Saturday, December 18, 2010

Veg pot pie ... Or how to be an idiot

This really can be a hard choice.  Most things worthwhile are harder and involve a much greater effort than doing nothing or doing the easy thing.  There is no question that living as a vegan must keep you on your toes anytime you're eating, cooking, or buying just about anything.

My wife is not a vegan although she has recently said she is losing her taste for beef.  I suppose that is a feather in the cap of nagging.  She's basically an omnivore and my 11 year old daughter is a vegetarian. I keep telling her that her food choices are hers to make and that she can eat anything she wants.  My only demand is that she never eat mindlessly.  Where food choices are concerned I show by example and subtle, (sometimes not so subtle), hints about the animals and the earth and of course one's health.

I believe it's easier to cook a vegan meal in my house now than it is to cook a meal with animal products.  I just threw out the last beef stock package since we have 8 different types of veggie bases in various powders, cubes and liquids, everything from Bisto to Bill's Best Beaf.  I usually make seitan and except for the cramped quarters in my NYC kitchen, really enjoy cooking for my family.  My tastes personally have changed from enjoying a lumberjack breakfast with pancakes, eggs, sausage, ham and bacon to a bowl of oatmeal with some agave syrup.  My freezer is stocked with vegan frozen meat-ish protein substitutes, (can I mention May Wah here?),  because my wife is still of the old school of, "Ah, nice veggie dish, where's the protein?"  I used to rely heavily on Morningstar's Meal Starters including Beef, Chicken and Crumbles.

Now I have packages of vegan Lightlife Smart Ground original and Mexican flavor on the 'fridge shelf as something I can always toss into the veg mix and say, "There's the protein."  I know it's not ideal, it's highly processed but when I look at the big, "scale of life" figure it's still better than what I used to throw into the veggies.  

Old muscle memories are hard to retrain and so are some mental memories.  I always used to make this dish with Crumbles and without thinking grabbed one of the remaining packages from the freezer door and sprinkled them all over the veggies.  It wasn't until later that night that I realized they were made with milk and eggs somewhere in the ingredient list.  What a more-uhn!  I can't believe I did that.   

That's the tale of how I took an amazing dish and cooked myself right out of enjoying it by putting my brain in neutral.  I highly recommend Sarah Kramers recipe from "La Dolce Vegan."  The dough is light and crumbly and rivals any I've had with any pot pie.  I use all kinds of seasonings that are not necessarily called for in the recipe and it's a winner every single time.  It has the potential to be a filling, two dish, (read: easy clean up), meal.  (Frying pan and baking dish).  It's total cook time, if you remember to throw the dough together sometime before you think of making the dish, is about 15 minutes of prep, (maybe ... less if you have decent knife skills), and 25 minutes of baking.

Here are the pics.  Look away if the Crumbles make you cringe or you can just imagine they're the Lightlife Smart Ground.
This is an 8" x 8" Pyrex.  Notice the repair job on the upper left.
I've made this dish with a package of mixed frozen veggies.  Not this time, but I have.
There is no cheese in this but you put veggie stock in the cooked veggies and then mix in some flour as a thickener.  I wonder what layering on some Daiya might do.
It looks delicious but after I realized my mistake was incredibly disappointed and frustrated.

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