Con-fusing definitions [Kidney Bean Pot Pie with Mashed Parsnip Topping]

First things first: I’m glad many of you like the idea of a Blogger Birthday Calendar! Just so I can work on it [further, that is, as I already got started] please let me know your birth date in the comments of yesterday’s post if you’d like to be included. What’s not to like about birthday wishes from all over the [blog] world?!

Let’s talked [confusing] defintions! In case you’re really busy and just want to see the recipe you’re excused to skip to the bottom of this post right away. If, like me, you enjoy some random musings in a recipe post join me in my ponderings.

bite

While taking the first bites of this dish I wondered how I personally defined strange but good. It’s [obviously] never an inedible dish but just something I wouldn’t serve to my parents [or any other family member for that matter]. Granted, they are interested in new foods and dishes but at the same time consider oat bran [not kidding!] strange already so … there you go. Who knows what my dad would think of Indian-German fusion dishes? I’d rather not try to avoid creating memories or running gags of the “do you remember the time* when you served us that weird food?!”

Bean Bake

*Michael Jackson reference totally unintended but not unwelcome

The next definition confusion: Know that when I’ using the term ‘fusion cuisine’ I actually have no idea what the exact definition is. Usually being Miss proof-read-and-check-everything-twice when it comes to work I’m letting loose of my need to control everything on the blog. That being said my definition of fusion cuisine is met by just combining elements of different styles of cooking. Mashed potatoes [Kartoffelpüree] are typically German to me, the spices in the kidney bean part are Indian-inspired – ergo: fusing two cuisines. Simple. Wrong or right? Feel free to let me know if you’re familiar with these terms.

Fusion

Vegan Kidney Bean Pot Pie with Mashed Parsnip Topping

  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • ½ cup kidney beans (100 g)
  • ½ cup passata/tomato sauce
  • ¾ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp coriander
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • coconut oil for frying
  • optional: 4-5 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 medium parsnip, peeled and chopped
  • 4-5 brussels sprouts, outer leaves removed and quartered
  • Scant ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • Garlic + onion powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the beans:

  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan and sauté the onion until translucent.
  2. sprinkle in the spices. Turn the heat down to medium and carefully toast the spices for about two minutes. Don’t walk away or you might burn them.
  3. Mix in the kidney beans and sauté for about two to three minutes.
  4. Add the passata and let simmer for five more minutes. Lightly mash some of the kidney beans to create a creamier texture.
  5. Layer the kidney bean sauce into a small casserole dish. Add the mushrooms on top if using.

For the mashed parsnips:

  1. Add parnsips and Brussels sprouts to a small pot and add just enough water to cover them. Cook until tender.
  2. Pour in almond milk and blend [I used an immersion blender] until not completely smooth but leaving parts of the Brussels sprouts whole.
  3. Season to taste with garlic and onion powder*, salt and pepper.
  4. Spoon the mashed parsnips on top of the kidney bean mixture. Smoothen out the top.
  5. Bake the covered casserole in the preheated oven [375°F] for 20-25 minutes.

*I find tastes vary hugely so my advice would be to start by adding just a sprinkle of garlic powder and 1/4 tsp of onion powder for a start. Then season to taste.

Seeing this as a spin on the classic American pot pie I noticed just now that I’m writing this post that I actually fused three cuisines. An American/German/Indian fusion dish? Should we call it a multicultural taste experience?! I’ll let Laura and Kierston – as well as you – be the judges :). I’m also linking up with Healthy Vegan Friday for the first time.

Happiness inducing today: Many wonderful happening that almost made me forget today (Friday) [or todmorrow – depening on what time you’re reading this] is my last day at the newspaper.

Have you ever fused two cuisines? Which ones and how?

Are you a fact-checker or relaxed about terms, definitions and spelling? I’m usually really finicky about it and my colleagues and family are simultaneously glad and scared when asking me to proof-read any texts they’ve written. Knowing I’ll be deeply honest and hard in my criticism.

