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Archive for the ‘vegan version’

Pink Potato, Chicken & Vegetable Pie 3

Posted on February 15, 2011 by crankycheryl

Dairy free, gluten free, nut free, bovine free, soy free, low salt.  Plus Vermont localvore, and bright pink.   It was a potato-crusted chicken (or chick pea)  and winter vegetable pie for 40 for Burlington CoHousing’s Valentine’s Day dinner.

This recipe definitely exemplifies my “smoke ’em if you got ’em” theory of cooking.  In the cohousing kitchen we nearly always have leftover unused ingredients from previous meals:  my scavenging yielded peas and frozen brussels sprouts for the pie, plus some bonus greens for the slaw we served on the side.  I had wheedled vendors at this weekend’s farmer’s market for their less-than-perfect roots, and combined with what we had around.  The quantities and specific vegetables below are just a guide to get started – use what you’ve got, or can get cheaply.

Advance notes:

  • If you’re doing a meat version, make sure you’ve got the meat itself cooked and ready ahead of time.  Because we were cooking for 40, I used two large chickens; for 8 people about a half chicken should be enough.
  • Will your children eat pink mashed potatoes?   Do tell.   Z. kept both objecting to the food on his plate and eating the food on his plate, spearing Brussels sprouts and squealing “cabbage ball!” while giggling and eating away.

Chicken & Winter Vegetable Pot Pie with Pink Potato Crust
Reprinted from February 2011 Vermont Woman
Serves 8
1.  Starting your engines:
Turn on oven to 400.  Generously oil two rimmed baking sheets and set aside.

Put large pot of salted water on to boil.

Butter the bottom and sides of a nice deep lasagna pan, or other fairly large baking dish.  Set aside.

Cooked vegetables all heaped up in a gorgeous Vermont winter type of pile.

2.  Get those vegetables ready:

Chop into 1” pieces and place in large bowl:

  • ½ butternut squash (peel if you like)
  • 2 peeled beets
  • 3 medium-large peeled parsnips
  • 3 carrots

Clean outer leaves, and cut in half if very large:

  • 1 lb. brussels sprouts

Add sprouts to bowl along with:

  • ½ t. salt
  • few grinds fresh pepper
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 1 T. balsamic or apple cider vinegar

Toss well (it’s easiest if you use your hands)  Spread onto prepared baking sheets into single layer, and place in oven.  Bake for about 30 minutes, or until sizzling and very tender when poked with a fork.  Leave oven on.


They're so beautiful. Let's look at another shot of those veggies.

4. Next stages of construction:   Take 3 or 4 pieces of beet, puree in a blender or with a hand-held immersion blender, and put puree in a medium-large bowl and set aside.  Place other vegetables in your prepared baking dish and toss with:

  • 3 c. cooked chicken (or turkey, or chick peas, or cubed firm tofu – Vermont Soy’s Maple-Ginger is perfect in this)
  • ½ t. ground thyme or 1 t. dried thyme leaves or whatever herb you feel like.
  • 1 T. flour (or rice flour, if you want to keep this gluten free)
  • ½ t. salt
  • ¼ c. broth or water

4.  And the potatoes:
While pot of water is heating, peel (if you like, or if your potatoes aren’t organic) and quarter:

  • 3 lbs. potatoes

Once water is boiling, add potatoes to water and cook at a gentle boil until tender, about 20 minutes.  Remove potatoes to bowl with beet puree.

5.  The mash:
Add to bowl:

  • ¼ c. butter
  • ½ c. buttermilk
  • ½ t. salt (or to taste)
  • beet puree

Then mash or whip until very smooth and creamy.  I like to use a hand-held electric mixer and beat them until they’re smooth and kind of gooey, but you should use whatever method gives you the potatoes that feel right to you.  (Vegan/dairy free version:  1/4 c. olive oil, 2 T. tahini, salt, reserved beet puree, which is what we made and it was deeeeeeeeeee-licious.  Look how adorable those pink potatoes, not to mention the fabulous Ming and Melinda with whom I was cooking!)


