“Presidential” Gluten-n-Dairy-Free Mushroom Pot Pie

Posted on: July 12th, 2012 by Carla Johnson No Comments

 “I’m going to throw caution to the winds and have a sweet sherry.” – Alan Bennett’s character Joyce Chilvers in the movie “A Private Function.”

Lauren Hoover-West

Cooking With Sin has some interesting connections. Chef Tim Wasylko, the creator of “Stuck on Reduction” Grilled Watermelon Salad has cooked for our Canadian Prime Minister. Now I get to share a recipe from someone who has cooked for U.S. political leaders.

Looking at my stats here, I was surprised to see how many people were looking for vegetarian recipes, but I knew that most of my vegetarian recipes were for sweets. So, I put a request on LinkedIn to find a vegetarian, gluten-free recipe that was a savoury. Lauren Hoover-West responded.

Lauren Hoover-West trained at The California Culinary Academy then worked as a pastry chef for some of the top restaurants in the United States. During her time at the Hyatt in Indian Wells, she was honoured to prepare food for 4 U.S. Presidents and a U.S. Senator.

Lauren went on to become a culinary school instructor and while she was working on her Psychology degree, she was diagnosed with food allergies. Always looking for opportunities to be creative in the kitchen, she started converting and testing recipes to work with her new diet of no gluten, no dairy and no refined sugar. She happily shared her food and recipes with her classmates who were a great source of encouragement.

Enjoying her new found health, Lauren furthered her new cooking style by incorporating vegetarian recipes. She also does not use xanthan gum or guar gum in her cooking.

Carla Johnson "Cooking With Sin"

 “Presidential” Gluten-n-Dairy-Free Mushroom Pot Pie

Yields: 1 pie, 6-8 servings

Step 1: Gluten-Free Pie Crust

This delicate, flaky pie crust can be made by hand, or in a food processor which is much faster. I learned how to make this from my Aunt. Her desserts are perfection and the whole family always looks forward to enjoying them at gatherings and holidays!

Yields: 2 single crusts

3 cups oat flour
½ teaspoon sea salt, fine
2 sticks vegan Earth Balance or 1 cup vegetable shortening, frozen and diced
½ cup iced water (bottled or filtered)

1. Put bowl and pastry cutter into the freezer while measuring out ingredients. Try to handle dough as little as possible. You want to keep the pieces of Earth Balance or shortening cold, which will make the crust flakey rather than tough.

2. Sift flour and salt into a large glass or metal mixing bowl or food processor. Add ½ cup shortening or 1 stick Earth Balance and cut into the flour with a pastry cutter, or pulse with food processor, until it is the size and texture of cornmeal.

3. Add remaining ½ cup shortening or stick Earth Balance and cut into the flour with cutter, or pulse with food processor, until it is the size of small green peas.

4. Slowly drizzle 1 Tablespoon of water at a time and blend just until dough forms a ball or comes together so it doesn’t break apart.

5. Take a tablespoon of dough, roll it out and if it cracks or falls apart, you need more water. If the dough is sticky, you added too much water. If it is too sticky, add 1-2 Tablespoons of flour. The humidity in the air will determine how much water you will need.

6. Cut dough in half and wrap in plastic and refrigerate or put into a freezer zip bag and freeze until ready to use. Thaw in refrigerator for 8 hours.

When ready to make the pie:

1. Between two pieces of plastic wrap or on a well-floured board, roll out the dough -when rolling dough, roll once with even pressure and turn a quarter turn and continue rolling and turning until it is ¼ inch thick. If it sticks, add more flour to board. Only roll out one time or it will become tough instead of flakey. Brush off any excess flour with a dry pastry or basting brush.

2. If using plastic remove the top piece of plastic and lift up the bottom piece of plastic holding the dough and flip it over into a pie pan and peel off the plastic.

3. If using a floured board, gently roll the dough around the rolling pin, start at the edge of the pie pan, and unroll it over the pie pan. If it sticks to the board, slide a long flat spatula under it.

