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.
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.