Thursday, November 18, 2010

cooking with jess :)

Ever since I knew how to read, I've developed such an interest in cooking. I am currently taking a food preparation class in college and find it extremely enlightening. I love to cook for my closest friends and family because it's my own way of showing them that I care for them. Good, nutritious, and fresh food is what brings families together. I make my family dinner most days of the week, because my mom now works full time. So, in a way I am giving my mom a break and also sharpening up my cooking skills. Who can argue with that?
Well, last night I made my own rendition of Shepherds pie. A much healthier and animal-friendly version of course!

(these are blurry cellphone quality pictures, my apologies! but thank-you aria) 

Vegan Shepherd's Pie 

  • 1 1/4 cup cooked lentils (you can prepare them ahead of time or use canned)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 small eggplant, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 frozen sweet corn kernels
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes (preferably fire roasted!) 
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • a few fresh basil leaves cut into strips 
  • salt & pepper to taste 
Mashed Potato Crust:
  •  5 Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled, and cubed 
  • 4 tablespoons non-dairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven 350 degrees!

1. If using dried lentils, cook them and drain them thoroughly. 
2. Heat the olive oil in large saucepan and toss in onion and garlic in it, allowing it to cook for 2 minutes, until lightly browned. Stir in the eggplant and allow to cook for approximately 5 minutes. 
3. Mix in the carrots, mushrooms, corn, rosemary, and basil and cook for 2 minutes, and then add tomato paste and diced tomatoes. Cover the sauce pan and simmer for 20 minutes.
4. Boil or steam the potatoes until they are soft. Drain and mash them, then add non-dairy milk and onion powder, and beat until smooth. 
5. Uncover the pan of vegetables and cook more briskly for 5 minutes to evaporate some of the liquid. Stir in the cooked lentils, vegetable stock, and season with salt and pepper. 
6. Smooth out a thin layer of the mashed potatoes onto an ovenproof dish, making sure you cover the bottom of the dish with potatoes. Layer it with the vegetable and lentil mixture, then spread the rest of the potatoes, covering the mixture, and mark with a fork. Sprinkle some dried basil or maybe even grated cheese on top. Cook in the heated oven for about 25 minutes, until golden brown.

This shepherds pie will certainly warm you up on a cold day! I guarantee it :) 

For dessert I opted to Dreena's "Triple Layer Chocolate Cream Cake" from her cookbook The Everyday Vegan.
 Holy... this cake was probably the most moist vegan cake I've ever eaten! I normally don't like chocolate frosting, but this one was so much different than the others, it wasn't sugary and artificial at all. The cake was seriously rich and chocolately. Being the berry-fiend that I am, I, of course topped it off with some very juicy strawberries. I definitely recommend you indulge in this animal friendly dessert, ASAP!
well.. my work here is done....peace!

- Jess

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