12 March 2008

An (almost) vegan "pot pie"

This meal is almost vegan in the sense that it optionally includes a little heavy cream -- you could easily swap it out for something else. It is stylistically a pot pie, though it's neither a pie, nor is it baked. Oh well. It is tasty.

Begin by bringing

4 cups water
3/4 cup dry brown lentils
1/3 cup dry white beans
1/2 teaspoon salt

to a simmer. Simmer covered while you proceed with the rest of the recipe. (Don't let the beans burn!) Next, prepare a batch of biscuits. I loosely follow my mother's biscuit recipe, which requires you to mix

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt

and then add

1/2 cup olive oil
2/3 cup unsweetened soy milk

at once. Knead into a stiff, but easy-to-handle dough with about 10-12 strokes. Roll to about 1/2 inch thick sheets, and cut with a drinking glass into circles. Bake on an ungreased baking sheet for 10-12 minutes at 450 degrees F. I usually get about 15 biscuits from this recipe.

Now, while the biscuits and beans are cooking, mince

2 cloves garlic
5-6 leaves of sage
1 spring of thyme
2 leaves of rosemary
1 onion
1/2 teaspoon salt

and fry in olive oil. Add to this

1/2 pound frozen Morningstar griller recipe crumbles (vegan ground beef subsitute)
1 teaspoon paprika
1-2 tablespoons parsley
1/4 cup water

and cook for a few minutes -- at least until the meat is defrosted.
Now, to prepare the gravy! Put

1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon dry brewers' yeast extract
1-2 teaspoons brewers' yeast paste ("vegemite")
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

in a small sausepan. Blend with enough olive oil to form a loose paste. Apply low heat until the paste simmers, and then add

2 cups water

and beat with a whisk until the paste is dissolved. Cook until thickened, and then swirl in

a dash of heavy cream.

Once the beans are done, mix them with the ground meat. Then pour the mixture into a 8"x8" baking dish, add a layer of gravy, and then top with the biscuits. Serve alongside the remaining gravy and biscuits.

09 March 2008

Hospital Pie

Our new baby, Zachary Ignatius Robinson was born on Thursday, 6 March 2008 at 7:31 pm at Schuyler Hospital. As it happens, the birth (which started some 50+ hours beforehand) and the subsequent hospital stay was a positive, uplifting experience. But, the hospital food was awful. So awful that when I went to get Edwin, I brought back a stash of frozen meals. But the last meal they served us, as a special send-off, was at least edible. It was essentially diner-quality food, which was an improvement. The dessert, though, was very amusing. It was a peanut-butter cream pie (a la SYSCO), garnished with raspberries, a very generous amount of whipped cream, an orange wedge, and a spinach leaf! Wierd. Donna described it as a "hick's attempt at being gourmet."