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special dinner ideas - vegetarian and limited resources

sloped Sep 11, 2006 08:49 PM

My boyfriend turns in an almost final draft of his dissertation tomorrow and I want to save the fancy dinner out for the final, final draft.

Thoughts on a somewhat easy homecooked meal for two in a rural locale?

Here are the parameters:
-comforting and not too complicated
-preferably vegetarian
-only one grocery store available which is dismal and just makes me sad
-limited access to decent produce since I missed Saturday's farmer's market
-it gets down to the 30's here at night so nothing too summer-y

All ideas welcome! TIA.

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  1. MMRuth RE: sloped Sep 11, 2006 08:57 PM

    Can you get arborio rice or an equivalent for risotto? (And, just out of curious, where are you that it is in the 30s - I'm jealous!).

    1 Reply
    1. re: MMRuth
      cheryl_h RE: MMRuth Sep 11, 2006 08:58 PM

      No Sloped, but it's predicted to be in the 30s here in Boston. I'm not ready for this!

    2. pescatarian RE: sloped Sep 11, 2006 09:00 PM

      you could make grilled herbed polenta, grilled tofu that's been marinated, a veggie lasagna or a easy spaghettini with a puttanesca sauce

      1. s
        sloped RE: sloped Sep 11, 2006 09:07 PM

        I hear it is still summer in some parts of the country but it has been fall here (central NY) for what feels like weeks! I missed a warm spell last week while traveling.

        Risotto is a definite possibility since I have a stock pile of arborio rice.

        Pesca - can you send me your recipe for the polenta? Sounds like such a good comfort food for tomorrow night!

        1 Reply
        1. re: sloped
          pescatarian RE: sloped Sep 11, 2006 09:42 PM

          Sure thing:

          8 cups veggie stock (or chicken stock if you don't mind using)
          4 tsp olive oil
          3 tbsp butter
          2 cups instant polenta
          salt and pepper
          about a tablespoon of any dried herb(s) that you like

          Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
          Add veggie or chicken stock and salt to a medium sized pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer.
          Whisk instant polenta into stock and dried herbs and stir constantly for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and add in butter and olive oil. Check seasonings. Pour polenta into a low rectangular buttered dish so it is approximately 1 inch thick. Cool for at least 1 hour. Cut into 2 inch squares.
          Heat olive oil in a sauté pan. Brown each square of polenta on both sides. Transfer to a baking dish and bake in oven for 5 to 10 minutes.

        2. MollyGee RE: sloped Sep 12, 2006 01:44 AM

          Biscuits and veggie gravy (if all else fails get a veggie broth -mushroom if possible - and add it to a roux (melt a couple of tablespoons o' butter whisk in a couple of tablespoons of flour and cook for 2 minutes whilst contantly whisking)) whisk 'til thickened. Sliced marinated tofu and mushrooms. Steamed broccoli.

          1. p
            piccola RE: sloped Sep 12, 2006 03:33 AM

            One of my fave risotto combos: arugula risotto, possibly with a little walnut oil drizzled over, topped with a soft poached egg.

            1. m
              morebubbles RE: sloped Sep 12, 2006 11:14 AM

              What about chana masala - a chick pea dish? I've made this one, it's simple and quick:

              1. p
                pamd RE: sloped Sep 12, 2006 11:54 AM

                I would go with a nice risotto or orzo. could also do baked ricotta/ricotta pie with veggies.

                1. s
                  sloped RE: sloped Sep 12, 2006 06:02 PM

                  Thanks for all of the suggestions!

                  I am going to go with the polenta for tonight and make chana masala very soon - sounds so good.

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