Vegetarian

These recipes are vegetarian, main courses as well as side dishes

Zucchini Salad With Mint and Feta

Accidental Locavore Zucchini and SquashZucchini never ends.

While you’ve got plenty of zucchini and while we’re still got warm weather, this salad is light and refreshing, quick to make, and you probably have most of the ingredients on hand. Serves 4-6 from NY Times Cooking.

Accidental Locavore Zucchini Salad With Pine NutsZucchini Salad With Mint and Feta

  • 1 ½pounds small zucchini or summer squash
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 3tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1tablespoon thinly sliced chives
  • 2tablespoons roughly chopped mint
  • 2tablespoons roughly chopped sorrel
  • 4ounces feta cheese, crumbled, for garnish
  • 3tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted, for garnish

Slice the ends of the zucchini. Julienne with a large knife, spiralizer, mandoline, or julienne tool.

Transfer to a large bowl. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add lemon zest and juice and toss well. Set aside for 10 minutes.

Add yogurt and toss to coat well. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add chopped herbs and mix gently. Garnish with feta and pine nuts. Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Zucchini Feta SaladMy verdict: Even if you think you’ve had enough zucchini, this will change your mind! It’s a simple summer salad that comes together quickly and is a delicious change from the other thousand ways you’ve made zucchini this summer.

Don’t panic if you don’t have sorrel, it’s a lovely lemony flavored herb to have in your garden, but you could substitute some more mint, a little oregano or thyme and be perfectly happy.

Do panic if you don’t have small zucchini or summer squash or you’ll have a very watery salad. A mix of yellow and green squash will give it some nice color. You could even toss in some julienned cucumber for a differernt sort of crunch.

My guest for dinner the night I made this, quickly finished it off and they’re not the most adventurous eaters.

So, give it a try and it may actually make you wish for more zucchini. What do you think?

 

 

 

Pea Guacamole Recipe

Yes, you’re right. Pea guacamole?

I succumbed.

But there’s a reason. A story.

I needed something to take to a Mexican themed party.

The hostess and I have had an ongoing thing about peas.

She’s pro-, I consider them generally superfluous.

She also has a great sense of humor.

This is a tweaked version of the NY Times piece that caused quite a furor last year.

Pea Guacamole

  • ½ pound frozen peas, thawed (about 1 cup)
  • 2 small jalapenos
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, chopped (or more for taste)
  • Salt
  • 3 small very ripe avocados, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 2 scallions, whites only, sliced very thin
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Juice of 1 lime (or more for taste)

In a microwave-safe bowl, cook the peas with about 1 tablespoon of water for about 2 minutes, until they are just tender. Drain peas and rinse with cold water to stop cooking. Reserve a small handful for garnish.

Halve, seed and de-vein the jalapenos. Cut into small chunks.

In a blender or food processor, chop the jalapenos. Add the peas, cilantro and ½ teaspoon salt. Process until the peas are almost smooth, but still have a little texture.

In a medium bowl, mash the avocados. Add the scallions, lime zest, juice, ½ teaspoon salt and the pea mixture. Mix well. Taste and add additional cilantro, salt and lime juice as needed. Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy!

My verdict: Everyone at the party thought it was great (and finished it off)! I thought it was pretty good, but a little sweet because of the peas.

Would I make it again? No, too much work and too many dirty dishes.

The original recipe called for roasting one of the jalapenos and peeling it. I tossed one on the grill (only because the grill was going) and charred it, but didn’t peel it. If you wanted to toss one or more in a small skillet, you could do that, but I don’t think it’s going to matter in the end result.

The Times also had you shucking fresh peas, a cute idea if you’re making peas for dinner for two, but a huge time suck if you’re making guacamole for a crowd.

When I make guacamole, it’s seven ingredients, a knife and a bowl.

10 minutes, no grill, no Cuisinart, no microplane (zester).

Would or have you made guacamole with peas?

Roasted Artichokes

Accidental Locavore Prepped ArtichokesArtichokes are one of my favorite vegetables!

I could eat them all the time and in any preparation.

When I saw this recipe in Saveur for roasted artichokes, it seemed like an easy way to fix them—just roast them for a while and enjoy.

This serves 3:

Roasted artichokes

  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2–3 teaspoons crushed red chile flakes
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 globe artichokes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Accidental Locavore Artichokes Ready to RoastHeat oven to 500°.

In a medium bowl, whisk together oil, wine, oregano, chile flakes, garlic, and salt and pepper; set aside.

Cut 1″ off the top of each artichoke and gently pull leaves apart to open artichokes. Place them, standing up on their bases, in a small roasting pan or dish large enough to hold them in one layer.

Pour oil mixture over each artichoke, making sure it reaches in between all leaves. Cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 45 minutes.

