Posts Tagged Vegetarian

Beet Pot Pie

I think I was overexposed to certain things as a child. Things like ponies and precious little heart-shaped objects and anything pink.

I hate pink. Pink is for little girls and Valentine’s Day cards and Pepto Bismol commercials. It is very rarely allowed to invade my home.

Obviously there’s an exception clause for food. Raspberry tarts and curds, salmon poached in red wine, and anything made with beets can’t help but be pink. If the flavor is assertive enough, I’ll forgive my dinner for looking a bit girlish and twee.

This definitely makes the cut.

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Beets and goat cheese really should never be separated. Puree the two together, bake them in a crust, and you’ve got a delightfully filling vegetarian meal. It is also the most brightly colored pot pie you’ve ever seen.

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The filling and crust can just as easily be made in a 9″ tart or pie tin. I enjoy the deep dish ramekins, but mostly because they provide an excuse to dig in with a spoon.

Ingredients

For the crust:

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1 1/4 cups flour

1 t salt

1/4 t white pepper

1/4 t nutmeg

8 T (1 stick) cold butter

3 T ice water

For the filling:

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3 medium beets

4 oz goat cheese

1 egg

1/4 cup cream

1/4 t white pepper

1/4 t nutmeg

salt, to taste

Directions

First, roast the beets. Rub them with a little olive oil, wrap tightly in foil, and bake at 400°F for an hour or so.

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While those are roasting, make the crust. Combine flour, salt, pepper, and nutmeg in the bowl of a food processor.

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Pulse briefly to combine. Add the butter in chunks.

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Pulse in 1-2 second bursts until the dough is the consistency of damp sand. Add the water and run the machine until the dough comes together.

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Sprinkle the counter lightly with flour and turn out the dough onto it.

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Roll it about 1/8″ thick in a vague rectangle shape (or round if using a pie/tart pan). Butter two 10-oz ramekins (or 4 6-oz ones, or a pie tin).

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One could line things neatly. Or, if one is not talented at doing things neatly, just flop the dough into the prepared bakeware, call the draping parts rustic, and have done with it.

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Put the ramekins in the refrigerator while you make the filling. The food processor is useful again here, so I’m afraid you’ll have to wash it. Put the roasted beets in the bowl.

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whirr

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This is not pink. It is a delightful deep red.

Add the goat cheese and process until uniform in color.

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Now it’s pink. Lament.

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Add cream, egg, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

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Give it another whirl to combine.

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Pour the filling into the crust and bake at 350°F for 45 minutes.

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Serve with green beans sautéed with dried cranberries. Just trust me. It’s a weird combination but oh so good.

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This is just as good as a hot dinner or a cold meal the next day. The filling is very soft. If you feel it would be improved by a bit of crunch, throw a handful of chopped walnuts on top or fold them into the filling before baking.

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Asparagus Tart

I’m a big fan of savory tarts. The broccoli cheddar tart is a winter favorite around here, and quiches filled with spices and greens crop up quite often as well. If I have a few scraps of cheese and a couple of different vegetables in the fridge, there’s a good chance they’ll be thrown together in a tart without any real recipe or planning.

All these things are delicious. Cheese, flaky crust, eggy filling; who could say no? But they aren’t exactly healthy. And that’s a shame, because there’s no reason they shouldn’t be.

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So I tried for healthier. No more all-butter crust: I went with whole wheat flour, olive oil, ricotta cheese, and loads of vegetables. It could be leaner, with low-fat ricotta and broth or low fat milk instead of cream, but I didn’t go there. Honestly I’ve never bought a low-fat cheese in my life and don’t intend to. This recipe is easy to modify. Don’t like asparagus? Try greens, mushrooms, carrot coins, squash, or whatever else strikes your fancy.

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Ingredients (serves 6-8)

For the crust:

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1 cup whole-wheat flour

1/2 t salt

1/2 t white pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

3 T ice water

For the filling:

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1/2 cup ricotta cheese

4 oz goat cheese

1 egg

1/4 cup cream

1 lb asparagus

about 1/2 t salt

parmesan, to taste

Directions

For the crust:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Mix the flour, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Make a well in the center and add the olive oil.

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Stir with a spoon until the mixture is uniform.

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Add the water and knead until the dough forms a ball.

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Press the dough into a buttered tart pan or pie tin. Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes.

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Boil the asparagus for 3-5 minutes while the crust is baking.

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When the crust is done, spread a layer of ricotta across the bottom of it.

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Crumble the goat cheese over the ricotta. Mix the egg and cream in a small bowl.

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Pour the egg and cream over the cheese, and top with the asparagus. Sprinkle the tart with salt.

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Bake at 350°F for 40-45 minutes.

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Serve immediately.

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This crust is different, very crumbly and complex. I didn’t expect to like it; ordinarily I don’t even keep whole wheat flour in the apartment, because the texture annoys me. The simplicity of it with the olive oil, and the soft, rich filling offset that enough to make me go back for seconds on this one.