6.  Putting it all together:  Here’s where you can be fussy or not fussy.  There’s nothing wrong with taking a big spoon and dropping spoonfuls of the potato mix in a rustic fashion over the top of the vegetable and chicken mix.  Or you can use a pastry bag and pipe it on.  They’ll both taste great.

We used chick peas to indicate the vegetarian version.

7.  Cooking it up:  Bake for about 25 minutes at 400, until edges are starting to get golden and the filling is bubbling.  Let cool for a couple of minutes and then serve.

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Guilty Tamale Pie 1

Posted on December 03, 2010 by crankycheryl

So I really meant to tell you about my Thanksgiving prep, CrankyReaders.

There were the turkeys that the fabulous Paula slaughtered (humanely) on the Sunday before, and there was my quest to find someone who would rotisserie a turkey for us.   But there were articles and deadlines and work and I had to go teach 6th graders about death at church and 2nd graders about seeds at the boys’ school.  And then I was tired.

Plus I got a cold.

But what kind of food blogger doesn’t write about food at Thanksgiving?  Like the brine I was planning.  The pies.  How it was a mixed sort of bag that the boys would be with their dad.

So then there was guilt, and then it was Thanksgiving itself.  Sara had wanted to roast a turkey so she’d have the house smelling like it should, and I was still stuck with the rotisserie obsession.  We had a very pleasant stand-off that resulted in two birds – 43 pounds – for eight of us.

There were more leftovers than usual, which around here wasn’t a problem.   And though I don’t feel like it’s necessary to transform leftovers into something unrecognizable, I liked the sound of a Thanksgiving tamale I had heard about on the radio the day before, involving sage in the dough and a turkey filling.  But I just didn’t feel like rolling all those tamales, and so I turned it into a couple of tamale casseroles that were so very delicious.  I doubled it and made one vegetarian with sweet potato in the dough and a filling of shredded cheese, and one with plain masa and sweet potato and turkey filling.   But you should – as always – use what you’ve got.

Tamale Pie

1.  Combine in a large bowl and beat with a handheld mixer until very light and fluffy:

  • 2 cups masa harina
  • 2 cups lukewarm broth (or salted water if you’re caught without)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup non-hydrogenated shortening, or lard if you like
  • (I added 1 c. mashed sweet potatoes to the vegetarian ones)

Combine masa, broth, baking powder, salt, and oil in a large bowl, Mix together until dough has the consistency of soft paste. Cover & let rest for at least 15 minutes at room temperature so the dough can thoroughly absorb the moist ingredients.

2.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Press half of the tamale dough into the bottom of an 8 x 8 casserole dish. Press the mixture evenly on the bottom and up the sides.

3.  Spread your choice of fillings evenly across.

  • 1 1/2 c. – 2 c. finely chopped turkey, chicken or other meat
  • 1 1/2 c. cooked and drained vegetables
  • 2 c. shredded cheese
  • 1 c. chopped green chiles

The top layer of masa is hard to get on too neatly.  The best method was to use both hands to create sort of patties to place side by side on the top.

4.   Put an inch or so of hot water in a baking pan that will accommodate the casserole,  Place, covered, in the oven and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until the masa is soft but set.  Remove from oven, let sit for five minutes and serve.

And now: back to work.

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Sweet Summer Salad 0

Posted on July 27, 2010 by crankycheryl

Colorful, easy and refreshing, this is a nice use for all the stuff starting to show up or wind up here in the gardens and CSA shares.

Making it also marked the last use of my favorite bowl, which has finally cracked through to such a degree that liquids seep out.  It’s now on the porch with some straggly hot pepper plants limping over its side.

