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.

Pot Pie of Fire (aka, Don’t Broil a Pot Pie)

Yeah, that’s pretty obvious now isn’t it?  This brilliant idea is brought to you by the Hippos of Hunger, Insanity of Late Evening, and a completely failed intelligence check.  Common Sense was on vacation I suppose.

From time to time we have a chicken pot pie.  We have a local farm that prepares them with Happy Meat [1] and sometimes Good Vegetables [2].  They are packaged in a convenient aluminum container with a cardboard cover that has the directions on it.  The directions include “Remove this Before Cooking”.

This is the point where I note that this is a reason why I started this blog.  This is one of those simple plans that went crazy because of a simple step overlooked.  It’s a silly story, it’s a simple story, it made a few people laugh when I told it in person.  So why not laugh here too?

And so, after it’s directed 50 minutes of being in the oven, the result was a very hot pot pie with a completely uncooked top crust.  The crust could have been removed and the contents used otherwise, but a good idea at the time seemed to be to broil it for a short bit to quickly cook the crust.

This is where Hunger + Late Evening + FAIL comes into play.

So setting the broiler on Hi (FAIL!) I set a timer for 10 minutes and walk away (Lo and “stayed to watch it intently” would have been smarter…).  Right around the time I thought I smelled something cooking I headed out into the kitchen to find flames ever so gently licking at the oven window.

Of course, I opened the oven instead of turning it off.  Why?  Because I’m a man and it is fire!  I must play with the fire first!  And, like any good adventurer, something on fire doesn’t say “Danger!!!” it says “please inspect me more closely, you know you want to.”

And so I still ended up with a pot pie, with very hot contents, and a completely unusable crust.

The end result was simple.  I believe forms of this were called “SOS” in the military, how appropriate.  Basically, put it on toast.  Uncomplicated, and easy to do in the late evening.  Besides, I’ve never lit toast on fire… yet.



[1] Happy Meat is what we like to call the locally raised meat which is at least Free Range, though not always Organic despite the farms commitment to feeding them “good food”.  From everything we know about this farm, they do try.  They just can’t guarantee absolutely organic intake by their animals.

[2] Good Vegetables is my name for those that I believe are local or came from a well-intended co-op.  Again, absolutely conclusive evidence here is lacking, but the local farm doesn’t give me that Used Car Salesman vibe in any form.