Sunday, June 20, 2010

Shepard's Pie

This is more of a guideline type of thing than it is an official recipe.  You can use lots of different stuff for your filling.  I'm using ground seitan here, because Drew likes his to be "meaty" and also he's not terribly fond of vegetables.  There are several different things you could use to emulate meat if you so wish--steamed and ground tempeh, tvp, and of course ground seitan.  This is also REALLY good with just a vegetable base--lentils and onions, diced zucchini and yellow squash, the traditional mix of peas, carrots, and potatoes, etc. etc.  If you like it, you can put it in your Shepard's Pie; my personal favorite is lentils, onions, and zucchini.

This version is actually my "cheater's version", meaning that instead of actually making gravy, I used a can of soup.  You can use cream of anything soup (I used potato, because that's what I had).  That makes this particular recipe not vegan, but if you make your own gravy, it's quite easy to veganize.  I do that most of the time anyway, but I was in a real hurry when I made this.  We needed something hot, healthy, filling, and we needed it relatively quickly.

Shepard's Pie

  • 2 cups ground seitan
  • 4 russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into uniform pieces (I only tell you this, because my husband and I once had a huge fight over whether or not to peel and chop the potatoes before boiling them.  He insisted that since the recipe didn't specifically state that the potatoes needed to be peeled and chopped before they were boiled, then he was supposed to boil them whole, peels on.  I tried to tell him that it was pretty much common sense that you peel and chop potatoes before boiling them unless you want to be boiling potatoes for three hours; he continued to insist that if he was supposed to peel and chop, then the recipe would have said peel and chop.  The stupidity of that fight made me see that either it's not so much common sense to everyone, or common sense is not so common!  Draw your own conclusions here.)
  • 2 TBSP butter or margarine of choice
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice (I used soy.)
  • 1 can cream of something soup plus 1/3 can water
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste

1.  Boil potatoes until fork tender, about 20 minutes.

2.  Spray non-stick skillet with olive oil, and brown onion and garlic over medium heat.

 3.  Add seitan (or whatever you're using as the filling) and 2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce.

4.  Cook until everything is well coated with the sauce, about five minutes.

5.  Add cream of whatever soup and 1/3 can of water, stirring until everything is mixed well and heated through, about five minutes more, remove from heat.

6.  Salt and pepper to taste.

7.  Mash potatoes with the butter and milk.

8.  Pour seitan/soup (or gravy) mixture into a sprayed 9 x 9 pan.

9.  Spread mashed potatoes over top of the mixture, pushing to edges of pan.

10.  Cover and bake 30 minutes in a 350° oven.

11.  Remove foil and broil for two to four minutes, until potatoes are browned but not burned.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Low and Slow Baked Yams

I've mentioned before how much I love sweet potatoes, ¿no?  They ever remain one of my favorite foods, but despite that fact, I'd never tried a yam until recently.  What could possibly be the difference (aside from 12¢ a pound), right?  However, our local Hispanic market had a bumper crop, so I finally gave in and tried them a couple of weeks ago, out of nothing more than sheer curiosity.  Oh my yyuummm am I ever glad I did! 

Only after tasting the yam did I do any research at all, and I was surprised to learn that they aren't even distantly related to the sweet potato.  I feel like a real traitor saying this, but I like them so much better than sweet potatoes.  They are sweeter and creamier and moister and just so much better.  You have to be careful though to get an actual real yam.  Many many places in the U.S. label their sweet potatoes as yams, and that's just not so.  You're more likely to find an actual yam in a Hispanic or other ethnic type market, as they are generally imported from the Caribbean.

Earlier this year Kath posted about the Low and Slow method of baking sweet potatoes, and I've been making mine in that method whenever possible since then.  They are just amazing.  They are chewy and almost crispy on the outside and so soft and gooey inside, and it really brings out the natural sweetness.  This recipe is my take on the low and slow method of baking.

Low and Slow Baked Yams

  • Large yam
  • Olive Oil
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Ground turmeric

1.  Preheat oven to 350°

2.  Scrub yam and cut into thick rounds.

3.  Spray both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and turmeric.

4.  Place on greased baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.

5.  Turn oven temperature up to 400° and bake for 20 minutes longer.

I topped mine with a scant drizzle of maple syrup.


And just for fun, a couple of shots of my brand new kitchen.  It's so tiny that you can't actually stand in the kitchen and take a picture.  Despite it's smallness, it's WORLDS better than the one I was in before.  I loathed that kitchen with a passion!  This one, while small, is set up so much better.  Drew and I bought a great big island, and that helped a lot, giving me both counter space and much needed storage, and the fact that there's a dishwasher scores some huge points with me!

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Wow.  I've been gone for a long time.  I apologize for the absence if anyone out there is even still reading.  I mentioned before that we were moving, but it happened so fast.  Once things started to move, they REALLY started to move--faster than we thought it was going to happen.

So here we are, in a new house, with a new kitchen where I can create many tasty things, but not quite yet.  We aren't completely settled and unpacked yet, so you're gonna have to give me a few more days.  I promise something yummy when things finally stop spinning.
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