Sheppard’s Pie


Usually I’d be eating something like this in the dead of winter not the first of Spring.
I’ve been doing my best to enjoy a salad every day, plus, just posted about digging up those Sunchokes, for goodness sake!
But it’s snowing!! Not a lot, but too much. It’s cold and dreary and it’s not supposed to be spring again until Thursday.
I’ve had to go back into the storage and dig out the surrendered mittens and while I was there, I couldn’t help but stumble upon the big pot and and idea.
Sweaters = Comfort Food.
If I have to endure this never ending flurry of winter, then I’m getting a few of my favourite things out of it in the process.
…And one of them would certainly be this.

VEGAN SHEPPARD’S PIE

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Medium Onion, finely diced
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 340g Package Veggie Ground Round OR 1 1/2 Cups Chopped, Prepared Seitan
1/2 teaspoon Dried Rosemary, crushed
1/4 teaspoon Dried Thyme
1/2 Cup Button or Crimini Mushrooms, finely chopped (optional)
2 1/2 Cups Vegetable Broth or Water
1 1/2 Tablespoons Arrowroot Powder
Salt & Pepper to taste

About 4 Large (Russet) Potatoes, peeled and diced
Soy milk and vegan butter for mashing

A few big handfuls (1 heaping cup) of Frozen English Green Peas

Heat the oil in a large stock pot and add the chopped onion.
Stir the onion frequently until it is soft and translucent. Add the garlic, ground soy, herbs and mushrooms, if using.
Stir to incorporate, then cover everything with the vegetable stock. Heat to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer and cook gently for about 20 minutes.
Sprinkle over the arrowroot and stir it in well with a fork. Remove from the heat to thicken.
Taste, adding salt and pepper, if desired. (My ground soy came seasoned, so I completely skipped this part.)
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. (If you’re eating now… this can be made in advance and frozen, covered, for later.)
Meanwhile, boil the potatoes, drain and mash (and season as you normally would with soy milk or the like etc.) until you get a smooth consistency.
To assemble, use a deep casserole pot, which preferably has a lid. First add the prepared soy mince, then top evenly with the frozen peas. Finally dot the top with the mashed potatoes and smooth with a spatula.
Cover and heat in the oven for about 20 – 30 minutes. The gravy sides should start to bubble around the edges.
Uncover for the last 10 minutes in the oven if you’d like a browner, crisper top.

New Potato Salad With Scape Salsa Verde



Of course with a long weekend ahead I would be lost without a handy potato salad recipe, so here it is.
I’m sure not too many of you miss the heavy mayo laden with egg and celery version but not to fret, I’m sure it will still be offered – somewhere, you can just bring this along to the BBQ instead.

Easy, light and FRESH I’ve finally found another way to use up those tasty garlic scapes as the main ingredient in this salsa verde style dressing.

NEW POTATO SALAD WITH SCAPE SALSA VERDE

3 Lbs New Red Potatoes
8-10 Garlic Scapes, trimmed
1/4 Cup Basil Leaves, packed
1/3 Cup Flat Leaf Parsley, packed
1 Tablespoon Capers, about 30
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/4 teaspoon Salt, or to taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste

Wash and boil the potatoes in a large pot with enough water to cover.
Cook potatoes until just tender, or al dente, so you are able to cut through them easily.
Meanwhile, trim the seed buds from the top of the scapes and discard.
Combine the scapes along with the basil and parsley, pulsing to finely chop.
Add the capers, mustard, salt, pepper and vinegar, continuing to blend while drizzling in the oil through the feed tube.
Scrape down from the sides, taste and adjust salt and pepper if necessary.
Drain the potatoes. Once they are cool enough to handle quarter them into even sized wedges, unless they are very small.
Add the potatoes to a large bowl and add about half of the dressing at first. Toss well to coat adding more to your liking.
Serve at room temperature.

Want more potato salad? Try my other, Warm New Potato Dandelion Greens Salad, if you still have a few weeds that need eating from your yard.

Last Summer Weekend


Last of glamping, at least for me this year.
The days are beautiful, but let me tell you, these late summer nights can get c h i l l y.
As lovely as the morning dew and hikes with trees hinting of crimson are, that’s all folks, until next year anyway.
We just returned from a group camping trip. A trip to cook or not to cook could be the question, but what we did do was Eat For Freedom. The task for the weekend, if you’d want to call it that, was to cook only once, but to cook for the group. The trick was, at it’s high point the crowd was pushing 40+ people.
Sure, some could opt for the easy route out, cracking open a dozen cans of beans, but these guys were pretty hard core. I was told about successful curries, fresh pies, even home made gnocchi but I think the burritos topped for my favourite. Easy, delicious and vegan, fit to satisfy the 90% carnivorous crowd.

Continue reading Last Summer Weekend

Glamping Meals



Have no idea what I’m talking about do you?

I think I could say I’ve been glamping for years but it’s finally fashionable to go camping in style without baked beans from a can. Honestly, it’s the only way I know how to camp and now there’s a name for it.

Having just returned from my first camping trip in over five six years, I can safely say that we are all unscathed. A few mosquito bites richer but certainly not any hungrier, our almost rain-out of a weekend finished up a sunny success.

Expecting an onslaught of this glamourous “Glamping” camping, I began to imagine froufy pink Gucci tents, pocket dogs with their own inflatable beds and a/c adapters for hair drying in the wilderness. Being not much of that myself, I thought more about the food. We pitched our tents with another two families, so there was certainly no shortage of it! There was Portabella Pasta Alfredo, Red Pepper Fajita’s, Campfire Roasted Baba Ghanouj and Cast Iron Fritata and that was just the first day – kidding.

All this gourmet glamping almost, just almost made me long for that can of beans and a hot dog on a stick – but not quite.

BLACK BEAN & FRESH CORN QUESADILLAS

1 Can Black Turtle Beans
1/2 White Onion, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Cup Filtered Water
2 Tablespoons Ground Cumin
1 Tablespoon Ground Coriander
1/2 teaspoon Salt
Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste
8 Soft Tortillas
2 Cobs of Corn
1 Tablespoon Sugar
Tomato Salsa

Set a pot of water to boil.
In a sauté or cast iron skillet, heat the oil and add the onion.
Once the onion has softened and become translucent, add the garlic.
Drain, rinse and add the beans.
Sprinkle over the spices and add the water allowing everything to absorb and simmer for about 3 – 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat.
Mash the beans with a fork, potato masher or a hand blender until they are smooth but recognizable.
Set aside.
Drop the freshly husked corn into the awaiting pot of boiling water and sprinkle over the sugar.
Once the water returns to a rolling boil, remove the pot from direct heat. Let the corn sit for 5 minutes <only> then pull it out of the water.
With a chef’s knife, cut the kernels from the corn cobs.
Lay out 4 of the tortillas and spoon over a thin, even layer of the bean mixture,dot with salsa and sprinkle with the fresh corn before topping with the 4 remaining tortillas.
Place the tortillas in a heated skillet, or on a grill over the campfire coals.
Cook until golden and crisp. Flip and repeat.
Slice into wedges and serve with additional salsa or guacamole.