Uncover, and bake, basting often with juices, until browned and tender, about 30 minutes more. Let cool for 10 minutes. Serve warm with pan juices and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Roasted ArtichokesMy verdict: Sadly, not a winner.

I’m not sure if it was the artichokes or the recipe but they were tough. I used a 450° oven as I was roasting a chicken and didn’t think it would be a huge difference, but after 90 minutes, they were pretty leathery. I wrapped them and tossed them in the microwave to steam them for about 5 minutes and it made them edible.

There was too much taste from the red chile flakes and not enough from anything else so we used some stray hollandaise sauce to liven things up.

Here’s where I think things might have been improved: pre-steaming the artichokes in the microwave for 5 minutes and them roasting them as above.
Or, pre-steaming them, dousing them with the sauce (minus a few red chile flakes and maybe plus some lemon) wrapping them up in foil and tossing them directly in the fire of a charcoal grill.

Have you ever made artichokes this way? How did they turn out for you?

Cambodian Pineapple Salad

Accidental Locavore Pineapple Salad IngredientsWho knew I’d fall in love with a pineapple salad?

Last week I conned my bestie into taking a Cambodian cooking class with me at Brooklyn Kitchen.

The Accidental Locavore did it mostly because I had no clue what Cambodian cooking was all about.

Had never eaten it.

Or cooked it.

It’s like its neighbors Vietnam, Thai, Laos, and uses the five tastes that are essential to that part of the world – sweet, bitter, sour, salty and umami.

One of our favorite dishes was this pineapple salad. It makes a big bowl of salad, depending on the size of your pineapple.

Cambodian Pineapple Salad

Salad:

  • 1 medium pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 1” chunks
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and julienned
  • ¼ cup mint leaves, sliced thin
  • ½ bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped (include stems)
  • ¼ cup roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 scallions, sliced thin

Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime and 1 lemon
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 Thai or serrano chile, thinly sliced
  • 1/2” piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • ¼ cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 teaspoon sambal sauce (or Sriracha)

Place all the salad ingredients in a large bowl.

To make the dressing, put all the ingredients in a small container with a (tight) lid. Shake to combine. Taste and adjust the lemon, fish sauce and chile to taste.

Pour over the salad, toss, serve and enjoy!

My verdict:

I guess it’s time to change (or open my mind) about sweet ingredients with savory ones. This pineapple salad is a perfect example. It’s not something I would normally make, but it was my favorite dish of the class! The dressing would be good on all kinds of things, like chicken, fish or shrimp.

As a matter of fact, everyone at my table thought the whole thing would make a wonderful ceviche!

You can add or remove almost any ingredient. I’d add basil, especially Thai Holy Basil if I came across some. The salad we had in class had red and green peppers, I’m not a huge fan, so left them out of my version. Mango could easily replace the pineapple–you get the idea. Have fun!

I made it and brought it to a Slow Food Hudson Valley meeting and everyone loved it, guess this is a keeper.

Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Stuffed shells used to be the Wednesday special at the pizza place near my office.

Shells and two sides for $6.50. Couldn’t beat that.

It was a family-run place that was there for years.

No more.

And I don’t think I’ve had stuffed shells since then.

These were in the NY Times recently and it seemed like the right time to give it a try.

Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells

  • 1 pound baby spinach, rinsed, or 2 pounds bunch spinach, stemmed and washed thoroughly
  • Salt
  • 12 ounces giant pasta shells
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 to 2 garlic cloves, cut in half
  • 10 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons minced chives
  • 2 ounces Parmesan, grated, about 1/2 cup
  • Pepper
  • 2 cups marinara sauce

Accidental Locavore Stuffing for Shells

Bring a large pot of well-salted (“it should taste like the sea”) water to a boil. Fill a bowl with ice water. Cook the spinach until just wilted (about 30 seconds) and transfer to the ice water, then drain. Squeeze out excess water.

Bring the water in the pot back to a boil and add the pasta shells. Cook about 10 minutes, until al dente, drain and toss with the olive oil. Set aside.

In a food processor fitted with the steel blade chop the garlic. Add the spinach and pulse to chop finely. Add the ricotta and the egg and process until well blended.

Add 1/3 cup of the Parmesan, the chives, and salt and pepper to taste. Pulse until well blended.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Oil a large baking dish (or two 2-quart dishes), big enough to fit the shells in one layer.

Fill each shell with a scant tablespoon of the filling.

Arrange in a single layer in the baking dish.

Accidental Locavore Stuffed Shells and Sausage

Top with the tomato sauce and cover the dish with foil.

Bake 30 minutes. Remove from the heat, sprinkle on the remaining Parmesan, serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Sauce for Shells

My verdict: Delicious! On Frank’s request, I added some hot Italian sausage that I’d removed from the casing, chunked up and browned.

