Thursday, April 20, 2006

Asparagus & Cream Pie

It's that wonderful time of year again -- we just bought our first bundle of locally-grown Washington asparagus! Local asparagus season is like an annual celebration in our family. As soon as the farmer's market opens we start buying enormous bagfuls of the stuff, eating it lightly steamed with a dab of margarine, stir-fried with sesame oil and soy sauce, creamed into soup, even pickled (well, really just my crazy aunt likes it pickled).
Today's lunch is filled with crisp, blanched aspargus, Chicken-Free Nuggets, fresh pineapple, and a cute little pielette for dessert. The other day at the store I discovered that Keebler Ready Crust Mini Graham Pie Crusts are vegan. They were crying out to go in a lunch box, so last night I came up with this simple Coconut Cream Pie Filling:
First, blend 6 oz. (half a box) of soft silken tofu until smooth, and set aside.

In a medium saucepan whisk together 1/3 cup sugar and 5 TB cornstarch. Pour in one 14 oz. can light coconut milk (I used Trader Joe's brand) and cook, stirring or whisking constantly, over medium-high heat until thick.

Fold in the tofu, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1/8 tsp. coconut extract, and 1/3 cup finely shredded coconut. Pour into six mini graham pie crusts and chill.
Verdict: The pie was sturdy enough to travel well in the lunch box, covered with a bit of plastic wrap and nestled in place with crumpled parchment. Shmoo loved everything! 5 stars.

55 comments:

Kimson said...

Mmm... Asparagus is my favorite vegetable, especially stir-fried in oyster sauce with garlic.

Jane M said...

I want that pie! It all looks so good and yummy...

I love asparagus too....never knew you could pickle them though.

vegineer said...

one of my favorite dessert recipes is coconut pie. it's pretty similar to yours, only it doesn't include coconut milk.

i find that coconut pie is a vegan dessert which all omnis seem to love (even if they have to admit it grudgingly).

i love doing asparagus in the oven, drizzled with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar. yum!

Miss Kitty said...

What an excellent lunch!

I was a little confused by the post title, though...I read it and thought, "Asparagus? And cream? In a pie? Bleh!" :-P

I know what I'll be making for dessert this weekend. Because I'm eating the asparagus with dinner. :-P

DDawnC said...

Ha! Glad I wasn't the only one making icky faces at first! lol

I don't know if you got my email, Jennifer, but I live in Kennewick, too. I never tasted asparagus until I moved here, and now I LOVE it (including pickled). I also LOVE coconut milk but have sworn the stuff off because it's so high in fat and I'm committed to losing weight. Even the "light" is really fatty (but OH SO GOOD). (sigh) Schmoo has good taste!

Bearette24 said...

wow, that pie looks good.

marisa said...

What a lucky kid to get a pie in his lunch! Looks delicious.

By the way, asparagus in a cream pie is great! We make a version with pureed tofu, Follow-Your-Heart cheese, asparagus, cherry tomatos and red onions. More like a quiche, guess.

I'm so glad spring is arriving with all of its tasty produce.

veganmum said...

Looks delicious, all of it! I have used the full-size Keebler crusts but have never seen the little ones.

I have been longing for those health is wealth chicken-free products forever, but they don't seem to be sold in my part of Canada. And I'm waiting ever so patiently for local asparagus to turn up at my farmer's market, too...it just isn't spring without it, is it?

Sweet Pea said...

We've been eating so much asparagus in the last few weeks. It's so good with balsamic vinegar, coarse salt and some black pepper or sesame oil and sesame seeds.

I love the Zoglo's meatless nuggets. They are so yummy.

EatPeacePlease said...

That mini-pie looks amazing.

Katie said...

I thought it said 'Asparagus Cream Pie' too. I thought "This time Jennifer has gone a bit too far"! LOL

Topher said...

Im not a vegan myself, but it is good to see that there are still some people out there who care about what they are feeding themselves (and not just shoveling into their mouth every edible item that comes across their path.)

Lady Di said...

We've had our first asparagus of the year (unfortunately, not local). Our fave way..Roasted (or grilled). Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle over coarse salt and coarse ground black pepper. Broil for about 15-20 minutes until cooked but still crisp. Or do the same and grill until they are as soft as you want them.

Echo said...

Ok THAT lunch made me drool. I want it!

Sheena said...

Mmmm! That pie looks SO yummy!! And I didn't know that those little pie crust were vegan! Thanx for leting us know! I'm gonna have to try that pie recipe now...=)

Michelle said...

i *heart* asparagus!

