right-o then. mind the gap.

I’m a bit late to the Harry Potter party.

Even though every other middle-schooler around me kept up with the series, I read through The Goblet of Fire and suddenly stopped caring. It’s not a coincidence that the last HP book I read was published when I was 13 and starting to think boys were pretty cute (this was before Rupert Grint got, like, mega-sexy).

Save the chastising. I realize I should have been obsessed like every other pubescent individual in the western world. But in reality, I only recently bought downloaded the Harry Potter books. I started from The Sorceror’s Stone, and I hope to be finished with the seventh book by the end of the summer. I’ve heard some nasty rumors that Snape kills Dumbledore. I hope that’s “balderdash” — which is, coincidentally, the Gryffindor dormitory password in the book I’m reading now. Ten points to the individual who can name which book that is.

"baby" carrot :)

This 4000+ page goal means a lot of reading. And a constant British voice in my head, saying things like, “Harry would have said finding a partner for a dance would be a cinch compared to taking on a Hungarian Horntail. But now that he had done the latter, and was facing the prospect of asking a girl to the ball, he thought he’d rather have another round with the dragon.

Speaking of British accents, I might as well spend my summer getting used to them, because in a year from now I’ll be in England. That’s right–I just sent in my first payment towards two months studying abroad in London, and I’m probably going to spend at least another week on top of that traipsing around Europe with my camera. I’ve started compiling a London bucket-list, so please send suggestions my way.

In honor of cute accents, pubs, and all things British, yesterday I prepared a vegetarian version of an English dish: shepherd’s pie. This is a delicious, hearty vegetarian recipe–perfect for serving to omnivores as an entree. And since inexpensive veggies and beans are the main players, you can put all your extra Sickles and Knuts towards pumpkin pasties and cauldron cakes for dessert.

Gardener’s Pie. Serves 5-6.

1 1/2 lbs. potatoes, peeled and diced
1/4 c. milk (or almond milk)
1-2 tbsp. butter
1 egg yolk
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 c. cheddar cheese

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt & pepper to taste
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 c. veggie broth
1 1/2 tsp. rosemary, chopped
1 tsp. thyme, chopped
2 tsp. stone-ground mustard
1 tsp. apple-cider vinegar
1 1/2 c. red kidney beans (or 1 can)
1/2 c. corn (fresh or frozen)
1/2 c. peas (fresh or frozen
1/2 c. green beans (fresh or frozen)

MAKE THE MASHED POTATOES: Boil the potatoes for about 15 minutes, until they come apart easily when stabbed with a fork. Drain, then add the milk, butter, salt, and pepper. Stir in egg yolk.

MAKE THE FILLING: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat the oil in a cast-iron skillet on medium-high heat. Saute the carrots, onion, and bell pepper. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper when they start to get soft. Stir for about a minute, then add the flour. Cook for another minute, then add the kidney beans, tomato paste, broth, rosemary, thyme, mustard, and vinegar. Let simmer until slightly thick, about 10 minutes. Stir in the corn, peas, and green beans. Top with mashed potatoes (if you’re not using a cast-iron skillet, place the veggie mixture in a baking dish before topping with mashed potatoes). Create a “seal” with the potatoes over the veggie mixture. Sprinkle with cheese, and bake for 25 minutes.


About Natalie (The First Kitchen)

I like to eat lots of plants, bake cookies, and explore Austin.
This entry was posted in beans, casserole, entree, vegan, vegetable, vegetarian and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to right-o then. mind the gap.

  1. I used to be obsessed with HP! I read all of the books but in decreasing numbers… the first one perhaps 6 times, the second 5 times, the third… etc. I actually didnt watch the second to last movie until last week and I still need to see the finale! I think youll love the books, they are a nice vacation.

    The shepherds pie looks amazing. That is something that would never occur to me to cook, but your gorgeous, cheese-filled photos make me want to make it!

    • Thanks! It was definitely a good veg-heavy comfort food.

      It’s weird because I was never obsessed with HP as a kid, but now I’m starting to get REALLY into it. I may or may not have a photo of Rupert Grint as my phone wallpaper currrently…

  2. Su says:

    Love the books, don’t love the movies. I’m catching a lot of flak from my movie-oriented friends. ;)

    London must-sees… hmmm… I didn’t spent enough time there to really give you anything beyond the touristy stuff, although I am totally in love with St. Paul’s cathedral. I’ll peruse my book o’ London and get back to you. Oh, the British Museum! Absolutely brilliant!

  3. Su says:

    Oh, hey, now I’m going to look like a creepy stalker with my two comments in a row. I just started buying my spices in bulk from HEB and they are FAB. So much cheaper and a lot less packaging to cope with! Yay! Anyway, have you ever used smoked sea salt? The woman next to me was getting some, it smelled great (although very strong), and I wondered what it might be good for.

    • Can’t wait to hear your London suggestions! And actually, YES, I love getting bulk spices from HEB! It’s funny that you asked, because yesterday I went to World Market and bought ~10 spice jars for some of my bulk spices. Also coincidentally, I tried the “cinnamon challenge” as I was putting cinnamon into one of the jars (if you don’t know what it is, YouTube it). Would never suggest anyone doing it ever. It was awful.

      I got a little package of smoked sea salt from the bulk section of Central Market once. I’ve only used it once — on salted fudge brownies (http://thefirstkitchen.com/2011/02/16/salted-fudgey-brownies/) — and it was to die for. Next time I find a good use for it, I’ll be sure to let you know :)

  4. Carlyn says:

    Those carrots are adorable :D
    I don’t think I’ve ever had a shepherd’s pie, but this recipe just might convince me to finally make one. That cheesy crusty top looks to die for (:

  5. Liz says:

    Dude, if you need a bucket list for London I got your back. I’ll send you an email on places to go or we can talk at the next meeting. I was just there for spring break. Are you a CSA member? I’ve been thinking about doing that…

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