The things I want to tell you | Vegan Poutine
I want to tell you about how I haven’t had any alcohol in 7 days and already the fog is clearing from my head.
I want to talk to you about change, and the difficulties of it that no one really talks about. Like, how choosing change for ourselves can impact those closest to us.
I want to ask you how you are doing? Like, really doing? Are you in the glow of a new year’s resolution? Or are you over it? Were the holiday’s hard for you? Was today kind to you?
I want to tell you about how I ordered an entire box of meat a month ago that arrived at my door in frozen vacuum-sealed blocks, and how, after lining them up on my counter, I didn’t want any of it. How the sight of all that frozen meat made me sad in my heart and how I am now finding ways to eat a more plants.
And I want to tell you that the internet is an amazing place for finding plant-based recipes. Did you know there are even recipes for vegan fried chicken?? These things did not exist when I was a vegetarian 5 years ago.
And also, I will eat the meat I purchased because I am not wasteful.
I want to mention that I did a tarot reading for my year ahead and the cards had a lot to say about the disappointment and conflict that was in store for me and how I’m very WTF about it all.
I want to know why more people don’t take tech breaks.
I want to talk about privilege. But I’m still learning.
I want to share stories about cooking for one and what such good self-care this is and that leftovers really are pretty awesome if you don’t treat them like leftovers.
I want to tell you about a cat that was eating an earthworm at the park and how 3 women were “en”grossed by it.
I want to have a conversation about all these things with you, but the words just seem to be stuck and I’d probably make better use of my time flossing my teeth or rescuing the stinkbug that’s trapped in my apartment.
So, instead, here’s a recipe for a vegan (and gluten-free) poutine, for all of you out there who are trying to get more plants in your diet, too.
New Year’s Day was a grey day in Lexington, KY and the perfect kind of day to stay in pjs while puttering around the kitchen for a couple hours. This is not one of those meals that you’ll want to tackle when you are short on time. Save this for a spacious Saturday night while hanging with friends or a lazy Sunday afternoon when the sun has gone behind the clouds. Though you could make the gravy and the vegan mozzarella in advance, which would save you considerable time when you were ready to assemble the meal. Further time can be saved by cooking a bag of frozen fries rather than making your own, but where’s the fun in that?
I used this simple + quick recipe from It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken. I recommend watching the short video which will show you the different stages of consistency the mozzarella will take as it cooks. I made this first and then set in the fridge while I worked on the gravy.
This recipe is an adaptation from Minimalist Baker’s Easy Vegan Gravy.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups button mushrooms, cleaned and diced
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme, stems removed (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
pinch of dried parsley
3 teaspoons coconut aminos
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 - 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth (I use this one)
1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I used Nutpod’s almond creamer, which was very thick)
salt + pepper to taste
Heat oil over medium heat and saute onion, garlic, and mushrooms till softened and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add thyme, rosemary, parsley, coconut aminos, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and cook another minute or two, stirring often. Sprinkle cornstarch over mixture and stir until fully mixed in.
Lower heat to medium and add 1 cup of broth and non-dairy milk, stirring continuously. Once gravy has thickened, pour into blender and blend until smooth. Return to pan.
If your gravy to too thick for your preference, add the remaining 1/2 cup of broth. Taste for seasonings and add salt + pepper as needed. Turn heat to low while you prepare fries.
Oven Roasted French Fries
(This is for one person. Add an extra potato per person up to 4.)
1 large russet potato
1 tablespoon oil (I used grapeseed, but olive oil would be fine, too)
1 teaspoon salt
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Peel potato or scrub clean if leaving peel on (personal preference, I left the skin on). Slice into thin sticks, about the width of a chopstick. Toss in a bowl with oil and salt until well coated. Scatter onto baking sheet, spreading them out into one layer. If using more than one potato, you may need two baking sheets.
Bake for 13 minutes, toss, and return to the oven to bake another 10-15 minutes, until golden brown and crisp.
Remove from oven and switch to broil mode, moving rack to highest position in the oven.
Keep fries on the baking sheet but arrange them so they are now closer together and without gaps. Scoop teaspoon sized morsels of the vegan cheese and scatter over fries.
Place fries under broiler, keeping a close eye. Things will happen fast in about 3-5 minutes. Take care not to burn the fries. The cheese will get a little melty and lightly browned around the edges.
Remove from oven and carefully slide fries onto a place. Smother in gravy. Enjoy!
(I personally think a little white vinegar over my poutine is ah-mazing, but this may be a Canadian/weirdo thing (?). Other yummy topping additions if you have them on hand: diced scallions, fresh parsley, or a sprinkle of steak seasoning.)