vegan poutine

celebrate the 2008 Year of the Potato with this French Canadian favourite

3 large potatoes, or more smaller ones
1 tbs. sea salt for soaking
cold water
1 tbs. grapeseed, peanut or other high temperature cooking oil

wild mushroom gravy:
1 cup of fresh wild mushrooms (or soaked dry ones - shitakes work too)
3 large cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of fresh parsley
1.5 tbs. corn starch
1/2 ts. soy sauce
1/4 ts. ground black pepper
1 ts. of vegan margarine
2 cups of water

1/4 wheel of mozzarella Sheese

In a large bowl dissolve salt into cold water (about 3/4 of the bowl). Slice potatoes length-wise either into either squares or wedges no more than 1.5cm thick. Add sliced potatoes to salt water to soak for at least 10 min. (the longer the better, but cover and keep in the fridge if left more than 30min. Soaking the fries makes their pore spaces fill with water so they are firmer and suck up less oil).

Finely chop mushrooms, garlic and parsley. Heat margarine in a small pot on medium heat. Add mushrooms and garlic - simmer until golden. Add water, pepper and fresh parsley. Simmer for about 30 min.

While simmering, preheat oven to 475F. On a cookie sheet add oil and distribute evenly with a brush or fingers. Drain fries and spread evenly on cookie sheet. Bake in oven at 475F - flip after 15 min., then cook another 10min. to get them really crispy.

Add soy sauce to gravy and blend with a hand or regular blender (careful it's hot). Mix corn starch with 1/4 cup of cold water and stir until smooth. Add to gravy and bring to a boil.

Toss fries onto a large plate. Use a carrot peeler (or side of grater) to make Sheese curls fall atop the fries. Smoother with gravy. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 2.