Posts filed under ‘Cooking Day Directions’

Menu A: How-to

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)

August 9, 2009 at 5:41 pm 6 comments


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