Category Archives: Vegetarian

Tomato and Gruyère Tarte

Tomato_and_Cheddar_Pie1Hi everyone, and happy fall (or spring in the Southern hemisphere)! The herbs in the garden are about to become history when the first frost hits (any time now), so I wanted to make the most of them. Also, I wanted to take advantage of the few farm stands that still have fresh, tasty heirloom tomatoes, so I decided to make this dish — fantastic! The simple, fresh ingredients all come together in this European-style, savory pie. I served it with a simple green salad, and it was a perfect, light meal. I hope you’ll try this before the fresh tomatoes and herbs are done for the season!

3 large, ripe and flavorful tomatoes, sliced in 1/4-inch slices
3/4 tsp salt, divided
1 store-bought pie dough/crust (bottom portion only)
1 Tbsp butter
1 medium Vidalia onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups grated gruyère cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, thyme, oregano, parsley, etc.
1 tsp hot sauce
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place tomato slices on paper towels, sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt, cover with more paper towels and let stand for 30 minutes (you want them to be pretty dry).

Place dough into a 9-inch, glass pie pan. Crimp edges. Line with parchment paper and fill with Tomato_and_Cheddar_Piepie weights. Bake crust 20 minutes, rotating 180 degrees after 10 minutes. Remove pie weights and parchment paper, and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat butter in a skillet over medium heat. once foam has subsided, add onion and 1/4 tsp salt. Cook until carmalized, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand.

In a medium bowl, combine cheese, mayo, chopped herbs, hot sauce, ground black pepper and onion mixture.

Assemble tarte by lining bottom of pie shell with tomato slices and top with the cheese mixture. Place in oven and bake for 40 – 45 minutes, until golden brown (rotating 180 degrees halfway into baking). Remove and let cool to room temperature before serving.

Serves 6.

 

 

 

 

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Grilled Black Bean Burgers with Chipotle Guacamole

Grilled_Black_Bean_Burger (1 of 1)I consumed what seems like a ton of meat at a cook-out on Saturday, so I wanted to grill something meatless. I generally don’t think veggie burgers grill well because they are so delicate (loose, runny, etc.), so I did my best to use binders (flour, cornmeal and eggs) and a technique (freezing) to come up with something that would work well on the grill — I was successful! These burgers held up and grilled easily to perfection, and the creamy chipotle guacamole on top was absolutely delicious. I hope you’ll try them next time you grill out!

2 15-oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 medium shallot, finely diced
1 large clove garlic, very finely grated or minced
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground ancho chili
3 1/2 tsp salt, divided
2 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp lime juice
Fresh corn cut from 1 ear
1 plum tomato, seeded and diced
2 scallions, chopped
1 chipotle chili (from can, in adobo sauce), very finely chopped
1/4 cup sour cream
Lettuce

Combine first 9 ingredients (black beans through ground ancho chili) and 3 tsp salt in a food processor. Process until ingredients are well-incorporated, but not puréed. Spoon 6 equal portions onto a platter that has been sprinkled with some cornmeal. Form into patties, cover with plastic wrap and place in freezer until firm (about 1/2 hour).

Meanwhile, prepare the guacamole by placing the avocados and lime juice in a bowl. Mash with a fork until smooth. Stir in the balance of ingredients (corn through sour cream). Cover and place in refrigerator.

Prepare grill. Remove burgers from freezer and place on the hot grill. Grill 5 minutes per side. Serve with lettuce on hamburger buns that have been brushed with butter and browned on the grill. Top each with a generous portion of the guacamole.

Serves 6.

Cumin-Scented Rice with Peas

Rice_with_Peas (1 of 1)This flavorful rice dish can be eaten on its own with some naan or chapati as a light meal, or it can be served as part of an Indian meal. What make this great for me (aside of course, from the cumin!}, is the ghee (clarified butter). I’ve made clarified butter by cooking out the milk solids, and have used that in Indian cooking, but it is never the same as store-bought ghee. Ghee is what makes this rice dish Indian (to me, at least). For a few years now, I’ve made sure that I have it on-hand in the pantry — it seems to keep for quite a while!. Anyway, please give this dish a try, and let me know what you think. I made it this past weekend with lamb korma, another delicious recipe for which I’ll be blogging about soon!

15 oz long-grain rice
6 cups water, divided
1 Tbsp ghee
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 small onion, finely diced
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
1 tsp salt

Rinse rice well in cold water, changing the water until it is no longer cloudy.

Place rice and 4 cups cold water in a medium bowl and let stand 30 minutes; drain.

Meanwhile, heat ghee in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and stir for a few seconds. Add onions and sauté 8 minutes, or until onions begin to brown. Stir in peas, rice and salt. Stir-fry for about 4 minutes. Stir in 2 cups cold water, turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to very low, cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff rice with a fork. Cover, and let stand for at least 5 minutes. Serve as a component of an Indian meal.

Serves 6

Leek and Potato Soup with Pearl Barley and a Hint of Nutmeg

Potato_and_Leek_Soup1 (1 of 1)Here’s a hearty fall soup with German roots. It has two of my favorite ingredients:  leeks and nutmeg, which are key to this dish (well, so is the butter). The barley adds a very nice texture and flavor, as well. I’ve had this soup before where it is practically all white because of the broth that was used, but for this recipe, I prefer to use a dark, rich vegetable stock (I used Kitchen Basics). This soup is very easy to make, yet it is very flavorful — I tend to cook recipes with long ingredient lists, but I have to remind myself now and again that simple is elegant and often better! I hope you’ll give this dish a try!

