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special dinner ideas - vegetarian and limited resources

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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. 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

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

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

      1. 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

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

            1. What about chana masala - a chick pea dish? I've made this one, it's simple and quick:
              http://orangette.blogspot.com/2006/02...

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

                1. 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.