Getting packages is obviously the best thing ever. Usually it’s something I really had no business buying, but it was on sale, and Banana Republic has kindly remembered my credit card number, and whoops, here it is, right on my doorstep, 7-10 business days later.
The only thing better than getting packages I’ve ordered is getting ones I haven’t ordered. Especially from my mom.
Sometimes, it’s a big package of spices, because she bought too many. Sometimes it’s a bag of spaetzle. One time it was an electric toothbrush. Another time, 4 boxes of Brita filters and paper towels. Recently, two mugs and a reusable bag from the Human Rights Campaign.
The only consistent thing about these packages is that 1. they show up without warning (i.e., we have not previously discussed a need for any of the things contained in said packages); and 2. there is no note and no explanation for why, or from whom, we are receiving these packages. You just accept them and call Mom to thank her.
Sometimes, though, my mom outdoes herself. Like when a few days ago, the UPS man brought A Modern Way to Eat, a new cookbook from Anna Jones, a vegetarian cook from the UK. Of course, I’m taking some extreme liberties with these recipes, as they’re mostly vegan and slightly too healthy for my tastes. For example, the below listed cheese as optional. Not in my book. But the recipe concepts are awesome.
(And thanks & I love you, Mom!)
Lemon and Vegetable Ricotta Pot Pie
for the dough
- 1 and 1/4 cups whole wheat flour (you can obviously do this with white flour)
- large handful parsley
- zest from one whole lemon
- pinch salt
- about 3 tablespoons olive oil
- about 5 tablespoons cold water
- optional: 1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)
for the filling
- olive oil
- 4 leeks, washed, trimmed, sliced length-wise and then across
- salt, pepper, crushed reds
- 1 bunch asparagus, washed & chopped
- about 8 oz frozen peas
- about a tablespoon flour
- about 1 and 1/2 cups veggie stock
- 4-5 large spoonfuls of whole fat ricotta (honestly, you might as well skip it if you’re going to use the non-fat kind. just being honest.)
- a big handful parmesan cheese
- juice from the zested lemon
- Preheat the oven to about 400 degrees F.
- Make your dough: Put the flour, parsley, lemon zest and salt into a food processor. Pulse and then slowly add the olive oil. Add the water – slowly- and pulse until the dough forms a nice round ball.
- On a floured work surface, roll the dough out until you have a nice round circle. Press into a 9-inch pie plate & trim the sides. You’ll use these scraps later. (Or, I did, and felt very proud of myself). Prick the dough in the pan with a fork and bake it for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- Prepare your pie filling. Heat a bit of olive oil in a large, deep pan. Add leeks, salt, pepper, and red pepper and cook down for about 10-15 minutes over low heat, until the leeks are nice and soft. Add asparagus & cook another 5 minutes. Add peas and then a spoonful of flour – give it a quick stir – and then add the stock and simmer until you have a nice veggie gravy. You will likely have to add a bit more flour. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Off the heat, add ricotta and parmesan cheeses and the lemon juice. Give the whole mixture a big stir and allow to cool for a moment.
- Pour the filling into the pre-baked pie crust. Now: here’s where you can get genius. Roll out the pie scraps and then slice them into strips. You can use these to lattice them over your pie. Gently brush the lattice and the crust with the egg wash, pop a crust shield over the pie, and bake the whole thing for about 20 minutes. Serve with a little more parsley and a side salad.
This thing falls apart the second you serve it, which reminds me of Thanksgiving and my favorite dish: my mom’s leftover turkey pot pie. Only this one is all vegetable. And if I weren’t such a dairy freak, it could even be made vegan. Then again, it probably wouldn’t make it to the blog without a few tweaks…