Mock Prosciutto Crudo

DSC01238Prosciutto crudo is an Italian dry-cured ham that is usually thinly sliced and served uncooked. My vegan version is made from rice paper (a blend of tapioca starch and rice flour). While this may seem odd, the rice paper offers the translucency and sheen of thinly sliced pork-based prosciutto. For this recipe, use square rice paper sheets if you can find them. Round sheets will work too but the square sheets will yield more uniform slices. My original recipe yields three 3”x9” strips of mock prosciutto crudo.

Ingredients
• 3 sheets rice paper (preferably square sheets)
• ¼ cup white shoyu (Japanese white soy sauce)
• ¼ cup water
• 2 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
• ¼ tsp beet powder
• olive oil

Preparation
Combine the white shoyu, water, Worcestershire sauce and beet powder in a cup and then pour into a large, shallow baking dish.

Stack the three sheets of rice paper together and then immerse in the marinade. Allow to soak until most of the marinade has been absorbed and the rice paper is moist and supple and nicely colored, about 10 minutes. The sheets will stick together – this is desirable. The three sheets of rice paper will yield one sheet of prosciutto.

Carefully transfer the mock prosciutto to a baker’s cooling rack to drain briefly. Transfer again to a work surface and slice into 3 strips. Rub the strips generously with olive oil to keep them moist and supple. The oil is essential and is not optional; without it the texture will be quite rubbery.

For the best texture experience, use the mock prosciutto immediately if possible. The strips can be stored in a food storage bag in the refrigerator if necessary but will acquire a chewier texture during storage. Use in your favorite recipe as desired. Mock prosciutto works well for baked appetizers too.

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Vegan Irish Colcannon

colcannon-001 Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish consisting of creamy, buttery mashed potatoes and tender cooked kale seasoned with green onions, salt, pepper and parsley.

Ingredients
• 3 pounds russet potatoes (about 4 large)
• ½ cup non-dairy butter or margarine,
plus 1 to 2 T additional melted butter or margarine for garnish
• 1 cup hot non-dairy milk
• 1 T olive oil
• 6 oz baby kale; or mature kale with tough ribs removed and then chopped
• 3 green onions, white and green parts, finely chopped
• sea salt or kosher salt, to taste
• coarse ground black pepper, to taste
• 2 T chopped parsley for garnish

Preparation
Peel and cut the potatoes into large chunks. Immediately immerse the cut potatoes in 4 quarts of water. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and bring to a boil. Cook until fork tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.

While the potatoes are cooking, flash sauté the kale and green onions with the olive oil in a large skillet until the kale is wilted and tender. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Drain the potatoes in a colander and then transfer to a large mixing bowl or back to the cooking pot. Mash the potatoes with the butter and hot milk. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the sautéed kale and green onions.

Transfer the colcannon to a serving dish and garnish with the parsley. Make a well in the center of the colcannon and garnish with a tablespoon or two of melted butter or margarine. Serve immediately.

Roast Mock Lamb (Seitan) with English Mint Sauce

DSC01146Succulent and tender mock lamb is pan-glazed with white wine, rosemary and lemon zest and then sliced and served ‘au jus’ and with a garnish of tangy mint sauce. This recipe yields about 1 and ½ lb. Please note: Mock Lamb requires chilling for a minimum of 8 hours after simmering to firm and enhance its texture before pan-glazing, so plan accordingly.

