Recipe: Modified Meatless Shepherd’s Pie

Recently I went to one of my book club meetings (yes, okay, I’m in two book clubs. I read…a lot.) and had this amazing modified shepherd’s pie. Modified because it was vegetarian! And also it incorporated some other changes like no potatoes and the addition of some feta cheese. It was so yum!

Can I just disgress for a moment to say how lucky I am to have such accommodating, generous friends who cook vegetarian meals because they know I’m coming over? I know that vegetarian meals aren’t always all about me, but, well, sometimes they are, in that uncomfortable way where I realize everyone else would prefer to be eating ribs or steak and they’re “stuck” with something veg. I’m rarely the only vegetarian in the room, which makes it a little easier, but still. Anyway, my friends never make me feel that way and I love them for it. Moving on.

One such friend is Kathy, who I have to credit with this creating this delicious recipe. Thanks for sharing this with me and for making such an elaborate book club meal!

Modified Meatless Shepherds Pie

Ingredients:
1 pie bottom shell
1 pie crust topping (rolled-out dough or store-bought)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small white onion, chopped
2 tbsp. Herbes de Provence (or mix your own using thyme, basil, oregano and parsley to your taste)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 lb (package) Yves meatless ground round
1/2 cup tomato sauce (or more as needed)
2 cups diced carrots, peas, and corn (or mixed vegetables of your choice)
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 egg beaten w/ 1 tsp water (egg wash for the pie crust)

To Make:
1. Heat olive oil in medium saucepan and add the chopped onion and herbs. Cook until onions start to turn clear.
2. Add the meatless ground round and cook thoroughly, adding salt and pepper to taste.
3. Add the carrots, peas and corn (or other veggies) and stir. Cook for 5 minutes or until slightly softened.
4. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375.
5. Lightly brush pie bottom shell with egg wash.
6. Spoon stuffing mix into pie shell. Add feta cheese to top of the mix.
7. Cover stuffing with pie crust topping and brush top crust with egg wash before putting it in oven. Cut the top of the pie crust like an X to allow steam to exit while baking.
8. Cook for 30 minutes or until crust is golden.

The meat eaters around the table could hardly tell that it was made using fake meat (or at least, that’s what they told me…)! It may depend on which brand of soy crumbles you use, I haven’t tried too many of them. If you have a favorite, let me know please! Also a good substitute would be lentils or finely chopped mushrooms, or both.

This recipe is perfect as we struggle through the last few chilly, rainy days before summer. Enjoy!

Recipe: Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Taco Bowls

I’m what you’d call a lazy cook. If you haven’t realized that already about me by looking at Arlington Darling’s recipe collection, you’ll figure it out soon enough! I like recipes with few ingredients, short instructions lists, and that require little prep work. I do try to strike a balance between using prepackaged/processed food and putting a recipe together from scratch with 100% fresh food, but when push comes to shove I am just not the woman making her own yogurt with bacterial cultures or frying her own tortilla chips out of cut up tortillas, I’m just not.

So, when I see a recipe that calls for taco shells, I’m pretty likely to think “meh, I don’t want to make individual tacos I’ll just throw everything into a bowl. Taco shells sound complicated and hard to take with me for lunch.” And so this dish was born!

Laziness is delicious. Mmmmm.

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Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Taco Bowls

Ingredients:
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained and patted dry
1/2 head of cauliflower, chopped into small florets
2 avocados, cubed
1/2 head of red/purple cabbage, shredded
1 cup Greek yogurt
2 limes, zest and juice
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt

To Make:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine chickpeas, cauliflower, seasonings (you can even add a further shortcut and use your favorite taco seasoning instead), olive oil, and lime juice in a bowl. Toss, and then spread on baking sheet and roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes, stirring once, until crispy and browned at the edges.
2. Meanwhile, make the dressing (don’t be tempted to leave this step out, see above about how I’m lazy and trust me that this small extra effort is easy and worth it for the dish). Combine Greek yogurt, lime zest, cilantro, and a dash of salt and pepper. Let rest in the fridge.
3. When ready to serve, add portions of the cauliflower and chickpeas, shredded cabbage, and avocado to a bowl or shallow dish. Dress with the yogurt dressing.

