Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Shepherd’s Pie and Beer Bread

This meal is suitable for March 17, or any day you're feeling particularly Irish (not that it's 100% Irish, but it is 80% made up by me, 20% gleaning from online recipes, and I'm 12.5% Irish, so you do the math). Authenticity level aside, it's yummy, and I'd say well within the spirit of St. Paddy's Day.

For the beer bread:
A beer (Guinnessy type), room temperature
2 ½ cups flour (you could use self-rising flour, or add baking powder, but I'm partial to it chewy so I just use whole wheat)
2 spoonfuls of sugar

Mix flour, sugar and beer together and pour into an oiled baking pan. Drink the second beer from the 6-pack.

For the pie filling:
1 cup TVP, rehydrated
½ or whole onion, chopped
Couple cloves of garlic, minced
About a cup each of peas and carrots (I used half a frozen bag of each)
2 cups broth with a little flour mixed in (or water with Chik’nish seasoning)
Salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary
Oil for pan

Saute the onion and garlic in the oil over medium heat, then add the TVP, peas and carrots, water or broth, and spices. Simmer covered for 15 or 20 minutes as you drink the third beer from the 6-pack until most but not all the liquid is cooked away. Pour the filling into a casserole dish.

For the pie topping:
2 Yukon gold or russet potatoes
Gob of Earth Balance or butter
Splash of any kind of milk
Salt, pepper, garlic powder

Peel, boil, drain and mash the potatoes, mixing in milk, butter and spices. Scoop and spread on top of the filling in the casserole dish, all the way to the edges to create a seal. Drink the fourth beer from the 6-pack.

Baking both:
Drink the fifth beer from the 6-pack while preheating the oven to 400. Bake the shepherd’s pie for about 20 minutes (until the top starts to brown) and the bread for about 40 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes while drinking the last beer from the 6-pack.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Black Bean Beet Burger

I’m settled on this as my quintessential recipe for burger patties. They’re delicious, healthy, simple, hold together well, and look the part. Years of veggie-burger R&D has laid the groundwork for these puppies. They’re the result of much improvisation and improvement, and I’d like to share the finely tuned product.

-Beets (either 1 can of steamed beets, a full pack of Trader Joe’s steamed & peeled baby beets, or steam and peel maybe 2 large fresh beets, but that's hard), blended
-1 15 oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed, then blended or mashed
-½ or whole onion, blended (or add onion powder)
-Few cloves of garlic, minced (or add garlic powder)
-½ cup rolled oats, coarsely ground
-½ cup vital wheat gluten
-Paprika, salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, sage (any spices of your choosing)

Mix all of these together after preparing each as specified above. Form into 8 equal patties (to conveniently correspond to the bun count in a common pack). Lightly oil a frying pan over medium heat and cook until they look done, flipping once (covering the pan helps).