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Spinach and Potato Quiche

The quiche is a dish that I always struggle with. Not because they’re difficult to make, but because I always want it to be something new and different and interesting. I’m happy to throw together a plain cheese quiche if I want to play with a good strong cheese, but since I have a bad habit of just snarfing down good strong cheeses with apple cider and maybe a few crackers, this is rarely an option.

Adding Indian spices and a great big heap of spinach, on the other hand, is always an option. As usual, I tailor the tart crust to the filling, so the dough is made with garam masala. Chile powder would be a nice addition as well.

Ingredients

For the crust:

1 1/4 cups flour

1 t salt

2 t garam masala

8 T (1 stick) cold butter

3 T ice water

 

For the filling:

1 large potato

2 cloves garlic

about 4 cups spinach leaves

3 eggs

3/4 cup milk

6 oz mozzarella cheese

1 T garam masala

2 t turmeric

1 t salt

1 T dried chiles (pequins, or chopped other peppers, optional)

Directions

For the crust:

Combine the flour, salt, and garam masala in the bowl of a food processor.

Pulse the dry ingredients briefly to combine. Add the butter in chunks.

Process the butter and flour mixture until it looks like damp sand. Add the water bit by bit and process just until the dough comes together in a ball.

Chill the dough for 30 minutes or so. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Roll out the dough and press it  into a buttered tart pan.

Bake, lined with foil and pie weights, for 15 minutes. Set aside.

For the filling:

Chop the potato into bite-sized pieces and boil them for 8-10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Heat a heavy skillet (I love cast iron) over medium heat and cook the garlic until it is aromatic and toasty.

Add the spinach and spices and cook 5-7 minutes.

You’ll know it’s ready when it has cooked down thoroughly.

Add the potatoes and toss to coat with spices and add just a touch of crispiness to the edges. Set aside to cool.

In a separate bowl, combine eggs and milk.

Whisk to combine, and stir in the cheese and salt.

Add the potato and spinach, and peppers if using.

Stir to combine.

Pour the filling into the prepared crust.

Bake at 350°F for 40-45 minutes.

Serve immediately.

I know it’s not traditional to any cuisine. It’s fun and delicious. Mr. B slathers his with Sriracha and has cold leftovers for breakfast. I can’t stand a cold quiche (or pizza or anything else meant to be served hot) but apparently this is just a guy thing that I have to get used to.

In any case, this was a fantastic experiment. I’ll be making it again soon.

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Succotash

Every time I drive down to New Orleans proper, I regret leaving my camera at home. I’ll find myself pulling over to write down the intersection of a building whose cracks seem held together only by the lacing shut of climbing ivy, another house so splintered and broken it’s hard to imagine people once lived there. I have always been fond of broken things, and a great deal of the city is just that. In less broken places, I stare at trees. There’s so much green here. Combine the effects of general clumsiness (made worse by my petulant insistence on wearing heels), the crevasses and undulations of local sidewalks, and this new habit of staring up to follow whorls of bark and twists of branches, and there’s no doubt I’m going to end up falling rather horribly one of these days. But somehow, whenever I step out I think I’ll be too busy to take pictures; better leave the camera at home till next time.

Yeah. That needs to stop.

 

Succotash is a simple Southern dish. I like to pair it with black bean burgers, using the same spices for both and letting the sweetness of the corn balance the savory burgers.

Ingredients (serves 4 as a side)

2 T butter

1 cup frozen lima beans

1 cup frozen corn

2 T mustard

2 t paprika

juice of 1 lime

1/4 cup cream

Directions

This is so easy. Pop the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.

Melt it.

Add the lima beans and corn.

Then add mustard, paprika, and lime

Stir and cook for 5-7 minutes to ensure that the vegetables are no longer frozen. Add the cream and stir briefly.

Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, until most of the liquid has reduced and the lima beans are tender through.

Serve with black bean burgers.

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Black Bean Burgers

I love cheeseburgers.

For those of you blinking in surprise, or perhaps double checking that this is in fact a kosher blog, don’t worry. They’re vegetarian.

See, black beans make even better patties than meat. They’re flavorful and moist and not at all chewy. I can’t be the only person in the world who thinks that ground beef has a slightly unpleasant texture, can I? Surely someone else has noticed this. Black beans, though? Sublime.

This is one of those things that I just throw together in my poor, overworked food processor. I’m sure it would be possible to make without a food processor, but I have not done it any other way, so all directions are going to assume you have one.

Okay. It’s burger time.

Ingredients (makes about 6 sliders or probably 3-4 regular burgers.)

1 slider bun, either left on the counter overnight or slightly toasted

1 15-oz can of black beans, rinsed and drained

1 egg

zest of 1 lime

cilantro (fresh or dried) to taste

1/2-1 t mustard powder

1 t chile powder

1/2 t paprika (not shown)

1-2 t salt

Directions

Tear up the bun and put it in the bowl of your food processor.

Pulse until you’ve got crumbs no larger than peas.

Add lime zest, cilantro, chile powder, paprika, mustard powder, and salt.

Pulse just to combine.

Add black beans and egg.

Pulse a few more times to break up the beans and make a paste.

