Monday, April 18, 2011

Veggie Pot Pie(s)

Yesterday I faced a moral dilemma. Allow me to provide some background prior to presenting my recent quandary. Susan, who is a long time friend, cycling buddy, confidante, fashion consultant, concert date, advice giver and overall mood lifter is going on her 4th year (or could it be 5th year? where does the time go?) of participating in the Pan Mass Challenge. Those of you in the area will know this is a cycling event fundraiser benefiting Dana Farber cancer research. This event is no easy feat. It requires riding 190 miles over 2 days. But, even more difficult, it requires each rider to raise at least $4,000. You can only acquire so much money from friends and family, so fundraisers need to get creative. Susan and her team, Forza G work hard throughout a large part of the year to acquire donations and bring awareness to the cause. Each spring they kick-off the season at Harpoon brewery with a party and raffle. One of Susan's teammates, Jamie, is a master brewer at Harpoon. He also has taken part in competition barbequeing (Yes, he is a good friend to have, but not only for these reasons. He also happens to be an outstanding person.) Then, their major fundraising effort kicks in - pulled pork sandwich selling. Large amounts of pork are prepared and frozen, then brought to mountain bike events throughout the season to be sold for a donation as sandwiches to hungry riders.
So, here's where my dilemma comes into play. The past two days were the big pulled pork production weekend. Many team members and friends showed up to help out. I went by on Sunday to see what I could do to contribute. I was quite impressed with the operation. They've nailed the process down over the last few years and it runs very smoothly. However, there are not, as it turns out, any "vegetarian friendly" jobs to do. So, I had to make a decision: play with meat, or do nothing. I rolled up my sleeves, pulled on some rubber gloves, dug into a bin of pork butts and began to separate the mounds into smaller pieces. I'm sure I'd offend many fellow veggies with this gesture, but the way I look at it, the meat is going to get "pulled" either way and I am helping out a good friend for a good cause. Then, when the work was done, we kicked back, ate (I had a veggie burger, for the record), chatted and played games.
To repent for my vegetarian sins, I came home and made vegetable pot pie. I haven't made pot pie in quite some time, and I had the idea to make individual pies. I bought 4 small ceramic pie plates, and while I still like the idea of doing this, I went wrong was with the dough. I bought some filo dough, folded a couple of sheets for each pie in half, laid them in the pan, and folded the tops over the mixture. I also brushed oil on so they would brown. The tops were very awkward and also overcooked. I'm not sure if I could've used the filo dough differently to yield better results, or if I should just try a different crust next time. I did like the inside mixture though, so would use that again. This made exactly enough for my four pies.

Veggie Pot Pie Mixture
2 tblspns oil
1 small onion, diced
8 0z mushrooms, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 large carrots, diced
2 potatoes, peeled and diced (I left these out and added peas since I was also having mashed potatoes)
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cups cauliflower, florets
1 cup fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups vegetable broth (the recipe called for 3, but that seemed like too much to me)
1 tspn salt
1 tspn black pepper
2 tblspns arrowroot
2 tblspns soy sauce
crust of your choice

1. Pre-heat oven to 425F
2. Heat oil in a large skillet or saucepan. Add onions, mushrooms and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add carrots, potatoes and celery. Cook another few minutes. Add cauliflower, green beans and broth. Stir. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook til veggies are barely tender. Season with salt and pepper.
3. In small bowl, mix arrowroot, 1/4 cup of water and soy sauce. Stir until arrowroot is dissolved. Add to the veggie mixture.
4. Pour into dough lined pan(s). Cover with dough and bake for 30 minutes.