Sunday, January 27, 2008

Vegan, Vegetarian and Non-Veg (as they say in India)



Maybelle loves tofu. This is something I have stated before. She eschews meats and is allergic to dairy. While we ate meatless many evenings before the baby, we definitely never ate meat-product-, dairy-product-, chocolate-product-, caffeine-product-, honey-product-, processed-product- free before.
When she turned 1, she decided she would only eat what we were eating and most often off my plate. Does she believe she needs a poison taster? My parents do treat her as royalty. But, this is a family tradition; I loved what my mom ate. My husband tells me his family had no such tradition; but, they are much better behaved then us anyway. So, we have moved as a group to meals that May would eat. While I have offered Maybelle meat products, she refuses them, and I want to support her choices. I think I will continue to have meat available periodically, but we have gone to eating meat-free at least 5 nights a week.

I have asked around, and read around to find great recipes. I love the Veganomicon blog, the Post Punk Kitchen by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. (I am fairly sure that one day very soon I will purchase the book itself. I have fingered it very often.) I used their recipe for vegan buttercream that I found at Chow to dress May's birthday cake. I enjoy reading the Vegan Lunchbox blog. But, for my money right now, it is all about Rose Elliot's The Complete Vegetarian Cuisine, Pantheon Book, 1988. I bought it when I was first interested in Vegetarian cookery. That time around I focused on the Vegetarian Epicure, and I just overlooked this gem. But, now, as a mom who wants balance and complete MENUS, this book has really drawn me in. It also has "V"'s to mark vegan recipes.

Her Shepherd's pie recipe enticed me in last week because it included french lentils. My husband loves lentils and legumes of all sorts. Shepherd's pie, that warm industrial food of my childhood, was wonderful because of the rich sauce and the fluffy mash--the meat to me was always afterthought. It was never a meal that my mother made, or for that matter even ate. So, I have really never tasted the traditional, homemade shepherd's pie. It has become a comfort food de rigeur at restaurants of that ilk, including the Lamb Shepherd's pie at Sara's in Gates Mills, but that is another story. But, I really wanted this recipe for a rich hearty winter meal. And that is what I got.

As with all recipes, I read it, closed the book, and then made it how I wanted to eat it. But, I would say I was very close to hers. The result was ridiculous. I spoke about the recipe at work for days. My whole family not only loved it but chose it over chicken for lunch the following day. In fact, it was this experience that made me decide to right a blog. I decided that if I didn't, I might loose it. Right, now, I might be the only one reading this, but a year from now, when I think how did I make that delicious shepherd's pie, I will know that there it is in space. This time I paired it with a bibb lettuce, apple and red-wine vinegar salad (with a dash of gorganzola dreams.)

Recipes:
Shepherd's Pie
(Influenced by that of Rose Elliot)

Roast:
1 large baking potato
1 large sweet potato
(take out 1 cup soya milk and some margerine to come to room temperature)

Boil:
1 cup french lentils, until tender (maybe it was 30 minutes)

In a separate skillet, dice and then saute the following:
1/2 cup carrot, onion (both in medium size pieces)
1/4 cup celery (fine pieces)
1 T parsley (chopped fine)

In a yet another separate pan, sautee the following until very caramelized:
1 medium chayote diced in medium pieces
1 T garlic

Add chayote to the carrot mixture, and then sautee the following until very browned:
1/2 block organic tofu
2 t Braggs liquid aminos
1 T A1 Steak Sauce
2 t Worcestershire Sauce

Add lentils, part of their boiling water, and the tofu to the pan with the carrots. Put this whole mixture at the bottom of a casserole dish. Set aside to cool slightly.

Mash the 1 potato with some (2 t) vegan margarine and some soy milk until creamy. Follow the same format with sweet potato. (But, do them separately.)

Cover the filling with the mash. Use a spatula to make peaks. Place until the broiler until browned.

1 comment:

Nags said...

is French lentils available in India? If so, under what name, do you know?