Vegetarian

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

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Crêpes: Mastering My Fear

Accidental Locavore Pile of Crepes Crêpes are simple enough to make.

Or so I thought.

My previous attempts have been pretty disastrous—maybe it was just thinking they were easy and overreaching. Anyway, they made it onto my things to challenge myself to cook list.

Luckily, I’ve got a couple of friends who are crêpe making fans/fiends and one of them recently gave me a private tutorial.

I brought my own pan so that any miraculous achievements could be reproduced at home and a spreader stick that I’d brought back from France (more about that later).

Accidental Locavore Crepe PanWe mixed up her go-to batter and let it rest overnight (not necessary but resting for 30 minutes is a good idea).

The next morning, we got to work. Jan has a special ladle she uses for crêpes that I’m guessing is about ¼ cup. We heated up the pans, smeared them with butter, and Jan poured a ladle full of batter into her pan, expertly swirled it around, let it sit for a minute, flipped it et voilà , a perfect one, first time out.

My first attempt wasn’t too bad, but there was a spot in my pan that lacked proper batter coverage. However, flipping it was simple and I ended up with an acceptable (i.e. edible) crêpe.

A few more later, and I was getting the hang of it, but was still not getting full coverage in my pan, so I decided to try bringing out the French spreader stick. Bad idea. Of all the crêpes we made that day (and we made a nice stack), it was the only one that was a failure. So, I’m going to blame my previous failures on lack of proper equipment.

Jan's Crepe RecipeHere’s the recipe that we used. It’s from an old edition of Fannie Farmer and I particularly like the headnote: “Internationally famous for dessert. Also the basis for some exceptional luncheon dishes and an epicurean way to use leftovers.”

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Butter for greasing the pan

Beat the eggs until well blended. Add the milk, salt and flour and stir until smooth. Cover and let stand for at least 30 minutes (we refrigerated overnight, and let come to room temperature before making).

Accidental Locavore Crepe with Ham and SwissI had some filled with Italian ham and a slice of Swiss cheese and a couple for dessert with a drizzle of my friend Kristin’s amazing Cara-Sel, salted caramel sauce. Both ways were great!

What’s your favorite crêpe filling?

 

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Salmon and Spinach Curry

Accidental Locavore Salmon and Spinach Curry CookingBecause Frank is not generally a salmon fan, I’ve been looking at this recipe from Meera Sodha’s Made in India cookbook for a while. Since cooking more fish is one of my 2019 goals, I took the plunge and started with salmon. Don’t be put off by the long list of spices–you probably have most of them. Serves 4.

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 6 whole peppercorns
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon brown sugar (I used dark)
  • 8-9 ounces ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 jalapeño or serrano chili, finely chopped (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
  • 1 pound spinach leaves
  • 14 ounces skinless salmon fillets, cut into big (2 ½”) chunks

Accidental Locavore Salmon and Spinach Curry PanPut the oil into a large lidded frying pan on medium heat. When it’s hot, add the cinnamon, peppercorns and cloves. Cook for 1-2 minutes until they start to release their aromas.

Add the onions and brown sugar and cook for 12-15 minutes until golden and caramelized. Stir in the tomatoes, put the lid on the pan and cook for 5 minutes until the tomatoes begin to soften.

Add the ginger, garlic, jalapeño, garam masala, cumin, coriander, turmeric, chili powder and salt. Stir to make sure the spices don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. After about 8 minutes the mixture should thicken and look paste-like. When it does, add the spinach, turn the heat down to low, put the lid back on and leave the spinach to wilt.

Add the salmon to the pan, coating it with the tomato and spinach sauce. Put the lid back on and cook for 5-7 minutes until the salmon cooks through. Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Salmon and Spinach Curry My verdict: Frank gave it his highest praise (especially for salmon) “you can make this any time” and the fact that it was so good with only okay (January) tomatoes made me think it would be even better with truly ripe tomatoes (hello August).

Made in India has become one of my favorite cookbooks and everything I’ve made from it has been great. I’ll certainly make the salmon again and go on to some of the other fish recipes that have caught my eye.

I cooked the salmon for 6 minutes and it was perfect (medium rare). If you like it more well-done, go for 7 or more minutes.  I served it over basmati rice. Because it was what was handy, I used a mix of regular and baby spinach and cooked it until it just started to wilt.

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Roasted Parsnips with Horseradish Cream

Accidental Locavore Parsnips With Horseradish CreamOne of the great things about a CSA is that you get to try food that might not be on your regular grocery list. Our winter CSA share has given us a bounty of stuff to play with, the most recent being a bunch of parsnips.

I pulled up a recipe from Deborah Madison’s Vegetable Literacy, for parsnips roasted and served with a horseradish cream, figuring that in my book, horseradish makes almost anything taste good.

