Malloreigh (left) Kaylie (right)
Before I go into my adventure, I should give some background into my food lifestyle. Growing up in the suburbs of Vancouver, I was not exposed to many food options that didn’t come from the Bovinae family. As I moved to the city, I began experimenting with different food lifestyles. For a while to make myself more conscious of what I was eating, I would give a name to the animal I was eating like Charlie Bovinae or Jimmy Tuna. I found the company I kept would influence me greatly though in my habits, so currently I am keeping up with a mostly vegetarian diet. However in conversations with Malloreigh she’s pondered what kind of variables it would take to convert someone to veganism. For me the only things that stand in my way are cheese and eggs. I love cheese. In fact when they do an autopsy of me they’ll find that I’m mostly made of bad jokes.
Apparently the only thing stopping me from being vegan.
I have found though that I can go stretches without those two ingredients, but it can be hard when I’m not cooking at lot to find vegan options at restaurants. So going into the thanksgiving dinner, not only have my cooking skills gone rusty, but I’ll be cooking for vegans who are all accomplished cooks. So I cranked my Tool (notable vegan band) and got to work.
My chosen dish was one that would be simple enough to create and fitting for the Thanksgiving theme.
This is how the recipe appeared on www.epicurious.com:
Leek and Wild Mushroom Stuffing
- 1 1/2 cups hot water
- 1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms*
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
- 1 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps sliced
- 1 pound button mushrooms, sliced
- 1 1/2 cups chopped leeks (white and pale green parts only)
- 6 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 8-ounce French-bread baguettes, halved lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 large egg, beaten to blend
Obviously I would be using Earth Balance instead of butter, and will be just omitting the egg. I was unable to find dried porcini mushrooms so I just added more white mushrooms. Later on in the recipe it would call for using the mushroom soaking liquid to moisten up the stuffing before baking, but as you will see I just used Vegetable Broth as a substitute.
First off I wanted to get all my ingredients chopped and ready to go. There was a ton of mushrooms to be chopped, and after a while my back was starting to hurt. I wondered if my chopping technique was flawed so I went to youtube.com and found several videos showing the various methods of chopping. Thank god for youtube. Here’s some of Alex Trebeck’ s drunk Jeopardy outtakes I found while procrastinating the cooking. Good times on the inter web.
The recipe continues:
Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add shiitake and button mushrooms; sauté 10 minutes. Add leeks and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Add wine, thyme, and porcini mushrooms. Cook until almost all wine evaporates, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Pour mushroom mixture into large bowl and mix with the bread.
Now that I had gotten anal about my chopping techniques, I started to worry about the sautéing time. In these situations when my brain is consumed with tasks, keeping track of time can prove challenging. So what I did was mark the time by when a song would change. I would look at the track listing briefly, and when the song ended I would know how much time has passed. It sounds ridiculous I know, but it’s just the way my brain works.
I was getting pretty hungry at this point so it’s a good thing I bought lots of bread. Plus I had some bonus wine left over. So I had only the last step until I had time to relax.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Add enough reserved mushroom soaking liquid to stuffing to moisten (3/4 cup to 1 1/4 cups). Transfer stuffing to prepared dish. Bake uncovered until heated through, about 40 minutes.
Again I substituted the Vegetable broth for the mushroom soaking liquid because of the lack of porcini mushrooms.
So from the moment I compiled my list to go to the grocery store to the moment I pulled out the dish from the oven, it was probably a good 5-6 hours. Again ridiculous, but I was going slow, taking my time, enjoying the process. Could I become a Vegan? Who knows? I would have finally put the stuffing into Tammy Turkey of the Melagris family but she kept running away. So for today I was a Vegan.
Special thanks to my lady friend Bronwen Marsden for the support (panicked text messages) and inspiration on the dish.
1 leek stalk
1 Celery Stalk
5 Red Skin Potatoes
2 dry sprigs of roasemary
4 cloves garlic
1 green apple
2 small Yellow onions
2 cups vegetable broth – or 2 cups water and one bouillon cube
1 Cup unsweetened almond (or other nondairy) milk
1/8 cup nutritional yeast (2 heaping tablespoons)
Salt & pepper
Dice the carrot, celery, & leek. Sauté in oil in a big pot. Then add your water and bouillon cube, you could also use 2 cups of pre-made veggie broth if it suites you. Simmer until you have these next steps ready:
Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. Cube your red potatoes, place on a baking sheet, lightly cover with olive oil, add rosemary and garlic. Let roast for about ten minutes watching diligently and flipping around your potatoes every few minutes. Roasted until golden brown.
Cut all of your onions into cm rounds and caramelize in a spoonful of (vegan) butter in a skillet.
Dice your green apple into small pieces.
Once your potatoes and onions are ready, add the potatoes and half of the onions to the soup. Add the unsweetened nondairy milk and nutritional yeast. Using a hand blender, blend the soup until creamy. Now, add the rest of the onions and the apple.
Let it simmer – the longer the better – half an hour is probably good, but if you have longer, go ahead and let it simmer.
Now you have soup. Serve with a sprinkling of nutritional yeast on the side.