4. Roll out remaining half of dough after you have filled the pie and are ready to bake it. Dough can be frozen up to 6 months if double wrapped in plastic and then put into a zip freezer bag. It will keep in the refrigerator for a few days.

Step 2: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Mushroom Pot Pie Filling

Portobello mushrooms have a meat like texture a make great vegetarian main dish!

1 small organic yellow onion, diced
1 cup sliced organic carrots
4 stalks organic celery, sliced
2 large Portobello mushrooms, cubed or 4 cups crimini mushroom caps, halved
1/3 cup dry sherry
1 cup organic frozen petite green peas
1 bunch organic flat Italian parsley, chopped
4 Tablespoons organic oat flour
4 Tablespoons organic grape seed oil or extra virgin olive oil
2 cups organic vegetable stock or broth
salt/pepper to taste
2 teaspoons dried herbs (thyme, basil, savory, marjoram or your favorite)
1 recipe of pie crust, unbaked

1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Roll out half the pie dough to ¼ inch thick and about 1 inch wider than your pie pan, place in pie pan, refrigerate for 30 minutes or more. Keep the other half of dough refrigerated.

2. In a large pot, sauté onions, carrots, celery and mushrooms over medium high heat until soft. Add ¼ cup dry sherry and cook for 1 minute until liquid has cooked down.

3. In the same pot add oil and flour and whisk over medium high heat until bubbling and then cook an additional 2 minutes. Slowly add the vegetable stock while whisking vigorously to avoid lumps.

4. Bring the pot to a boil and add all of the mushrooms, vegetables, frozen green peas and chopped parsley. Add herbs, pepper and salt if needed. Mix everything together and pour into pie pan lined with dough.

5. Roll out remaining half of dough about 1 inch wider than pie pan, cut a ½ inch hole in the middle and place over the top of the pie, and crimp the edges as you like.

6. For fewer calories, omit the bottom crust. Bake pie on the middle rack for 1 hour or until it is bubbling in the middle. Remove from oven, let it cool for 5-10 minutes, serve and enjoy.

7. This will keep in the refrigerator and make great leftovers for a few days. Do not freeze after baked. If you want to make it ahead, you can freeze it before you bake it and just bake it while frozen, but add more cooking time.


Lauren has appeared and cooked on “ABC Live” in Chicago and Sacramento. She has cooked for 4 United States Presidents and a United States Senator.

Lauren Hoover-West was classically trained at The California Culinary Academy. She is a Chef/Educator/Consultant specializing in food allergies and health issues, including Diabetes, Autism, Celicac Disease, Autoimmune diseases and inflammatory conditions. Lauren has created a revolutionary way to cook delicious food that is gluten-free, dairy-free, low glycemic index and very healthy.

She is the author of No Wheat No Dairy No Problem cookbook and blog site. She has 20 years of cooking and teaching experience at La Folie (Michelin star), Fairmont, Hyatt Resorts, Bally’s, Marriott etc… Lauren is the owner of Lauren’s Kitchen Biscotti Company. She also earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. For more information go to her blog

“Comfort of Home” Sherry Potatoes

Posted on: March 3rd, 2010 by Carla Johnson 2 Comments

sherry barrel“If penicillin can cure those that are ill, Spanish sherry can bring the dead back to life.” ~ Sir Alexander Fleming

In our culture we have a trusted recipe for success:

1. Stay in school.
2. Get good grades.
3. Go to a good college.
4. Get a  good job with good benefits.
5. Make good retirement plans.

While this is a route that works for many, you have to admit that it is so “in the box” you can almost see the sides of the box. While many happily find success this route, we know there are just as many who find it outside of “the box.” In fact, life has thrown some people way outside of the box and they have to be a dreamer to find their own way.

George is a well respected and charismatic engineer. He has been happily married to Tabitha for 17 years and they have two gorgeous daughters. They prefer to call their girls by their pet names. Their 5-year old is “Moo-moo” and the 2-year old is “Beezer.”