Dry Ingredients for the Roast
• 1 and ½ cup (225 g) vital wheat gluten
• 2 T portabella mushroom powder
• 4 tsp onion powder
• 2 tsp garlic powder
• ½ tsp ground white pepper

Liquid Ingredients for the Roast
• 1 and ¼ cup (300 ml) water
• 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 and ½ tsp fine sea salt or kosher salt

Simmering Broth Ingredients
• 3 quarts water (12 cups)
• 3 large onions, peeled and quartered
• 3 ribs celery, chopped
• 3 large carrots, unpeeled and chopped
• small handful parsley stems
• 6 large cloves garlic, crushed
• 1 T portabella mushroom powder
• 4 tsp fine sea salt or kosher salt, or more to taste
• 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
• 1 large sprig fresh rosemary
• 3 sprigs fresh thyme or ½ tsp dried thyme leaves
• 1 bay leaf

Jus Ingredients
• 1 cup reserved simmering broth
• optional: ½ tsp beet powder
(crush the powder to eliminate hard lumps if necessary before mixing with the broth)

English Mint Sauce Ingredients
• ¼ packed cup fresh chopped mint leaves
• 3 T white wine vinegar
• 1 T hot water
• 1 tsp organic sugar
• 2 pinches sea salt or kosher salt

Pan-Glaze Ingredients
• 2 T non-dairy butter or margarine
• 2 T dry white wine or fresh lemon juice
• 1 T tamari, soy sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos™
• 2 tsp minced fresh rosemary
• 1 tsp fresh lemon zest
• a few pinches coarse ground black pepper

Additional Items Needed
• baking sheet
• stainless steel cooling rack (not required but recommended)
• parchment paper or silicone baking mat

Preparation
Prepare the simmering broth and bring to a simmer in a large covered cooking pot at least 30 minutes before preparing and prebaking the dough. This will allow sufficient time to simmer the ingredients before adding the roast.

Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.

Place a stainless steel cooling rack on a baking sheet and line the rack with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. The cooling rack is not required, but it is recommended, as it will prevent excessive browning which would occur from direct contact with the hot baking sheet.

Combine the dry ingredients for the roast in a large mixing bowl. Stir together the liquid ingredients for the roast in a separate bowl or measuring cup.

Pour the liquid mixture (not the simmering broth) into the dry ingredients and combine thoroughly with a sturdy silicone spatula to form the dough and begin developing the gluten.

Transfer the dough to a work surface and knead vigorously until very elastic. Test the dough by stretching. If it tears easily, knead a little longer and test again. The dough should be able to stretch considerably without tearing.

Now, form the dough into a thick, compact roast shape. Don’t worry about smoothing the surface too much, as some bumps and irregularities will yield a more natural finished appearance. Transfer the dough to the parchment paper or baking mat.
Place the baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes and then remove from the oven. The roast will form a dry crust while baking. This is normal and will disappear when the roast is simmered.

Bring the broth to a boil. It’s not necessary to strain the vegetable solids; this can be done later after the broth has cooled.

Lower the roast into the boiling broth and immediately reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Leave the pot uncovered and set a timer for 45 minutes. Monitor the pot frequently to make sure the broth is maintained at a simmer. Do not boil the roast but don’t let it merely poach in hot broth either. Turn the roast occasionally in the broth as it simmers to ensure even cooking. After simmering, remove the cooking pot from the heat, cover and let the roast cool in the broth for a few hours or until lukewarm.

Transfer the roast to a work surface and pierce repeatedly on all sides with a fork. Place into a food storage bag and add the jus. The jus is intended to mimic the juices of medium-cooked roast lamb (the beet powder is optional and if you choose not to use it, simply add ¼ cup of the simmering broth to the storage bag to keep the roast moist).

Seal the bag and refrigerate for a minimum of 8 hours, or for up to 1 week, to firm and enhance the mock lamb texture before finishing. Chilling is very important so do not omit this step. The roast can be frozen without the jus for up to 3 months and then thawed and finished at your convenience.

Strain the cooled simmering broth into a sealable container and refrigerate. During this time, any seasoning sediment will settle on the bottom of the container. The broth can be refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for future use at your convenience. Decant the clear portion for preparing jus, gravy or sauce that can be served with the sliced roast; or use for other recipes as desired. Discard the sediment.

Finishing the Roast
Bring the roast (sealed in the storage bag) to room temperature for about 1 hour before finishing. Set the roast on a plate and set aside. Pour the jus into a small saucepan and warm over low heat.