Julie said...

Now that's a dessert! Awesome!

Auntie X said...

I was actually a little dissapointed that it wasn't an asparagus cream pie quiche-y type thing!

Oh, I've used those pie shells before for Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake. Even my die-hard omni brother likes it as much as "real" pumpkin pie :)

sarchan said...

So cute and tasty-looking! I bet that graham cracker crust would be good with some sort of chocolate filling + Ricemellow Creme! (I just got some Strawberry Ricemellow Creme for Easter :))

OshinkoTickle said...

I love asparagus season! It's so cheap! I also like them steamed or stir fried with sesame oil and soy sauce!! That is usually how I cook them. I really like that they take no time at all to cook so they are ready in a flash!

This Is What a Feminist Looks Like said...

I'm not sure if the kidlet will like it, but asparagus stir-fried with vidalia onions is fantastic. It's worth putting the onions in for a bit first so they soften and you don't have to cook the asperagus for very long.

Diana said...

Wow, those chicken-free nuggets are really low in fat! We also get zoglo's here in Australia (I've stumbled across them a few times in supermarkets) but I've never seen that brand around before. Probably not available here knowing my luck! Maybe I should start a business importing all these vegan goodies to chicken-free nugget deprived vegans :P

VLyandra said...

I looove filling those mini pie shells with chocolate tofu mousse (tofu + melted chocolate + vanilla + maple syrup to taste) and topping with some fruit. They're fantastic.

I'm not a huge fan of coconut cream pie, but asparagus is fantastic. I can't wait to get my grubby little hands on bunches of them!

JA_AV said...

That pie looks so cute! I love coconut, i'll have to try that recipe sometime.

Elena said...

I've long been a fan of the Health is Wealth nuggets, but the last batch I had tasted totally bland. It's like they took almost all the salt out of the recipe or something.
Fortunately, I just discovered that Boca is making a vegan chicken patty. It's really good!

hereandthere123 said...

Pie shell -- vegan yes, but high fat, and 2.5 grams of saturated fat at that. Pair that with the fat from the tofu and from the coconut milk, and you have yourself a high fat dessert.

Your choices are usually so healthful! I was surprised to read about this one.

Watty said...

Um, can you please adopt me??? I might even be older than you (32 1/2 lol) but I want those lunches! LOL YUM!

Jessica said...

I too thought Asparagus and creme in a pie?? ewww!! LOL
so the desert was a little higher in fat-so?? A little bit of fat in the diet is needed for good brain development...and it is not like it is an everyday thing..I bet shmoo loved it! I want to try it! LOL

Emily said...

This is probably my most loved lunch to date -- everything is a favorite of mine! And I'm with Jessica -- a little extra fat isn't going to turn him into an obese child, like the rest of America's fast food generation.

Robin Green Eye said...

that pie idea is brilliant, i have to try that.

Emily said...

I love Health Is Wealth faux-chicken nuggets. They are so damn tasty!
I think I may have to try to make a little coconut pie myself, that sounds really good.

Simplebug said...

That pie sounds terrific! I'll have to try that..thanks for the recipe!

I love reading your blog, I'm addicted I read every day. :)

RedRabbit said...

That pie sounds amazing. I love serendipitously finding out that commerical products are (inadvertantly) vegan, too. Like Bacos! Hurrah for Bacos!

marisa said...

Am I the only one that thinks asparagus and "cream" are good? Am I nuts? What about cream of asparagus soup? I do like weird things sometimes....

Marisa

YellowBellyHippy said...

OMG Jennifer! I made this pie last night and it was heavenly!! YUM! I did add a little bit of toasted coconut to the top of it though. Oh man, this is my new favorite pie. Thankyou so much for sharing the recipe. Im dying for your cookbook!!!

Jennifershmoo said...

>>Am I the only one that thinks asparagus and "cream" are good?

I'm with you! I look forward to my cream of asparagus soup every spring, and a creamy vegan quiche with asparagus and leeks sounds lovely!

All right, yellowbellyhippy! I'm so glad you liked the recipe! I'm sure it was pretty with the toasted coconut on top; I thought about doing that but was afraid it would get all over the lunch box. Hooray for coconut!

vegineer said...

sure, the pie may be high in fat. but what kid doesn't enjoy a tasty dessert once in awhile? the odd sugary or fatty treat isn't going to rot his teeth or turn him into a butterball.

personally, i think that if all kids ate what shmoo does, the younger generation would be a LOT healthier!

