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August 2011 COTM, World Vegetarian: Vegetables, Grains, and Dairy

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  1. Green Bean Salad, p. 203.

    Another quest of mine for a tasty side that can be served at room temperature along with simple summer main dishes. (In this dinner's case, oven-baked striped bass from the Legal Seafoods Cookbook.)

    Anyway, this was very easy and flavorful. An onion cut into rings is sauteed in 1/4 cup olive oil with 4 finely-chopped garlic cloves. Then 1 pound fresh or canned tomatoes, also finely chopped, are added (I used a good quality diced canned tomatoes) and after the tomatoes break up (7-8 minutes) a pound of topped and tailed green beans, 1 tsp salt, and 1 cup water are added to the pan. All is brought to a boil, before covering the pan and simmering for 20 minutes or until beans are completely tender. The cover is then removed and the sauce is boiled down over higher heat till mostly reduced. A cup of Circassian Sauce (p.684) is folded in gently and the beans are served at room temperature or chilled. I didn't need to salt the final product much because the Circassian Sauce was both savory and sweet, and the tomatoes needed no pinch of sugar (which I sometimes feel is needed with canned tomatoes) for the same reason. All in all, a very pleasant, make-ahead recipe which could also function on an antipasti table.

    This is not a dish for those who like their beans crisp-tender, but it is a very flavorful side and certainly easy. The beans weren't obnoxiously soft and they did hold their shape. The dish is especially good with the Circassian Sauce on p. 684 which is also very quick to make. I'll review this in the Sauces and Added Flavorings section of this COTM.

    1. Green Beans w/ browned shallots (half recipe) p. 206

      Nothing new here, but a reminder to me that sometimes less is more. It’s too early for my garden yet, but fresh green beans are everywhere and this looked like a quick, uncomplicated recipe to make late on a Saturday. I often eat green beans with browned shallots or onions, but typically add thyme and sliced almonds. Boil green beans in salted water and shock in cold water to stop cooking and drain. Brown thinly sliced shallots in olive oil, then add beans until heated through and season with salt and pepper. I used 1 T of oil instead of the 1.5 called for and think I could use even less next time. The recipe says to serve them hot, but I did not mind munching on these at room temperature either. The Mr. ate these without resistance.

      2 Replies
      1. re: BigSal

        Sounds delicious. I love munching on room temperature (leftover) green beans, so maybe I'll doube up the recipe. Our green beans have been incredibly good this year, so a nice simple preparation like this is perfect.

        1. re: BigSal

          Green Beans w/ browned shallots p. 206

          I made a slightly modified version of this recipe. I added some mustard seed when the shallots were nearly done and fried until they popped. I had some freshly picked but slightly overgrown green beans, the kind that need a little extra cooking to be tender. So I microwaved them with a bit of water in the bowl, then dumped them into the fried shallots, water and all, and simmered until the beans were well-cooked and the water mostly evaporated. It was delicious! As much as I like quickly cooked beans, I can also appreciate long-simmered ones.

          As MJ says in the intro, the fried shallot taste is surprisingly strong. The flavors of this dish reminded me of the iconic Thanksgiving green bean casserole with fried onions, but without the gloppy cream of mushroom soup. I'll definitely make this again, with either long or short cooked beans. Yum.

        2. Penne with Zucchini and Basil

          I made this for our national night out block party. It was easy and good, I would definitely make it again. It calls for a "good sized onion" and also gave the weight - my good sized onion was twice the weight called for, so I'm very glad she gave the weight! You saute the onion 5 minutes, add the zucchini, and then toss it with the pasta, basil, mint, and parmesan. Good weeknight, summer meal. (Needless to say, I didn't have penne. Or veggie broth, I just used pasta water).

           
          3 Replies
          1. re: sarahcooks

            Penne with Zucchini and Basil, Pg 482 (Italy)

            We made this last night and saracooks is right, "It was easy and good." So good in fact that G had 3 helpings..! I thought it was just OK and didn't finish my serving. But there's nothing wrong with the recipe.

            I used the recommended "good-sized onion", white in my case... 3 medium sized zucchini, and Barilla penne. However, I used 1/4 cup chicken broth instead of vegetable stock or water. So much for vegetarian. We also included 1 tspn crushed red pepper flakes.

            Cook the onion, add the zucchini... cook the pasta and toss it with the zucchini, herbs and cheese. Eesy peasy. I heated up a combination of leftover green beans and grilled potatoes to serve as a side dish.

            1. re: sarahcooks

              Penne with zucchini and basil p.382 in my British edition

              Not much to add to above two posts. This was a good, fast pasta dish. I used summer squash rather than zucchini. The mint and basil added at the end gave it a fresh, summery flavor.