George is known for his energy and hilarious sense of fun. He laughs often and loudly and is the first suspect in an office prank. He and Tabitha are often the last to leave a party and George is notorious for ripping up the dance floor.

The home George has made for himself and his family is very different from the one he was raised in. Before he turned 2, his parents broke up and his mom spiralled into schizophrenia, so George had to live with his grandparents. While his grandparents cared for him deeply, they found George’s energy challenging to work with. By the time he was in middle school he had become quite a handful. He had also discovered that he had a terrific sense of humour and during his pre-teens he realized if he got in trouble, it was more interesting if he was funny.

On a particularly challenging day in Grade 9, one of his teachers got frustrated with him and sent him out of the room. The teacher expected George to wait in the hall, instead he made his way to the courtyard just outside the room. When the teacher realized George was mocking him through the windows, he called in the principal. The courtyard only had two access doors, so the principal came out one door and the teacher was at the other. They were certain they had George cornered.

Relying on his rule “If you get in trouble, it’s more interesting if you’re funny,” George started running around. It must have seemed like a scene out of a National Lampoon movie. George was running around the courtyard and giggling while the principal and teacher chased him. All the while, the kids in every class that overlooked the courtyard had their noses pressed against the glass, laughing and cheering on their destined-for-detention hero.

George never finished high school; he didn’t even finished Grade 9. With the trouble he was in, his guidance counsellor told him he might as well drop out because he wasn’t going to amount to much. If that wasn’t enough, the school board got him his first job putting Jolly Jumpers together at a factory for developmentally challenged adults.

George spent the next 10 years swinging from job to job, to evening school and back to another job again and again. He was direction-less and often in trouble. Finally, his grandparents ran out of options and kicked him out. While living in a park, he ended up in the hospital after an accident in a stolen car. His mom then took him home to her place. George and his mom loved each other dearly, but it did not work well. He and Tabitha had just started dating, so he moved into her family’s home, but Tabitha’s family had their own struggles. At the ripe age of 17 George and Tabitha knew they were better on their own, so they moved out.

When George was 20 and Tabitha was 19, they got married. The odds were stacked precariously against the young couple. George’s job prospects were limited and they had no one but themselves to rely on. The two of them did have one thing in their favour; they were dreamers. They believed they could create something better than what they had been shown.

By the time George turned 25, he and Tabitha had established a solid home for themselves. He knew he was ready for further training and he got admitted to a reputable engineering program under the school’s mature student program with two requirements. He had to complete high school equivalency exams in English and Math. The English was fine. The Math was not.

That summer, just weeks before his college program was to begin, the local adult education centre insisted he complete Grade 11 Math before starting the Grade 12 Math. It was going to delay him from starting at the college, so he negotiated a never-been-done-before short cut. After passing the Grade 11 Math test – without taking the course – he completed his Grade 12 in a few weeks with flying colours! Just in time to start the engineering program in the fall.

Today, George and Tabitha have created a solid, loving home. What they needed but were not given in their youth, they have created for themselves and their daughters. Living outside “the box” they have defied all the odds and become enormously successful in all areas of their lives and they are still dreaming. Last year they bought their first investment property and have now become landlords. The sky truly is the limit for them, yet the joys and comforts of home are what mean the most.

George just loves these sherry potatoes. They are true comfort food. He says to be sure to cover all the potatoes well with the sherry and butter mix.


Sherry PotatoesAmontillado sherry

Olive oil spray
3-4 medium sized potatoes cut thin into ¼ ” slices (½ cm)
¼ cup melted butter
¼ cup dry sherry
salt and pepper

Layer the sliced potatoes in a casserole dish that was sprayed with olive oil. Mix the melted butter and sherry together and pour the mixture over the potatoes. Be sure to cover the potatoes well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Bake uncovered at 375°F for an hour.


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