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Jewishy- Italiany Vegetarian Holiday menu feedback please!

shindiganna Dec 15, 2009 03:41 PM

This year, for the first time ever, we will be hosting my parents, brother and sister in law for Christmas luncheon. Since dear hubby and I are a couple of hippie pagans, this is a pretty big deal. As is my family's tradition, we will have at late lunch then spend the evening with relatives for Dom Deluise (remember the commercial with the giant antipasto? "Do you think it's enough?") inspired cocktails. Since that will be a cured pork products feast, I think a vegetarian dinner will be a good balance.

This is the menu so far
App: Potato Pancakes with Sour Cream and Applesauce (nod to hubby's Jewish heritage)

Salad: Mesclun with Clementines, Walnuts and Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie
(kale, celeriac, carrot, leeks, fennel hash with butternut squash puree)
Fresh Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower with garlic, romano and pine nuts


Vegetarian Lasagna with winter veg
Roasted Cauliflower

Dessert: Fig and Walnut Tart, Cookies

I'm pretty nervous about this. Any and all suggestions are welcome!

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  1. westsidegal RE: shindiganna Dec 15, 2009 04:24 PM

    i'm not seeing very much protein in that lineup.

    normally, if i'm serving vegetarian food to non-vegetarians, i make sure that several of the dishes are cheese-centric so that they get that 'full" feeling that they are used to getting when they eat meat.

    3 Replies
    1. re: westsidegal
      Boston_Otter RE: westsidegal Dec 15, 2009 04:31 PM

      Kale, squash, and "winter veg" all have plenty of protein.

      1. re: westsidegal
        mcf RE: westsidegal Dec 15, 2009 04:33 PM

        The absence of protein and the high sugar/starch load jumped out at me, too. I'd make an effort to fill that lasagna with some protein rich cheeses for a little more balance. Or you could consider making the shepherd's pie with some Eden black soybeans and/or tempeh, perhaps? The soybeans are virtually all fiber and protein.

        Sounds tasty, though!

        1. re: mcf
          shindiganna RE: mcf Dec 17, 2009 02:38 PM

          Thanks for the suggestions re protein. I'm not worried about lack of nutrition so much as the sense of something missing. Soy products are not popular with this crowd. Hopefully the lasagna will be substatial enough.

      2. f
        fourunder RE: shindiganna Dec 15, 2009 06:58 PM

        Instead of the Clementines......substitute Blood Oranges which are very much entrenched in Italian/Sicilian cooking

        Also consider Roasted Green Asparagus with Parmigiano Reggiano and Roasted Spaghetti Squash

        1 Reply
        1. re: fourunder
          shindiganna RE: fourunder Dec 17, 2009 02:39 PM

          Blood Oranges! Perfect!

          Yum, on the asparagus, but not all that available at the farmer's market this time of year.

        2. c
          cheeseisheaven RE: shindiganna Dec 15, 2009 06:59 PM

          Your menu sounds fabulous...the lasagna might be more filling, but the shepherd's pie and the cauli pasta sounds divine to me.

          1 Reply
          1. re: cheeseisheaven
            shindiganna RE: cheeseisheaven Dec 17, 2009 02:42 PM

            Thanks! the recipe for the Shepherd's pie is here:


            I use winter squash instead of sweet potatoes because that is generally more available at the farmer's market. I think it is a bit "weird" for this crowd, but it is a favorite in our household.

          2. shindiganna RE: shindiganna Dec 17, 2009 02:47 PM

            Thanks for your suggestions! Here is the updated menu:

            Fried Artichoke Hearts with Sour Cream & Horseradish
            Arugula with Blood Oranges, Walnuts and Pomegranate Vinaigrette
            Butternut Squash Lasagna
            Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli Rabe with Garlic and Pine Nuts
            Assorted Cookies and Bishop's Bread (fruitcake with cherries, nuts, dates, chocolates)

            1 Reply
            1. re: shindiganna
              corneygirl RE: shindiganna Dec 17, 2009 08:27 PM

              the chow butternut squash lasagna is so good, and I don't think meat eaters will find themselves hungry. I used hazelnuts instead of chestnuts.

            2. r
              RGC1982 RE: shindiganna Dec 17, 2009 05:02 PM

              Italians have lots of non-meat dishes that are holdovers from meatless Fridays. If you really want something traditional, consider these:

              Canneloni or Manicotti or Large Shells stuffed with ricotta cheese (classic holiday food with red or pink sauce)

              Linguine with cauliflower in a thin red sauce (clear red, thinned out and seasoned with basil)

              Pasta fagioli or Escarole with white beans -- a thick hearty soup for a winter night

              Are you deliberately ignoring seafood and fish? You can easily make a light appetizer of shrimp scampi under the broiler or stove top with garlic, oil, red pepper, lemon juice and oregano. You can serve that over pasta alia oglie (oil and garlic) if you wish.

              I have the Jewish - Italian thing going on too, and I can tell you that if you are pulling meat off the menu, compensate with pasta, veggies and cheese. That will be accepted by all.

              1 Reply
              1. re: RGC1982
                shindiganna RE: RGC1982 Dec 21, 2009 05:32 PM

                Great suggestions.
                Christmas Eve is a major fish feast. My mother hosts a buffet for 16 that includes a seafood lasagna, zuppa di pesce, baccala salad, another salad with octopus, scugille, calamari and shrimp, broiled shrimp...etc. Trying to add a bit of variety to the 48 hours of Christmas feasting.....

              2. d
                donali RE: shindiganna Dec 19, 2009 01:07 PM

                I suggest a nice Italian farro soup, reminicient of Jewish mushroom barley soup

                1 Reply
                1. re: donali
                  shindiganna RE: donali Dec 21, 2009 05:28 PM

                  great idea. we just had cuccia (farro soup) on Dec 13: it is very much like mushroom barley soup.

                2. shindiganna RE: shindiganna Dec 21, 2009 05:37 PM

                  Ok, the menu has morphed yet again

                  Fried Artichoke Hearts with Sour Cream & Horseradish
                  Arugula with Roasted Beets, Oranges and Pecans
                  Mushroom Lasagna
                  Seafood Lasagna
                  Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli Rabe with Garlic and Pine Nuts
                  Assorted Cookies and Bishop's Bread (fruitcake with cherries, nuts, dates, chocolates)
                  and Paula Deen's Gingerbread Trifle....

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: shindiganna
                    LaLa RE: shindiganna Dec 25, 2009 06:07 AM

                    ding ding ding...delish!

                  2. d
                    devixena RE: shindiganna Dec 25, 2009 05:42 AM

                    Although you're not concerned about protein, some of these posts are absolutely wrong. The menu you've described is very high in protein and nutrients. Plant proteins contain the same 22 amino acids as animal proteins -- the highest protein carriers amongst veg: the leafy greens, i.e. spinach (remember Popeye), chard, kale, as well as broccoli. Sounds delicious! Good luck and enjoy!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: devixena
                      shindiganna RE: devixena Jan 6, 2010 09:59 AM

                      thanks Lala, devixena et al

                      The final menu:
                      assorted hot hors d'oevres (frozen Kosher assortment chosen by dear hubby)
                      Arugula with Roasted Beets, Cara Cara Oranges, Fennel and Pecans
                      Mushroom Lasagna (with 3 kinds of mushrooms and fontina)
                      Seafood Lasagna ala Mom (with shrimp and crab)
                      Sauteed Broccoli Rabe
                      Fig and Walnut Tart, cookies
                      Paula Deen's Gingerbread Trifle (ala Mom)

                      It went smoothly....

                      thanks so much for your feedback

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