Add the mint sauce ingredients to a blender and process as smooth as possible. The sauce will be thin. Set aside until ready to serve the roast.

Create the pan-glaze by combining the wine or lemon juice with the tamari in a small dish; set aside.

In a large, deep non-stick skillet, melt the butter or margarine over medium heat. Add the roast and turn it to coat with the butter or margarine. Lightly brown the roast, turning frequently. Add the pan-glaze mixture. The mixture will sizzle and begin to caramelize, turning the roast a beautiful deep brown color. Add the rosemary, lemon zest and pepper and continue to turn in the mixture to form a crust. Transfer to a serving platter and slice. Drizzle the slices with the warmed jus and the mint sauce just before serving.

Note: If pan-glazing has not sufficiently reheated the roast, place it in a shallow baking dish, cover securely with foil and reheat in a 350°F/180°C oven for 15 to 20 minutes. The roast can also be briefly heated in the microwave before slicing and serving.

Pasta e Fagioli

DSC01036Pasta e Fagioli (pronounced fa-jo-lee) literally means “pasta and beans” in Italian. My version of this classic soup contains meaty butter beans (large limas) and ditalini pasta in a savory tomato and vegetable-based broth. Garnish with grated non-dairy parmesan and chopped parsley. Fresh oregano leaves or julienned basil leaves are optional garnishes.

Ingredients
• 2 T olive oil
• 1 medium onion, diced
• 2 ribs celery, diced
• sea salt or kosher salt
• 4 large cloves garlic, minced
• 5 cups vegan no-chicken broth or vegetable broth
• 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes with liquid or 3 cups peeled and crushed fresh tomatoes
• 1 tsp dried basil leaves
• 1 bay leaf
• coarse ground black pepper to taste
• 2 cans (15 oz each) butter beans, drained
• 3 oz/⅔ cup dry ditalini pasta
• grated non-dairy parmesan (from my Non-Dairy Evolution Cookbook or a commercial vegan equivalent)
• 2 T chopped parsley
• optional garnishes: fresh oregano leaves or julienned basil leaves

Preparation
Add the olive oil to a large soup pot and place over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and a pinch or two of salt. Sauté until the vegetables are softened and the onions are translucent but not browned. Add the garlic and sauté and additional minute.

Add the broth, crushed tomatoes with liquid, dried basil and bay leaf and season with black pepper to taste. Bring to a brief boil and reduce to a simmer. Cover the pot and cook for 20 minutes.

While the soup base is cooking, place the butter beans in large bowl in the sink and fill with cool water. Immerse your hand in the water and swirl the beans to loosen the skins. Work gently so as not to mash or break the beans. Let the beans settle and pour off the water which will carry away any loosened skins. Repeat a few times until most of the skins have been removed. Drain well.

After 20 minutes of cooking, add the beans and the dry pasta. Cover and simmer an additional 20 minutes; season with salt to taste.

Remove and discard the bay leaf and ladle the soup into individual serving bowls. Garnish with the parmesan, parsley and the optional oregano or basil leaves. Serve with crusty Italian bread.

Sweet and Smoky Tofu Bacun

DSC00988-003Tofu bacun is so easy to prepare and yields excellent results. It just requires a little time for pressing the tofu (8 to 12 hours), marinating the tofu with the seasoning liquid (a minimum of 12 hours), and low-oven baking or drying in a food dehydrator (about 2 hours). For this recipe I recommend using a tofu press, such as the TofuXpress®, that will hold the shape of the tofu while compressing the texture and removing the water prior to marinating. This recipe yields about 8 oz./½ lb. of bacun.