Form patties with your hands and fry with a little butter or oil (except really, you’re going to use butter, right? Butter is better.) in a skillet over medium-high heat. The sliders took about 3-4 minutes a side to crisp up nicely and cook through. I did not take pictures of this step because my hands were covered in bean paste and I prefer my camera to be not-covered in bean paste.

Add cheese and buns and all your favorite burger toppings.

Serve with succotash. You may have thought fries would be more appropriate, but no. Burgers are meant to go with succotash.

Enjoy!

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Kale and Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Anyone who prefers to eat seasonally should probably look away until autumn. July is no time for casseroles, surely. No time for pumpkin and kale, or the heady scent of nutmeg.

Sometimes I’m ready for fall before it’s ready for me. Sometimes you need a deep dish of savory bread pudding, and who cares if it’s 90 degrees outside after dark? Greens are good all year round, and this recipe prefers silky canned pumpkin to the fresh little ones we won’t be able to find at the shops until September, so it can be made anytime.  If you can bear to turn on your oven in this heat, this is the dish to do it for.

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

1/2 of a baguette, sliced

1 lb kale

4 eggs

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 1/2 cups milk

4 oz cheese (I used half Gruyère and half Drunken Goat)

white pepper, nutmeg, and salt to taste

1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan

Directions

Trim away the kale stems, tear the leaves into manageable chunks, and boil for 2-3 minutes. Drain well.

Arrange the baguette slices in an oval pan or an 8×8 inch brownie pan.

Stuff kale between the slices.

Sprinkle the grated cheese over the top.

Combine the eggs, pumpkin, milk, salt, pepper, and nutmeg in a bowl.

Mix them together thoroughly.

Pour the mixture over the bread and kale and sprinkle the Parmesan over the top.

Wait 5-10 minutes to let the liquid soak completely into the bread. Turn the oven to 375°F while you wait. When ready, bake the bread pudding for 40-45 minutes.

Serve immediately. This would be good with a light salad, but I had no difficulty eating this on its own and justifying seconds by telling myself it had kale in it, so it’s practically health food.

How could anyone say no to that?

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Not Pumpkin Soup

I don’t eat soup. I know it’s strange, especially in these chill winter months, but I just can’t do it. I have a serious psychological aversion to the idea of drinking food. When I eat yogurt, it has to be the extra-custardy kind that holds its shape when scooped. Soup is simply out of the question. So don’t listen to Mr. B over there calling this tasty dish by the abominable name of “cheesy pumpkin soup.” He’s dreadfully misinformed.

It’s called “individual roast pumpkins stuffed with Gruyère.” See? That doesn’t sound anything like soup.

Mr. B slurps his out of a soup spoon just to annoy me.

Honestly, the recipe couldn’t be simpler. You just gut a pumpkin, fill it with cheese and cream and wine, and roast it. Scoop the flesh and filling onto some toasted French bread rounds, and you’re set for dinner. I like to use the tiny individual-sized pumpkins for this, but you can use a 3- or 4-pounder to feed about four people. It’s more fun to have your own, though.

Ingredients (serves 2, but make as many as you need)

2 fist-sized pumpkins (about the size of a salt owl)

4 ounces Gruyère or other good melting cheese

1/4 cup cream

1/4 cup white wine

2 cloves garlic

a pinch of nutmeg for each pumpkin

salt to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F, then decapitate the pumpkins. You don’t want to make a horizontal cut, because that will damage the structural integrity of the pumpkin and it will collapse into a cheesy pumpkin pancake while roasting instead of holding its shape. I made octagonal vertical cuts with a paring knife.

Scoop out the seeds and gooey threads that hold the seeds together.

Place a peeled clove of garlic in the bottom of each pumpkin. Stuff the pumpkins with Gruyère. It’s worth noting at this point that overfilling them will lead to cheese escaping due to thermal expansion while they roast, making a big darn mess in the oven, but you probably aren’t any more likely to stop adding cheese because of that than I was (more cheese is always better, right?), so just remember to put the pumpkins in a roasting pan with raised sides to catch the spill.

Pour a couple of tablespoons of cream into each pumpkin.

Then two tablespoons per pumpkin of wine.

Grate on the nutmeg and toss in a pinch of salt. Stick the lids back on the pumpkins. Bake them at 350°F for 45 minutes to an hour.

Turns out there is such a thing as too much cheese, and it makes a big mess. A tasty mess, but still.

Leave the lids on until you’re ready to serve. There’s something incredibly satisfying about taking the lid off just as you’re ready to dig in and have the contents still steaming hot.

The taste is very similar to fondue, which makes sense because the filling is pretty much fondue. Scoop a mixture of pumpkin flesh and cheesy filling onto a slice of toasted French bread and prepare to swoon.

Full disclosure here: That steamy delicious one? I ate it. I had to get Mr. B’s pumpkin to take the rest of the pictures. I just could not wait another two minutes. These are that tasty.

Just be very clear when you have these, just because you eat them with toasty bread and a spoon, they aren’t soup. Corvids don’t eat soup.

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