Cooking Club Chronicles Update (With a Bonus Double Duty Recipe Twist): Part One

I’ve had an unfortunate week (some time later I may post about it) so I have not put anything out for a while. I’ll remedy that now, beginning with a cooking club update.

Cooking with flax was the Cooking Club mission last weekend and we accomplished it despite some glitches. Due to inconvenient things (like work, and rainy weather) we had a hard time meshing schedules and we did not get our run in before the meeting. But we did get some serious cooking done and we have the recipes to prove it. See, here is Sarah attempting an extremely serious look, as Marg tries to “help” by adding random spices. (Just kidding, she really was helping).

Today I will cover Marg’s recipe for a lentil flaxseed loaf, and also throw in a quick vegan gravy recipe. In part two I will share my flax crackers and walnut-flax hummus, and tell you about the double-duty twist. And in the final part, I’ll share Sarah’s Perfect Veggie Burger recipe.

In the cooking club, we all seem to acquire our new recipes the same way. When we see a recipe we think we’d like, we try at least once to make it just how it is written. That way we get a good “baseline” idea of the texture and flavours in it. Then we start modifying it based on our individual tastes. I do try to give credit whenever possible to the original source of the recipe, even if it is quite changed by the time I offer it to you. I think it is important to acknowledge the talent out there, and it gives you more good recipe sources to explore, too. Win-win!

Marg contributed a lentil flaxseed loaf that she modified from Angela Liddon’s recipe. She liked the texture of the original, but wanted a version with fewer sweet elements in it, so instead of using fruit and glaze, she added red peppers and topped it with some tomato ketchup. I really enjoyed it this way (as you will see in the Double Duty post tomorrow).

Marg’s Lentil Loaf

Ingredients:

• 1 cup cooked lentils, mashed a bit (less mashing gives more “hamburger” texture, but it is also more crumbly. Find a balance you like)
• 1 cup toasted chopped walnuts
• 3 “flax eggs” (3 tbsp ground flax + 1/2 cup warm water)
• 3-4 minced garlic cloves
• 1 1/2 cups chopped celery
• 1 cup chopped onion
• 1 cup grated carrot
• 1 cup chopped red pepper
• 1/2 cup oat flour (this is easy and cheaper to make yourself- just blend up oatmeal)
• 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
• 1-2 tsp thyme
• salt & pepper, to taste
• red pepper flakes, to taste
• vegan ketchup (and worcestershire sauce if desired) to top.

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Make flax eggs (Whisk ground flax with water in a small bowl and set aside).

3. Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sautee the garlic, onion, diced celery, shredded carrot and peppers until softened. Add salt and stir. Remove from heat.

4. In a large mixing bowl, mix all ingredients together. Adjust seasonings to taste.

5. Grease a loaf pan and line with parchment paper (making a sling out of the paper provides for easy removal of the loaf). Press mixture firmly into pan. Top with the ketchup (Mixed with worcestershire if desired).

6. Bake at 350F for 40-50 minutes, uncovered, until browned. Loaf will firm up as it cools.

I used to love meatloaf with lots of gravy and mashed potatoes in my carnivorous days, so it only made sense to mash up a few potatoes for dinner on cooking club night. And I also whipped up the easiest and fastest gravy you can imagine:

Super Easy Vegan Gravy

Ingredients:

• 2 tbsp vegan margarine
• 1/4 cup flour
• 3 cups vegetable broth
• 1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
• 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
• 1 tsp black pepper
• pinch of sugar or a few drops of agave nectar
• 1-2 tbsp miso paste (optional)
• few drops of vegan worcestershire sauce (optional)

Directions:

1. Make a roux as follows: Melt the margarine in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the flour over the melted margarine, and stir well. Keep the pan on the heat and cook the mixture for a minute or two.

2. Slowly add in the liquids, stirring to keep lumps from forming. After liquids have all been added and mixture is smooth, add the flavourings, tasting as you go. Last of all, add the sugar and stir.

3. Bring the gravy up to a boil and keep stirring. The gravy will thicken within a minute or two and it will be rich and full of flavour.

I did not make my own vegetable broth, but instead of store bought (oversalted and expensive) vegetable broth, I used vegetable broth paste mixed with the potato water. Doing it this way adds a bit of starch for thickening, and also saves some of the nutrients that can boil out of the potatoes.

With the addition of a few green beans lightly steamed, it made for a real comfort food dinner on a rainy blustery night!

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