A couple of substitutions that would work for this dish that I thought of: sub another leafy green for the cabbage, although I really appreciate the tang of it and the chance to eat a beautiful purple veggie. Or you could add a meat to the bowl instead or in addition to the cauliflower, if you eat meat.

Note. If you’re packing these into Tupperware for your lunches, as I do, keep the dressing in a separate container until that morning and cut up one avocado at a time, as needed.

Recipe adapted from Two Peas and their Pod.

Enjoy!!

Recap: Overnight in NYC

Happy spring 🙂

I just got back from a whirlwind overnight trip to NYC (Saturday morning bus to Sunday evening bus). It was a really great trip. We had amazing walking-around weather, we kept our energy up by eating small normal-sized, frequent meals, and we tried to have a variety of experiences while not driving ourselves crazy trying to “do everything.” Here’s a recap of my favorite things we did:

Food
Butcher’s Daughter – This was our little afternoon snack break heaven. Organic, raw, fresh…this place offered all the healthy and delicious food adjectives. We got incredible fancy juice blends and an egg sandwich with their signature vegan cashew cheese. I immediately started wondering if I could recreate it.

The Butcher's Daughter - yummy sandwich

The Butcher’s Daughter – yummy sandwich

Brooklyn Bagels – Touted as best bagels (given the quality of bagels in the city I’m sure its a close call to call these best, but we felt it was deserved). We got a lox bagel sandwich with dill cream cheese and an everything bagel with cream cheese to split. The bagels were huge, fluffy, crispy, and all that we were hoping for.

Brooklyn Bagels - BAGELS

Brooklyn Bagels – BAGELS

Dirt Candy – A vegetarian restaurant! One that treats vegetables with TLC! We had to try. Super tiny and popular, we dined like pros and snuck into the restaurant before the reservations trickled in (tip: show up at 5:30 or a little earlier). We loved each dish, especially the mushroom one which had mushroom pate and roasted portobellos, and the jalapeno hush puppies with maple butter. So glad I’m not vegan just for that butter. Man. Delicious. Not to mention it felt like I was being pampered the whole time.

Dirt Candy - our meal

Dirt Candy – our meal

Sights
Artists & Fleas – we stumbled across this walking in Williamsburg, but loved the vintage clothes and beautiful jewelry. The people watching was great, too (NYC really is full of beautiful people).

The High Line – more heaven. I thought I knew what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of sunshine, benches, and happy people. Super relaxing up there, and a good way to go from Chelsea to midtown with a view (tip: stop off at Chelsea Market for a snack).

Arlington Darling | Brooklyn Roasting Company

Brooklyn Roasting Company – decaf mocha

Brooklyn Bridge – this is an iconic tourist attraction, so it was crowded, but totally worth it for the views and as a way to experience the great neighborhoods on either side. Stop by Brooklyn Roasting Company for a coffee (this coffee neophyte ordered a decaf mocha which I thoroughly enjoyed and was also approved by N, coffee expert) before your walk over from Brooklyn.

We did so much more, but I could write for days! Message me for more trip deets if you’re interested. I’ll give you the inside scoop :).

Arlington Darling | Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge

Oh, and if anyone out there has advice for how to approach a stranger who is out walking his cat in Williamsburg and you want to pet it, let us know. We were a little baffled by that one.

Equal Pay Day 2014

Quick post! Today is Equal Pay Day! Celebrate with the American Association of University Women with an (un)happy hour at its national headquarters. Some DC businesses are also offering a 23% discount to represent the 77 cents-on-the-dollar wage gap (yes, a much-maligned statistic, which doesn’t mean we shouldn’t care about the gap or pretend that there isn’t one).

Enjoy the specials and help AAUW and the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) continue the conversation about equal pay.