So I am sure we had dinner last night. I mean we must have eaten something. However, I can't recall ever sitting down or organising anything. It was a Saturday night, the wife had worked all day. I was thrashed after what was supposed to be a morning turned into a day and the daughter found a lost dog and we had to make posters and put them up around town only to find that when the dog was put down outside it trotted off presumably to its rightful owner and then we had to go find all the posters we had made and take them down. That with some wood chopping, a bunch of gardening, trampoline time, making lunch, and assorted other tasks had me plum worn out. So yeah there was something eaten last night. I am just not sure what it was. I think I had a beer and some food.
This evening however I was reminded how nice it is to have a wife. She complemented all the dishes I made and seemed truly pleased that I had done most of the dishes before dinner started. When I first imagined this evenings meal I was thinking something vegetarian. Like a nice vegetarian shepherds pie. I am now starting to think that the key to a nice vegetarian dish is the mushrooms. I started by boiling some beans I had picked from the garden. As these boiled I peeled the potatoes and set them to boiling. Beans done, I drained off the water into a bowl and put the cooked beans in the bottom of a casserole dish. Next I diced 6 large white mushrooms with the help of the children. Note. Kids can dish mushrooms with a regular table knife and they feel like they are really helping. I minced two large firm home grown cloves of garlic and then cubed the block of tofu that I had been squeezing the water out of . The mushrooms were fried with the garlic and some fresh ginger that had been ground up. After a little frying I put the lid on to let it steam. I then added the tofu, some soy sauce and some molasses. After this was fried a bit I stirred it and put the lid back on. A minute or two later this was poured over the beans. In a small pot I took a half cup of the bean water and threw in some chopped up tomato, more soy sauce, molasses, vinegar and curry powder, this came to a boil and then was set to simmer. At this point the potatoes were boiled so I drained them, added some milk, margarine, salt and pepper and set to mashing. Mean while I got started on the buns. This being a nice vegetarian meal I decided to wrap them in bacon. I used the pizza dough recipe but cut out the oil. The dough was made before everything else and it had by this point risen sufficiently that I could start working it. I set the oven the 400 and started pulling the dough. The daughter came over and she pulled chunks of dough. Rolled them into little sausage type shapes and I wrapped them in half a strip of bacon and set them on a rack in the pan. These were cooked for 15 minutes, then broiled at 400 on the bottom for 5 on one side, turned over and grilled on the other side on the top shelf for another five. Of course the second 5 was way to long, thus the slightly blackened bits. While this baked I set to finishing the pie. I cut up some broccoli and added some frozen peas. The tomato-y sauce was poured over the veggies and tofu and then the mashed potatoes were doled out and smoothed around. When the buns were done it went into the oven for 20 minutes. Half broil, half bake at 500. I was really winding down by this point so the wife, post run, stepped in and made a wicked grean salad. I know it is tough to see in the picture but the tomato is almost
as sweet as a peach. It is from an heirloom variety seed that I received from my friend. He calls it Barry's Beefstake. It was perfect. I rarely let my tomatoes really ripen as we are hungry for them every day. But this baby I left on the vine and it was well worth the wait. The sweetness is hard to describe but if I had to make a comparison it was like a just ripe peach. Not that super sweet overripe peach but that just ripe taste. Anyways with her patented onion, garlic and vinegar dressing the salad was heavenly. Being out of beer and feeling the need I
decided to crack a bottle of wine. Having feasted on the buns as they were the first thing ready I only had one helping of dinner but make no mistake it was great. Once again I have to come back to the mushrooms. Not a true vegetable as they are a fungus, they really do bring a solid middle flavour to any dish. Especially if they have been lightly sauteed first. The funny thing was I didn't use any onions in the shepherd's pie. I can't remember the last time I cooked a pot or casserole type meal without onions. In any case I know what I am taking for lunch tomorrow. Mmmmmmmm....