Monday, November 18, 2013

Vegan Pot Pie

My non-vegan daughter had asked me for a chicken pot pie the other day.  It got my mouth watering, not for a chicken pot pie, but for a veggie pot pie.  So last night, I whipped up two pies - a chicken one for the non-vegans in my life and a vegan one that was MINE!!! ALL MINE!!!  
To call this an actual recipe would be a stretch, but I will try.  It was an adaptation of my favorite chicken pot pie recipe and, I think, was soooo much tastier than the original!  Two nights ago, I made a mushroom-red wine gravy with my husband's third harvest of our oyster mushrooms that was utterly delicious.  I knew it would make the best base for a pot pie when I was putting the leftovers in the fridge.  

Also, this recipe makes a small pie.  I used a small round stoneware dish.  If you want to make a regular sized pie, you could double the filling amount.  

Vegan Pot Pie with Mushroom Gravy


1 to 1 1/2 cups cooked lentils 

1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
1 large white potato, cut in a small dice, about 1/2" cubes
1/2 package of frozen mixed vegetables or fresh chopped veggies (carrots, celery, peas, etc) - whatever you like
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried rosemary (I didn't have dried, but I did have fresh, which is even better!)  

1 1/2 cups Mushroom-Red Wine Gravy (recipe to follow)

Vegan Pie Crust (recipe to follow) 

Heat olive oil in a large skillet.  Sauté onions and garlic until starting to caramelize.  Add diced potato and any uncooked fresh vegetables you may be using, like diced carrots or celery.  Cook, stirring frequently, until the outsides of the potatoes start to brown.  Add frozen veggies, if using, herbs, and 1/2 cup water.  Bring to a simmer and cover.  Cook on low heat for 10-15 minutes, until vegetables are soft.  

Stir in the cooked lentils and the gravy.  Taste and adjust salt and pepper.  Place filling into prepared pie shell and cover with the remaining dough.  Brush with a little plain, unsweetened soy milk.  Vent the top crust in a few spots with a knife.  

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly.  

Mushroom-Red Wine Gravy

This recipe is an adaptation of Fat Free Vegan's "Impromptu Mushroom Gravy" recipe, which has become my go-to gravy recipe.  

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, minced 
8 oz mushrooms, sliced (I used oysters only for this recipe and probably closer to a pound)
4 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
1 cup red wine 
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon rubbed sage
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoons unbleached flour 
salt and cayenne pepper to taste (even just a touch of cayenne makes everything better!)

Saute' onion and garlic in olive oil until soft and just beginning to caramelize.  Add mushrooms and saute' until mushrooms are cooked, about 3 minutes.  Add herbs and cook another 30 seconds.  

Add red wine and turn the heat up to medium-high to reduce and burn off the alcohol.  When the wine is almost completely absorbed, reduce heat to medium-low, add flour and stir constantly, cooking for about 2 minutes.  Add vegetable broth and cook, stirring constantly until gravy is thickened.  Add soy sauce and taste for seasoning and adjust if needed.  

Vegan Flaky Pie Crust

This recipe makes enough for a double crust for a large, deep dish pie pan.  I had enough for a regular pie pan and my small stoneware dish, double crust on each.  

3 cups unbleached flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup Earth Balance Buttery Sticks, chilled and cut into cubes
1 tbsp white vinegar (this makes it even flakier, but can be omitted if you wish)
1/4 to 1/2 cup cold water 

Mix flour and salt in a large bowl.  Cut in margarine with a pastry blender or your hands until it resembles coarse crumbs.  Mix vinegar and 1/4 cup cold water.  Add to flour mixture and stir with a fork until it just comes together.  If you need more water, add it slowly, 1 tbsp at a time.  

Divide dough into two equal pieces.  Place on floured surface and roll out as thinly as possible.  Place in pie dish.  

I do pre-bake my pie crust for a pot pie just to keep it from getting soggy on the bottom.  You don't have to do this and I have made pot pies before without pre-baking.  When I make a pie for guests or to bring to someone's house, I do not pre-bake it simply because the crust edges are so much prettier when you put it together raw dough to raw dough.  But this time, it was just us and I made a more rustic "dough hanging over the edges of the dish" kind of a pie, so it didn't matter.  It's up to you.  If you wish to pre-bake, prick the bottom of the shell with a fork and place in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes.  Fill and top with the second pie crust.  Remember to cut some slits in your top crust to vent your pie before putting it in the oven regardless.  

