Saturday, March 1, 2008

Pot Pie

The first time I decided to try the cauliflower pot pie from Veganomicon was for a mid-week supper.  Not the best decision.  The dish itself is amazingly good, but it took about 2 hours start to finish.  Fortunately, that night I was in the mood for a project, but from now on I think I'll save this for weekends.  
The sauce is labor intensive in the sense that you have to stand over it and whisk the whole time.  But it comes out deliciously thick and rich (although not exactly pretty in the pot).

Next come the vegetables, which are sauteed together.  Leeks give the vegetables a really nice flavor - oniony, but not overpoweringly so.

While the vegetables were cooking away, I rolled out the pie crust, which came together incredibly quick.  At this  point, I diverged from the recipe, which calls for cutting the dough into little biscuits to place on top of the filling in a dutch oven.  
I wanted a traditional pot pie, so I mixed the sauce together with the vegetables and poured it all into a pie plate.  Then I covered the whole thing with a circle of crust, crimped the edges, and poked some vents in the top with a fork.
The cooking time didn't change with the variation, and pie came out crisp and golden, with a tender, creamy, vegetable filling.  
Here's the pie:

And a slice:

The Big Kahuna gave this a 9.5/10.  High praise.
BONUS:  Herb Scalloped Potatoes
I can't believe it took me so long to make these, even after hearing everyone rave about how good they are.  Yes, they take a long time in the oven, but the actual hands-on time is minimal.  
They are the perfect side to just about any cold-weather meal, but a warning - no matter how much you make, you will NOT have leftovers.
A rare 10/10 from the Big Kahuna, and I think he would have given them an 11 if that were allowed.

Potato and Mushroom Blintzes

Another one from the Veganomicon.  i made these for a weeknight dinner, and they came together really quickly, though I did make the crepe batter the night before.

The crepes were incredibly simple, just throw all the ingredients in the blender, blend, and then refrigerate.  A quick stir the next day, and I was good to go.  I was able to cook up a big stack of crepes in about 10 minutes.  

The filling is a very comfort-foody mix of mashed potatoes and mushrooms.  I boiled the potatoes while cooking the crepes, so by the time I was done, the potatoes were ready to mash.  

Filling the crepes was fun.  A couple of spoonfuls of potato mixture, roll it up, repeat.  Despite the heavy filling, the crepes held together well, and I only had one ripped crepe.  

The final step is to brown the blintzes in a skillet.  Instead of doing this all at once, I just did a few at a time, as the Big Kahuna and I were ready to eat them.  

To make the meal a little fancier, I served the blintzes with a mustard sauce and a side of bok choi.  I cheated with the bok choi, and steamed it in the microwave while everything else was cooking.  It was the mustard sauce that really made the meal. Of course, I didn't actually have about half the required ingredients, so I bastardized the recipe with substitutions.  The sauce tasted amazing, but I thought it was a bit too thick.  I had to spread it, instead of just pour it. But I can't blame the recipe, because I didn't really follow it.  

(I had a picture of the blintzes with sauce, but blogger hates me, and won't let me post it.)

The Big Kahuna, who judges all meals based on the sauce, gave this one 9/10.  

Given how easy this was, I'm excited now to try out other dinner crepes.