Ingredients
• 1 block (about 14 oz before pressing) extra-firm tofu
• high-temp cooking oil for frying

Marinade Ingredients
• ⅔ cup water
• ⅓ cup tamari, soy sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos™
• ¼ cup dark brown sugar or real maple syrup
• 1 T vegan Worcestershire Sauce
• 1 T liquid hickory smoke

Preparation
Press the tofu to remove as much water as possible. Blot the surface dry and then cut ⅛-inch thick slices lengthwise.

Combine the marinade ingredients and stir until the sugar dissolves. If you prefer a less salty bacun, opt for low-sodium tamari or soy sauce. Pour a small amount of the marinade into a small food storage container and begin layering the tofu strips into the container, overlapping the slices as you layer. Handle the slices carefully as they will be rather delicate.

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Pour the remaining marinade over the slices and seal the container. There should be sufficient marinade to just about cover the slices completely. Seal the container and refrigerate for a minimum of 12 hours and up to 48 hours, with 24 hours being ideal.

Preheat the oven to 225°F/110°C. Place a non-stick baker’s cooling rack on a baking sheet. If you don’t have a cooling rack, line the baking sheet with parchment paper.

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Place the slices in a single layer on the rack. Again, handle the slices carefully as they will be rather delicate. Place the sheet on the middle oven rack and low-bake for 2 hours.

Alternately, a food dehydrator can be used at the highest setting. Dry for 2 hours or until the slices are dry to the touch but not completely dehydrated.

Place the slices in a food storage container and refrigerate until ready to finish and serve.

Finishing the Bacun
Tofu bacun benefits from frying in oil to create the crispy texture. Pour enough high-temp cooking into a skillet to cover the bottom completely and place over medium-high heat. Add the strips to the skillet without overcrowding and fry until nicely browned, turning occasionally. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Try laying the bacun on the towel with an undulation to mimic a cooked bacon appearance. If desired, season with some coarse ground black pepper while still hot. The bacun will crisp further as it cools and will hold the undulated shape.

Serve immediately or store in a sealed container in the refrigerator until ready to use in recipes. Pre-fried bacun can be reheated in a low oven.

Lemon Tempeh

DSC00777This dish is the vegan variation of Chinese lemon chicken. The tempeh can also be subbed with pressed extra-firm tofu or vegan chikun. The sauce is lemony, sweet, savory and has just a hint of heat.

Ingredients for the Tempeh
• 1 package (8 oz) tempeh (or 8 oz pressed and cubed block tofu or vegan chikun)
• 2 T tamari, soy sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos™
• 2 T Shaoxing wine or sweet mirin (or water)
• 2 T unmodified potato starch, cornstarch or arrowroot powder
• 2 T all-purpose flour or rice flour
• toasted sesame seeds for garnish (optional)

For the Sauce
• 1 T peanut oil or other cooking oil, plus more for frying
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 tsp grated ginger
• 1 cup vegan chikun broth or vegetable broth
• ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
• 2 T organic sugar, or to taste
• 1 tsp fresh lemon zest
• 1 tsp sambal oelek, Sriracha™ or other hot red pepper sauce
• 4 tsp unmodified potato starch, cornstarch or arrowroot powder, dissolved in just enough water to create a slurry
• sea salt or kosher salt, to taste

Preparation
Slice the tempeh in half crosswise and simmer in enough water to cover for 10 minutes. This will help soften the tempeh and remove bitterness. Drain on paper towels until cooled. Slice the tempeh into bite-size cubes. Place the cubes into a food storage bag and add the tamari and wine/mirin. Seal and marinate in the refrigerator for a minimum of a few hours and best overnight.

Drain the excess marinade from the bag and add 2 tablespoons starch and the flour. Seal and gently toss to coat evenly. Place on a plate to dry while the sauce is prepared.

Add the 1 tablespoon oil to a medium saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the remaining sauce ingredients except for the starch slurry. Bring to a boil, whisk in the starch slurry and stir until thickened. Taste the sauce and add additional sugar or salt as desired. Reduce the heat to low to keep warm while frying the tempeh.

