Skater Lunch Box #36

Mashed Yukon gold potatoes, avhomemade vegan hamburger steak, and herbed peas and carrots (recipe below--skip to the bottom if you don't want to read about potatoes and vegan steak). This is kind of a homemade TV-dinner type meal; vegan comfort food at its best.

A while ago I read something that was a real revelation to me: Russet potatoes make lousy leftovers. It has something to do with how the starches break down. They're great baked potatoes that you eat up right then, or for mashed potatoes if you're not going to have any leftovers, but do not attempt to serve rewarmed Russet potatoes. Russet potatoes were pretty much the only ones my parents bought and cooked growing up, probably because they were the cheapest and most people probably think a potato is just a potato. But potatoes are not just potatoes, and you need something a bit waxier if you're going for good leftovers. Russet potatoes are kind of terrible left over. Hence, the Yukon gold (I was branching out from red). And I'll be darned if it didn't make a world of difference!

Live, learn, eat the right potatoes.

The hamburger steaks were a different kind of revelation. It was kind of a lot of ingredients, and so on that basis they were kind of time consuming to prepare, but otherwise they were pretty simple (one doesn't need major technical skills for this) and they were so good--so meaty and flavorful! I'm glad I didn't halve the recipe. They were every bit as good as the Beyond Burger, though they taste a bit more like Salisbury steak without gravy than a plain meat patty. They still also make great burgers on a bun, and the leftovers, as is the case of most of my adventures in vegan cookery, were better than the first go-around.

You've read this far looking for a recipe for peas and carrots. Well, you're going to get one, I promise.

Gorgeous little things when they catch the morning sunbeams, no? I loathed peas growing up but I have figured out that this is mostly because I usually encountered them canned. Peas and I get along great now. Whatever you do, don't use canned peas here. A friend wrote to me about canned peas being "gray balls of sadness" and I agree. Stick with frozen.

I scaled down this recipe when I veganized it, and still ended up with enough for a tiny army. That's okay, though, because they're pretty awesome.

Herbed Peas and Carrots
Serves 4-6

1 tablespoon vegan butter (such as Earth Balance)
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
4 small to medium carrots, peeled and finely diced
1 shallot, finely diced
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups frozen baby peas
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley (or use 2 frozen parsley cubes, or 1 tablespoon dried)

Melt butter with oil in a skillet over medium heat. When hot, add carrots and shallot. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring every so often, for about 10 minutes.

Add water and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring every so often, until the water evaporates, about 5-6 minutes. By now your carrots should be nice and tender.

Add peas and cook, stirring, until heated through.

Remove from heat. Stir in parsley, taste, and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.

This month's VeganMoFo MiniMoFo (MoFo here is "Month of Food") theme is "Go green," so I'll be linking this recipe there.


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