Roasted Parsnips with Horseradish Cream

For the parsnips:

  • 1 ½ pounds parsnips
  • 4 teaspoons sunflower seed oil
  • Salt and pepper

For the horseradish cream:

  • 1 ounce horseradish root (about 2” depending on width)
  • 1 cup thick yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Salt

Accidental Locavore Parsnips for RoastingMake the parsnips:

Heat the oven to 400°.

Peel the parsnips and cut them into strips about 2 ½” long and ½” thick. Toss with the oil and season with plenty of salt and pepper.

Put them on a roasting sheet, or shallow pan, where they have plenty of room.

Roast, turning once or twice until browned and tender, about 35 minutes.

Serve with the horseradish cream on the side and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Grated Horseradish for ParsnipsMake the horseradish cream:

Peel the horseradish and grate on the small holes of a grater. You’ll end up with about 1 cup of grated horseradish. In a small bowl, mix the horseradish, yogurt and vinegar until well combined. Taste and add salt as needed. Refrigerate until serving.

Accidental Locavore Horseradish Cream for ParsnipsMy verdict: The taste of the roasted parsnips was great! Much more interesting than their carrot cousins. The horseradish cream was good, nice and sharp, and while I liked it a lot, the parsnips could have stood on their own without it.

Next time I might try adding some spice mix, like za’atar  to the parsnips when I roast them and forgetting the horseradish (or saving it for a steak). What do you like to pair with parsnips?

 

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Wild Mushroom Risotto

Accidental Locavore Wild Mushrooms RisottoDon’t you have some dishes that you love to eat and rarely cook?

Risotto is one of them for me. It’s really easy, just requires a bit of a commitment and you have a delicious dinner.

When I came upon an incredible bunch of chanterelles at the farm recently, I knew immediately what they were destined for.

This is tweaked from Fine Cooking and serves 2:

Wild Mushroom Risotto

  • 3 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade; more if needed
  • 1 handful dried porcini mushrooms, soaked for 30 minutes in 1 cup warm water; mushrooms roughly chopped, soaking liquid strained and reserved
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup arborio rice
  • 2 cups assorted fresh wild mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, and roughly chopped
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a medium saucepan, add the chicken broth and the reserved strained porcini soaking liquid and cook over medium heat. When the broth starts to simmer lower the heat and keep in on a slow simmer.

In a medium, heavy-gauge saucepan over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter.

Stir in the rice, toasting just until it starts to sizzle and pop, about 1 minute. It should not color. Stir the porcini, the wild mushrooms and the wine into the rice.

Accidental Locavore Wild Mushroom RisottoWhen almost all the liquid has disappeared, after about 2 minutes, add just enough hot broth to cover the rice. Lower the heat to maintain a vigorous simmer; stir occasionally. When the broth is almost gone, add enough to cover the rice, along with a pinch of salt. Check on the risotto every 3 or 4 minutes, giving it an occasional stir to make sure it isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pan and adding just enough broth to cover the rice when the liquid has almost disappeared.

Continue this way until the rice is just al dente, about 20 minutes total cooking time. Bite into a grain; you should see a white pin-dot in the center. Take the risotto off the heat. Add the remaining butter and stir vigorously for a few seconds. Add the parsley, cheese and more salt, if needed. The risotto should be moist and creamy, not runny. Stir in more broth to loosen the risotto, if you like. Serve immediately and enjoy!

 My verdict: Great! Need to make risotto more often. I was lucky to have good rice, homemade chicken broth, fresh and dried mushrooms. I like this recipe because the addition of the soaking water for the mushrooms gives it a great depth of flavor. Just make sure to strain it before using it as sometimes dried mushrooms can be gritty.

I was worried that the chanterelles wouldn’t last, so I sautéed them in butter with a little garlic and salt. Because they were pre-cooked, I waited until the rice had been cooking for about 15 minutes before adding them in. They were delicious!

So, pull out some arborio rice, and a chair and make yourself some risotto. 30 minutes later you’ll be happy.

 

 

 

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Eggplant Parmesan My Way

Accidental Locavore Striped EggplantSince I first posted this, it’s become my go-to recipe for eggplant Parmesan. It’s lighter (but still no diet dish) than traditional and I do it in stages when we get a couple of cooler hours in a day. It’s inspired from Mark Bitman’s How to Cook Everything and really good because it’s dredged in flour, not heavily breaded. Serves about 4.

Eggplant Parmesan My Way

  • 3 medium eggplants, peeled and sliced into 1/4″ slices
  • 1 cup of flour (for dredging)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 pound mozzarella grated (about 2/3 of a fresh ball)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • About 30 basil leaves (or a mix of oregano and basil)
  • 2 cups tomato sauce

Pre-heat your oven to 350°. Heat about 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. While the olive oil is heating, pour the flour, salt and pepper into a shallow bowl. Dredge the eggplant slices in the flour and shake off the excess. Saute the slices in the olive oil until golden brown. You’re going to need to do this in batches, and don’t crowd the pan! Let the cooked slices drain on paper towels while you saute the rest. You’ll need to keep adding olive oil to the pan, and it will seem like a lot; it is, but this is not a low-fat dinner.