In a wok or deep skillet, heat 1-inch of oil over medium-high heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, carefully add the cubed tempeh and fry until golden brown. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.

Add the fried tempeh to the lemon sauce and toss gently to coat. Serve immediately and sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds.

Greek Moussaka, Vegan-Style

DSC00743A hearty casserole, vegan Greek moussaka features layers of potato, eggplant, savory beaf crumbles cooked with onion, crushed tomatoes, parsley and red wine, and an enriched and creamy cashew-based Béchamel that’s baked until golden brown. My plant-based variation is an adaptation of a generational family recipe from the Greek village of Ardactos on the island of Crete. I tried to stay as true to the flavors of the dish as possible. This recipe requires several components, which can be prepare separately and then assembled prior to baking the dish; however, I’ve written the recipe so the dish can prepared seamlessly from start to finish.

Ingredients for the Eggplant Layer
• 2 medium eggplants (aubergine), about 3 lbs, peeled or unpeeled
• olive oil as needed
• coarse sea salt or kosher salt
• coarse ground black pepper

Ingredients for the Potato Layer
• 3 medium russet potatoes
• sea salt or kosher salt

Ingredients for the Meatless Meat Layer
• 2 T olive oil
• 1 large onion, peeled and diced
• ¾ cup water
• ½ cup dry red wine (such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, etc.)
• 2 T tamari, soy sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos™
• 1 T porcini mushroom powder
• 1 T Worcestershire sauce (pg. ) or commercial vegan equivalent
• 1 cup dry TVP/TSP granules (textured vegetable protein/textured soy protein)
• 1 cup crushed tomatoes (from canned)
• 1 T tomato paste
• ¼ cup finely chopped parsley
• sea salt or kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper, to taste

Ingredients for the enriched Béchamel
• 2 and ⅔ cup plain unsweetened non-dairy milk
• ⅓ cup olive oil
• ½ cup (about 2.5 oz/71 g) whole raw cashews (pre-soaking unnecessary)
• 4 tsp nutritional yeast flakes
• 1 T mellow white miso paste
• 1 T fresh lemon juice
• 1 tsp sea salt or kosher salt
• 1 tsp onion powder
• 1 tsp garlic powder
• ¼ tsp ground nutmeg

Preparation
Slice the eggplant crosswise about ¼-inch thick. Place a colander into the sink and add layer of eggplant slices. Sprinkle generously with the coarse salt and repeat with layers of eggplant and salt (don’t worry about using too much salt as it will be rinsed away later). Let the eggplant drain about 30 minutes and up to 1 hour to remove bitterness. Rinse well and pat dry on several layers of paper towels.

Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F/180°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place layer of eggplant on the parchment. Brush with olive oil and season with a bit of salt and pepper. Repeat the layers as needed. Bake uncovered in the oven for 40 minutes. Remove to cool.

While the eggplant is baking, peel and slice the potatoes about ¼-inch thick. Immediately place into a large cooking pot with plenty of cold water to cover. Add 2 teaspoons salt and bring to a full boil. Drain in the colander and set aside to cool.

Next, add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a large skillet and place over medium heat. Sauté the onions until tender and lightly golden. Add the water, red wine, tamari, mushroom powder and Worcestershire. Bring to a boil and add the TVP/TSP granules, crushed tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir well, reduce the heat to medium low, cover the skillet and cook about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.

To prepare the Béchamel, add all ingredients to a blender and process on high speed for 2 full minutes. Transfer to a medium saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until the mixture comes to a simmer. Do not boil. Reduce the heat to low to keep warm.

Assembling the Moussaka

Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C (if not already heated).

Lightly oil a 9”x13” shallow baking dish. Arrange the potatoes in an even layer on the bottom of the baking dish, overlapping as you layer. Spread about ⅔ cup Béchamel sauce over the potatoes.

Next, layer the eggplant slices as you did the potatoes and spread about ⅔ cup Béchamel sauce over the eggplant.

