Menu A: How-to

August 9, 2009 at 5:41 pm 6 comments

I wrote these out before doing all of the preparation and cooking (I needed some idea of how I was going to approach making 11 recipes in one afternoon), and then revised them once I found out what did and didn’t work.

The basic scheme:

  • The Veg Curry is done the night before, along with the chopping for the Mexican Gumbo
  • The day of, the non-chopping dishes are done first so that the chopped vegetables aren’t sitting out for too long.
  • All of the day-of chopping is done at once, separating the vegetables into bowls based on what recipe they’re for (and when they’ll be added).

The order of cooking is dependent on the temperature the oven must be heated to.  The tofu for the Unbeef Stew should be done first thing because it needs to be at only 200*, then the mac & cheeze (350*), and then cutlets and lasagna (both at 375*).  Doing the oven dishes in this order makes it more likely the oven will actually be at the right temperature.

The crockpot dishes are ordered as they are because the Mexican Gumbo, which requires the least amount of chopping or preparation, can be started quickest in the morning.  The Unbeef Stew is supposed to be a crockpot dish, but here I’m just cooking it on the stove to save time.  If you happen to have two crock-pots, you can cook it at the same time as the Gumbo.

A very strong case could be made for switching the order of the Mexican Gumbo with the Veg Curry, letting you do almost no prep the day before cooking.   On the other hand, it also makes a lot of sense to chop everything the day before, especially since the Veg Curry requires a fair bit of chopping.  I’ve taken the middle ground here and am just doing the Veg Curry the day before, so that’s how I wrote the instructions.

The chickpea cutlets can be baked or fried.  I’m baking them because frying requires more attentiveness, and the oven will be at the right temperature for the lasagna anyway.  If you’re really set on frying them regardless, the authors of Veganomicon recommend frying the cutlets in a pan with a thin layer of olive oil, cooking on each side for 6-7 minutes until they’re “lightly browned and firm to the touch.”

For the lasagna, I didn’t cook the noodles beforehand, since 1) I’m lazy, and 2)I didn’t want to increase the odds of the lasagna getting soggy when reheated.  Also, if you really want to sub frozen spinach instead of fresh, remember to thaw it and wring it out multiple times to make sure you’ve gotten rid of the liquid, and write that into the overall instructions.

If you want to mince your own garlic (!!) make sure you add it to the instructions – either as a general item to do the day before cooking, or the very first thing on the morning of the cooking day.  I’ve written the instructions to assume that you can just scoop the required amount out of a jar at a moment’s notice.

So here are the instructions – change them up however you want!  If you’re used to having a lot going on in your kitchen, you can probably just grab the chopping directions and the order of the recipes and disregard everything else.  I’ve saved it as a Google Docs file.

Link:  Menu A Instructions (doc file)

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Entry filed under: Cooking Day Directions, Menu A.

Menu A: Grocery Shopping List Menu A: Cooking Day Adventures

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Helen  |  August 10, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    I love your idea for this, and can’t wait to try it, but how do you go about reheating the frozen stuff?? Particularly the chickpea cutlets and black bean burgers.

    Reply
    • 2. vegoam  |  August 10, 2009 at 11:08 pm

      Thanks! I’ve frozen the black bean burgers before and had good results with just heating it up on a frying pan on medium-low (both with and without oil, depending on my mood). Microwaving works as well, just have to be careful about not overcooking it. I’ve never frozen the chickpea cutlets before, but I’m going to thaw them in the refrigerator the night before I reheat them on the stove.
      I’d love to hear how it goes if you attempt the menu, or any sort of freezer cooking!

      Reply
  • 3. Helen  |  August 10, 2009 at 11:27 pm

    Thanks for the response!!
    I definitely plan to start after I move (Prob last week of August) and will definitely update you if i’m successful 🙂

    So far I’m just planning on trying to use “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian” (Making substitutions as necessary) and Vegweb.com Vegetariantimes.com and your chickpea cutlet/ black bean burger stuff to try at first.

    Was also thinking about doing some breakfast type recipes since I almost always skip breakfast/ don’t have time in the am 🙂

    And thanks again for putting up this website, I had looked for both vegetarian and vegan OAM a couple of months ago and couldn’t find anything/ didn’t feel ambitious enough to do it myself 🙂

    Reply
  • 4. Ali  |  August 12, 2009 at 8:56 am

    Hi–what size crockpot do you use? My roomies and I are interested in trying this, but we just have a little 2.5-quart crockpot. Thanks!

    Reply
    • 5. vegoam  |  August 12, 2009 at 12:23 pm

      Hey Ali! That’s a really good point – I hadn’t thought about crockpot sizes, but they are pretty crucial.

      My crockpot is a 3.5 quart. Your 2.5 quart should be great for the Mexican Gumbo, but the Veg Curry would probably have to be simmered on the stove for a few hours instead. It does reduce down in volume a lot once the vegetables start cooking, but it’s probably still more than 2.5 quarts when it’s done.

      Let me know how it goes if you give it a try!

      Reply
  • 6. dairy free diet  |  September 25, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    Some of the hard varieties include parmesan-reggiano, pecorino-romano and asiago.
    White wine can be paired with just about any type of cheese and it should be left up to your individual taste.

    Wine and Cheese party’s are a fun time for most adults.

    Reply

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