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Camping with the Vegans

My husband and I used to camp all the time, especially after we had kids.  We loved camping.  It allowed us to see lots of interesting places on the typical young family budget.  As the kids got older, we didn't go as often.  Now that we live in the Pacific Northwest with so much to see and do, we wanted to get back into it.  This was our first camping trip in a while and my first one since becoming vegan almost four years ago.

I did some searching online for camping menus for vegans and such and didn't find a whole lot.  But I'm a list-maker and made up a menu and a packing list and went with it.  Food went GREAT for our short four-day trip!

Since we were car camping and not backpacking, it made it a little easier as weight and space were not issues.  Here are my menus:

Breakfasts:  Oatmeal, fruit, and coffee.  I brought some instant packets (I like Better Oats) that just took water.  We had bananas and apples.  I used the Starbucks Via packets and individual shelf-stable soy milk to make my soy lattes in the mornings.  Hubby added just water and those little liquid flavored creamer pods.

Lunches:  Sandwiches or wraps.  I had two tortillas in the fridge that begged to be used and also brought a loaf of bread to add with Field Roast Wild Mushroom Deli Slices, lettuce, and cucumber slices for two days, left over veggie patty and grilled onions on another day.  We also brought hummus and veggies that we never even touched because we had so much food.  And, if you have sandwiches, you need chips.  Kale chips, that is!  These were yummy!  Even the poodles wanted some!

Dinners:  #1.  Veggies and Field Roast Sausage kabobs.  Before we left, I cut up one really enormous zucchini and two bell peppers, tossed them in a Ziploc bag with a package of mushrooms I'd washed, and poured in about a cup of balsalmic vinaigrette salad dressing.  At the campsite, I skewered the veggies and the "sausage" chunks, although I had way more stuff than I had skewers, so after we did the nice and neat skewers, I tossed the rest in the grill basket and just occasionally stirred it around.  When I looked at the very full gallon bag of cut veggies plus the four links of "sausage," I thought we would have leftovers for days!  But it must be true what they say about camping and appetites.  We polished off every single bite!

#2.  Burgers and baked yams.  I brought two pre-made veggie burgers (Masala Patties from Trader Joe's) and my non-vegan hubby picked up two gourmet patties from the grocery.  We had them on flat sandwich rounds rather than risk buns being squished in transport.  We had brought vegan aioli (also used for our lunches), mustard, and ketchup and added some lettuce and cucumbers.  I also had some red onion that was sliced and bagged up and I sauteed that in a pan.  I cooked my burgers in my onion pan and the husband cooked his meat over the fire.  We wrapped two smallish yellow-fleshed sweet potatoes in layers of foil and baked them in the coals.  We put them on first, as we knew it would take at least 30-45 minutes for them to be done.  I brought along some vegan "butter" and mixed some demerara sugar and cinnamon in a tiny plastic container in case the sweet potatoes were bland.  They weren't.  Mine was super sweet and didn't need any added sugar.  

#3.  Pasta and sauce.  Nothing fancy here.  Just stuff from the store.  The plan was to toss in some leftover veggies from the kabobs, but we scarfed it all down.  I put some stinky Parmesan cheese in a little plastic container for the husband as well.  I also brought wheat rolls to wrap in foil and warm over the fire.  I bought sturdier rolls that wouldn't get squished.  

Snacks:  Raw nuts and seeds, dried fruit (I just brought some of what we had in the pantry - cherries, apricots, and ginger), fresh apples and individual packets of nut butters, some jerky and cheese wedges for the husband, loads of Larabars, and, of course, fixings for s'mores!  I found some vegan graham crackers, my favorite Theo dark chocolate bars, and Dandies marshmallows.  They toasted up so nicely and we did warm our crackers and chocolate over the fire.  Don't you just hate it when the chocolate doesn't melt in your s'more?  No worries here!  Ours were drippy and gooey and we were a grand mess!  I also brought apple cider mix for the husband, who loves it, and tea for me and we had that at night when it was a little chilly.

The Husband and The Girls

We had a wonderful time rediscovering our love for camping.  We realized it was our first camping trip without children since having children.  Definitely in a different stage of life now that our youngest is 17.  It was also our Girls first camping trip.  They did great!  Just like camping with little kids, camping with poodles AND camping when you're vegan just takes a little planning and forethought.

Sunset at Ruby Beach along the Pacific Coast of Washington.  

Our next challenge - an overnight backpacking trip!  I can't wait!