Friday, July 14, 2006

Dinner Success

Well, three of the four of us liked dinner last night, so I am going to call it a success. It was a bean/grain casserole based on the Adventist loaf. I got the idea from Jennifer's Vegan Lunch Box blog, but I un-veganized it by using an egg as binder, as I have a source of pastured, organic eggs from local happy chickens. If you want to make a loaf I suggest you use her universal loaf recipe maker.

I ground 1/2 cup raw cashews in the little food processor, then put them in a big bowl. After that I used the processor to finely mince 1 carrot and 1 celery rib. You could grate the carrot and leave the celery whole, but my plan was to make the texture of the veggies less of an issue with my boys. I sauted the carrot and celery in 2T. olive oil along with a heaping teaspoon minced garlic, unless the veggies were fragrant and soft.

Into the big bowl I added 1 cup cooked quinoa and 2 cups cooked, drained (but not rinsed, as I had made these from scratch....I would rinse if they were canned) pinto beans (Jennifer doesn't even have pinto beans as an option, so she must not live in the west/southwest), 1 teaspoon salt, and the cooked veggies. I started mixing and mashing that together, and then added 1 beaten egg and mixed some more. I wanted to add minced parsley, but didn't want to turn off the boys. I should be able to do that once they've successfully eaten it a few times. Also, I was out of onion or I would have added half an onion to the minced veggies before I cooked them.

I put the mixture into a glass 8X8 pyrex dish that had been sprayed with oil, and baked it for 40 minutes at 350 degrees. You can use a loaf pan, but this seemed easier.

The recipe suggested a vegetarian gravy, but I had been wanting to try the Native Chi's recipe from The Native Foods Restaurant Cookbook. I can't post the recipe because of copyright, but I'll tell you that it is basically a blend of water, cashews, lemon juice, onion powder, garlic powders, salt, and tahini, whirled together in a VitaMix. To make a version you can slice for sandwiches you use agar flakes, but I didn't have any. I will tell you that the recipe will thicken upon standing and cooling (the VitaMix will heat it up a bit), so don't go messing with it (like I did) or eventually it may be too thick to pour as a sauce (and now having set in the refrigerator overnight is is of spreading consistency). Anyway, it was absolutely delicious!

T-Guy, Papa, and I all gave the meal the thumbs up! J-Baby rejected it, as he rejects all mixed foods. However, upon being pressed to finish half of what I gave him he did eat it, whereas Tuesday he absolutely refused kale with cashew cream, so he must not of thought it was that bad. It reminded us of a tamale pie recipe I used to make (in fact, Papa topped his with salsa and the Chi's), and if you'd told me there was cornmeal in it I would have believed you.

So there you go - a gluten-free, soy free, casein free loaf/casserole and sauce.


  1. You go girl!!! I am on the hunt for a good slicing, melting cheese for pizza, grilled cheese and quesadillas. Do you think the Chi's would work?

  2. Okay, I'm not going to pretend that it tastes super cheesy. If you use the agar and refrigerate it in a loaf pan you can slice it for sandwiches. If you freeze it you can grate it and use it for pizza and quesadillas. It will get melty very fast, so you add it at the end.

    Also, the color is decidely off-white, which is fine if you are used to Monterety Jack or white cheddar. If the kids are used to yellow cheddar I would add tumeric, which has plenty of yellow color but not a lot of flavor. You could also use Mexican saffron (not the real thing) for color, infusing it in the water before making the sauce (be sure to strain it out).

    Made thick, without the agar, it would be great with rice pasta as a mock mac-n-cheese.