Last weekend was exciting since we had my parents come up! Usually we'll try to find a cool place around town to go to dinner with them, but Jason had really wanted to cook instead. Jason is a really great cook - although most of the time it is me cooking the dinners. So when he said he would opt to cook, I knew it would be a good idea!
Over the summer he surprised me with the cookbook Vegan Cooking for Carnivores by Roberto Martin - aka Ellen & Portia's vegan chef.
The recipes all look amazing - perhaps some of them a bit time-consuming and good for a Sunday night meal. Jason had made the Shepherd's Pie for me in the past, so he wanted to make that again for when my parents came up.
Jason stirring the potatoes - with a knife no less. I don't judge how he cooks :)
I added my own contribution with my favorite salad recipe - Asparagus, Almond, and Tomato salad with Mustard-Dill Vinaigrette. It is from The Candle Café Cookbook and I've made it many times as a side for meals. The dressing and additions to the salad make it perfect - although we did not add the almonds this time.
The table was set and the shepherd's pie looked delicious! In my notes for this recipe, I put "Takes a while but well worth it!" Which is very true - definitely not a weeknight meal but so worth it for guests or if you have some time!
Asparagus, Almond, and Tomato Salad with Mustard-Dill Vinaigrette: (adapted from Candle Café Cookbook)
2 1/2 pounds asparagus
6 cups salad greens
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup sliced almonds (I've made this without and still good..but the almonds do add a nice crunch!)
Break off the tough woody ends of the asparagus stalks. In a large skillet, bring enough lightly salted water to cover the asparagus to a boil over high heat. Add asparagus, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 3-5 minutes, just until tender. Drain and chill asparagus while prepping the rest of the salad.
Make the vinaigrette:
1/4 c olive oil
3/4 cup water
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1/4 c fresh dill
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Toss the greens and tomatoes together with about 1/3 c of the dressing. Toss the asparagus in a separate bowl with about 2 Tablespoons of dressing, then place over salad greens. Sprinkle with almonds and add a bit more dressing if desired.
Shepherd's Pie: (from Vegan Cooking for Carnivores)
1 bag of boca meatless crumbles
2 pounds russet potatoes
4 Tablespoons of vegan butter (we use smart balance)
1/2 cup almond milk
1 Tablespoon of chopped chives
sprinkle of salt and pepper
2 Tablespoons of oil
1 white onion, diced small
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 large carrot, cut into small dice
1 tsp dried thyme
3 Tablespoons of flour
1 1/2 cups of vegetable broth
1/2 cup frozen peas
Preheat the oven to 420 degrees. Place boca crumbles in pot and warm over the stove top. Peel and rinse the potatoes and place them in a large pot. Fill the pot with water to at least 3 inches above the potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the potatoes are soft.
Drain the potatoes and put them in an ovenproof baking dish or pan. Bake them for 5 minutes, to remove excess moisture and leave the oven on. Working quickly, mash the potatoes. Add the melted butter, warm milk, and chopped chives and stir well. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat a large sauté pan on medium heat, add the oil and let heat. Add onions and sauté for 5 minutes. Add garlic, celery, carrot, and thyme and cook for 3 minutes more.
Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir in.
Pour the broth into the pan and stir until incorporated. Stir in the boca and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the peas and season to taste.
Spread mixture evenly into a casserole pan/baking dish. Top with mashed potatoes, starting around the edges to create a seal to prevent the mix from bubbling up. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula and bake for 25 minutes.
So yes this dish takes a while, but so worth it! We've made a few other recipes from this book and have been very impressed.