Spread the meatless meat mixture over the eggplant and top with the remaining Béchamel sauce. Season with a little coarse ground black pepper and bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until golden brown on top.

Let rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving.
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Hot and Sour Tofu Vegetable Soup

DSC00748This is my own adaptation of Chinese hot and sour soup. I’ve eaten many versions of hot and sour soup throughout my life. Some were very good while others were very gelatinous and/or so acidic that the broth burned the back of my throat. I feel I’ve struck a nice balance of hot and sour and with just enough starch slurry added to create body without being gelatinous. I broke tradition and used tender straw mushrooms rather than the tough and chewy Chinese fungus. I also replaced the bamboo shoots with bean sprouts (although you can certainly use bamboo shoots if you prefer). The tofu was shaved into fragments to resemble cooked egg. Julienned bok choy greens were added and the soup garnished with green onions and cilantro. The heat is created with a blend of ground white pepper and sambal oelek (a Southeast Asian red chili pepper sauce). If desired, shredded porq from my Seitan and Beyond Cookbook can also be added, although I omitted it here.

Ingredients for the Broth
• 8 cups water
• 2 large onions, peeled and quartered
• 3 ribs bok choy (white part only; reserve the greens for the soup)
• 2 large carrots, unpeeled and cut into large pieces
• ½ cup plus 2 T tamari, soy sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos™
• ¼ cup rice vinegar
• 6 cilantro stems (reserve the leaves for garnish)
• 6 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 T nutritional yeast flakes
• 1 T porcini mushroom powder
• 1 T grated ginger root
• 1 T dark brown sugar
• 2 tsp sambal oelek or Sriracha™
• 1 tsp ground white pepper

Ingredients for the Soup
• ½ block (about 5 oz) pressed extra-firm or firm block tofu (not silken tofu), shaved with a sharp knife into fragments
• 1 can (15 oz) straw mushrooms, drained and halved lengthwise
or 8 oz small button mushrooms, halved
• reserved bok choy greens, julienned into ribbons
• 3 green onions, white and light green parts sliced and set aside in 1 dish
and the greens chopped and set aside in another dish for garnishing
• 1 and ½ cup fresh bean sprouts or 1 can (14 oz) bean sprouts, drained well
• 2 T plus 2 tsp cornstarch, unmodified potato starch or arrowroot powder dissolved in ¼ cup water
• ¼ cup chopped cilantro for garnish

Preparation
Add all broth ingredients to a large soup pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 1 hour.

With a spider or slotted spoon, remove the large vegetable solids and transfer to a bowl (after the vegetables have cooled a bit, the broth collecting in the bottom of the bowl can be added back to the soup pot). Discard the broth vegetables.

Add the tofu, mushrooms, bok choy greens and green onions (white and light green parts only). Bring the soup back to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes.

10 minutes before the soup is done, add the bean sprouts and stir in the starch slurry to thicken the soup (be sure the broth is simmering). Taste the soup and add salt if needed.

Ladle into individual serving bowls and garnish with the green onions and cilantro.

Cheddar and Sour Cream Potato Chip Seasoning

DSC00726This cheesy, creamy and mildly tangy seasoning powder was created specifically for dusting pre-salted potato chips and popcorn. For unsalted chips and popcorn, consider increasing and even doubling the amount of salt in the recipe. Freeze-dried minced chives can be added for a “loaded baked potato” flavor. This recipe yields about 1 cup of seasoning.

Ingredients
• ¾ cup nutritional yeast flakes
• ¼ cup organic soymilk powder (do not use soy protein powder or soy flour)
• 3 T tomato powder
• 2 T onion powder
• 4 tsp fine sea salt or kosher salt, or more to taste
• 1 and ½ tsp lactic acid powder (available from ModernistPantry.com)
• ½ tsp dry ground mustard
• ⅛ tsp garlic powder

Preparation
Process the ingredients in a DRY blender until finely powdered. Store the seasoning blend in an airtight container at room temperature in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months (but you’ll never keep it around that long!)

