Let It Snow Blog Tour Stop: Heidi and I Prepared a Lovely Holiday Recipe…Vegan Pot Pies!

let it snowHello All! Today I have a super special post for you guys! As part of the blog tour for her new Christmas story Heidi offered to make a holiday recipe with me.  Yep, the lovely Ms. Heidi Cullinan, Gay Romance Author Extraordinaire, and fellow Vegan Life enthusiast and I made some delicious pies for her snowed in bears and her Goldilocks. If you guys read my review yesterday, you already know that I LOVED this story, AND that most of it happens while the main characters are stuck in a cabin during a snowstorm…What better food comfort food for a snow filled day than hearty, yummy pot pies?

Heidi was kind enough to look for the recipe herself, and found a delicious Vegan and Gluten Free recipe for Veggie Pot Pies at the Fork & Beans food blog. She and I agreed on a time and day to do some baking and made our pies. Below is the recipe that we used, I also included a few suggestions from both Heidi and I on the recipe as well as photos of the cooking process and a few of some of us eating our pies.

Vegetable Pot Pie “Cupcakes” Recipe

Makes 12 mini or 4 full-sized ramekin pot pies

INGREDIENTS

For the pie crust:

  • 1 c. superfine brown rice flour
  • 1 c. sorghum flour
  • 1/2 c. arrowroot powder
  • 1/2 c. potato starch
  • OR use 3 c. regular flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 c. shortening
  • 2/3 c. ice water

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine flours, salt and baking powder in a large bowl until mixed thoroughly.
  2. Add shortening and stir until it is mixed into flour. You might need to get those fingers dirty and mix with your hands.
  3. Add the ice water in 1/3 c. at a time. You want it to just combine into the dough in order to make it stick together.
  4. Form into a ball. Divide into 4 balls. Flatten, cover and chill while you prepare the filling.

Heidi and I made these for our families on Monday night, we had a remote baking date from Iowa to Upstate New York.  We had a great time , we did photos updates and  there was a lot of commentary from the parties involved. In the end our fams LOVED the pot pies, even our kids gobbled them up!

Now this recipe is a bit tricky, because it is a gluten free dough. It needs a lot of attention to the proportions and preparation details, because it can get really dry easily, and then it gets SUPER crumbly. Heidi has some really great tips, and pics to show how she got hers to cooperate.  Here is what she did for the dough:

Dough ready to knead. Pic from Heidi.

Dough ready to knead. Pic from Heidi.

Okay, so, first off, I had the dough. I sifted it all together, and added my shortening, and my water… and THIS is with an extra 1/3 cup. I added another 1/3 after that.
Dough divided into balls. Pic from HC.

Dough divided into balls. Pic from HC.

Eventually I wrangled it into the balls, and here they are, ready to chill out in the fridge.

IMG_1641

Troublesome dough.

I rolled out the dough. Or, tried to.
 
DUDE. This was crumb city. Even if I could get it into a kind of circle to transfer over, this is what it did when I tried to put it into the pan. Eventually I just hacked off what seemed to be the right amount, folded it in, and pushed it into place.
Cute little cupcakes ready for the oven. Pic from Heidi.

Cute little cupcakes ready for the oven. Pic from Heidi.

Eventually I just hacked off what seemed to be the right amount, folded it in, and pushed it into place.
 
I did have better luck with the tops. I had probably three tops-worth leftover, so I worry them will be a bit thin. Here they are, ready to go in the oven. I dusted them with grape seed oil, though, because I am almost out of olive.

Eventually the dough did cooperate and Heidi got them to behave in their pans, thoughts of getting Frankie to kibosh the gluten idea apparently were considered, but in the end the lady prevailed!

