I'll go with thee to the lane's end... I am a kind of burr, I shall stick. Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

I write not to teach but to learn. Rebecca West

drew's writing:

  • "Always Forever Now," Ideomancer volume 13, issue 2
  • "Black Sun," Black Static # 32
  • "Bread or Cake" and "Pride/Shame,"2nd Annual Philadelphia One-Minute Play Festival
  • "Copper Heart," Polluto Magazine issue 5, A Steampunk Orange
  • "The Accomplished Birder's Guide to Overcoming Rejection," Last Drink Bird Head, edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer
  • "Another Night With the Henriksens," Player's Theater Halloween One-Act Festival NYC 2008
  • "Hating the Lovers," and "Pipe Down!" Geez Magazine: Thirty Sermons You Would Never Hear in Church
  • "Beth/slash/Nathan," Paper Fruit Blogiversary Contest

Sunday, February 07, 2010

shepherd's pie, borscht, chocolate pecan pie, recipes for snowed-in vegetarians

The snow inspired me to make some food. That's shepherd's pie above, which is not supposed to be in a pie crust, but I vaguely remember my grandmother making it that way. I love how things change in memory. Invariably, they become more interesting.

I used this recipe for the shepherd's pie, and put it in a pastry shell. Recipe books and the internet give me the sense that making a pie crust is a terrifying undertaking, with potential disaster lurking at every turn. I use the recipe on the back of the Arrowhead Mills whole wheat pastry flour bag, but with slightly less canola oil. Then I daub oil on the exposed part of the crust so it doesn't become hard when I bake it. Perfect every time.

The only changes I made to the recipe linked above are that I substituted SmartGround veggie protein crumbles for actual animal parts, and chased the fake beef around a pan with one shallot and some apple cider vinegar. I partly mashed the potatoes with some gooey roasted garlic, and cut up the potato skins and left them in for vitamins and texture. Impatience, thrift, or moral objections led me to omit the onions, flour, milk, beefstock, and all spices except salt and pepper. As a result, the shepherd's pie was bland the first night, but after mellowing in the refrigerator overnight it tasted perfect today.

(I put butter in the potatoes, but if you are a vegan you could omit that).

Then, since my camerado is a Southern boy I made him a chocolate pecan pie. All the recipes online used corn syrup, which seemed revolting. I looked at some vegan blogs to see what they would use instead of corn syrup--not that corn is animal-derived, but I tend to think of vegans as too health-conscious to pour corn syrup into themselves and the people they love.

The two vegan blogs I checked admitted that they had adapted their recipe for chocolate pecan pie from Martha Stewart, so I deduced that Martha is the blogosphere's go-to gal for chocolate pecan pie.

The Martha Stewart recipe also called for a cup and a half of corn syrup, so, disgusted and irate, I improvised a replacement of a half cup each of brown rice syrup, canola oil, and maple syrup. This seemed marginally less health-destroying. (Brown rice syrup is a slow sugar). Martha said not to beat the eggs but I did anyway, because I read that part after the beatings took place. This was a happy accident, as it fluffed up the oil/syrup/chocolate/egg mix, with the result that the pecans floated on top of a light chocolate meringue, and toasted nicely, instead of sinking through sticky chocolate gunk to rest on the bottom. (Martha Stewart was accused of sticking pecans on top of her pie for the photo by one of the vegan bloggers I consulted).

I omitted the sugar and we did not miss it. A half cup of maple syrup and a half cup of brown rice syrup is enough sweetener. Next time I will use unsweetened chocolate chips--and will not melt all of them, but leave some intact for texture.

That's borscht. My borscht is so far from authentic that it's almost ludicrous to call it borscht, but the word is so satisfying I can't relinquish it. True borscht is watery and tainted with meat stock, onions, tomatoes, and who knows what other horrors. Mine is four beets, three green apples, and the juice of three or four lemons, plus honey and 1 teaspoon of allspice. The point of it is not to get in the way of the hearty, warming, energizing goodness of beets.

I cook the beets, then cut them up, then cook them some more, and mash them--but I do not cook or mash them excessively. I want them to have their essential beetness. The recipe I use is from an Australian health guru named Dr. Sandra Cabot. It calls for five tablespoons of honey, which may be more than it needs, plus chicken stock and egg yolks, which I omit. Beets are hearty enough without them.


Glimmer said...

Those are beautiful crusts. Tip of the hat. I love a pecan pie and will try your recipe, hating corn syrup as I do. I also now have big fat "Holiness pecans" from Georgia, my sister's connection. Once you taste these all others will make you sick.

I like the typewriter photo. I saw on another blog that people are making "writer's bracelets" from the keys of old typewriters like that. Which seemed just wrong, somehow. Then I saw that they are selling for $119 or so, and I suddenly began looking at my jewelry-making tools and thinking about the old typewriters taking up space in the basement closet (two former journalists in the house). And wondering how many are still stashed at Mother's. Scruples steadily receding into snowy mists...

drew rhys white said...

Hi Glimmer! Thanks for visiting! "Holiness pecans" sound amazing!

Glimmer said...

"Holiness pecans" are picked and shelled by church folks in that area, placed in big white plastic jars and sold via word-of-mouth. Almost better not to have them because you simply cannot go back.

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