Bret Hart, Master of Tarts - Betty Turbo

Here’s a guest post/cookbook review from my friend Agnes of Betty Turbo fame! If you like cake, wrestling, Rocky and Twin Peaks you should definitely check her out! Stay tuned until the end of the post because Agnes is giving away a copy of the Rabbit Food Cookbook to one lucky Bake and Destroy reader!

Tofu Pot Pie from Rabbit Food Cookbook by Beth A. Barnett

Recipe posted with permission of Sasquatch Books.

It’s no secret that I like a little food in my art and art in my food, so a cookbook filled with hundreds of food drawings, block printed illustrations, and tasty hand lettering is pretty much destined to be my new favorite thing ever.  I met Beth Barnett at a gathering of local Etsy sellers and knew her as a very talented painter and printmaker before I got my hands on a copy of her cookbook.  After several years of sharing completely D.I.Y., self-published editions of her book through her own micropress, Beth is now able to share her recipes with even more people thanks to a 2011 edition hot off the presses of Seattle’s Sasquatch Books.  And here it is, for your gustatory pleasure!  Rabbit Food Cookbook: Practical Vegan Recipes, Food History, and Other Miscellany.

Way beyond what anyone could possibly dismiss as mere “rabbit food,” this cookbook has an abundance of food for thought as well as food for your belly.  Even if you’re not a strict vegan/vegetarian, this book assures us it “will not self-destruct in protest.”  Introduce some of these satisfying vegetarian recipes to your palate and see how they get along!  The book opens with some cultural and nutritional perspectives on dietary choices, and a great illustrated timeline of the industrialization of food in America.  If you’re looking for other hints on making deliberate, conscientious choices about your food lifestyle, there are also some basic gardening tips and instructions for making your own grocery bags.

And then comes the really yummy part.  I couldn’t even decide what recipe to start with, so I took full advantage of having the cookbook author just a few miles from my home and proposed a cooking date in Beth’s own kitchen.  She came up with the perfect comfort food for a chilly fall day: Tofu Pot Pie.  The recipe includes pie crust, gravy, and filling components, and took us about an hour of prep time before baking, which was SO worth it for the delicious results.  None of my resident food critics are vegetarian, but they all (including a picky five-year-old) enthusiastically ate this for several consecutive meals, and started scheming about the next occasion we can use as an excuse to bake another one.

Part 1 -Josh’s Pie Crust, top & bottom crusts for one pie

  • 1 ¾ Cups unbleached flour
  • ½ Cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 Cup plain soymilk
  • pinch of salt

Mix everything together; knead. Set aside while preparing filling for pie.

Part 2 – Vegan Nutritional Yeast Gravy

  • 2 Cups boiling water
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube
  • 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
  • about ½ Cup unbleached flour
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp poultry seasoning
  • ½ Cup diced onion

Boil water, add the bouillon cube and oil, mix together flour & yeast and then add SLOWLY while whisking, stirring out lumps. Add diced onion last. Stir and cook on low to medium heat until thick. Set aside.

Part 3 – Pot Pie Filling

Start by breading some tofu:

  • ¼ Cup flour
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¾ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1 lb (block) firm tofu, cubed

Shake to mix everything but the tofu together in paper or plastic bag. Add tofu cubes and shake to coat well.

Beth Barnett preparing some rabbit food in her kitchen

In a large skillet with 2 Tbsp vegetable oil, sauté together on medium heat:

  • 1 lb. breaded tofu (from above)
  • 1 Cup chopped potato
  • 1 Cup chopped celery
  • ½ Cup chopped carrot
  • ½ Cup green peas
  • 1 Cup diced onion

Stir frequently, cooking for about 20 minutes total, or until the potatoes start to soften up. They don’t have to be completely done, as they will cook more in the oven. Remove from heat and mix in the gravy from Part 2.

Part 4 – Directions for Pot Pie Making

Preaheat the oven to 450. Make the dough (Part 1) and then separate it into two slightly unequal pieces. Roll out the larger piece between two sheets of parchment paper (do this, trust me) and then lay it into the pie pan. Cover the crust with foil, fill it with dry beans or pie weights (do this too, trust me!) and bake it for 7 minutes. Remove from oven & set aside the bottom crust + the extra dough.

Decrease oven temperature to 375.

Next! Prepare the nutritional yeast gravy (Part 2) and the breaded tofu and vegetable filling (Part 3) per the instructions. These can be done at the same time, working on the gravy while the tofu and veggies cook.

Then! Add the gravy to the pan of tofu-vegetable filling, mixing well. Then pack it all into the pre-cooked bottom pie crust in the pie pan. Pat down the filling to remove pockets of air.

At last! Roll out the second half of the pie crust dough (between the two pieces of parchment paper). Drape and position the top crust dough over the filling, and pinch it together at the edges with the bottom crust. Using a sharp knife, cut a few decorative vents in the top. Bake your pot pie at 375 for 30 minutes.

tasty tofu pot pie performing a magical disappearing act

For artwork and other things from Beth, check out her website – and don’t miss Agnes’ shop either!

Check out the rest of Beth’s virtual book tour:

Want to win a copy of Beth’s awesome book? Well, if you have a US shipping address it might be your lucky day! All you have to do is post a comment that says you want to win! We’ll choose a random winner on Halloween (Oct. 31.) Good luck!
Congrats to Nick!