Friday, May 1, 2009

Lentil Shepherd's Pie(Vegan); Creamy Nut Sauce w/ Spaghetti or Noodles(vegan)

Before I go any further here at all, I need to tell you that I forgot something in my last post. The Two Cheese Potato Casserole was sent to my email by a very dear cyber-friend of mine, but she neglected to tell me where she got it from, other than it was also sent to her. The recipe is NOT one of my own creations, so if the creator of said recipe is reading this, be aware that I think it's a great recipe, and I am NOT taking credit for it. There! Got that off my shoulders, lol. I couldn't stand for anyone to think I had deliberately tried to steal a recipe of theirs to pass of as one of my own, because, that just ain't my style.

Something else...Lap, and Joycie, I know y'all are reading here on occasion, so please, tell the folks on the forum that I've post there, and can't. I even logged out and then logged back in again, to no avail. This is soooooo upsetting, I miss y'all so much. WAAAAAAAAAA! Anyway, tell everyone hello, please...and thank you.

There, I've had a little breakfast, put the dishes in soak, and in a little while will go hang up the last load of laundry. Other than that, all I've done, and all I intend to do, has been to swish the toilet and make the bed. Hopefully, once the med for the thyroid gets into my system, in a couple to three weeks, I'll have a little more energy, and will actually dig in and get this poor little house cleaned. Reckon I'll find out, right

Ok, on to the next two, four in one week, lol, and three of them total winners, in my opinion. The first two are on the post just before this one, just in case you hadn't realized that. The recipe here, for a Lentil Shepherd's Pie, is a combination of two different recipes from, plus an addition of my own, and I was very, very pleased with the results. Definitely a keeper!

Lentil Shepherd's Pie

1 cup lentils, cooked and drained
1 onion, diced
1/2 tsp. each dried sage and oregano
1 tsp. salt, dash cayenne pepper
4 large potatoes, peeled and boiled until tender
1/2 to 1 cup hot soy milk, or, 1/2 C each soymilk and "sour cream," or "soygurt"
1 C frozen mixed peas and carrots, canned if that's all you have, or fresh if you like.
1/4 C Parmesan cheese(optional), the vegetarian kind

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

When the potatoes have been peeled, rinsed, and cubed, place them in a saucepan and cover with salted cold water by about 1/2 inch. Place over high heat, covered, and bring to a boil. Lower heat to where the water will be simmering, and let cook about 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender enough to mash.

When potatoes are done, drain them, and mash them with the soy milk or the mix of soy milk/sour cream or soygurt, however you prefer, along with as much margarine as you like...or Earth Balance for vegans. If you're using the Parmesan cheese, mix it in with the potatoes now. Set aside.

In a saucepan, combine the lentils, onion, peas and carrots, seasonings, 2Tbs. margarine, and 1 cup water. While this heats, mix 1/4 flour with 2/3 C soymilk with a fork, until smooth. Stir this into the saucepan with the veggies, bring to a boil, and allow to simmer until it begins to thicken. Once it thickens, check for seasonings, and if needed, add more salt and pepper.

Spread the lentil/veggie mixture in a large baking pan[I used a metal 11in.X7in. pan]. On top of this, I put several slices of the smoked provolone cheese I love so well, but to keep this vegan, you don't have to use it, and, in fact, neither of the recipes I read used it. On top of the cheese, spread the mashed potatoes, and sprinkle with a little more Parmesan if desired[I didn't]. Bake 30-40 minutes, or until potatoes are slightly golden, and the sauce mixture is bubbling. Let sit for about three minutes before serving. This looks to me like it would be four hefty servings, or six not-so-hefty, but adequate, servings. Depends on whether or not you serve some side dishes with it.

Like I said, I was very pleased with this, and as it's not too much work, I'll make it again, believe me. It's one of those dishes you could probably serve to your omnivore friends and they'd enjoy it.

This next, and last, recipe for today, is from "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian," by Mark Bittman, and again, this one is a keeper. I loved it.

Creamy Nut Sauce

1 cup unsalted nuts, preferable cashews, walnuts, almonds, or hazelnuts[Mr. Bittman says, however, that any nut OR seed will work, so choose your own favorite one].
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil or 4Tbs.(1/4 stick)butter...Earth Balance for vegans
1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg(optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup cream[soy milk works very well], plus more for thinning if desired.
Milk or veggie stock for thinning, if desired.

1. Use a food processor or blender to grind the nuts to the consistency of coarse meal.
2. Put the oil or butter in a deep skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot or the butter is melted, add the ground nuts. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture becomes fragrant, about a minute. Turn the heat down to medium-low and continue cooking and stirring until the mixture darkens and forms a sort of passte...this is the roux. Sprinkle with nutmeg if you like, salt, and pepper.
3. Pour in the cream and stir or whisk to blend with the roux. Gently cook the sauce without boiling, stirring frequently, until it thickens, 5-7 minutes. Taste, adjust the seasoning if needed, thin if desired, and serve. Makes about 2 cups.

I poured this over hot spaghetti, served some green peas on the side, and ate like a queen that evening. This stuff is wonderful, I love it, and will absolutely make it again...and again...and again.

It's time to hang up my laundry so my uniforms will be clean for tomorrow, time to do the dishes so i can eat supper tonight, so, until next time, Happy Eating!!!!


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