July COTM (Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone): VEGETABLE STEWS & STIR FRIES, GRATINS, CASSEROLES, EGGS & CHEESE
Stir-fried Broccoli, (Mushrooms), and Pepper (with carmelized Tofu), pg 270.
Utilizing Deborah Madison's instructions for stir-fried vegetables on page 260
I took her recipe for Stir-Fried Broccoli and adapted it for use with the vegetables I had on hand....which was everything except the tofu and the mushrooms. Not to worry though, the dish is exquisite, and can well be adapted to any vegetables you have in the fridge, I feel certain.
Chopped onions, minced garlic, chopped ginger are fried in peanut oil then red pepper strips, chopped broccoli were added and stir-fried till tender. Red wine vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce and stock were added and all was cooked for a few minutes longer. The dish was garnished with chopped scallions.
I served this with Fuchsia Dunlop's Dan Dan Noodles (dan dan mian) on pg.87 of Land of Plenty. Mama Mia were they good!!
Cauliflower Gratin with Tomatoes and Feta (p. 281)
Oh, yum. This one's a keeper. I really like the blend of flavors and it has a wonderful middle eastern taste. I did make some changes to reflect my own tastes and pantry. They are:
Omitted the capers (will add them the next time--make note to put on grocery list!)
I used 2 tsp honey
I didn't measure the cinnamon, but I probably added 1/4 tsp instead of the 1/8 called for in the recipe
Same with the oregano (didn't measure--may have been a bit over)
I added a little more feta (I have a bit of a fet(a)ish for the stuff!
I also added about 1/2 cup of chickpeas that I had in the fridge and wanted to use up
This gratin was very well received by my dinner guest. She liked the tanginess of the lemon combined with the feta. I was surprised by how nicely the cauliflower melded with the tomatoes (I used a can of diced tomatoes, as it's too early for them at my local farmer's market). The cinnamon is, in my opinion, the key to this dish. Brings everything together.
I did assemble this ahead of time (except for the lemon and feta) and kept it in the fridge. I took it out about 30 minutes prior to broiling (to let it come to room temp.) I also did this in a toaster oven, so as not to overly heat up the kitchen.
I made this cauliflower gratin yesterday, per this rave review, latte and THANK YOU because it was "scrumptious" as my lunch guest told me. I mostly followed instructions with just a couple of alterations. I used a bunch of plum tomatoes (maybe eight) which I did not bother peeling/seeding. While sauteeing the onion (I used red onion, and one extra clove garlic), I threw in a cinnamon stick and a teaspoon of zaatar instead of the ground cinnamon and oregano, just b/c that's what I found in the pantry. YUM. Like latte, I added a little extra feta and honey. I did include the capers but I find that I can take them or leave them.
By the second day, the cinnamon and honey had deepened a little -- yum, almost a hint of Indian flavors.
I made this slightly ahead of time, then baked it at 400 as described before popping it under the broiler. mmm. I so enjoyed the tartness of the lemon, the sweetness of the cinnamon, and that sharp feta with the saucy tomatoes and the crunchy cauliflower. This is inexpensive and --easy-- to prepare, a great meal for a weeknight dinner with or without guests. I will add this to my rotation of meals, definitely. It is truly delicious. Yesterday I served with a few tortilla chips, and today with a baguette and butter for scooping. Mmmm.
I made this tonight, and it tastes great -- can't wait to eat some tomorrow when the flavors have developed a little more. My only complaint is that it's rather soupy -- not necessarily a problem when served with something that will sop up the juices (I served it with quinoa), but not what I was expecting. I followed the recipe pretty closely, but I didn't seed the tomatoes, so maybe that's where the liquid came from. I would definitely use more cinnamon and feta than the recipe calls for.
Vegetable Gratin-Souffle on p. 288.
This is my seven-year-old daughter's favorite dinner choice and we make it a couple of times a month around here especially when it's cooler outside. It's fantastic because I almost always have the ingredients on hand to make it as it accepts whatever vegetables and cheese I have around and the rest of the ingredients - eggs, milk, an onion - are staples. It's especially good w/ chopped red cabbage and some carrots.
A few tips. I made it once using whole wheat bread crumbs and it tasted great, but looked less appetizing. Instead of chopping a steaming heap o' vegetables with a knife, I put them in the food processor and pulse 'em twice. The food processor is getting dirty anyways when I make the bread crumbs.
And, maybe it's just me, but making this uses an inordinate number of dishes, pans and equipment. It's worth it, though. Very tasty, hearty and flexible.
