Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sheep-Lover's Pie

My guess is that if you love sheep you don't to grind up their bodies and eat them.  This recipe isn't supposed to precisely mimic shepherd's pie, but it certainly is reminiscent of it.  I like the fennel, even though I don't think it is a traditional ingredient for such pies, and the Dijon mustard and horseradish in the potatoes really complete the dish.  This recipe makes a lot, so either halve it, or invite a bunch of friends over.  I could also see adding some cranberries and roasted chestnuts and making this a holiday meal.

Mashed Potatoes
- 3.5 lbs potatoes
- 2 cloves garlic
- margarine to taste (I like 1/4 cup)
- soy milk to taste (I use about 1/2 - 3/4 cup)
- 2 tbsp large grain Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp horseradish
- salt, to taste

- 1 pkg firm or extra firm tofu, small dice
- 2 tbsp oil
- 4 tsp ground fennel
- 1 tsp each coriander, ground mustard, sage, parsley, tarragon, smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp mild chili powder
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- pinch of nutmeg
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp HP sauce (or A1)
- 1/3 cup red wine

Veggie Mix
- 2 tbsp oil
- 2 large onions, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups diced carrots
- 2 leeks, halved lengthwise and sliced
- 2 cups finely sliced kale
- 2/3 cups white wine

Mashed Potatoes
1. Peel potatoes and garlic, then cut into chunks.  Boil until tender in salted water.  Drain, then mash until very smooth.  Add as much margarine and soy milk as you wish to make an easily spreadable mashed potato.  Stir in mustard and horseradish, then season to taste.  Set aside.

1. Heat oil in a large frying pan over med-hi heat.  Add tofu and fry until golden on all side.  Add spices, and stir well to coat.
2. Add soy sauce, HP, and read wine and stir well.  When wine has reduced, remove from heat and set aside.

Veggie Mix
1. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.  Saute onions for 7-10 min, or until lightly golden and tender.  Add garlic and dry 1 min.
2. Add carrots, leeks, and kale and fry for 5 mins.
3. When kale and leeks have cooked down, add wine and let reduce.  Remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
1. Distribute tofu evenly on the bottom of a large, oven-proof, dish (somewhere in the 10.5 x 13.5" range).
2. Top with the veggie mixture.
3. Gently spread mashed potatoes on top.
4. Bake for about 35-40 mins, or until potatoes are golden.

Serve with tomato chutney, or this tomato-onion relish.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Gluten-Free Yeast Donuts

Today I made donuts for my senior research seminar in American history.  Nothing takes the edge off having to present your research like some deep fried dough.  One of my students cannot have gluten so I ventured yet again into the world of yeasted but gluten-free dough.  After hunting around the interwebs, I settled on this recipe.  I liked that the main ingredients were weighed (more accurate), and the chemistry of the recipe made sense to me (baking soda and apple cider vinegar are standards in vegan baking).  It also seemed pretty easy to veganize.

So, here is what I did:
1. All-purpose flour: the recipe calls for Better Batter brand, which I do not have access to here.  Looking over the ingredient list I saw it it made of: Rice flour, brown rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, and potato four.  So, I made a mix of 1 cup rice flour, 3/4 cup brown rice flour, 1/2 cup tapioca flour, 2 tbsp potato starch, and 2 tbsp potato flour.  You can make up your own mix since it is the xanthan gum that binds everything together.
2. I used 2 tsbp vegan cream cheese for the egg, blending it into the milk mixture.  You could also use whizzed silken tofu.  Another time I might try ground chia seeds blended with some water.
3. I replaced the egg white with Ener-G "egg whites" as per the instructions on the box.  You might be able to omit this altogether, but I thought it might help the donuts rise a bit more.
4. I used vegetable shortening instead of unsalted butter.
5. I mixed the dough by hand and glazed them with this glaze.

The amazing thing about these donuts is that they actually do rise.  Not as high as a glutinous donut, but not too bad.  Also on the plus side is that they do not absorb much oil at all when deep fried.  They resemble an old-fashioned donut (i.e those cake-like ones) and aren't too dense.