Sweet Summer Salad
4 servings

  • 4 ears of corn, boiled for 30 seconds (yes, only 30), and kernels cut from the cobs
  • 1 qt. edible pod peas (snow or sugar snaps), strings removed, blanched for 30 seconds

  • 3 cups watermelon, either cubes or balls
  • 1 T. lemon or lime juice
  • 1 t. fish sauce or umeboshi vinegar
  • 1 dash vinegar based hot sauce

Mix it all together and serve cold or at room temperature.

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Why Not a Savory Smoothie? 3

Posted on July 21, 2010 by crankycheryl

I like the nutrition and transportability of a breakfast smoothie, but I don’t always want something sweet first thing in the morning.  I started making these during the heatwave a couple of weeks ago, and have been pretty breakfast-happy with them.   They’re healthy, creamy and tart, and have enough protein to keep me reasonably satisfied until lunchtime.  Plus not having fruit or sweet things in them means that the boys never, ever abscond with my cup.

Savory Super-Green Smoothie
Makes 1

  • 1 c. plain lowfat dairy or soy yogurt
  • 1/4 c. soy milk, whey from yogurt, or milk
  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • handful of spinach or lettuce
  • 1 T. tahini
  • 1/2 t. spirulina powder
  • 1 T. green olives or your favorite salsa
  • 3 or 4 ice cubes

Stir, blend & repeat until nice & smooth.

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Extra-Beautiful Summer Rolls 4

Posted on July 19, 2010 by crankycheryl

One day I’m going to give away my last super-easy recipe and you Crankies are going to realize that I’m not actually a terribly good cook, just one who’s willing to be adventurous with ingredients.

But I’ll risk coming one step closer to that moment by delivering the promised recipe for Summer Rolls with Edible Flowers that was featured in my Beautiful, Edible Blossoms workshop at Red Wagon Plants.

This is probably my favorite no-cook meal.  It feels like you’ve actually made something, but you haven’t worked too hard – and you don’t have to heat anything for it unless you want to.   You can decide what to put in them by what’s in your refrigerator – combine a protein (marinated tofu, leftover chicken, etc.) on a bed of something mild (lettuce, bean thread noodles, shredded carrots), a dash of something strongly flavored like fish sauce or umeboshi or tamari, all rolled up in the rice paper wrapper and you’re done.  Adding in edible flowers makes them beautiful enough to serve to Fancy Company, should you be in the mood for that.

The recipe below suggests using all pale ingredients for the filling so that the flowers are especially visible, but – as always – you should feel free to make ’em with what you’ve got.

Beautiful Summer Rolls
makes 8 (enough for a snack for 4)

  • 8 rice paper wrappers, soaked one at a time for about 15 seconds in cold water, just before you’re ready to make them
  • 4 cups bean thread noodles soaked in warm water for 10 minutes and then drained, and cut into smaller pieces
  • 1 cup thinly sliced light green lettuce
  • 1 cup diced marinated extra firm tofu, seitan, diced cold chicken, or other protein
  • 8 leaves cilantro or basil
  • ~1 T. fish sauce (or substitute lime juice or umeboshi vinegar or tamari)
  • 8 edible flowers (these pictured are with nasturtiums and violas, and if you don’t have access to any you can use some red leaf lettuce or anything brightly colored that you want to see)
  • sweet chili sauce, peanut sauce, fish sauce, or one of the traditional sauces on this page for dipping

Make by placing one soaked wrapper in front of you on a plate or cutting board.  Place about 1/2 cup noodles and lettuce, basil or cilantro and cubed tofu in a line on the wrapper. Drizzle over just a little bit of fish sauce or whatever you’re using.

Fold one edge over the filling, tucking the filling in so that you can roll tightly.   Place the flower to one side of the filling.

Tuck in the other sides, roll the wrapper, which will stick to itself, while using your fingers to compress the filling so it can be rolled fairly neatly.  Cover with a damp towel until the others are done, then serve with your preferred dip.

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Saved by Lettuce Soup 5

Posted on June 16, 2010 by crankycheryl

Oh, for crying out loud.

