Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mediterranean One-Crust Pie to Keep You Warm (and Full)

First of all I need to give you some excuses as to why I've been slacking on my job of helping you find delicious vegan/vegetarian meals. I started graduate school. And I think that sums it up. So, in the 30 minutes extra I have per week, I have been taking naps, or showering, or something like that. However, I think it is important to continue my mission here, and, thanks to an arthritic-induced day at home, I am here to give you some new recipes. I know you will love them.

So, for starters, I received this pretty amazing book for Christmas from one of my friends, it is simply called "Vegetarian" (subtitle: "Over 300 Healthy and Wholesome Recipes Chosen from Around the World") consultant editor is: Nicola Graimes. The book is pretty amazing. It is not, however, entirely vegan friendly. So, I have been working through it and "veganizing" many of the recipes I have made.

In the midst of a cold, snowy January day, in order to enliven our souls and eat some vegetables, I decided to veganize a recipe entitled "Mediterranean One-Crust Pie." Let me tell you! This is one of the best meals you will eat in your life (if you're all about some veggies). We loved it!

So, without further adieu, my vegan version of the Mediterranean One-Crust Pie:

1 1/4 pounds of eggplant (cubed)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
4-5 asparagus, cut into 3-4 pieces each
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
4-5 mushrooms, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon oregano
1 1/2 cup canned red kidney beans, or chili bean mix (drained)
1 cup of pitted black Kalamata olives
2 tablespoons of cornstarch, dissolved in 2-2 1/2 tablespoons of water
salt and black pepper

(note: You can use any vegetables you think would go with this; the original recipe called for red peppers--which I hate--but did not use asparagus, mushrooms or tomatoes. I found that they added a delicious taste, though. So, really, play around with this.)

(for the pastry shell)
2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
6 tablespoons Earth Balance vegan butter

1. Preheat the oven to 425; now, to make the pastry: sift the two flours together, using a fork or dough cutter mix in the vegan butter until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. Mix in cold water (by the tablespoon, maybe about 8 tablespoons total) until you can form a firm dough with the flour mixture. Knead the dough for about a minute on a floured surface, wrap it up and let it refrigerate for 30 minutes.

2. Make the filling: cube the eggplant, place it in a strainer, salt it and let it sit for 30 minutes. Rinse it and dry it. While the eggplant is sitting go ahead and mince your garlic, and wash and cut your asparagus. Now, heat the oil in a large heavy-based frying pan. Fry the onions for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the eggplant and cook for about 5 minutes, add the asparagus, garlic, and oregano, salt and pepper and cook for about 5 more minutes, stirring consistently now. Add the tomatoes and mushrooms, let cook for a couple more minutes. Add the beans and olives, let cook until everything is fully heated through, stirring frequently, and then set aside to cool.

3. Now, roll out your dough to about a 12" round. Place your dough in a lightly greased pie pan, or on a lightly greased baking sheet (if your dough is pretty firm and can hold its own). Brush some of the cornstarch mixture onto the dough. Now, add the filling and gather up the dough to mostly cover the filling. It should be like a little basket or bowl, holding the filling in but open on top. Brush the outside of the dough with the remaining cornstarch mixture. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the crust is golden. Add oregano and salt and pepper to the pie when it comes out of the oven.


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