Accidental Locavore Eggplant Parm My WayWhen you’ve finished sauteing the eggplant, take a gratin pan, or several small ones, and lightly grease with olive oil. Start with a thin layer of tomato sauce, a layer of eggplant slices, a sprinkling of mozzarella, a sprinkling of Parmesan, and a few basil leaves. Keep repeating until you reach the end  of the eggplant. On top of your last layer of eggplant, more tomato sauce, the rest of the mozzarella, a good sprinkle of Parmesan, and your best looking basil leaves (style points). Bake for about 20 minutes until it’s warm all the way through and the cheese is melted. Serve and enjoy!

My verdict: Frank paid this the ultimate compliment last night, when he said I did for eggplant what Bill (the former chef at Rancho la Puerta) did for salmon. In other words, made him love something he’s not generally fond of. This recipe works well because the eggplant is thinly sliced and not heavily breaded. Since sautéing the eggplant, is what takes time, I often do it ahead of time and just pull it out when I’m ready to bake it. We thought, last night, that some Italian sausage might be a nice addition to this, so maybe next time.

Update: This is my go-to way of making eggplant Parm. I generally do add some Italian sausage, crumbled, into the layers. Frank loves this and now looks forward to having eggplants from our CSA share. I ususally find a cool morning to fry up the eggplant and try to do a big batch, as it freezes and reheats well. If it’s going to be hot out, I’ll just carefully bag the cooked eggplant, and wait for a cooler day to assemble and bake.

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Corn Ketchup

Accidental Locavore Corn KetchupIt being peak corn season, when this recipe popped up on Food 52, I thought it was weird enough to either be great, or a disaster. It finally got cool enough to want to stand by the stove, so time to give it a shot.

Corn Ketchup

  • 4 ears corn
  • 1 large shallot, minced (about 6 tablespoons)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice

Using a grater, grate the corn into a large bowl, getting as much corn and juice as possible (about 2 1/4 cups). Save the leftover corn cobs for your next batch of corn chowder.

Heat the peanut oil in a tall-sided, medium sauce pan over medium-low heat and gently cook shallots and garlic with a pinch of salt, the coriander, and the allspice until just beginning to brown. Stir in ginger and cook for another minute. Add corn, coconut milk, and water and scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook another two minutes.

Pour mixture into a blender and let it cool briefly while you wipe out the pot. Blend until very smooth, strain through a fine mesh strainer, and return to pot. Discard solids.

Turn heat to medium-high and add vinegar and brown sugar to corn mixture. Cook, stirring often to keep the bottom from sticking and burning, until mixture is thick—like ketchup (mixture will thicken up when it cools). Turn off heat, stir in lime juice, and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve as you would with ketchup and enjoy!

My verdict: Much like the lobster roll potato chips, blindfolded you wouldn’t guess that corn was the basis for the ketchup.

Which brought up the question, what is ketchup? According to Wikipedia “Ketchup is a sweet and tangy sauce typically made from tomatoes, sugar, and vinegar, with assorted seasonings and spices. The latter vary by recipe, but commonly include onions, allspice, coriander, cloves, cumin, garlic, mustard and sometimes celery, cinnamon or ginger.”

The other question we had, was what to do with it? After a couple of days in the fridge, it was much thicker than traditional ketchup and the flavors of the ginger and spices were slightly more pronounced. It wasn’t enough to make a difference in the burger I tried it on.

The good news is that unlike the tomato stuff from a bottle, I know what went into it, the bad news is that I think there’s a lot of better things to make with a few ears of corn. What do you think?

 

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Spaghetti with Crab and Zucchini

Accidental Locavore Spaghetti with CrabIf you raided my freezer you’d find a stash of crabmeat I’ve brought back from Maine, waiting to be made into crab cakes, a crab roll, or in this case, dinner. Fed 2 happily.

Spaghetti with Crab and Zucchini

  • 8 ounces picked crab
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced (more or less to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed mint leaves
  • 1 medium summer squash (yellow or zucchini)
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed basil leaves, cut in slivers
  • 6 ounces thick spaghetti or bucatini
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon

Accidental Locavore Crab MixCook your pasta al dente. We like to use the FastaPasta gadget in the microwave, but feel free to do it the traditional way. Save 2 tablespoons of the cooking water.

While you’re waiting for the pasta to cook, combine the crab and jalapeño in a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of oil. Chop half the mint and add that to the crab. Mix well and set aside.