Here I am the day before CSA pick-up #2, with a crisper full of lettuce that’s about to be crowded by a lot more. Something drastic had to be done.

So I started thinking about lettuce, and how it has a lot in common with vegetables that tend to get much more diverse treatment like zucchini or cucumber: basically green containers of water without a terribly strong flavor of their own.  And I remembered running into a lettuce soup recipe somewhere out there on Planet Internet, and put this together with what needed to be used up around here.

This particular version yielded a tart, fresh, creamy soup that I served warm.  But you should feel free to serve it cold and make any substitutions – soy or coconut milk for the cream and/or yogurt, drop in a couple teaspoons of hot sauce instead of the salsa, toss in a grated cucumber or whatever you like.   Remember: soup is here to use up what you’ve got and you’ve got to make it work for you.

Green & Creamy Lettuce Soup
4 servings

Put in a blender:

  • Half of the leaves from one head of any mild-flavored leaf lettuce (it doesn’t have to be perfectly crisp), reserving the rest to be added in as the soup purees
  • 3/4 cup low fat yogurt
  • 1 avocado, minus peel and pit
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup salsa (I used a medium-spicy salsa verde that was lurking around)
  • 1/2 t. kosher salt
  • 2 T. light cream

Pulse the soup to puree, adding in the rest of the lettuce as there’s room.  Heat just until warm, or serve cold.

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Stuffed Grape Leaves: Further Encounters with Weed-Eating 2

Posted on June 10, 2010 by crankycheryl

So at last I’m reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and the truth is that I’m liking it so much that I’m a little bit embarrassed.

I was sure that I was going to find it a total snoozer, and roll my eyes at all the stuff I already know.  Like I need to be taught how to eat locally and why it’s a good idea?  But reading it is like talking to another localvore friend, one who’s clever and funny and self-deprecating and good-hearted, and not as “preachy” as I’ve heard the book described.

Maybe that’s why I took it a little personally when I read the passage about how my new BFF’s year of eating locally was going to mean growing food and buying from local farmers.  And ABSOLUTELY NOT going to include gleaning weeds by the roadside because she didn’t want to fit some low-class stereotype.


I like collecting weeds, and I’m okay with knowing that my sons will grow up to be mortified by the habit.  It’s okay because one day they’ll appreciate my boundless creativity and thriftiness.  Of course by then I’ll be dead and my ghost will be hovering over the heads of their wives or husbands saying things like, “Really?  You’re too good for that?  You’re just going to throw out the peel and those greens and not even make soup out of it?  And what the hell is that thing you’re wearing?  You call that a shirt?”

But here and now my target is grape leaves (well, grape leaves plus eight uninterrupted hours of sleep and maybe paying my bills on time for once).  The vines are absolutely everywhere, and I’m gearing up for a big harvest and preservation.

And in the meantime, I’m preparing lots of dolmades with the fresh ones.  They’re a quick snack or meal, taste great, are gluten- and dairy-free, and easily made vegan.  Come on by and join me among the weeds.

Stuffed Grape Leaves
Adapted from Joy of Cooking
About 40 rolls

Pour 2 cups of boiling water over:

  • About 40 large grape leaves (or 2 small jars if you haven’t gotten the fresh wild ones around).

Let sit for 1 hour.

In the meantime mix well together in a large bowl:

  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground lamb or beef (locally, humanely raised)
  • (if you want a vegetarian version substitute 2 cups dried lentils plus 1/3 cup of water for the meat)
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh herbs (your choice – I used oregano and thyme)
  • 1/3 cup uncooked white rice
  • 1 T. salt (don’t skimp)
  • Ground black pepper to taste

Line a large saucepan with several leaves.  Then roll the remaining leaves by placing a leaf on a small plate or cutting board, vein-side up and with the stem facing you.  Put a heaping teaspoon of filling about an inch above the leaf’s bottom.  Fold over the left and right sides, then roll from bottom to top and place in the pan with the flap-side down.  Roll the rest of them and place in concentric circles in the pan, building to a second level as necessary.  Save a few smaller grape leaves aside.

