Every couple of years, my body goes, “Hey! You with the mouth! Enough with the dairy already!” And then I dial waaaay back on the dairy and my body feels much better and I can start all over again with the yogurt and cheese and ice cream and, and, and… oh, it makes me sad to think of it. I could never make a longtime commitment to veganism, I think.
That said, when I do have to dial back the dairy, I am so grateful that there are tons of vegan resources out there to help me find delicious foods that don’t make me feel deprived. (And I know that I shouldn’t feel deprived, that veganism actually offers a more diverse culinary experience than eating meat and dairy, but seriously, a life without Ben & Jerry’s or really delicious cheese is not a life worth living. In my humble opinion.)
Anyhoo, back to those vegan resources. I recently purchased Veganomicon as part of my dissertation research (I’m doing a chapter on how cookbooks by women represent political and/or “alternative” lifestyles and the PPK are major players in that chapter). As I combed through the book, I marked a few recipes that looked worth trying (there’s a kalamata spread I’m eager to try out for the next potluck or other gathering requiring me to bring a dish!), but this one was filed under “OMG, MUST TRY IMMEDIATELY.” So, since my friend Crystal was hosting a small pool party, I seized upon the opportunity to make these babies. And let me tell you, they were so delicious that the cookbook should be called VeganOMNOMNOMicon. You think you like cheesy, creamy, bacony twice-baked potatoes, but you haven’t tried these yet.
(Oh, and did I eat approximately a metric ton of seven-layer dip, which was chockablock with sour cream and cheese, at my friend’s party? Yes, yes I did. Guess I’ll dial back the dairy starting tomorrow.)
Samosa Stuffed Baked Potatoes
adapted (only very slightly) from the Veganomicon
4 large Russet potatoes, scrubbed, baked, and cooled
1/4 (approximately, depending on the consistency of your potatoes) vegetable broth
3 T peanut oil
1 t yellow mustard seeds
1 t coriander seeds, crushed
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced small (about 3/4 c)
1 medium carrot, diced small (about 3/4 c)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 t ground cumin
1/2 t turmeric
1/2 t salt
1/2 c frozen peas
Slice the cooled baked potatoes in half lengthwise. Scoop out the insides, leaving about 1/4 inch of potato in the skin. (This is much easier said than done; I had a couple of potatoes that split as I scooped. That doesn’t mean they’re not edible, it’s just harder to use the skin as a boat for the filling.)
Mash the potatoes up with the broth (mine looked a bit dry, so I splashed in about another 1/8 cup of broth) and set aside. Set aside the skins as well.
Heat the peanut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mustard and coriander seeds. The mustard seeds will begin to pop; cover the skillet and let them pop for about a minute (they will stop popping, just like microwave popcorn). After they are done popping, add the onions and carrots and saute for 7-10 minutes until the onions are brown.
Add the garlic, saute for another minute, add the cumin, turmeric, and salt with a bit of water, then add the potatoes. Mix until the color (from the turmeric) is evenly distributed through the potatoes. Cook until the potatoes are cooked through, then add the peas and cook until they are cooked through (you can fudge a bit on the peas, since you’ll be baking the potatoes again).
Spoon the filling into the potato skins. Line filled skins on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Serve. Try not to cry when you have to share them.
The one thing I’ll do differently next time I make these (and there WILL be a next time) is crush the coriander seeds more thoroughly. Every once in a while there was just a pungent POW of fragrant coriander that overpowered the rest of the samosa-y deliciousness.