Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A promise is a promise (vegetable pot pie)

So how's everyone doing?

Well, we are sittin pretty over here. Splitting our time between Block Island and Warwick. Chop works through the week as we get acclamated with new parenthood, and then there is lots of visiting on the weekends. Introducing Wes to people is lots of fun (once they wash their hands of course), especially because he is so damn cute!

With the flu season and swine flu mania upon us, washing hands has become a very important health issue in our household. Of course the week we spent with Wesley in the hospital with respitory issues, certainly helped to fuel our fire. From what I understand hand washing is the number 1 thing we should all be doing to stay well this winter, so let that be my health counseling tip for today, keep washing people!

Another important health tip...eat your vegetables. Fresh is best. Raw is better. Frozen is cool. Canned is ok. Cooked is great. Organic when you can. Local when it's available. Just get them in, and feel your immune system soar or at least feel better than if you left them off your plate. Greens are the way to go, dark leafy greens. They oxygenate the blood, improve circulation, strengthen the immune system, promote healthy intestinal flora, improve kidney, gall bladder, and liver function, and help to clear congestion and mucus. Can you beat that? Try eating one full serving of greens a day for a week, and witness how you will start to crave them. Arugula is good cooked or as a salad, so is spinach and escarole. Chard, collards, and kale all liked to be cooked. Steamed, roasted or sauteed, finish them off with a little drizzle of olive or flax oil (Vitamins A and D need fats to be assimilated and absorbed).

Ok, so that being said, I believe I promised a pie crust or a vegetable pot pie. This counts as veggies, but of course it satisfies the comfort food craving as well.

As with most of my recipes here, I usually don't use measurements (I'm making them up here as estimates for you), if you find it could use a little more of this or that feel free, be flexible.

Vegetable Pot Pie

1 onion
4 cloves garlic
2-3 medium carrots*
4 medium potatoes
1 can corn*
1 can peas*
1 small head broccoli*
1 bunch chard
5-7 mushrooms
1 pie crust (store bought or homemade**)
1 tbl thyme
1 tsp sage (cut up small)
1 tsp rosemary (cut up small)
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup milk (your choice)
1/3 cup flour

*You can always use a bag of frozen mixed veggies to simplify the process, less slicing and dicing. I would suggest this, especially because these vegetables will be cooked so much.

** Pie crust recipe at bottom of page

Chop and dice all the veggies to prepare for the pan.

In a large fry pan or pot (needs to be pretty deep, lots of stuff)..start by sauteing the onions and garlic till translucent and then add the potatoes. Purple potatoes make this look really pretty.

Once the potatoes start to soften ever so slightly, add the carrots. These take the longest to cook, so they just need a little head start.

As the carrots and potatoes cook, add the herbs (chopped and diced nice and small).

Then add the broccoli and frozen vegetables. Lastly add the mushrooms and chard.

The chard takes over the pan until it starts to cook down. Mix all the veggies and after the chard cooks down, sprinkle the flour over all the vegetables coating them evenly.

Then add the vegetable stock and stir, allowing it to simmer for about another 5 minutes.

The flour and stock will start to thicken and then add the milk, continuing to stir till it thickens again.

Add salt and pepper to taste, and see how you're liking things so far.

Remember that flavors will come out as the pot pie cooks in the oven, before you add too many seasonings. Once the filling is done (you don't want the vegetables cooked too too much, because they will have time in the oven as well), put it in whatever casserole dish you choose. I used my large cast iron skillet. Lay the crust over the top and make 3 nice little slits in the top to allow for steam and to make it look pretty.

Bake at 375* for 45-60 minutes depending on your oven.

This vegetable pot pie is easy once you've made it for the first time. You can get creative with the vegetables you use and seasonings since, well, like I've said before you really can't beat anything with a crust (recipe at bottom of page).

And while you are contemplating making your family a pot pie in this extremely warm November weather (maybe you should wait till you have leftover turkey to throw into it, and perhaps there will be a chill in the air by then)....I will let you contemplate the beauty of my son, Wesley Able Butterfield. We chose Able as his middle name, it means "breath" or "exhalation of breath" which has significance because of his entry to the world.

Pie Crust- some store bought crusts are just as good- look for crusts made with butter and with little additives (health food stores or wholefoods)

This recipe makes 1 crust. If you are making a pie with a bottom and top crust, double this recipe and form two discs of dough instead of one.
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar (increase to 1 1/2 teaspoons if for a sweet recipe)
  • 2 to 4 Tbsp ice water, very cold

1 Start by cutting the sticks of butter into 1/2-inch cubes and placing in the freezer for at least 15 minutes (preferably longer) so that they become thoroughly chilled

2 In a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar, pulse to mix. Add butter and pulse 6 to 8 times, until mixture resembles coarse meal, with pea size pieces of butter. Add water 1 Tablespoon at a time, pulsing until mixture just begins to clump together. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it's ready, if not, add a little more water and pulse again.

3 Remove dough from machine and place on a clean surface. Carefully shape into a discs. Do not over-knead the dough! You should still be able to see little bits of butter in the dough. These bits of butter are what will allow the result crust to be flaky. Sprinkle the disc with a little flour on all sides. Wrap the disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

4 Remove the crust disk from the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes. Sprinkle some flour on top of the disk. Roll out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to a 12 inch circle; about 1/8 of an inch thick. As you roll out the dough, use a metal spatula to check if the dough is sticking to the surface below. Add a few sprinkles of flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking. Gently fold in half. Place on to a 9-inch pie plate, lining up the fold with the center of the pan. Gently unfold and press down to line the pie dish with the dough.