Because making and stuffing the shells was enough work on a weeknight, I used a Tomato and Italian Olive sauce I was given to try. It’s made in Barcelona by Delicious & Sons, but packed and shipped from Poughkeepsie (more about that and them at a later date). It was well named as it was delicious – a good tomato taste and a nice bite of olive here and there (and once I recycled the jar, no one would know it wasn’t homemade)! All the ingredients are organic and there’s nothing your nonna wouldn’t use. My thanks to Ricky for that and an assortment of other goodies I haven’t had time to enjoy!

Back to the shells. I didn’t have quite a pound of spinach, but I did have a lot of ricotta.

Even with that, I had a ton more shells than stuffing. They’re now in a bag in the freezer, waiting for another batch of stuffing.

 

Crunchy Caramel Granola

Accidental Locavore Caramel GranolaOne of the Accidental Locavore’s big issues with granola is that it’s very hard to find any without nuts.

I started making my own because it’s easy and you control exactly what goes into it.

Everything you like – nothing you don’t.

This has some riffs from the original recipe, and they’re both good, depending on your mood. You may have to do some online shopping and find space in your fridge for your purchases, but it will be worth it.

Makes about 3 cups:

Crunchy Caramel Granola

  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup corn flakes
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut, or coconut chips
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons Cara-Sel caramel sauce
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted European-style butter
  • Dried fruit, such as apricots, raisins, cranberries, cherries and additional coconut

Preheat the oven to 300°.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mix together the oats, coconut, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and pine nuts.

In a small saucepan, over medium-low heat, melt the butter with the caramel and maple syrup. Pour the mixture over the oat mix and toss well to combine.

Spread evenly on the baking sheet. Bake until golden, about 30 minutes. Stir every 10 minutes to keep it browning evenly.

Remove from the oven and let cool. Add your choice of dried fruit, chopped, and coconut to taste and mix well.

Store in an airtight canister or a Ziploc bag. Serve straight-up or over your favorite yogurt and enjoy!

 

Accidental Locavore Cara-Sel Caramel for GranolaMy verdict:  This new version with the caramel sauce is really good! If you remember Cracker Jack, it’s like a breakfast version of that!

I’ve been adding a cup of corn flakes since I saw it in someone else’s granola recipe. It adds a different sort of crunch. If you don’t want the corn flakes, just use 3 cups of oats instead.

My choice of maple syrup for this (and everything with maple syrup) is Crown Maple’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup. It’s dark and flavorful with a nice smoky hint from the bourbon barrels.

Interestingly, the quality of the butter really makes a difference! It went from being really good to great when I switched to Plugra butter.

What do you like in your granola?

 

Greek Egg-Lemon Soup: Avgolemono

Accidental Locavore Egg-Lemon SoupEgg-Lemon Soup is my go-to soup when I’m not feeling well.

To me, it’s more interesting than most chicken noodle soups and if you’re making your own, much quicker.

Egg-lemon soup also has the advantage that you know exactly what’s in it (all five ingredients), unlike canned soups.

So, I pull out that classic from the 1980’s The Silver Palate Cookbook (still available if you never got a copy) and have soup in 30 minutes. Makes 6 cups.

Greek Egg-Lemon Soup:

  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup long grain rice
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice or more to taste
  • salt and white pepper to taste

Pour the broth into a pot, and bring it to a boil.

Add the rice, reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for about 25 minutes until the rice is just tender.

While the rice is cooking, whisk the egg yolks and the lemon juice together in a small bowl until well combined.

When the rice is done, remove soup from the heat, and slowly ladle 2 cups of hot broth into the lemon/egg mixture. Whisk to combine, and pour back into the pot. Stir.

Return the soup to medium heat, and cook until soup is just steaming. Do not let it reach a boil. Season to taste. Serve and enjoy!

Eggs for Egg-Lemon SoupMy verdict: As I said in the intro, it’s my go-to when I’m sick. You’ve usually got all the ingredients on hand, it’s easy and tastes great!

I often leave the pepper out, but if you’re going to use it, try to use white pepper, it just looks better.

Some chicken diced up would add protein and you often see this made with little lamb meatballs, but that’s beyond my pay-grade when I’m sick.

And if this doesn’t work, there’s always albondigas.

What’s your go-to cold remedy?

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Accidental Locavore Sour Cream Coffee CakeSour cream coffee cake is definitely a throwback to another era.

It’s comfort food and seems to be making a comeback.

For whatever reason, it’s been on the Accidental Locavore’s radar for a while now.

But there were all those apple cakes.

And then, today, it seemed like the right time.

Months ago, I found the recipe my friend Alan’s mom gave me way back when.

She made the best coffee cake and she finally gave me the recipe (after I swore that the little cactus I gave Alan was in fact a cactus and not a marijuana plant).

This is easy and quick to put together and will always make you feel better.

