I have to be honest. I tried three recipes from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Veganomicon this week, hoping to find at least one killer Thanksgiving dish from its highly regarded vegan lineup. The first was inedible. The second involved too much prep work for mediocre results. The third was Herb-Scalloped Potatoes, which, with some slight seasoning tweaks, could be a home run.
The good news is that the dish is comparatively light for Turkey Day, and the spuds themselves cook beautifully. Essentially braised in vegetable broth and milk, they hold their shapes well and come out in creamy, tender little disks. The texture is a nice alternative to standard mashed potatoes, especially if you're serving multiple mushy sides.
The less-than-good news is that it needs to be more intensely flavored. Instead of a final smattering of seasoning, every layer should be sprinkled with salt, pepper, herbs, or even some Parmesan cheese (for you non-vegans). Fortunately, the ingredients are inexpensive enough for serious experimentation, so play around and see if you can't find your own favorite combination. The right one could yield a Thanksgiving miracle.
A final thought, à la Jerry Springer: Though this week yielded some strange foods, I urge you to give Veganomicon a shot if you haven't already. There are lots of people who love it to death, and one near-sighted woman's misfires shouldn't be taken as the final word. After all, it's different strokes for different folks. Right, Arnold?
- 2 pounds white potatoes, scrubbed and sliced into 1/8-inch rounds
- 3/4 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup 1% milk or soy milk
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast or flour
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly oil 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish. Layer potatoes in dish, overlapping each one by 1/3 of the next slice. When first layer is complete, add new layer on top until all potatoes are used.
Pour vegetable broth over potatoes, reserving 3 tablespoons. Pour milk over potatoes. Slowly drizzle olive oil, taking care to get some on each potato. Sprinkle garlic and sift 2 tablespoons of flour on top of potatoes. Slowly drizzle remaining vegetable broth on top. Sprinkle with remaining flour, herbs, and salt.
Tent loosely with tin foil and bake until nearly tender, about 35 minutes. Remove foil. Bake until browned, 15 minutes more. Serve hot.