Shield of the Shepherd

It is that time of year again. Wednesdays in the Spring mean adventures in vegan cooking.

Stoke the forge to 425 degrees. Spread a bag of frozen veggie medley on a baking sheet and insert while still pre-heating along with three russet potatoes.

Meanwhile, saute half a sweet onion and half a carton of button mushrooms, both diced, with salt and non-olive, neutral flavored oil in your largest skillet. Once they begin to brown, add pepper flake and two cartons of course chopped seitan (wheat gluten) and combine. Slide into the forge as well.

Meanwhile yet again, in a sauce pan, make a roux. [1] Add enough veggie broth to begin to make a gravy. Keep it on low heat and whisk until it begins thickening, but don’t let it get too thick.

Take your skillet out and your veggie medley and add the veggies to the seitan and savories. Pour over the gravy. Keep on low heat to simmer while the potatoes continue to cook through.

When the potatoes are soft enough, remove from the forge and cut open. Chop the skins up small and add to the simmering skillet. In a large bowl use a hand mixer to render the russet innards fluffy and fine. Sprinkle sumac on top for color and a bit of salt for seasoning.

Spoon the skillet contents into two pie shells and cover over with the potatoes.

Return to the 425 degree forge for 10 minutes. Cover with ultra thin plate mail armor sheeting and give it another 10-20 minutes to ensure the pie crusts are cooked through.

Set aside to cool but serve warm.

Ain't it purdy?

Ain’t it purdy?

[1] I used left over french fries, cold, ground fine, mixed with oil.

Non-Loaf Vegan Nut Roast

While I based this recipe very heavily on this (http://www.simpleveganrecipes.co.uk/index.html?recipe=recipes/vegan-nutroast-recipe.html), I am going to write it according to the minor changes I made.  The printed version is a little funnier because it reads “bread made into crumbs” while the online recipe reads simply “breadcrumbs”.  Since I make a fair amount of bread, I used actual crumbed bread.  I think the various chunks of bread provided a more interesting texture than if I had used packaged breadcrumbs.  Of course, with the latter it is also difficult to tell if they are truly vegan.

  • 1t olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped small (but not diced)
  • 1 grated carrot (I shredded it with a peeler)
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, chopped
  • 2oz. sliced mushrooms, chopped — about 1/4 cup
  • 8 oz. chopped mixed nuts — about 1 cup
  • 1 oz. (25g) wheat flour — about 4t (I’ll confirm later and update)
  • 5 fl. oz. (125ml) vegetable stock
  • 2oz. (50g) breadcrumbs — about 1/4c
  • 1T Mixed herbs — I used rosemary, sage, and basil at 1t each
  • 1/2t salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4t pepper (or to taste)

Preheat oven to Gas Mark 5 / 190 °C / 375 °F.

Heat the oil in a pan and saute the onion until translucent (5-10 minutes). Add pepper, celery and mushrooms and saute for 2 minutes — only trying to bring them up to temperature. Add the grated carrot and saute for one more minute. Remove from the heat, add the flour and stir. Add vegetable stock, nuts, breadcrumbs, mixed herbs and a little salt and pepper, and mix well. Grease the inside of a loaf tin. Put the mixture into the tin, pressing it down with a spoon. Bake for 40 minutes.

As with so many adventures, my very first step (bite, in this case) resulted in a “this isn’t what I bargained for”.  For some reason, I was expecting something more like a “meat loaf” from this, but it was nothing like it.  This was a “roasted nut casserole”.  I think the next time I will subject the nuts and mushrooms to a joy ride in the Machine of Whirling Blades to get a more granular texture out of them.  Perhaps that would help it be more “loafy” in texture.  An Ooze of Vegetable Broth (aka a gravy) might help as well.

Vegan Bourguignon

Original Recipe is from here:  http://www.simpleveganrecipes.co.uk/index.html?recipe=recipes/vegan-bourguignon-recipe.html.  Though I am reusing a lot of it, I am also adjusting it based on my experience.

A clever title on this one eludes me as the adventure is in the original reading and making of this recipe. First, this recipe comes from a cookbook that we got from the UK. Many of the ingredients are by weight, not by measured cup, so this has made things interesting.  Having a kitchen scale helps.

Second the ingredients order and the cook times in the printed cookbook are out of order or wrong.  There’s even a recipe that the directions call for ingredients that aren’t in the ingredients list.  Fun!  This is cooking without a net nearly at its finest.

This recipe makes a baked dish that is potato-heavy in flavor.  I find that it is very understated and could benefit by being with something more flavorful.  I might even be tempted to add some hot spices to this in another incarnation to give it more characters.

  • 8 oz. (225g) onions, chopped — I used a whole “medium” onion
  • 8 oz. (225g) carrot, sliced — I used about 4 carrots which I think was more, but it came out fine
  • 1 lb. (450g) potatoes, diced — I made a wild guess and went with about 2c of potatoes diced
  • 4 oz. (100g) mushrooms, chopped — This is easy, it was half an 8oz package
  • Golden syrup — 1t, by the way.  We used honey as we’re not being that super strict with our veganism.
  • Plain flour — being “white” flour.  I use 1t of unbleached.
  • 7 fl. oz. (200ml) Vegan red wine — There are many sub-cup, non-fractional fluid additions to recipes that are amusing…
  • 5 fl. oz. (125ml) Vegetable stock — … this is another funny fluid amount  But trust it.
  • Tomato purée — I love this.  How much?  2T.  So I open a whole can just to use 2T?!  This means plan other meals that will also use this, even if only to add it to some spaghetti sauce to thicken it up.
  • Bay leaf
  • 1/2t salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4t pepper (or to taste)
  • 3 oz. (75g) frozen peas or green beans — My casserole dish filled up rapidly and I added these later.  It worked fine.

Preheat oven to GM 5 / 375 °F / 190 °C.

Fry the onions and carrots for a few minutes. Add the potatoes, mushrooms and 1 tsp. golden syrup. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes. Add 1 tbsp. flour and stir. Pour in the red wine, vegetable stock, 2 tbsps. tomato purée, bay leaf and a little salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes. Put the mixture into a large casserole dish and place in oven. It should be baked for 1 hour, with the peas or beans being added halfway through.

Here’s one of those “I get the idea” recipes that I’m going to rewrite.

In a large[1] pan, sauté the onions and carrots over medium heat in 1T of oil (olive oil) until the onions soften — about 10 minutes.  Add potatoes, mushrooms, and 1t Golden Syrup (or honey).  Cook for 3-4 minutes to coat the potatoes and mushrooms in syrup/honey and warm them.  Add 1t of flour and stir well to coat as much of everything as possible.  Add wine, stock, 2T tomato puree, bay leaf, salt and pepper.  Mix and “cook for a few minutes” to warm everything … so let’s say 5 minutes while stirring regularly.  Put mixture in larger casserole dish and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove and add peas or beans.  Bake for another 30 minutes.

That adventure was relatively simple.  Overall I found the preparation relatively easy which ensures a place in a regular rotation of meals.

[1] I used a 12″ skillet and ran out of room.  So by large, I mean large.  A wok might even be a good idea here.