Here's a link that includes the recipe. It's the second recipe listed on the page, I believe:
Stir-Fried Roasted Eggplant (p 268)
This is delicious and so easy to prepare. I roasted the eggplant earlier in the day (at 400 degrees, probably about 45 minutes). I cut up a big bunch of scallions, greens included, that I'd gotten at the farmers' market. The eggplant has to cool, so there's a wait period there; the roasting and cooling are the only time-consuming parts of the recipe, and it's a snap to get that done earlier in the day as you do other stuff (or the day before, even).
When I got home, I pulled the skin off the cool eggplant, and pulled the flesh into 1-inch-thick strips. I prepared the sauce (also could be done ahead of time, but just took a minute or two) -- soy sauce, stock (I used chicken broth b/c I didn't make the Stock for Stir-fries she suggests), soy sauce, rice wine (I used rice vinegar), balsamic vinegar, tomato paste, sugar.
Then I heated some sesame oil (she suggests peanut oil) and threw in scallions, garlic, ginger. Cook one minute, then add the eggplant. Cook two minutes, then a few plum tomatoes, chopped, and the sauce. Cook four to five minutes more and ready to serve!
This is delicious, with complex flavors for such an easy prep, and it tastes great with or without rice. I lived in China for a while, and I ate a similar eggplant dish nearly every day for lunch. I'm really pleased with the result here, and I think it's a fantastic light lunch and would definitely impress guests or be a great one to show a veggie (or non) looking for new ideas for eggplant.
Chard and Onion Omelet (Trouchia) p.576
I chose this recipe from the index because I had most of the ingredients on hand. It was very good, worth repeating, and the leftovers were good the next day.
I used nine eggs (to use them up) and, as an aside, I used free range vegetarian eggs - they cost a bit more and the taste is far superior. I also used two smaller pans instead of one larger one, as they were my only broiler appropriate options.
Other than those modifications, I followed the recipe as written using fresh vegetables and herbs. The flavors worked nicely together.
I splurged on the locally expensive Gruyere cheese, but I think a less expensive cheese could be substituted for everyday meals.
My only concern after reading recipes is guessing about "bunches" of scallions, chard, and other ingredients. Approximations and "to taste" should work
I plan to cook from the index, with the season and my seasonal deck mini-garden and a weekly farmers market in mind.
I already consider the book a good investment and am determined to use it through it to make it true!
I made this omelet last night and we both liked it very much.
Eight free range eggs, Bright Lights Swiss chard, a large white onion made up the ingredient list for me. I included about a half length of the stems too because they were so beautiful. Because I didn't have enough Gruyere to make up the one cup called for, I added some grated ricotta salada then the grated fresh Parmesano. Because my broiler seemed to be on holiday last night, I finished the omelet in the pan on the stove top ...I just covered the pan till the top had set. This was more a fritatta than an omelet but it was delicious.
Vegetable Stir-Fry with Fermented Black Beans, p. 263
This is a lot like something I often make without a recipe, but one thing I learned here is that you don't have to soak the fermented beans first (a lot of recipes I've seen say you should). Makes life a little easier. I don't have a wok but used a big frying pan. You can substitute like crazy to use whatever vegetables you like, or have in the house. I used broccoli, zucchini, green beans, baby corn, dried shiitake mushrooms. I served it over glass noodles. Also, instead of making the "stock for stir fries," I just used the mushroom soaking liquid.
I added some tofu, which I marinated in soy sauce, mirin, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, chilli, and sesame oil. Baked in the marinade for about 1/2 hour, then sliced it over the stir fry.
Very good and very easy. And quick, too. A hit with the S.O. as well.
Cottage Cheese & Spinach Gratin, p. 288
This is basically cooked spinach or other greens (I used magentaspreen, a type of lambsquarters), cottage cheese, and eggs, with a bit of seasoning, baked as a gratin. I'm afraid I couldn't bring myself to make it exactly as written because it just looked too bland with only parsley, dill seeds, and coriander as the seasoning. Instead I used a crushed garlic, some Italian herbs, and chopped kalamata olives. Some feta would have been nice. I made half a recipe and baked it in individual dishes. It was quite pleasant though I think it could use even more flavor punching than my additions gave it. Or, as she says, use it as a base for an assertive sauce or relish. It's a good starting point.
Green Barley and Kale Gratin (p. 250) - very good.
I made this with two kinds of kale I bought at the FM. Cook the kale in boiling water and then drain most of the water and puree the kale in the food processor. Cook barley, drain, then make a white sauce with milk or stock (I used milk and chicken stock) and season with allspice and nutmeg. Combine everything adding some cheese. Bake for 30 min. Make sure the baking dish has some room, I did have an overflow issue (I doubled the recipe). I didn't know how much I liked barley or kale.
Everytime I cook from this book, I like it more.