 

For the filling:

  • 2 c. vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbs Earth Balance margarine
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 c. gf flour (you can just use brown rice flour)
  • 1/4 c. non-dairy milk
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 c. frozen peas
  • 1/2 c. frozen corn
  • 1 can Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained

DIRECTIONS

  1. First, allow the bay leaf to infuse into the vegetable broth by simmering the 2 together in a small saucepan.
  2. Saute your onions in the butter. Allow to sit for a good 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add paprika, thyme and flour into the onions. Stir until well mixed. Cook for 5 minutes. Add milk.
  4. Take the vegetable broth (bay leaf discarded) and add into the onions mix; along with the remainder of the ingredients (carrots, peas and beans).  Bring to a boil and then simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  6. Roll out the dough in individual pieces by using wax paper on each side. It might help to use a 3″ cookie cutter to cut out dough and *gently* place into a greased muffin tin. If the dough rips (it probably will), do not freak out. Using your fingers, gently push it back together.
  7. Place the filling into muffin tins up to the top. Place a piece of the dough on top and gently seal the edges together by pinching it with your fingers.
  8. Take a knife and place a few slits through the top. Brush with olive oil and bake for 25 minutes or until top has browned.

Curried Pie Filling.

I got pretty lucky with the dough, and it was pretty easy to handle. For the filling I made a few adjustments, which I thought  worked out really well.  First, I doubled the amount of paprika, and added two tablespoons of sweet curry powder (I used Penzeys Spices Curry) to the onions, while I was sauteing them. The curry taste gave the filling a real nice flavor.

Happy Little Pies.

Happy Little Pies.

 I had some filling, left over that I think would go great with some white rice, maybe with a some steamed tofu chunks perhaps. Second, I added a tablespoon of cornstarch at the end, because I felt it was too thin.

Chow Time!

Chow Time!

The Pot Pie making was a huge success…I wrote Heidi to tell her my family loved them and by the time it was all said and done, my husband wolfed down four of them and my munchkin was a happy camper…On Heidi’s Homestead the results were…“They turned out great here too! Worried how they’d come out of the pan, but with a mini and regular rubber spatula, they were a breeze. (Probably also helped that I liberally used shortening in the pan.) Held together well enough we could actually eat them like cupcakes. They didn’t want to brown, which was odd, but they sure tasted great. Even Anna liked them, which was kind of amazing”.

Well that’s all for me today folks! Thanks to Heidi for the recipe, the photos, the baking tips and the fun times. I hope we can cook together soon! I leave you with some of the photos of us enjoying the fruits of our labors.

Cheers and Happy Reading!

Laura

Heidi's Baby Girl with her pie! She looks happy!  :)

Heidi’s Baby Girl with her pie! 🙂 

Dan loved the pies...Word on the street, is that he got stuck with dirty dish duty...

Dan loved the pies…Word on the street, is that he got stuck with dirty dish duty…

That crazy look in my eye just means...I LOVE PIE!

That crazy look in my eye just means…I LOVE PIE!

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Interview with ZA Maxfield for My Cowboy Heart Blog Tour

My Cowboy HeartHello ALL! I AM SOOOOOOOOOO excited for today! ZA Maxfield came out with her wonderful cowboy love story My Cowboy Heart released this past Tuesday through Inter Mix Publishing. This is exciting on various fronts. New publisher for ZAM, COWBOY, a series and did I mention cowboys? As always ZAM did not only not disappoint even a little bit, but managed to raise the bar in what I will be expecting from gay cowboys stories in the future.

As part of the Blog Tour for My Cowboy Heart Ms Mazfield has graciously stopped by my little corner of the blogeshere to answer some questions about her new book, M/M Romance as a genre, cowboy friendly foods, and her future plans for the men of the J Bar Ranch! So without further a do…An Interview with the most fabulous ZA Maxfield!

The Tipsy Bibliophile: In the past you have explored a wide range of storylines in your books, but you have rarely gone for the more “traditional” themes. Tell us a little bit about why you decided to go for a cowboy story?

 ZA Maxfield: I’ve always loved Cowboy stories. Cowboys come from the larger group of archetypes that include knights and wandering samurai. They have a code of honor. Sometimes they’re taming the land, sometimes they’re protecting the innocent. Sometimes it’s cowboys versus society. Versus progress. They’re a dying breed. It makes for great drama.

 tTB: What surprised you the most about how this story developed?

