Adventures in Vegan(ish) Cooking

So as I mentioned before, Grant and I are starting to cut meat and cheese out of our diets because those things are EXPENSIVE.  So after our trip to the Farmer’s market we delved into this wonderful cookbook:

we decided to make Shepherd’s pie – this seemed like a good place to start because I HATE ground beef (obvi not vegan) but I LOVE tempeh, which substitutes for the beef in this recipe.  I’m sure most of you know about this wonderful food, but if you don’t, this is what it looks like:

Ha Ha! Of course this doesn’t help you out, it is the PACKAGE. Oh silliness. HA HA

THIS is what tempeh looks like:

pretty much like tofu, except originating in Indonesia, and is *whole* fermented soybeans. Yum! (and it smells like popcorn) yay!  The whole thing turned out pretty well (ok, awesomely) and looked like this:

Anyway, this dish was DELICIOUS DELICIOUS DELICIOUS! I highly recommend it (and will include the recipe at the end of this post). It made Grant do a happy dance:


Speaking of happy dances, Grant had an amazing mention in an interview with the director of Communication Studies at the University of Georgia, Barbara Biesecker.  You can read the whole thing here,  But the highlight is definitely this:

 I’ve also read a powerful piece by Elizabeth Gross on the virtual. Then there’s a lovely piece by a young person that I wanted to make sure you know about that I just recently came across by Grant David Bollmer called “Virtualities in Systems of Memory: Toward an Ontology of Collective Memory, Ritual, and the Technological.” It’s a great, great essay. Bollmer understands that we don’t need to simply theorize rhetoric and the digital or theorize rhetoric and the new technologies or rhetoric of the new technologies, but to let the new technologies help us to move forward in the way we theorize rhetoric because sometimes these technologies can make visible to us structures that otherwise we can’t see.

So, so exciting for Grant!

And here is an interesting local new story (oh New Zealand):   the only good possum is a dead possum, in my book. 

And now, the recipe!

Shepherdess Pie (Adapted from the Veganomicon)


– 2 (8 ounce) packages tempeh

– 1/2 cup soy sauce

– 2 cups water

– 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon water

– 1 large onion, cut into 1/2 inch dice (we had a giant leek to get rid of, so I used one small onion and some leek)

– 3 cloves garlic, minced

– 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced (about 3 cups)

– 1 teaspoon dried thyme

– 1 teaspoon ground coriander

– lots of freshly ground pepper

– 1 cup frozen peas

– 1 cup fresh or frozen corn (I really don’t like frozen corn, so I used 1 carrot, chopped and softened in boiling water for a bit)

– 2 cups vegetable broth (I always keep the kitchen stocked with vegetable, chicken, and stock cubes – and since Grant and I aren’t vegan I used beef stock, which really made it taste more like shepherd’s pie) (Also, because I am a salt addict, I tend to use one more cube than called for)

– 1/2 cup all purpose flour

– 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley, plus a little extra for garnish


– 3 pounds yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks (we just used the best looking potatoes available from the market)

– 1/3 cup plain soy milk, unsweetened (once again, if you aren’t vegan you can always use plain old cow’s milk here)

– 1/4 grapeseed oil (or butter, see above)

– 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste (I used SO much more than that!) 

– plenty of freshly ground black pepper

In a large skillet, crumble the tempeh into small, bite-size pieces.  Add the water, soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon of oil.  Cover and let boil for about 10 minutes.  Start boiling the potatoes in the meantime (directions below).

Remove the lid from tempeh and continue to boil until most of the water has evaporated (make sure you mix this enough to get all the tempeh evenly covered with the sauce – and if you have sweet soy sauce, add some, it is delicious!), about 5 more minutes.  Drain the tempeh in a colander and return the pan to the stove top over medium-high heat (you don’t need to wash it)

Saute the onions in the remaining olive oil for 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute for 1 more minute.  Stir in the tempeh, along with the sliced mushrooms and the spices.  Cook for about 10 more minutes over medium heat until the mushrooms are juicy and the tempeh is slightly brown (although I thought this direction was silly, as it is already brown from the soy sauce!) While this cooks, your potatoes should be ready for mashing and you can go ahead and preheat the oven to 375 F.

Add the corn (carrots) and peas, and cook until heated through.  You may need to add a little extra oil here, if you have a spray bottle of it, you should use it.

In a separate bowl, mix the stock and flour until pretty much dissolved (a few lumps is ok).  Add to the tempeh, along with the parsley, and stir.  Let thicken for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  It will thicken more as it bakes.


Place the potatoes in a soup pot and cover with water (the water should be about 1 inch above the potatoes).  Cover and bring to a boil.  Let boil for 20 minutes, or until they cut easily with a fork.  Drain and return to the pot.  Use a potato masher to mash them up a bit, then add milk, oil, salt, and pepper. (At this point I realized I don’t own a potato masher, so a hand blender worked just fine) (also, adding a bit of nutmeg and/or sour cream to your mashed potatoes never hurts). Mash very well, until creamy. Cover to keep warm until ready to use.


Place the tempeh filling in a 9 x 13 casserole dish.  Spoon the potatoes over the filling in an even layer.  Place in the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes; the potatoes should be slightly brown on top.  If they are not, place under a broiler for 2 to 3 minutes.  Remove from the oven, garnish with chopped parsley, use a spatula to cut (about 8) squares and serve.


~ by gakather on August 3, 2012.

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