Pastinake not pasta [Parsnip Lasagna]

Sometimes I wonder what the blog world has done to me – or more precisely my mind when it comes to recupe creating. But to let you in on my thoughts a little more I’ll begin at the beginning, okay? In an effort to use up as much produce as possible [sounds familiar 😉 ?] before leaving for my grandparents’ house for Christmas I had to come up with some meals to use them in. My initial idea was a vegetable lasagna simply chopping up every vegetable in sight and add it to the sauce part of the dish.

Pasta-naken

But when I started rummaging through my impressive vegetable stash I realized a sauce could only host so many veggies until becoming a stew. Add in that I didn’t have any lasagna sheets at hand and spaghetti [the only kind of pasta I did have] just wouldn’t have quenched my cravings. Spotting some of my favourite winter vegtables – parsnips – my mind quickly changed into strange but good mode and got spinning.

Dish_parsnip

Thinking about it maybe it’s not just Laura’s influence on my recipe creations but also the name of the vegetable itself. Pastinaken as they are called in German sounds similar enough to pasta[-naken], no? Yes, totally not what I thought initially but it came to mind when I took the first bites and laughed at myself for not trying it any earlier. Parsnips as a sub for the pasta layers: why not?*

* here’s to hoping I either don’t have any Italian readers or – preferably – none that will get mad at me for daring to present a pasta-less lasagna. Dear Italians: I like pasta [almost] as much as you, promise.

Parsnip_layer

You’ll notice this recipe – unlike my others – is not vegan. That’s because I still consider myself a vegan with benefits and couldn’t pass up the cottage cheese when it was on special offer recently. Yet another impulse purchase with no idea on how to use it in mind. Some things will never change. However, I’d seen recipe for cottage cheese lasagna before and got curious.

Cottage cheese

The verdict: Pretty good. The cheese added a unique and very interesting texture – and you know that’s a key criterion for me – as well as creaminess to the dish without being too heavy like other kinds of cheese or bechamel sauce – and way faster [hello, impatience]!  Give it a try if you haven’t yet. And parsnips as ‘lasagna sheets’? Awesome. Flavourful. And once more an exciting texture element. That’s all I have to say.

Parsnip Cottage Cheese Lasagna

Sauce:

  • 200 g carrots, chopped into half-moons
  • 150 g zucchini [a small to medium one]
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • about a 1/4 tsp each smoked paprika, oregano, thyme [season to taste]
  • 1/2 small red onion, chopped or onion powder
  • salt + pepper
  • 150 g passata [a scant 3/4 cup]
  • 1/4 cup chickpeas
  • 1 small parsnip [100 g], sliced thinly into rounds
  • 100 g mushrooms, sliced
  • 115 g (1/2 cup) cottage cheese, mixed with 1/4 tsp dried basil
  1.  For the sauce: If using fresh onion [recommended] sauté in a small sauce pan until translucent. Add the carrots and sauté covered for about 3-4 minutes. Add the zucchini and spices [onion powder if using it, too], stir-frying so the zucchini and carrots get browned a little.
  2. Pour in the passata and mix in the chickpeas.
  3. To assemble: Layer mushrooms into the bottom of a casserole dish. Add a layer of sauce. Top with about half of the cottage cheese.
  4. Layer parsnips on top. Cover with the remaining sauce and cottage cheese. It’s important to end with tomato sauce to avoid burning/drying out the cottage cheese.
  5. Bake covered for about 25 minutes at 350 °F.

Pastinaken-Lasagne

Trust me when I say this one’s not too strange to appeal to ‘normal’ eaters, either. Just maybe don’t call it lasagna but simply parsnip bake in that case. Or do however you like – because who’s listening to recommendations in anyway? I recommend, however, that you take a look at some more recipe inspiration over at Kierston’s and Laura’s for some more food fun on this fine Friday*.

* my fondness of alliterations is a well-known fact by now and I’m okay with that.

Happiness inducing today: A rainy weather run after two rest days over Christmas.

Are you a fan of parnips? What’s your favourite way to use them? Have you ever tried cottage cheese in lasagna?