Being away from “home” has really got me thinking about what home really means and where exactly my home is located. Here is a little background, to give some context: I was born in a small town in the Netherlands called Venray, but my family lived in the neighbouring town Venlo. Long story short, my parents drove to the next town over because they liked the hospital there better. After I was born, my family stayed in Venlo for a few years before moving to Winnipeg, Canada. Apparently I was not pleased with the move and refused to speak English for the first while. I eventually gave in and learned English, and then after a couple years in Winnipeg, we moved to Saskatoon. While I have a few childhood memories in Venlo and Winnipeg, most of my childhood memories really start in Saskatoon. We then moved again, for the last time in my childhood, back to Winnipeg. This move confirmed what my parents experienced earlier: I suck at moving. I was so upset, Saskatoon was home and in my mind would always be home. It took more than just a few years to shake that feeling.
But Saskatoon has no real meaning to me now. I shook that feeling by my mid teen years when I really started to develop a life in Winnipeg. However, during my late teens and in my early adulthood, I often referred to home as the Netherlands. Never Venray or Venlo, but the country as a whole. I actually felt more at home in South Holland, a province I never lived in, but where my father grew up.
This recipe got me thinking about home as it was inspired by the Dutch recipe for croquettes. I ate them growing up, but haven’t had the opportunity to eat them since my switch to veganism, made more difficult by my recent(ish) celiac diagnoses.
To be honest, I was mourning a loss when I made these. I turned down the opportunity to study in Amsterdam, where I would have been just a quick train ride away from South Holland. And turning down that opportunity truly felt like a loss. If I went to the University of Amsterdam, I would be leaving one home only to return to another. Instead I moved to an entirely new place, opting to start fresh and entering the unknown.
I’m still grappling with figuring out where my home is located and why. I’m so glad that I have had the opportunity to live in new places and that so many of them have, at some point, felt like home. This sounds cheesy and cliché, but I truly am starting to believe that home is where the people you love are. This was made clear over a year ago, when my father moved to Australia and I visited for the first time. I felt so comfortable and fell in love with the country, and I’m starting to wonder if that was made possible because I was able to share those experiences with family.
I hope that one day I will feel like Montreal is home, but until then I am counting down the days until my friends and partner come to visit. I’m also trying to surround myself with the things that remind me of my many homes, and that is where this recipe comes in.
These wannabe croquettes are me trying to incorporate aspects of home into my new life. They’re a twist on the original meat and potatoes croquette, replacing the meat with jackfruit. They’re a little healthier, only because I don’t actually have a deep-fryer so baking them was my only option. But they’re still delicious!
- 2 tbsp vegan butter
- 1 white onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp celery salt
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 3 cups russet or Yukon potatoes, diced
- 1 20 oz can jackfruit in brine
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 3/4 cup nutritional yeast, divided
- 1 cup chickpea flour
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1/2 cup gluten free bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup aquafaba
Over medium heat, melt the butter in a medium sized saucepan. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add the garlic, spices, salt, and pepper. Cook for another couple minutes.
Prepare the jackfruit while the onions are cooking. Remove the centre "core" and the seeds. Rinse well.
Place the diced potato, jackfruit, water, and 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast into the pan. Let simmer over medium heat until all the water is gone and the potatoes are cooked thoroughly. If you need to add a bit more water to achieve this, feel free to do so.
Remove from heat and mash. Mix in the chickpea flour.
Let the mixture cool for a bit until you can comfortably handle it. Form into logs and place in the freezer to firm up.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and oil a baking sheet well.
Toss together the rest of the nutritional yeast and breadcrumbs in a shallow dish. Place the aquafaba in another shallow dish.
Once the croquettes have firmed up a bit (about 15-20 minutes), remove them from the freezer. Dip each croquette into the aquafaba and then the breadcrumb mixture.
Bake for 20 minutes, then flip the croquettes and bake for another 15 minutes.
Serve with dijon mustard.