Drizzle over the top:

  • 3-4 T. olive oil

Pour in:

  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • 2 cups stock/broth or water,

Place remaining grape leaves on top, and cover with a small plate (this will ensure that all the stuffed leaves are sufficiently submerged).  Cover the pan and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the rice and meat/lentils are cooked.  Serve hot, cold, or at room temperature – which is how much Mediterranean food tends to be eaten.

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Fennel-Tomato-Orange Relish 0

Posted on April 21, 2010 by crankycheryl

Now I have a four-year old whose favorite word is, “stupid.”   He’s discovered its versatility, with applications like,

“I can’t have a second dessert today?  I don’t want to be part of this stupid family any more.”

“My face got wet.  This swim class is 10 amounts of STUPID!”

“My [child-centered, loving, hippy-dippy, filled-with-friends] pre-school is stupid and I’M NOT GOING.”

It’s a joy and a half, I tell you.

But still it’s spring and it’s beautiful and I crept outside this afternoon to do some gardening and before I knew it both boys had found their way out with me to dig in the dirt and water plants.  And then we spied a new neighbor’s little boy around their age and in a flash they had all armed themselves with plastic guns and were climbing the dirt pile and refusing to come in when the rain started.  It felt like childhood.

And while this was going on I was working on a clean-out-the-crisper effort, and turned some random bits of of this and that into a fully respectable and totally delicious relish.  We had it with some mashed potatoes and lamb chops I had found in the freezer and defrosted, but it would be great with some sauteed tofu, or spread on a wrap with some brie or prosciutto, or with some eggs for breakfast.

Do consider yourself warned:  it is far too stupid for ornery four-year-olds.

Fennel-Tomato-Orange Relish
Makes about 2 cups

In a large skillet heat:

  • 3 T. olive oil until rippling


  • 1 large onion cut into 3/4″ dice
  • 1 large or 2 small fennel bulbs, white parts cut crosswise and then diced into 3/4″ pieces

Cook over medium-low heat until transparent, then add:

  • 2 diced plum tomatoes
  • 1 organic orange with its peel, cut into 1/2″ dice 
  • 1 organic lemon with its peel, cut into 1/2″ dice
  • 1/2 t. kosher salt
  • finely chopped fronds from the fennel

Cook for about 10 minutes at a light bubbling simmer, then cover and cook for 30 minutes more over very low heat.  Stir 2 or 3 times and add a bit more olive oil if it starts to stick too much.  Remove lid and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes more.  Serve warm or cool and use as you like.

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Dandelion Greens, Potato & Egg Breakfast 0

Posted on April 09, 2010 by crankycheryl

The spring greens are up and I am a weed-picking fool.  Would you join me please?  Seriously – just go outside and pick a pile of dandelion greens before the flowers bloom and leave thgreens terribly bitter.  Then you’ll wash them very carefully.  Maybe even a soak in a water-bath with 1/4 c. of white vinegar in it.  Keep rinsing and soaking until they’re clean enough for you. (Over here, that was 4 times.)

Then you can go ahead and make yourself a breakfast worthy of a spring celebration.

Dandelion Greens, Potato, & Egg Breakfast, with or without Bacon
Serves 2

Wash repeatedly until clean:

  • 4 – 6 c. dandelion greens

If you want to eat bacon, cook until desired crispness and then remove from pan:

  • (For a vegetarian version heat 3 T. olive oil until rippling)


  • 2 large potatoes into medium cube.

Saute in oil or cook in bacon grease over medium high heat, until browned, then cover pan with a lid and cook for about 20 minutes or until done.

Add to pan and cook until greens are wilted:

  • those dandelion greens you washed so well
  • generous sprinkle of kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste

Scramble and then add to pan:

  • 4 large eggs

(Vegan? Mash up and add  1 package of firm tofu instead.)

