Friday, April 17, 2015

Vegan Poutine

I haven't had a lot of time to cook lately. I have been running after some papers for the wedding, and facing the chaotic Brazilian bureaucracy. I am getting married next month actually. It happened all quite fast. In my last post, I was saying how I thought my boyfriend's family did not approve of me because I am not Jewish. Well, his parents seemed to have gotten used to the idea now, and they approve of it, although they'd wish I were Jewish. His other relatives (like his paternal grandmother and uncle) say I look like a nice girl, but that it is too bad I am not Jewish. So this is where it stands. But we are getting married anyway.

I thought it would happen later during the year, but my boyfriend wants it to happen as soon as possible. Hurry much? Well, I think he is more worried about my status in Brazil and wants to regularize everything. It's true that it would be better for me. I would be more independent, financially and all.

Anyway.

I have been incredibly busy and have not had the time to cook, as I said. Still, on Wednesday night, I got home early and was able to cook a little. I made this vegan poutine.



For those of you who don't know what poutine is, it's a French Canadian speciality, fast food. It typically consists of French fries, curd cheese and beef gravy. My version was slightly healthier: roasted fries, home-made vegan cheese and home-made vegan gravy.

CHEESE

Ingredients

1/2 cup of raw cashews soaked over night
1 cup of hot water
1/4 cup of agar-agar powder
3 table spoons of tapioca powder
1 clove of garlic, crushed
Half a bell pepper (I chose a yellow one for the colour)
A pinch of sea salt
Juice from half a lemon

I wish I had nutritional yeast powder to add to the recipe, to give it a slightly cheesier flavour, but it's been impossible to find in Brazil. Also, instead of water, you could use some vegan milk of your choice (preferably unsweetened), but I ran out.

Preparation

Mix everything into the blender until smooth and transfer to a sauce pan. Heat everything on high heat until it simmers and lower the heat to medium low. Keep stirring. The mixture will get very thing, very fast. Keep mixing until it can form a ball. Transfer the mixture into a pot and let it cool to use later. 

I let mine sit in the fridge for about 2 hours before using it. I cut it into bite size pieces and added them to the fries.

General comment: It doesn't quite taste like cheese, so don't be fooled. I love cheese and it has been what is the most difficult for me to stay away from as a vegan, but this cashew cheese goes a long way. It's versatile. I can mix in more herbs, and truffle oil, or maybe a jalapeƱo pepper for some Mexican flavour The possibilities are endless.

FRIES

Ingredients

3 average size potatoes
Oil to coat the potatoes
Sea salt
Thyme

Preparation

Wash the potatoes well and leave the skin on for extra vitamins. Cut them into French fries size strips. Let them soak in water for about an hour, that is to lose some of their starch and get them crunchier. Drain their soaking water and rinse them. Put them in a dish and coat them with oil, season with salt and thyme. Cook in the oven for 45 minutes or until crispy.

GRAVY

Ingredients

1 table spoon of olive oil
1/3 cup of all-purpose flour (whole wheat could have worked too)
1 table spoon tomato paste
3 cups of vegetable broth
1 clove garlic
1/2 tea spoon of each, paprika, oregano, black pepper, hot sauce

Preparation

Over medium heat, make a roux with the olive oil and the flour. Add the tomato paste and garlic. Once well combined, add a little of the vegetable broth. Enough to dilute the roux a little. Whisk until smooth. Add the rest of the broth. Continue whisking until the sauce thickens. Add the spices.

Pour the gravy over the fries and the cheese. Garnish with fresh parsley.


Gosh, I have been craving for poutine for so long. It totally satisfied my need!

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