To season a large bag of commercial potato chips, open the bag and add about 3 tablespoons of seasoning. Close the bag tightly and gently shake and turn to distribute the seasoning. Open the bag and enjoy.

Alternately, add the seasoning powder to a shaker dispenser and season your favorite foods and snacks according to taste.

Loaded Baked Potato Variation
Process the ingredients in a DRY blender until finely powdered. Add 1 tablespoon freeze-dried minced chives and process again until the chives are reduced to small particles but not completely powdered. Season the chips as directed above.

Potato, Leek and Fennel Gratin

DSC00686-002Sliced Yukon gold potatoes, fennel bulb and chopped leeks are bathed in a rich non-dairy Gruyère-style cheese sauce and baked until browned and bubbly.

Ingredients
• 2 T non-dairy butter or margarine, plus 1 T for greasing the baking dish
• 2 and ½ lbs Yukon gold potatoes
• 2 large leeks, white and light green parts only,
split lengthwise, rinsed well and chopped into half “moons”
• 1 large fennel bulb, cored and sliced very thin
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• ½ tsp dried thyme leaves
• coarse ground black pepper, to taste
• 2 cups Gruyère Cheese Sauce (see following recipe)

Gratin Preparation
Grease the interior of a shallow, rectangular baking dish with 1 tablespoon butter or margarine and set aside.

Peel the potatoes and slice them ⅛-inch thick. A mandoline makes the job much easier and creates more uniform slices – but watch your fingers! Place the slices immediately into a large pot of water to prevent the slices from oxidizing (turning brown). Add 2 teaspoons of salt. Bring to a boil and cook for exactly 1 minute. Remove from the heat and drain the slices thoroughly in a colander. Set aside.

Add the remaining butter or margarine to a skillet and place over medium heat. Add the leeks and fennel and sauté until tender and golden. Add the garlic, thyme and a dash of black pepper and sauté an additional minute. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C.

Prepare the Gruyère cheese sauce; set aside over low heat to keep warm.

Layer ⅓ of the potatoes in the bottom of the baking dish and top with half of the leek and fennel mixture. Pour half of the cheese sauce over the layers. Repeat layering with another ⅓ of the potatoes, the remaining leek and fennel mixture and finish with a layer of potatoes. Cover with the remaining sauce and season with additional ground black pepper.

Bake uncovered for 45 minutes or until browned nicely. Remove from the oven and serve.

Gruyère Cheese Sauce
Dairy Gruyère is a slightly salty, ripened Swiss cheese. While its texture and complex flavor is difficult to reproduce in non-dairy form, this cheese sauce captures the flavor of Gruyère fairly well, while retaining its own unique character.

Sauce Ingredients
• 1 and ¾ cup plain unsweetened soymilk
• ¼ cup mild vegetable oil
• ¼ cup tapioca starch
• ¼ cup mellow white miso paste
• 2 T nutritional yeast flakes
• 2 T extra-dry vermouth or dry white wine
• 2 tsp raw apple cider vinegar
• ½ tsp kappa carrageenan (available from ModernistPantry.com)
• ½ tsp fine sea salt or kosher salt
• ¼ tsp dry ground mustard
• ¼ tsp ground coriander

*The vermouth or wine can be omitted for health or ethical reasons, but this will alter the flavor profile.

Sauce Preparation
In a small saucepan, vigorously whisk together the ingredients until smooth (a blender can also be used to efficiently combine the ingredients). Cook the mixture over medium-low heat, stirring slowly and continually with a flexible spatula.

As the mixture thickens and curdles (forms lumps), begin stirring vigorously until the curds disappear and the cheese becomes very thick, smooth and glossy. Keep warm over low heat, stirring occasionally, until ready to use. For a spreadable consistency, remove from the heat and allow the melt to thicken.