Accidental Locavore Coffee Cake RecipeSour Cream Coffee Cake Recipe:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup butter (or from the original recipe, margarine)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Topping

  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an angle food pan or 9×9” baking dish.

Cream together sugars, butter, salt, eggs and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and baking soda until well combined.

Add the sour cream and then the flour mixture to the creamed ingredients and beat at a slow speed until very smooth.

In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, cinnamon and nuts for the toppling.

Spoon half the batter into the pan and sprinkle half the topping evenly over it.

Pour the rest of the batter into the pan and top with the remaining topping.

Bake for 45-50 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Serve and enjoy!Accidental Locavore Coffee Cake Swirl

My verdict:

Almost as good as I remembered it! I’d like more topping and more swirl but that’s easily fixed with more sugar and maybe some butter – like a streusel topping. Going back to the apples, they’d make a good topping too (but I’d cut them into smaller cubes).

Since nuts are no longer part of my culinary vocabulary, I used dark brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkled some maple sugar balls on the top.

And if you’re feeling blue about whatever, it’s a great start to the day!

 

 

Brussels Sprouts Gratin

As much as the Accidental Locavore likes  Brussels sprouts any way, every now and then, you need to mix it up, dress them up.

Cheese is always good.

And knowing how to do a béchamel sauce (which technically becomes a mornay sauce with the addition of cheese) is handy for a lot of things—mac & cheese, croque monsieur, etc.

Serves 6

Brussels Sprouts Gratin

For the Mornay sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups whole milk (warmed)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2/3 cup grated smoked Gouda cheese (2 ounces)

For the Brussels sprouts:

  • 1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

For assembling the gratin:

  • 2/3 cup finely grated aged Gouda (2 ounces)
  • Smoked flaked sea salt, such as Maldon or regular sea salt

Preheat oven to 375°.

Make the sauce: Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until mixture bubbles slightly but has not started to brown, about 2 minutes.

Gradually whisk in milk. Raise heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, whisking often.

Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until thickened, 12 to 15 minutes. It should coat the back of a wooden spoon.

Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat. Add cheese and stir until melted.

Blanch the brussels sprouts: Place in a microwave-safe dish. Sprinkle with about a tablespoon of water and cook, covered, for 4-5 minutes until just tender.

Assemble the gratin: In a lightly greased gratin pan, add the Brussels sprouts.

Pour the sauce over the brussels sprouts and sprinkle with cheese and a pinch of smoked sea salt.

Bake until bubbling and golden, about 25 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

 

My verdict: This is a great dish for those who may be on the fence about Brussels sprouts. Like bacon, cheese makes everything good.

Hmmm…speaking of bacon, a little cooked and crumbled would probably go really well in this.

We really liked this. It’s a great side dish to something simple like a steak. You can easily substitute almost any cheese for the smoked Gouda, or even a combination, if you’ve got stray scraps in the fridge.

Topping it with Parmesan and/or breadcrumbs would also be delicious. Just think of it as a Brussels sprouts version of mac & cheese (and it will seem almost healthy).

 

 

Spinach with Garlic and Lemon Juice

Accidental Locavore SpinachSpinach is one of those vegetables that is hard to mess up.

A little fat (butter or duck) or olive oil and it’s a success.

However, there are times when you want it to be a little more…interesting.

The Accidental Locavore was making some Spare Ribs Vindaloo (recipe soon) and wanted an Indian spin on spinach that didn’t require running out for ingredients (I’m looking at you saag paneer).

I pulled out my favorite Indian cookbook Made in India and found this recipe for spinach. Serves 4.

Spinach with Garlic and Lemon Juice Recipe:

  • 1 pound spinach
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 fresh red chili, very thinly sliced (more or less depending on your heat tolerance)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • Juice of about ½ lemon (to taste)

Wash the spinach and set aside.

In a very large frying pan, over medium heat, add the butter. When it starts to melt, add the garlic and red chili.

Stir-fry for a couple of minutes until the garlic starts to turn pale gold.

Add the salt and pepper.

Add the spinach in handfuls, toss to coat with butter. As it starts to wilt, add another handful or two until you’ve used it all up.

Squeeze the lemon juice over the spinach and take off the heat. Taste and add more lemon juice if needed. Serve immediately and enjoy!

My verdict: Oh yes! Sadly, we only had a 9-ounce bag of spinach so I did half a recipe and wished there was more. Lots more.

This was super simple and I’ll be making it a lot—so good!

There wasn’t too much heat from the chili, a serrano, so we could have used more, but we like heat. If you don’t have serranos or jalapenos lying in wait in the freezer (when you have a mess of chilis, wash them, toss in a Ziploc bag and freeze them—you’ll always have them on hand), a sprinkle of red pepper flakes would probably be fine.

Try it and let me know what you think.

 

 

 

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