Cook until eggs are done (or tofu is heated through).  Scramble together.  If using bacon, crumble and mix in.  Serve with your favorite hot sauce.

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Rising & Rising 2

Posted on February 26, 2010 by crankycheryl

I’ve been so mad at bread.  I wanted to make it and have it be great and I couldn’t.

I became obsessed with Gerard’s incomparable European style sourdough and its slow risen, gently tart taste, its big, open, custardy crumb.  Perfect crust.  I wanted it at home.  I tried one thing after another, a friend gave me starter, and I made a variety of slow sourdough loaves.   I followed the one recipe I found, with no success.  I spritzed to get crisp crusts, I baked at high temperatures, I baked in loaf pans and on baking stones and on half-sheets.  I’d marvel at the transformation of powdery flour and water into a ropy, bubbling mass, and then a crusty dense loaf.  I wavered, wanted Gerard’s, but instead made the no-knead.  And I made a quite lovely straight-rise pumpkin-flax.

And every now and then I’d buy a loaf  and be reminded what the best bread was like.


So I gave up.  I let the starter sit and grow more and more forlorn under its layer of questionable grey liquid on the top shelf of the fridge.  I’ve baked up a cyclone of cupcakes and all manner of sweet treats.  But no bread, because if I couldn’t get it right, why keep trying?

I didn’t make bread, but I’ve been busy of course.  I’ve been working to adjust my ideas about myself, my capabilities, what I should expect of these wild little people who bless my life, who are so brilliant and fierce and energetic that I finish the day in a breathless heap.  I’m trying to keep my creative juices flowing, to do good work for the folks I’m working with, to be some kind of friend and girlfriend and daughter and neighbor to the people who matter,to keep the bills paid and some semblance of a clear path through the craziness of my house.  Perfect bread?   Forget it.  How about perfect exhaustion?

Then I picked up an issue of Family Circle at the doctor’s office the other day.  I liked the big bodacious lasagna that was on the cover, plus figured maybe middle America could give me some coaching on how to get my home organization skills on  (it could happen!).  I was flipping through the pages, musing on how it’s come to pass that this most-mainstream of publications includes recipes for arugula salads and recommends yoga and alternative therapies.

And there on the last page, written by a self-described  novice baker on the staff, was a no-knead bread recipe.  I scanned it, interested in how it addressed some of the problems I’ve had with the no-knead results I’ve gotten, like the sort of half-assed sour flavor that’s neither here nor there.  And how the standard recipe doesn’t really seem to give the dough quite enough time to transform.  I made some changes and I gave it a whirl.

Perfect?  No.  But it slices terrifically and makes great toast.  It’s delicious, and certainly good enough for now.

If you want to give it a try, just remember to give it the day it needs to do its slow and amazing rise.

No-Knead Everyday Bread
Adapted from Family Circle, February 2010

1.  Mix together in a large bowl:

  • 2 cups whole wheat bread flour, or 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup unbleached white flour
  • 1/2 t. active dry yeast
  • 2 t. salt
  • 1 t. sugar

2.  Add and stir until dough comes together in a ball, about 2 minutes:

  • 1 1/2 c. room temperature water
  • 1 T. vinegar (I used Limousin Apple Bouquet, which worked nicely – the recipe called for white vinegar so I’m sure you can use what you’ve got on hand)

3.  Cover and let sit and room temperature for 18 hours.   Place dough on lightly floured board and knead a few times.  Return to the bowl and let it sit for 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

4.  30 minutes before the 2nd rise is through, place a Dutch oven and its lid in the oven, and preheat to 500.

5.  When the dough has completed its rise, carefully slide the dough into the heated pan by sort of pouring the batter right in.  It should sizzle in a satisfying way.  Put the lid right on and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove the lid, turn the heat down to 450 and bake for 15 minutes more.  Let cool in the pan for a bit, then complete cooling on a wire rack.


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