February 24, 2010

Party treats

To celebrate getting another year older, I had a few friends over and tried out some new recipes.

Seven Layer Salad:

seven layer salad

From epicurious. I had never made or even had this American “classic” (according to SB). The presentation, for a salad, was classy and it tasted even better. I used all my favorite salad items plus the peas and cheddar cheese. The salad dressing was the real knock-out success. Next time I need a naughty, delicious dressing I will make this.

Roasted Almonds with Rosemary:

almonds

From epicurious. These nuts were amazing. They had the perfect crispy coating and were so easy. I would never have thought of using egg whites as the binding agent but it worked like a charm. I will be making these again.

Medjool Dates with Cheese:

dates with cheese

No recipe for this one. Just find good dates. I like the bulk ones from Whole Foods and good cheese, like Hook’s five year cheddar or a local chevre. Slice the dates in half lengthwise and fill with cheese. This also makes a great snack.

December 7, 2009

Beet Loaf

Beet loaf was the center piece of my Thanksigiving dinner this year. I adapted the recipe from Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything Vegetraian”.

Beet Loaf
2 lbs beets, trimmed, peeled and grated
1 cup packed pitted dates or dried plums (prunes)
1 cup almonds
2 inches peeled ginger, cut into coins
1 cup bulgur
1 1/2 cups boiling red water
2 Tbs Dijon or other mustard
1/4 cup evo or butter
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Cayenne optional to taste
Red Pepper Flakes option to taste

In a food processor, grate the beets. Switch to the regular blade and add the dates, almonds and ginger. You may have to do this in batches. Grind until a fine mulch but not a pulp. In a bowl mix the wine and bulgur, then add the beet mixture and begin seasoning. Let stand, covered for at least 20 minutes. Taste again and refine the flavor. Grease a 6 cup loaf pan. Press mixture into pan, cover with foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake another 30 minutes. It will be hard to tell if it is done because of the dark color of the loaf, but any amount of done-ness will work.

I found the flavor of this loaf to be very good, but the mixture itself did not stick together. I plan to turn the leftover loaf into burgers and will probably add an egg or two to give it some more binding power.

This loaf is great served with mustard or a horseradish sour cream dip.

December 1, 2009

Thanks Given

I’ve often been asked what the heck I eat for Thanksgiving, as if being a vegetarian means that without Turkey I will have nothing. This year we hosted dinner for four at our apartment and somehow I found a few things to make. In the photo above, going clockwise from the biscuit:
1. Baking powder biscuits, made with butter.
2. Mashed sweet potatoes with orange juice, nutmeg and butter (CSA)
3. Homemade cranberry sauce by SB with local cranberries
4. Coleslaw with California Dates by my Mom
5. Classic stuff or dressing from the bag, gussied up with veggie soup stock, apples and onions
6. Beet loaf with red wine, bulgar wheat and almonds (CSA)
7. Mashed potatoes with seasoning and butter (CSA)
8. (On the side) Cashew gravy with cashews, soy sauce, corn startch, and poultry seasoning
9. (Not pictured) Pumpkin cheesecake bars by SB and soooo good

The beet loaf was a new experiment this year, based on a Mark Bitman recipe. While I thought it was good and it received praise, I think it will be better as burgers rather than in loaf form. It also just wasn’t quite the harmonious loaf item that I wanted it to be. Next year I will try a different recipe, something with brown rice. Speaking of next year, I also want to try making my own dressing, maybe with chetnuts (a la Jeff), rather than buying the bag. I admit, bagged stuffing does have a soft spot in my food loves, much like boxed mac-n-cheese.

Another great vegetarian Thanksgiving. There’s plenty to be thankful for in that.

November 11, 2009

Birthday Galette

apple galette

For SB’s birthday this year he requested, not cake, not something frosted, but a simple, rustic apple galette. I started making galette’s after getting a copy of Deborah Madison’s “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone”. A galette is basically a free form pie and can be filled with just about anything from sweet to savory and can be made in different sizes, thus the free form bit. I’ve become a big fan and have been surprised at how easy and impressive they are.

To make it more than just your ordinary galette, I started with cortland apples purchased that morning at the farmer’s market and threw in some dried cherries, to give it a little diversity. Then to further add decadence I made my own caramel sauce for the first time. I didn’t realize caramel making was such an explosive, steamy process and so much fun. Finally I served the galette with a scoop of Haagen Daz five, this new line that only contains five ingredients.

For inspiration I combined Deborah Madison’s recipe with this epicurious recipe, Rustic Apple and Dried Cherry Galette. It was a huge success and something I will make again, though I still did miss some birthday frosting.

October 2, 2009

The Deadly Dip

deadly

Eggplant, the most reviled of the vegetables, both slimy and bitter. What to do when it shows-up in your CSA box?

The first eggplant I gave away and the second one I decided to try making my own baba ghanoush. The best baba ghanoush I ever had was made with oven roasted eggplant, so I knew I wanted to start with that and I made it up from there. It turned out great and I thought I would share it my recipe here.

Ingredients:
– 1 whole eggplant
– 2 medium sized tomatoes
– 6 or more cloves of garlic
– 1/2 cup tahini
– 1 Tbs ground cumin
– 1/4 cup chopped parsley *
– 1 Tbs olive oil
– Juice from 1 lemon
– Salt to taste (I always go light on the salt since chips are generally salted)
– Paprika to taste (optional)

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Lightly grease a pan that is large enough for the eggplant and tomatoes.
3. Wash the eggplant and tomatoes. Core the tomatoes and place in pan. Cut 6 or more slits into the eggplant and stuff a garlic clove in each slit. Place eggplant in pan.
4. Bake for about an hour, until the skin on the eggplant is very wrinkled and pulling away from the meat. It will be difficult to over bake. If you aren’t sure, give them another 15 minutes.
5. Skin the eggplant and tomatoes. If tomatoes are very wet, discard some of the juice.
6. In a food processor combine all ingredients and puree until creamy.

* I received so much fresh parsley from the CSA, plus growing my own, that I made parsley cubes in the freezer, by running the parsley through the food processor with a little oil.

I’m calling this the “Deadly Dip” because both eggplant and tomatoes are in the nightshade family of vegetables Solanaceae, which I am allergic to. This is a dip that I can only eat in very limited amounts, or it is not a fun next 24 hours.

That aside, this dip received great reviews. Enjoy!

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