans are rolled into the dough, and the glaze is a beautiful pomegranate glaze, giving it that pinkish hue! I was very happy with the way they turned out. I am sharing the recipe for these rolls in this post! Yayay!
The brunch was a resounding success! Mostly I was happy that my friends enjoyed the food and had a good time! I am thankful for my friends and family, and thankful for what I have. Everyone has their ups and downs, but it is how we steer our lives, that makes it happy, content and worth living. I hope this post motivates you to get into the kitchen and cook more, for your family and friends. It is a great way to get into the kitchen, play some music, and cook food together and eat together, bringing a sense of bonding and togetherness, that we all could do more of, in this crazy world.
Wishing you all a wonderful, healthy and happy Thanksgiving! 🙂
- Gingerbread Persimmon Cinnamon Rolls with Pomegranate Glaze:
- 5 cups of all purpose flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 packet instant yeast(standard envelope with 2 1/4 tsp)
- 1 stick melted unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup molasses
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 persimmons, skin peeled, cut into small cubes
- 3/4 cup toasted and chopped pecans
- For the filling:
- 4 tbsp melted unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground clove
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- For the frosting:
- 4-5 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4-5 tbsp pomegranate juice
- Warm the milk to about 115 degrees F. Add the yeast to it, stir it and let it sit for 10 minutes. You will see it foam up, and you know that the yeast is active.
- Add the melted butter, molasses to the warm milk mixture.
- Mix the flours, spices, salt and sugar in a large bowl.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, with a dough paddle attachment, add the milk mixture. Add the eggs, and vanilla extract to it and mix. Alternatively you could do this in a large mixing bowl as well. Now add the dry mixture and mix for about 5 minutes until well combined. The dough will be like a ball that might be slightly sticky to the sides of the bowl.
- If you are using a mixing bowl, then knead the just combined dough on a lightly floured surface about 10 times, until it forms a nice ball.
- Lightly oil a large bowl, add the dough ball, cover with a plastic wrap. Cover with a kitchen towel and let it sit for atleast 1.5 hours until it doubles in size.
- Meanwhile, make the filling by mixing all the filling ingredients in a small bowl. Set it aside.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Form it into a rectangle shape and start rolling it out flat into a 12x20 inch size rectangle shape. Brush the dough with the 4 tbsp melted butter. Sprinkle the filling mixture evenly all over the dough. Sprinkle the cut persimmons and the chopped pecans evenly all over the dough as well. Starting from the long edge, roll the dough tightly till it forms a log shape. Trim the sides. Now measure the log and cut it evenly into 12 pieces. Each piece will be about 1 1/2 inches wide.
- Place them in a buttered 9x13 pan, evenly and cover with a plastic wrap. Cover with a kitchen towel and place it in a cool place for about 4 hours atleast. The buns will rise and double in size. You can also leave it overnight in the fridge and bake it the next day.
- Preheat the oven at 350 degrees. Place the pan in the center rack of the oven and bake for about 25 minutes or until golden brown. The inside temperature should be about 190 degrees.
- While the buns are baking, make the frosting. Combine all the ingredients with a whisk, and whisk until smooth. Make sure that the consistency is not too thick, but yet it drips on the sides of the bun. I leave extra frosting, to put on each bun as served. Spread the frosting 10 minutes or so after the buns are out of the oven.