Book review: “Rabbit Food” cookbook has a lot of info and cute drawings  »

I’ve been sent an adorable copy of Beth Barnett’s cute new cookbook, Rabbit Food, to review, and it contains much more information than simply recipes, which is good because I had to modify substantially the savory recipes I made. I’m a bitch, sorry!

That being said, I’m a big fan of “Beth Bee,” as I understand she goes by. This book is accessible to vegans, vegetarians, and omnis, as the preface says: “I know that not everyone using this book will be vegan or completely vegetarian. This book will not self-destruct in protest. It’s happy you’re at least at the table!” However, it’s worth noting that a few recipes contain honey.

The book’s zine roots are apparent in the by-hand illustrations and spiral binding:

MOUSSE ≠ MOOSE, sillyhead!

The book goes on to discuss the vegan perspective on the food supply, health considerations, and the history of food in North America, a section that is highly fascinating and covers the food practices of indigenous peoples up to now. Then it gives you some tips for starting your first garden, whether urban or regular. The last bit before you get to the food (which is what we’re waiting for, right?) shows you how to sew your own reusable grocery bags and produce bags, the latter of which is, to me, a novel idea.

The breakfast, soup, entree, drinks, and sweets recipes include such tasty gems as Easy Baking Powder Biscuits and Almond Gravy, Split Pea & Potato Soup, Tofu Pot Pie (recipe below), Nutritional Yeast Cheese, and Cocoa No-Bake Drops.

While the sweet recipes were winners, it is my opinion that fresh onions and/or garlic would be a welcome addition to almost every recipe. Some recipes half-ass it with onion and garlic powder, but I really think the fresh versions are worth the trouble.

I will now share this Tofu Pot Pie recipe from the book with you. While it looks a bit involved and has a lot of parts, it really doesn’t take too long to make. You can mix the crust and/or cook the tofu in advance, even. Sadly, it could use some modifications that seem so obvious to me now, so you’ll see a few spots where I edited it below.

A light burned out in my kitchen, and I can’t reach it. Deal with it.

Tofu Pot Pie
The crust!
1 3/4 cups unbleached flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup plain “milk”
pinch of salt

Mix everything together; knead. Set aside while preparing filling for pie. Then preheat the oven to 450 F.

Separate the dough into two slightly unequal pieces. Roll out the larger piece between two sheets of parchment paper (do this, trust me) and then lay it into the pie pan. Cover the crust with foil, fill it with dry beans or pie weights (do this too, trust me!) and bake it for 7 minutes.

Remove from oven, and set aside the bottom crust and the extra dough.

The gravy!

2 cups boiling water
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 vegetable bouillon cube
3 Tbsp. nutritional yeast flakes
1 tsp. salt (EDIT)
1/2 cup unbleached flour
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. poultry seasoning (I used Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute because Trader Joe’s does not carry poultry seasoning, or lime juice, for that matter)
1/2 cup diced minced onion

Boil water, add the bouillon cube and oil, mix together flour & yeast and then add SLOWLY while whisking, stirring out lumps. Add diced onion last. Stir and cook on low to medium heat until thick. Set aside. IGNORE THIS.

Saute your onions in a saucepan with the vegetable oil until they are nice and soft; otherwise your pot pie ends up with crunchy onions, which, when in a soft, soupy setting, fully gross me out. Do not—I repeat, DO NOT—add your onions last as the recipe mandates.

Add water and bouillon cube and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. While you wait, mix the other ingredients together. Once water is boiling, whisk in the dry mixture little by little. When it gets thick, remove from heat.

The tofu!
1/4 cup flour
1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast flakes
1 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 lb. firm tofu, cubed

Shake to mix everything but the tofu together in paper or plastic bag. Add tofu cubes and shake to coat well.

The filling!
1 lb. breaded tofu (from above)
2 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 cup chopped potato
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup green peas
1 cup diced onion (EDIT: To make this easier and faster, instead of celery, carrot, and peas, I just used two cups of “ghetto veggies.”)
3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed (EDIT)
1 tsp. salt (EDIT)

In a large skillet with 2 Tbsp vegetable oil, sauté everything on medium heat. Stir frequently, cooking for about 20 minutes total, or until the potatoes start to soften up. They don’t have to be completely done, as they will cook more in the oven. Remove from heat and mix in the gravy from Part 2.

Y’all, if there’s one thing I’ve learned over five years of vegan cooking, it’s never trust a recipe without garlic. Here’s what you really want to do: In a separate skillet with 1 Tbsp. of the oil, saute the tofu, flipping as much as you can, until it gets nice and brown and crispy.

While you’re working on that, heat the remainder of the oil in another, much larger skillet. Saute the onions and fresh celery, if using, until they’re soft (maybe 8 to 10 minutes). Add the garlic and salt, and stir until that shit is fragrant as fuck. Then add the rest of your veggies and continue cooking until everything is cooked through. Mix in the tofu and the gravy.

N.B. You will need a big-ass skillet, and don’t make the mistake of using cast-iron on your tofu (royally fucked that up myself).

For assembly (FINALLY)!
Decrease oven temperature to 375 F. Then pack all the filling into the pre-cooked bottom pie crust in the pie pan. Pat down the filling to remove pockets of air. At last!

Roll out the second half of the pie crust dough (between the two pieces of parchment paper). Drape and position the top crust dough over the filling, and pinch it together at the edges with the bottom crust. Using a sharp knife, cut a few decorative vents in the top.

Bake your pot pie at 375 F for 30 minutes.

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