Monday, February 27, 2012

Roasted Winter Vegetable Pot Pie

When I was at the Farmers' Market yesterday picking up my favorite winter veggies, I was surprised to see signs of spring coming when I was able to buy fresh berries! Wow . . . can't wait to get asparagus--my absolute favorite spring vegetable. But before I skip ahead, I wanted to pay homage to all the great produce available in winter and created a pot pie made from roasted vegetables--and I have to say this is one of the best meals I've ever made. It takes a bit more work than my usual recipes, but I think you'll agree it's worth it.

Roasted Winter Vegetable Pot Pie
Roasting the veggies before putting them into the pie really brings out the sweetness. This is a great one for company. To save time you can use a sheet of puff pastry or a prepared pie crust instead of the homemade crust below. We like it with a winter fruit salad or applesauce.

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
pinch salt
1/3 cup vegan butter
4-6 tablespoons ice water

1 large Yukon gold potato
1 sweet potato
2 carrots
1 rutabaga
1 large parsnip
20 medium Brussels sprouts
3 tablespoons walnut or olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary

Walnut or olive oil
1 small onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
1 cup vegetable broth or water
2 cups nondairy milk
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or nutmeg
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
salt and black pepper, to taste

Prepare crust by mixing the flour, cornmeal, and salt together in a food processor or bowl. Cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 4 tablespoons water and mix. Add additional water a tablespoon at a time until the dough holds together when pinched. Form into a ball, cover, and place in refrigerator while you prepare the vegetables.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Trim ends of vegetables and peel if necessary (sometimes the rutabaga can be a bit hairy). Cut into bite sized pieces and place in a mixing bowl. Add the remaining filling ingredients and toss until vegetables are coated with oil. Spread on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Bake 20 minutes. Reduce oven heat to 375 degrees.

Meanwhile, prepare sauce. Add just enough oil to a medium saucepan to coat the bottom and place over low heat. Add the onion and garlic. Sauté 5 to 10 minutes, or until soft. Stir in the flour and nutritional yeast. Whisk in the broth until smooth. Add the milk, spice, thyme, rosemary, and stir or whisk until smooth. Bring to boil over medium heat. Boil 30 seconds to thicken. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.

To assemble, place the roasted vegetables in a 2-quart baking dish. Pour the sauce over the vegetables. Roll out the crust to the size of the baking dish and place over the filling, trimming edges as necessary. Use a sharp knife to poke slits in the crust. (Make sure you reduced the oven heat to 375 degrees!) Bake 30 minutes, or until crust is golden.

Serves 6 to 8

Note: This is a versatile recipe. Use whatever root vegetables you like best—they should add up to 9 cups cut up. Also, if you’re not a Brussels sprouts fan (hard to believe that some people are just not fans), substitute 2 cups of cauliflower or broccoli florets. You can also 1 cup frozen peas along with the sauce.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Cranberry-Apple-Walnut Galette

How wonderful to have a long weekend to get caught up after this last crazy month. And with having both Friday and Monday off, I even got to do some things I haven't had time for . . . like getting through a whole yoga video, a walk on the beach, going out with friends, and baking! Here's a yummy treat that combines some of my favorite winter foods.

Cranberry-Apple-Walnut Galette

1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry or unbleached white flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons unbleached granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) vegan butter
3 to 5 tablespoons ice water

2 cups fresh (or thawed frozen) cranberries
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced apples (about 2)
1/2 cups chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon cardamom
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar

A little nondairy milk and granulated sugar

Prepare pastry crust by placing flour, salt, and sugar in a bowl or food processor. Mix to combine. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 3 tablespoons water and mix until the pastry holds together when pinched. Add additional water, a tablespoon at a time, if necessary to get the dough to hold together. Form the dough into a ball, place in a small covered container or wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place baking rack to slightly below the middle of the oven. Mix filling ingredients together in a bowl. Roll dough out on a piece of parchment paper to a 12-inch circle. Place the parchment/dough onto a baking sheet. Spread the cranberry-apple filling over the pastry dough, leaving 2 inches of border around the perimeter. Carefully, fold the pastry edges up around the filling, pinching closed any cracks that appear. Brush the crust lightly with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until crust is golden. Cool about 15 minutes, before serving. (This is best served warm but you can make it ahead of time and heat in 350 oven for about 5 minutes before serving.)

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Monday, February 13, 2012

Which would you buy?--Part Two

So to follow up from last week's big lettuce dilemma of whether to by lettuce treated with pesticides and chemicals or to buy organic lettuce packaged in plastic at 2 1/2 times the price.

This is what I did.

Drum roll . . . .

I bought the organic packaged lettuce. Now like I said last week, even in the checkout line I was still questioning my decision, as I did every time I took that lettuce out of the fridge but this was my reasoning at the time . . .

I felt like by buying the organic lettuce, I was supporting organic farmers and letting the supermarket know that people want organic produce and are willing to pay more for it. I recycled the plastic package--but of course can't do anything about the energy that went into creating it in the first place. Still, it really irks me to have paid that high price when I could get local organic lettuce at the farmers' market or Rutiz Farms' for $2.00. If the supermarket was my only choice for produce, I don't think I could afford to eat organic!

So there you have it. Don't know if I made the right or wrong decision and guess it really doesn't matter. I was so happy to get my yummy farmers' market veggies this weekend and I made a big pot of curry stew. Delicious! There's nothing like fresh, local produce.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Which would you buy?

So last week was incredibly crazy . . . on top of my already too busy schedule, both of my daughters were in two different plays and I was doing all I could just to make sure everyone was in the right place at the right time and that I didn't get too far behind with everything else in my life. So . . . we basically ran out of fresh fruit and veggies, and I could not make it to the farmers' market, farm stand, or even a health food store during the times they were open. The only place open at 9:30 at night when I finally found a minute to shop was the local chain supermarket.

I did okay on fruit--found some organic oranges. But I wanted to make a salad for dinner the next day and my choices for lettuce were conventionally-grown heads of lettuce at $1.99 or organic, washed romaine lettuce in a plastic container for $4.99. I found the produce guy and asked if he had organic lettuce not in plastic and he said no (they go bad too quickly). So I asked if the any local lettuce--again the answer was "no." So maybe my overly-tired and stressed state had me making too big a deal of this, but I just didn't know which one to get. I picked up the conventionally-grown head and then put it back. I picked up the organic, packaged lettuce and then put it back. Did I want to feed my family pesticides or did I want to pollute the earth with yet more plastic and the energy it takes to make the plastic container--not to mention that $5 for a head of lettuce seemed a bit crazy. I went back and forth, and even in the checkout line was still questioning my decision.

So tell me . . . what which one would you buy? (I'll tell you what I did and why next week.)