"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Recipes–More Vegetarian Dishes

I am not a vegetarian and never will be.  I love seafood too much to ever give up the delicacies of Belons, Willapa Bays, Appalachicola Sweets, Blue Points, and the marvelous harvest of PEI, Cape Cod, RI, and Connecticut.  I cooked vegetarian for about five years, during the time my son ate no animal products; but this was not at all a stretch, for I had cooked “vegetarian” dishes all my life, although I never thought of them as such.  Much of Italian cooking is vegetarian, and I have posted many of my favorites – Spaghetti with Peas, Pasta with Red Pepper and Cream, Spaghetti al oilo, aglio, e peperoncino, Spaghetti with garlic and basil, and many more; and after 5 years living in India, I picked up a lot of excellent and traditional vegetarian recipes:

Alu Ghobi (Cauliflower and Potatoes)

This is a classic Indian vegetarian recipe, and very simple indeed.  The spice mix which I detail below can be used as the basis for any vegetarian recipe – mixed curry (carrots, cabbage, potatoes, peas), alu mattar, potatoes and peas, okra, bhindi (eggplant), etc. The recipe calls for only whole spices, and although there are very good curry powders available (especially Madras Curry Powder), there is nothing like the mix of 10 or more spices…and getting the added treat of biting down on a whole spice!

* 5 medium Yukon gold potatoes, quartered

* 1/2 lg. head cauliflower, steamed, trimmed so only the florets are left

3-4 Tbsp. olive oil

* 4-5 cloves of fresh garlic, finely chopped

* 1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger

* 10 whole cloves

* 10 whole peppercorns

* Mortar-pounded whole spices: coriander, fennel, cardamom, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds

* 1 tsp. poppy seeds

* 2 tsp. ground cumin

* 3 bay leaves

* 4-5 shakes hot pepper flakes

* 1/4 stick cinnamon

- Sautee the spices in the olive oil for about 5 minutes or until the mustard seeds begin to pop.  You want the garlic to brown, but NOT blacken, so a lot of attention is required here.

- Parboil the potatoes and the cauliflower

- Cut and trim so that the quartered potatoes are halved; and the cauliflower trimmed, as above, to leave the florets

- Add the vegetables to the spice mix, toss, simmer for about 15 minutes to combine the spices and the vegetables.

- Garnish with fresh coriander, serve.

Curried carrots with figs and apricots

Carrots are an OK vegetable, but nothing exciting, so the mix and spicing are critical.  This recipe, I think, give the oomph that carrots require:

* 2 lg. bunches carrots – the best are the organic, farmers market carrots, all twisted in weird shapes, but with a strong, fragrant flavor of carrots – cut into 2” pieces

* 3 lg. dried figs (I prefer the large Turkish figs which you can buy at Whole Foods – they should have crystals of sugar on the outside), coarsely chopped

* 3 lg. dried apricots, coarsely chopped

* 1/2 cup pine nuts, dry roasted\

* 1 – 2 Tbsp. curry powder (I prefer Madras style, a little hotter, but any type is ok)

* 2 Tbsp. European style unsalted butter

* 1 bunch fresh coriander, coarsely chopped

* 1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger

* 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

* 2-3 shakes hot pepper flakes

- Boil the carrots until tender, drain, reserve

- Sautee the garlic, hot pepper, and ginger in butter for about 5 minutes, careful not to burn

- Add figs, apricots, and pine nuts and sautee for about 5 minutes

- Add the carrots, mix well, cook for 5 minutes

- Garnish with fresh coriander, pepper

- Serve

Curried Spinach

* 1 lb. fresh spinach, thoroughly washed, steamed, drained, and chopped

* 1 Tbsp. coriander seeds, pounded in mortar

* 1 Tbsp. fenugreek seeds, pounded in mortar

* 2 tsp. poppy seeds

* 1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger

* 3 cloves chopped fresh garlic

* 3-4 shakes hot pepper flakes

* 3-4 Tbsp. olive oil

- Steam, chop spinach.  Be sure to squeeze all water out of the spinach

- Sautee all the spices until the garlic is brown

- Add the spinach, mix well, add salt and pepper to taste.

Spinach with Parmesan

* 1 lb. fresh spinach, steamed and chopped

* 3-4 Tbsp. freshly grated Italian parmesan cheese

* 2 lg. cloves garlic, smashed

* 2 lg. Tbsp. unsalted European butter

* 1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

* 1 Tbsp. flour

* 1 cup milk

- Steam the spinach, chop, drain, being sure most water is removed

- Sautee the garlic and butter\

- Add the flour and milk to make a roux

- Add the spinach and the grated parmesan and mix well

- Adjust for more milk, parmesan, salt pepper, as needed

- Serve

Yam and Squash Puree

* 2 yams (or sweet potatoes)

* 1 winter squash (substitute Acorn or other squash; but the winter farmers market squashes, like Hubbard, are much, much better)

* 1 tart apple (Granny Smith type), quartered

* orange rind from 1/2 medium orange

* lemon rind from 1/2 medium lemon

* 2 Tbsp. maple syrup, preferable the lower grade, darker, less processed syrup

* 1/2 cup cream

* 3-4 Tbsp. sherry (Amontillado preferred)

- Bake the squash and yams at 450F for about 1 hr. or until soft

- Boil the apples until soft

- Put the squash, peeled yams, and apples in a blender and puree, adding the cream, sherry, and maple syrup.  Be sure to taste and then adjust for proportions, adding salt, pepper

- Serve


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