Vegetarian Experiment: Recipe Recap #1
March 6th, 2010

In conjunction with my current vegetarian experiment I am trying many new recipes these days.  (I am determined not to spend the month of March eating pasta and peanut butter.)  So, in order to bring you along for the ride, I will be reviewing the vegetarian dishes I have made.  Most are new, but some are old favorites.  Enjoy! 

Note: The title of each dish links to the recipe.  The Source link goes to the website’s homepage.

Artichoke and Leek Lasagna
Source
: Williams-Sonoma
Difficulty
:  Medium.  If you’ve never prepped a fresh artichoke before, they can be a little tricky.  Before you try it for the first time I recommend watching a video of the process so you can get a better idea of what you’re doing.  Other than the artichoke-peeling process, it was all very manageable.
Labor: High.  This would be a great meal for entertaining because all the work can be done ahead of time and you can just slide the thing in the oven when your guests arrive.  I would not recommend it for a weeknight supper.  I made it on Monday night and it turned out to be an overly ambitious project.  I started it around 7:15 after IEP went to bed.  It wasn’t ready to go into the oven until 8:30 and we didn’t sit down to eat until 9:20. 
Overall Results:  Really wonderful, and completely worth all the effort!  Great balance of flavors.  Five cloves of garlic seemed like a lot, but they don’t overwhelm the dish at all.  I ate several portions left-over and it reheats beautifully.  I served it with a tossed green salad, which was a perfect accompaniment.    

Cabbage and Mushroom Galette
Source
: Smitten Kitchen
Difficulty
:  Medium.  The filling is super simple.  But pastry is one of those things that can be temperamental.  Deb’s recipe came together more easily than most, though.  And even if you’re a pastry virgin you should be able to handle this one without much trouble.  Just be sure you keep your dough-rolling surface well-floured.  And roll the pastry up over your rolling pin to transfer it to your baking sheet to avoid tearing it in transit.
Labor: Medium.  This is scratch cooking, so it’s not going to be on your plate in 15 minutes.  I’d say, from the time I started slicing cabbage to the time it went in the oven was about an hour.  But most of that time was inactive, meaning that I was just periodically stirring the cabbage in the pot while doing other things around the kitchen.
Overall Results:  Crazy delicious.  I swapped white whole wheat flour for the all-purpose flour (just because it was what I had on hand) and it gave the dish an extra earthiness that I really loved.  I’m not a big anise fan, so I left out the tarragon, and used white wine vinegar instead of the tarragon infused vinegar (which I didn’t have anyway).  Be judicious with the vinegar at the end.  It gives the dish a wonderful zing, but it would be easy to overdo it.  I ate it leftover for lunch at work on Friday and the pastry was a tad soggy after a round in the microwave, but didn’t suffer too much.  If I’d been reheating at home I probably would have done 30 seconds in the microwave to get the filling going, followed by about ten minutes in a 375 degree oven to put some starch back into the pastry.  (Mom, if you’re reading, this dish is right up your alley!) 

Italian Hummus
Source
: Food Network
Difficulty
: Easy
Labor: Low.  As long as you have a food processor you can whip this up in about 5 minutes.
Overall Results: A great staple.  I’ve been making this dip for a few years now and it’s become an old favorite.  The parsley gives it a pale green color.  If you don’t care for that you can easily omit the parsley and the dish won’t suffer.  This is a great snack with pita chips or veggies.  But my favorite way to eat it is spread on the inside of a toasted pita pocket with a few slices of fresh mozzarella and some strips of fresh red and yellow bell pepper.  It makes a perfect springtime sandwich.

Simple Potato Gratin
Source
: Smitten Kitchen
Difficulty
: Easy.  If you can slice potatoes and grate cheese then you can make this dish.
Labor: Low.  This would have been a snap if I’d had a mandoline, but I had to slice the potatoes by hand.  Even still, it wasn’t that much work. 
Overall Results: Very tasty.  I added a layer of sautéed shitakes (with minced thyme) between each layer of potatoes which added some heft to the dish, along with a greater depth of flavor that I really liked.  I added the pats of butter at the end as called for, but may leave them out next time as the dish was already plenty rich.  Served with a salad for me, and added grilled sausages to the meal for GAP and my mother-in-law who is in town visiting this weekend.  I will certainly be making this again.  Smitten Kitchen hasn’t let me down yet!

Roasted Vegetables
Source: My own head (but probably subconsciously inspired by Ina Garten who roasts everything)
Difficulty: Easy
Labor: Low
Overall Results: Solid.  Sometime in December I decided to roast some broccoli, rather than steaming it, and we never looked back.  I’ll warn you, it’s not as pretty roasted as steamed.  But the flavors are worlds better.  It caramelizes in the oven and there’s a subtle sweetness that comes through the salt and pepper.  You can use this method for potatoes, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, onions, along with the broccoli and cauliflower listed below.  For potatoes you’ll want to extend your cooking time to 30 minutes, and for peppers and onions you’ll probably want to cut it back to 15. 

Ingredients:
1 head broccoli, cut into florets
2 cups cauliflower florets
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Scatter broccoli and cauliflower on a large cookie sheet.  Drizzle liberally with olive oil (probably ¼ cup).  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Toss with your hands to evenly coat the vegetables in the oil and seasonings.
  3. Roast in oven for 20 minutes, stopping to turn vegetables with tongs halfway through. 

Raspberry Yogurt
Source: My own head
Difficulty: Easy
Labor: Low
Overall Results: Very good.  I’m skeptical of all the artificial sweeteners and dyes that are added to commercially flavored yogurt, so I made up my own version.  I take this to work for my mid-morning snack.

Ingredients:
1 quart low-fat or nonfat plain yogurt (I find that low-fat is a bit mellower and less zingy than nonfat)
1 bag frozen raspberries
Honey

Directions:

  1. Transfer frozen raspberries to a plastic container and let thaw in fridge overnight.  They will be very runny when thawed.
  2. Spoon desired amount of yogurt into a bowl (about ½ cup).  Spoon desired amount of raspberries on top of yogurt (about ¼ cup).  Drizzle with honey (a teaspoon or two), and stir thoroughly to combine.
  3. Makes about 8 servings total.

4 Responses to “Vegetarian Experiment: Recipe Recap #1”

  1. TheKitchenWitch Says:

    Thanks for the information! Sounds like you are doing a great job with Veggie Month!

  2. Nicki Says:

    YUM!

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