              1. re: sarahcooks

                Penne with Zucchini and Basil
                Made this for dinner tonight, smaller portions became a side dish for grilled pork chops. I used a bit of demi glace instead of vegetable, stock, as we were clearly not having a vegetarian dinner. I would call this an adequate side. The combination of the basil and mint was refreshing and summery, but I wouldn't call it great. I think it might be a nice side with grilled lamb, however. That's probably just the old lamb and mint combination calling me from my childhood.
                Picture of the meal here (don't look if you are a strict vegetarian!):
                http://www.chow.com/photos/664508

              2. Spanish-Style Grilled Zucchini p. 296

                Rather than cooking this on la plancha (cast iron griddle), we cooked this on our grill. Zucchini (we used a combination of zucchini and summer squash) is cut into 1/4" slices, cook a couple minutes per side, season with salt and dribble Spanish-Style Garlic and Parsley flavored olive oil (oil and chopped garlic is simmered for 5 seconds, when the oil cools, salt and chopped parsley is added). Another simple and repeatable recipe. The garlic oil adds a nice touch. We also used the flavored oil for our grilled bread.

                Spanish-style Grilled Portobello Mushrooms p. 248

                We also chose to grill this rather than cook it a la plancha. Grill portobello, season with salt, dribble with the flavored oil and garnish with parsley. Quick and easy.

                1 Reply
                1. re: BigSal

                  Spanish-Style Grilled Zucchini, p. 296

                  I'm always interested in grilled recipes that I can duplicate in my non-grill kitchen, and this one works fine with a cast-iron skillet. I also liked the Spanish-Style Garlic and Parsley-flavored Oil with it (p. 665) , which Big Sal has described very well above. The green and yellow summer squash browned and tenderized nicely in my hot pan in 4 minutes. With the oil on hand, this could go together very quickly! Be ready to serve with dispatch, however--I noticed that the squash softened up quickly as it waited to be served.

                2. Corn with Ginger, page 171.

                  I made this dish as a side to grilled salmon. The preparation begins by heating peanut oil, to which cumin seeds are added and sizzled. Then chopped ginger goes in, followed by chopped tomatoes. After the tomatoes are slightly reduced, a bit of salt and sugar are added, along with corn kernels, and chopped chiles (optional, but I used them). When the corn is done, chopped cilantro is tossed into the mix.

                  I used a green heirloom tomato along with the red tomato, and I used a combination of jalapeno, serano, and yellow chiles, small amounts of each.

                  MJ states this recipe hails from India, but I think it would be a compatible side with many different entrees. Simple dish, bright and summery, lovely flavors. It could be made with frozen corn also, for a year around side dish.

                   
                  10 Replies
                  1. re: L.Nightshade

                    Sounds delicious -- lovely bowl, BTW.

                    1. re: pikawicca

                      Thank you pikawicca, it was delicious.
                      I know that food photographs better on white plates, but I get bored with them sometimes!

                    2. re: L.Nightshade

                      I love this as a different kind of "fried corn," which the DH makes frequently with less intense flavors. This sounds delicious.

                      1. re: L.Nightshade

                        Corn with Ginger, p. 171.

                        I also made this tonight as a side with Vietnamese Braised Scallops ("All About Braising" by Molly Stevens.) I mention this because LNightshade suggests that this would be compatible with many different entrees, and indeed it is. LNightshade has described it well: a relatively simple salad/side dish with a lot of flavor and freshness, thanks to the ginger and cilantro. I also used the optional "fresh hot green chile" (a jalapeno in my case) and it was just right. I even used good canned diced tomatoes since my home-grown tomatoes are still quite green ;-( and to my taste and my guests, this was fine. I used fresh-grated corn off the ear, and it was sublime.

                        1. re: L.Nightshade

                          Wow, with two positive reviews, this is going on my to-try list. Thanks for mentioning it. Would have passed it by.

                          1. re: LulusMom

                            Sweetcorn with ginger p.66 in British edition

                            Isn't it funny how so many of us are choosing the same recipes even with 638 recipes in the book? Of course that is one of the benefits of COTM - read someone else's glowing review and that recipe is suddenly so much more appealing.

                            I thought this was a great, quick and easy side, though actually I used it as a pasta sauce. I had 3 lovely ripe tomatoes and a couple of ears of corn and it all came together in 15 minutes. It had nice flavor nuances from the cumin, ginger and cilantro. Definitely one for regular rotation.

                            1. re: JaneEYB

                              Are you in the UK Jane? I notice that British recipes use the term "sweetcorn." I was wondering if that term is used for any corn, or if it implies a certain type of corn.

                              1. re: L.Nightshade

                                Sweetcorn is corn on the cob, or more usually, off the cob in the form of tinned or frozen kernels.

                                1. re: L.Nightshade

                                  Corn terminology in the UK is bewildering: "Corn" means all grains (therefore, a corn-fed horse is fed grain of some kind, possibly just oats.) Corn generally, particularly field corn fed to animals, is "maize." Corn that people eat is "sweetcorn."

                                  1. re: pikawicca

                                    That is a helpful clarification. I didn't understand greedygirl's explanation of sweetcorn being corn from the cob. Isn't all corn from a cob? But you've put it into a context that makes sense. Thanks.