Sunday, March 7, 2010

Week one of the 21 day vegan kickstart is in the bag!

Week One is in the Bag

So far so good. I have not felt deprived (for the most part). I do really miss the ice cream. I know I could get soy ice cream but I figured this is probably as good a time any any to work on my sugar habit as well. I also decided that I am brilliant! ant to know why..... of course you do!
I left potatoes until the end of the week because honestly I could not figure how to eat a baked potato without sour cream or cheddar cheese. Still not sure how to do that....if you know a way please let me know. I did however remember a couple of other things to do with potatoes. Last night I had Bubble and Squeak, a vegan bar-b-que rib-let and roasted carrots for dinner. Bubble and Squeak is such a silly name for such a great English staple. I learned to make it from a British cooking show called Two Fat Ladies (that is now available on DVD). The two women ,Jennifer Paterson and Clarissa Wright, were so funny it made the show really entertaining. At any rate they made it in Episode 3 cooking it in a tom of lard. I made it for my family that very night and it was a big hit, even with the kids. It is so simple and so great on a cold wintry evening.

Here's how I make mine:
One medium potato per person One head of green cabbage (possibly one and a half if you are making more than 6 servings) Olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Cut the potatoes into chunks (size is not terrible important except that the smaller they are the quicker they cook) and boil until just tender. I under-cook mine a bit so that they will not turn to mush in the 2nd step. Drain the potatoes and set them aside. I cook my cabbage, that has been washed and quartered) in the same water as the potatoes because I use a spider to remove my potatoes from the water. If you don't have a spider you should get one. This is what they look like.... Cook the cabbage in boiling water for about 5 should still be kind of crisp. Again using my spider I scoop out the cabbage and set it to cool. When I can touch it I roughly chop it, my pieces are usually about 2" X 2" Now comes the best part:
Heat a large skillet and add a tablespoon or so of olive oil (not lard and not nearly as much as the Two fat ladies say to use). Let the oil heat until just before the smoking point and add a handful of the cooked potatoes. Drop a handful of the cooked cabbage on top of the potatoes and leave it alone for a moment. Next add freshly ground pepper and a dash of salt. Next I use my pancake flipper to smush (totally technical term) the cabbage down into the potatoes. Now just like wonderfully crispy hashbrowns the key is get good contact with the pan, turn the heat down a bit and leave them alone. Once they are nice and brown you mix the cabbage in and smush it down again. Doing this gives some piece the opportunity to get really browned (the part my family likes best) while others stay softer. In the Fat Ladies recipe you keep adding lard as it cooks, since I use a nonstick pan this is not necessary. I opt, instead, for lower temperature and plenty of smushing to get good surface contact. Once it is browned to my satisfaction I transfer it to a pie plate that is in a warm oven to wait for the successive batches.
Give it a try !
Wish I had thought to take a picture of the finished dish but believe me there are several good ones on Google images...some people even formed theirs into cakes and fried them that way......may have to try that for a fancier presentation some day.

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