8 cups vegetable stock
1 large leek, finely chopped (white part only)
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 lb red potatoes (about 2 large), peeled and cut into a 1/4-inch dice
1/2 cup pearl barley
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (or more)
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, add vegetable stock and stir in leek, salt, black pepper and nutmeg. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium and simmer 10 minutes.

Stir in potatoes, turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 15 minutes.

Stir in barley. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 45 minutes. Stir often, so that the barley doesn’t stick to bottom of pot. Stir in butter, and season with additional salt, if desired (I added another 1 tsp salt, which seemed about right). Serve hot, garnishing with parsley and plenty of Parmesan. Fresh, crusty bread is a must with this soup.

Serves 4.

Greek Stewed White Beans with Tomatoes, Oregano and Olive Oil

Fasolada1 (1 of 1)My best friend growing up is half Greek. Her family often had me over for dinner. The meals were always spectacular, and typically featured Greek cuisine. This is where I tasted my first fasolada (φασολάδα). It was delicious! It’s a comfort food in Greece, and I’ve finally decided to make it myself — I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner because it is so simple to prepare, and I think this version is really good. I remember my friend’s mother’s version as having more tomatoes and less carrots, and lots of olive oil (and I’ll try that next time), but again, I really enjoy this version. Give it a try and let me know what you think! (Note:  this also does well in a slow cooker, on low, 7 – 8 hours).

1 lb cannellini beans, soaked overnight or flash-soaked by bringing to a boil in 8 cups cold water, boiling 2 minutes, removing from heat and letting stand for 1 hour, then draining
1 large onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 28-oz can whole, peeled tomatoes, crushed in a bowl with hands
2 Tbsp tomato paste
5 Tbsp olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
5 cups cold water
3 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
Additional olive oil for serving
Additional chopped parsley for garnish

In a large Dutch oven or similar pan, bring beans and 5 cups cold water to a boil. Add all other ingredients except salt and pepper (I’ve read that adding the seasoning during the cooking process makes the beans tough — wouldn’t want that!). Bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. My version is a bit thicker than others, so add additional water if you prefer soupy. Remove from heat, season with the salt and pepper. Garnish individual servings and drizzle with a bit more olive oil and parsley. Serve with crusty bread.

Serves 6.

Baked Mac and Cheese with Gruyère, Cabbage and Sage

Mac_n_Cheese1 (1 of 1)What could possibly be better than the combined flavors of garlic and sage! Add cheese and throw in some pasta, bake it, and you have heaven in a dish! This mac and cheese is delicious, and so easy to prepare. Serve with a green salad, and you have a meal. This recipe can easily be cooked in a single casserole, but I made it in individual ramekins, because I thought they’d be more photogenic. Anyway, I hope you’ll try this dish!

1/4 olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely grated or minced
6 sage leaves, torn into small pieces
10 oz uncooked rigatoni pasta
1 large Yukon gold potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
5 cups savoy cabbage, thinly sliced into 1/2-inch strips
1 cup grated gruyère cheese
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat oil in a frying pan over medium-low heat. Add onion and saute about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sage; saute another minute. Remove from heat and set aside.

Cook pasta according to package instructions. Strain pasta, reserving water. Place cooked pasta in a large bowl; set aside.

Bring reserved pasta water to a boil in a pot. Add potatoes and cook 7 minutes. Add cabbage and cook 1 more minute. Strain.

Combine potatoes and cabbage with pasta. Stir in 1/2 cup of the grated gruyère,  parmesan, salt and pepper.  Divide equally into 6 single-serving size ramekins that have been sprayed with cooking oil. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup gruyère (or more!) over ramekins. Place into oven on a cookie sheet. Bake 15 minutes, then broil for a couple of minutes until nicely browned. Serve.

Serves 6.

Thai Stir-Fry of Mushrooms and Tofu

Mushrooms_and_Tofu1 (1 of 1)I’ve been posting a lot of meat dishes lately, writing about meat, even declaring my love of meat in my last post. That said, I’m taking a break from meat. This is simple and delicious vegetarian dish (if you use vegetable stock), and served with steamed rice, is a meal in and of itself. It’s not too spicy (depending on the chili garnish you use), give it a try tonight!

14 oz extra firm tofu
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp plus 2 Tbsp soy sauce, divided
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbsp peeled and finely grated or chopped ginger
5 Tbsp vegetable or chicken stock
2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and very finely grated or chopped
8 oz oyster mushrooms, tough bases removed, cut into 1-inch chunks
8 oz shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, sliced into 1-inch chunks
2 spring onions, sliced diagonally
1 hot red pepper (about 3 inches long), seeded and cut into very fine julienne slices

Drain tofu block and cut into 1-inch cubes. Place cubes in between paper towels and let drain further for about 15 minutes.

Place tofu in a shallow dish. Whisk together sesame oil, 2 tsp soy sauce, ground black pepper and ginger in a small bowl. Add to tofu and toss until tofu is well-coated. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate for 30 minutes.

Whisk together stock, 2 Tbsp soy sauce, cornstarch and sugar in a small bowl.

Heat oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and stir-fry for 4 minutes. Add the cornstarch mixture and tofu, and gently mix for 1 to 2 minutes. Season with a couple  additional sprinkles of soy sauce, if desired. Remove from heat and place on a serving platter. Garnish with the sliced green onions and red pepper (add more red pepper, if desired). Serve with steamed jasmine rice.

Serves 2 as a main dish, or 4 as part of a Thai meal with other dishes.