 ZAM: What surprised me the most is that once I got rolling, I was hitting on the same three themes that appear in all my books: Romantic love, family, and redemption. This shows up in everything I write, even when I try to totally switch things up. I was talking with a friend on the phone and we decided it’s my holy trinity. I’m a three-note musical scale.

 tTB: To me this book is one of your most “True Blue” romances, just full of all the stuff that makes a great romance story, but at the same time there were very heavy subjects surrounding the main characters. Do you think that is what makes the M/M genre so unique? That you can still have a classic romance despite characters who are not only flawed but have been broken.

 ZAM: I don’t necessarily think that’s unique in m/m. My favorite romance writers (of course this may be a personal taste thing) write hopelessly flawed characters. The joy is seeing how they’ve written this very flawed man or woman a happy ending. I think the guy or girl who is damaged goods is what romance is all about. We love broken characters way more than undamaged ones.

 The books that I can’t put down are the ones with characters I must see succeed in love, in life. I need for them to get their happy ending. I guess that’s why I write the types of books I write as well.

 I’m driven by empathy. When I feel for the character, when I can relate to what makes his yearning more poignant, I’m in palm of the writer’s hand so to speak. As a writer my goal has always been to write classic romance novel with gay characters. It’s tough to do, because so many traditional romance plots include inherent gender-based power imbalance. But I strive!

 tTB: This blog is a bit different in that I pair my book reviews with wine and food that I think would go well with the story. For Crispin and Speed I’ve made stuffed roasted poblano peppers with a New Mexican chile sauce and a delicious Spanish Verdejo…What would the guys think of my food choice for them?

 zAM: I think my Cowboys would be delighted to pull up those scarred wooden dining chairs to sit down and eat hearty. I do think that Speed might enjoy a beer more — he’s not big on wine, whereas Crispin will probably try to coax you out of that old bottle of Respoado Tequila you’ve been hiding.

 Oh, and can I come for dinner too? That sounds absolutely delicious!

 tTB:  So what is next for the cowboys at the J-Bar Ranch? Can you tell us a little bit about what to expect from the next book in the series?

 ZAM: Oh, my gosh. What can I say. Jimmy is in big trouble. He’s been drinking like a fish and Eddie and Boss Malloy have finally had enough. In one way, they’re only looking out for him, you know? What happens if Mrs. Jenkins decides to sell up? Who’s going to hire some drunken cowboy?

 Maybe Eddie goes about things all wrong by getting Jimmy drunk and shoving him into his truck and taking him to an isolated mountain where there’s nothing to do but dry out and watch the snow fall.

 Jimmy’s not happy. Eddie’s in over his head trying to help him. Eddie calls his friend Don, who loaned him the cabin in the first place, and asks for help. Problem is, Don has a thing for cowboys, and as far as he’s concerned, if one cowboy in his bed is good, then two must be better.

 Eddie and Don might be exactly what Jimmy needs. Or they might be more than he can handle… STAY TUNED for My Heartache Cowboy! Coming in January…

Well there you have it folks! I had a lovely time reading ZAM’s responses to my questions, she really is one of my true favorites in this genre. My Cowboy Heart is a book that lives up to ZAM’s solid reputation, a fantastic romance, with great humor, fabulous erotica, awesome secondary characters and a solid story to back it all up. If you have not read it, go and GET IT NOW it is on sale at here at Amazon.com

As for the next installment in the series, Jimmy and Eddie’s story My Heartache Cowboy, is availabe for pre-order on Amazon.com

I’ll end it here for now, but stay stuned, because later today I’ll be posting my review for this awesome book with the recipe for the poblano peppers which are AMAZING! Thanks again to ZAM for stopping by and to you guys for taking the time see what I am up to!

Cheers and Happy Reading!

Laura