In which our heroine does not cook vegan food

This week I reached new cookbook #4 – Veganomicon. Now I’m a vegetarian but I rarely eat intentionally vegan food. I eat plenty of things that happen to be vegan, but I see no reason to eat dairy/cheese/meat substitutes. All those substitutes are never the same as the real food and I feel like its just twisting food pointlessly. There are lots of wonderful things that can be done using only vegan ingredients, and I’m always excited to try those, but with this cookbook, if it calls for dairy substitutes, I’m just using milk, butter, eggs, etc.

Since its been extremely cold – I decided on a warming casserole – vegetable pot pie. The recipe was fairly straight-forward. Saute veggies with some oil and vinegar, then steam until they are all slightly tender (not all the way). Mix with herbed bechamel sauce. Bechamel sauce is an uncomplicated recipe, I learned how to do it when I was 10 (though my parents called it white sauce). Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan. Add 2 tablespoons of flour and mix the two into a paste. Add 1 cup of milk and cook until the sauce has thickened, stirring constantly. To that you can add whatever herbs you want – I used bay leaves, thyme and parsley.The only tricky thing is knowing what qualifies as “thick” for the sauce. That just takes practice. Or, in my case, asking my dad every couple minutes if it was thick enough and having him say “almost” for a year. The crust was a standard biscuit dough. Assembly: Mix the sauce with the veggies and pour into a casserole dish, or a large pie plate (the glass ones make wonderful surrogate casserole dishes). Roll out the biscuit dough and cut into squares – place the square over the veggies to cover. Bake for like 30 minute.

The result was decent, but unfortunately I found it kinda bland. I added shredded cheddar cheese and that helped. I think next time will need more herbs, more salt, garlic, and cheese. I did like the way it worked when I added the cheese at the end, so I’ll probably do that again, rather than baking it into the casserole. And the cutting up the biscuit dough and then putting it on top was very cool – definitely going to repeat that one. Sadly, not every new recipe I try will be amazing and perfect at the first attempt. But the recipe is a decent baseline and has potential to be excellent. We will have to see.

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