What would you eat when hubby is not in town for a weekend and you are at home looking after your toddler? Left overs? Maggi noodles? Yeah, thats what I usually do especially since he does not travel that often. My attitude – ‘Why cook for one person?’. And then the little one keeps me busy. So, it is not like I have nothing to do.
This was one of those occasions, H was out attending a conference. (BTW, I have no idea why they need to start registration on a Saturday and have the key note speech on a Sunday. What are weekdays for?) Anyway, I was at home craving Italian and actually decided to make some pasta for myself. But guilt pricked at the wrong time…how could I eat something he likes and then enjoy the meal? And worse still - I couldn’t believe I was thinking like my mother. I had always made fun of her about being too sentimental over such things.
Now with the pasta plan ruled out, I was still craving something interesting. I did what was most logical under such a circumstance. Cook something that I love and hubby detests. And, that was easy - eggplants, paneer(yes, paneer! can you believe it?), molten cheese, white sauce…..I had quite a few options. I was not in the mood for Indian food. The thought of having white sauce as a base made my mouth water…that day. Right now, as I write this sentence, I am thinking paneer…yummmm:)
I always wanted to make my own vegetarian version of chicken pot pie and this was the day! I scrambled through each shelf in the refrigerator and brought out some veggies, including eggplant. Milk, butter, cheese and a pack of puff pastry sheet came out too. I did not have an oven safe circular bowl of the right size to make it look like a pot pie, but this is what I ended up doing:
Mixed veggies – eggplant, shredded carrots, onions, bell pepper, celery - about a cup
Milk – 1 cup
Shredded pepper jack cheese – 1/4 cup
Butter – 1 tbsp
Olive oil - 2 tsp
All-purpose flour – 1 tbsp
Puff pastry – 1 sheet
Salt and pepper to taste
Start with the veggies. Add the olive oil to a pan and then the veggies. Saute for 3-4 minutes and transfer it to a bowl. In the same pan, Add the butter and once it melts the flour goes in. Roast it till the raw smell goes and then add the milk. Let this thicken up and then add the cheese, salt and pepper to the simmering white sauce. Add the veggies, give it a stir and switch off the stove.
Let this cool down and fill it into a puff pastry sheet. Poke some holes on it and bake according to manufacturer’s instructions on the puff pastry carton.
What I made was actually nothing close to the classic pot pie. The pot pie usually has a biscuit crust and I substituted it with a puff pastry sheet. There was no cream, mushroom or potatoes in it. It was something I seeked refuge in for the day but I did have a meal that was not just delicious, but utterly filling too! I loved it and now, I am waiting for my husband to attend another conference:) The next time, I would cut the quantities in half and also use the oven-safe bowl that I bought soon after.