Sadie said...

Maybe hereandtheer would have prefered to see him with a doughnut, Twinkie, or King-Sized candy bar? Those are typical "desserts" seen in lunchboxes at my kids' schools. Dude... the kid is a first grader. He's entitled to some fun food!

Jeanne said...

The pie filling sounds divine! And pickled asparagus is actually quite a favorite in our house. We use it a lot in rice salad--make some white rice (brown doesn't seem right for this particular thing), add pickled asparagus, sliced carrots, tofu, steamed veggies you have on hand, mix with a mustard vinagrette, serve on a bed of lettuce (or not) and you've got yourself a fab spring meal!

R-C said...

when I first read the title I thought you had made an asparagus pie.. and I thought as much as scooby likes asparagus I don't think that'd go over too well with her in a pie...:-)

LadyRachelLynn said...

hey, even in grade school the kids would rather eat those hand pie desserts and mini pies than average candy bars!

Nicole said...

I LOVE pickled asparagus! Not just for funny old aunties anymore!

:D

TeaPriestess said...

Compared to the fat found in a prepackage pie, I don't think this one is that high in fat...just goes to show that you can't please everyone. Lovely looking lunch.

mira said...

That lunch looks delicious. Our asparagus isn't up yet but this definitely is a great idea for D's lunch. And the little pie? I'm sure she'll love it. Thanks so much for the ideas. This blog has become one of my favorites.

Amy O'Neill Houck said...

What a great revelation about the pie crusts--do they have hydrogenated oils?

DDawnC said...

I don't think Jennifer's gonna let a couple comments about the fat content of 1 dessert throw her into depression. lol The fact is, it IS high in fat, even compared to prepackaged desserts. I don't have a can of it here, but I think LITE coconut milk has about 11 g of fat per 1/2 cup. So yeah, it's high fat, which some people consider unhealthy. But for people who don't have a problem with weight, it may be a perfectly acceptable treat. Everybody's got their priorities, right? No big deal...

Kevin said...

I made the pies just a few minutes ago- had to "test" the filling, of course and it was delicious! I also added toasted coconut to the tops- I pushed it into the filling a bit with a spoon, and it seems to be on there fairly well, and should be even more stuck after chilling. Just a thought.
Also, the recipie made enough to fill 6 mini-crusts, plus a small dish (midnight snack for me tonight, yay!). Very easy to make, and I had all the ingredients on hand except the crusts, which my local store had. Another winner, Jennifer!
Not a fan of asparagus at all, but fiddleheads will be up soon, and we also eat daylily buds, usually lightly steamed. MMmmmmm!

Jennifershmoo said...

>>Your choices are usually so healthful! I was surprised to read about this one.

But just yesterday I wrote about how BAC-Os are vegan! LOL

Ah well, coconut milk may be fatty, but it's vegan and all-natural (at least the Trader Joe's brand is). As an occasional treat in a diet filled with fruits, veggies, beans, and wholegrains, it's probably not going to hurt.

>>made enough to fill 6 mini-crusts, plus a small dish

Yes, that was my favorite part -- the little leftover dish of warm coconut pudding for the cook!

Echo said...

Jennifer already addressed this, but I seriously doubt that one little pie is going to harm a kid. Especially with the healthy diet Schmoo eats. And believe it or not, kids do need SOME fat in their diet.

I knew a pediatrician who said that he once had a patient, five year old girl, whose mom didn't allow her to have any fat at all, or precious little. The doctor got on her case, explaining kids DO need good fats.

Anyhoodle.

Woman,Mother,Vegan! said...

You are my hero!! What a great example you are. Not only are you setting your child up for healthy eating habits for his entire life, but you're also inspiring other moms to change their children's lives. Your ripple effect actions will surely come back to you!! PETA was right on awarding your site. Please know that your hard work is appreciated.

Alexandra said...

according to keebler's website, the pie shells do not contain hydrogenated oils. yay!

Thought Criminal said...

Ok, I totally read the headline of this post wrong and until I'd read the post twice, I thought that the pie had asparagus in it and didn't think it sounded particularly tasty. But now that I've read it carefully, it all sounds wonderful. Those little pie shells would be perfect for the tofu cheesecake I make (recipe from Vegan Planet)

erica said...

I'm totally making that pie tonight. It looks so stellar!

red said...

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