Tag Archives: okra

Cuban Inspired Shepherdless Pie

After working with plantains more often, I wanted to try a vegan shepherdless pie using ingredients popular in cuisine from our island neighbor to the South. Cuban food commonly has a lot of interesting vegan elements: plantains, yuca, beans, rice and bananas. I’m a big fan of those things so this dish made sense. This is what we started with for the mashed plantains:
8 plantains (8 fist sized potatoes would work too)
1/4 cup of Diaya cheese
1/2 cup of soy milk (any non-dairy milk will work, almond if you’ve got a soy allergy)
2 tbsp vegan margarine

I peeled the plantains and put them into water to boil. Plantains and potato have similar nutritional profiles except that plantains have a significant amount of vitamin A, where potato has none. They’re both starchy, provide vitamin C, and are free of fat and cholesterol. Getting back to business, while that was happening I prepared the filling with the following ingredients:
1 white onion, diced
1 jalapeƱo, minced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup of black beans, soaked overnight or 1 can of beans, partially drained
1 can of diced tomato
10 okra, ends removed and sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 lb. frozen corn kernels
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp cumin
salt and chili powder to taste

I browned the onion, garlic and jalapeƱo along with the cumin until the onion became translucent. Then we added the okra, tomato, beans, corn and cilantro and stirred until everything was steamy and sticky from the okra.

Brent took the plantains and combined them with the milk, cheese and margarine and mashed them until they were gloriously creamy. They were really dry so you might need to add more soy milk depending on your plantains (or potatoes).Check out that radical dedicated mooshing face.

He also prepared a base layer in our baking dish of tortillas and daiya to aid in scooping but it’s not necessary.

He spread the mashed plantains over the hot veggies and we put it into the oven for 20 minutes at 350C/175F until it was bubbly and delightful.

It was a hearty filling meal, loaded with vegetables and flavors. It made even better leftovers after everything had a night to marinade in it’s own juice.

Next time I might tweak the seasoning but overall it was a success. We ate half the tray and the rest is disappearing fast.

This is Brent and Christie, signing off.

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Pakbet (AKA Bitter Melon MADNESS!)

I got the recommendation for pinakbet or pakbet from a Sri Lankan colleague who has a fondness for Filipino cuisine. It’s good she’s around or I would have been at a loss for what to do with this ridiculous looking veggie. For pakbet I took some crucial advice from Melissa and my colleague on the preparation. I sliced up the melon, discarded the seeds and salted it and waited for about 20 minutes. There was a lot of liquid that came out of the flesh so I figure it worked… right?

I also assembled the following:
1 eggplant cut into bite-sized pieces
salt
10 whole okra, trimmed
1/2 lb green beans, ends trimmed
1 big toe sized piece of ginger, sliced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 medium onion, diced
3 medium tomatoes, diced
2 tsp tamari
1 tbsp miso paste
olive oil
salt to taste
I browned the garlic and onion in olive oil. Then I added the tomatoes and cook until soft and then the remaining ingredients.

I cooked the bitter melon separately, sauteing lightly in olive oil with tamari because Brent is allergic to quinine and I don’t want to kill him even though the literature regarding the quinine content of bitter melon is sketchy.

I didn’t cook it long after adding the rest of the ingredients just because I like my veggies crisp and green. I’m weird like that. I added it to mine and found that the sweetness of the beans and onion along with the mellowing tomato and eggplant really complemented the bitterness of the bitter melon. Next time I’ll use white miso paste instead of red and omit the ginger, but otherwise Brent seemed happy with the bitter melon-less version and I’ll be doing this again… just don’t tell Brent.


This is Christie, singing off!

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