Sliver the remaining mint and put that in a second, larger bowl. Cut the ends off the squash, then julienne or grate it, stopping when you reach the seedy core (save for another use). Add the squash to the bowl with the slivered mint. Add the remaining oil, vinegar, and garlic and season with salt and pepper.

Accidental Locavore Squash for Crab SpaghettiHeat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the marinated crab and zucchini and the basil. Add 2 tablespoons of pasta cooking water and the pasta. Heat everything together, tossing to mix well. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Crab and Spaghetti CookingMy verdict: Super easy and delicious! A good use for all the zucchini and summer squash you may be bringing home from your CSA or farm share.

The difference in textures, especially with the squash and spaghetti made this a winner. The summer squash stayed a little bit crunchy which was a nice contrast with the pasta and crab. If you wanted to add even more texture, you might try adding some fresh breadcrumbs to the crab and jalapeño mixture and sautéing them together. Since our jalapeño wasn’t terribly spicy, I used the whole thing and could have added a bit more.

The original recipe was to serve 4-6. We ended up with a generous amount of sauce for 2 greedy people. If you wanted to stretch it out, just cook more pasta and julienne another squash.

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The Best Gazpacho Ever!

Accidental Locavore Drinking GazpachoNow that it’s time for great tomatoes, do yourself a favor and give this amazing gazpacho recipe a try. Thank me in the comments.

It’s become our go-to gazpacho, it’s so good!

After I read the description of this gazpacho in the NY Times and remembered how good it was when Chef Jose Garces made it at his house a couple of years ago,  I needed to give it a try. Use the best tomatoes and olive oil you can.Accidental Locavore Gazpacho IngredientsBest Gazpacho recipe:

  • 2 pounds of red tomatoes, cored and cut into chunks
  • 1 Italian or Anaheim pepper, seeded and cut into chunks
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 small onion, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled
  • Part of a Serrano chile, seeded and thinly sliced (optional, if you like a little heat)
  • 2 teaspoons Sherry vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons salt, more to taste
  • ¼ cup good olive oil, plus more for drizzling

Accidental Locavore Straining GazpachoCombine the tomatoes, pepper, cucumber, onion and garlic in a blender.

Blend at high speed until very smooth, about 2 minutes.

With the motor running, add the vinegar and 2 teaspoons of salt, taste and add the Serrano chile if you’re using.

The next part you might want to do in batches unless you have a big blender.

Very slowly pour in the olive oil, so the gazpacho can emulsify. It will thicken and change color, becoming more orange.

If it seems thin, keep slowly pouring in the olive oil and it will thicken up. Taste and adjust the vinegar, salt and oil as needed.

Strain and discard the solids.

Pour into a pitcher and chill for at least 6 hours or overnight. Serve in glasses with a drizzle of olive oil on the top and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Gazpacho Close UpMy verdict: Fabulous! It took a few minutes, but the color did change and the texture and taste was perfect. You really need a blender for this – sadly, a food processor won’t give you a fine enough puree.

I didn’t have the right kind of peppers, so I seeded and chopped a couple of pepperoncini, and they worked fine.

Since you really taste the oil, be sure to use something delicious. If you wanted, a shot of vodka might be interesting.

The original recipe suggests pouring the gazpacho over ice, which I think is a good idea; even though ours had chilled all afternoon, it never tasted really cold.

And forget Christmas in July, I’m thinking about making a batch and freezing it, so it can be August in the middle of January!Accidental Locavore Gazpacho Gone

 

 

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Easy and Delicious Grilled Mushrooms  

Accidental Locavore Marinated Grilled MushroomsThese grilled mushrooms on skewers will be one of your summertime favorites! It’s a simple recipe and will make you want to head right out and buy a bunch of mushrooms.

  • 2 pounds mushrooms, button or cremini
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon thyme, chopped
  • Salt and pepper

Slice the mushrooms into about ¼” slices (on an average sized mushroom, I cut them into thirds). Mix the rest of the ingredients together in a container or Ziploc bag. Add the mushrooms and marinate for 30 minutes.

Skewer the mushrooms and grill over medium-high heat for about 2-3 minutes a side, until they are tender and slightly charred. Serve with just about anything and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Mushrooms and KnifeMy verdict: These were great!  Since there were just two of us (and we didn’t know how delicious they would be) I only bought a pound of mushrooms but kept to the same quantity of  marinade ingredients above.

We had them as a side dish and then I tossed some of the leftovers on some burgers we made the next day.

Being curious and impatient, I started to eat them before they were even grilled, and they were terrific. I’m not sure that eating them straight from the marinade was a good idea, but I survived and put some of the bits that were too small to skewer on a salad for lunch the next day.

If you don’t have a grill, a hot oven (425°) and a sheet tray would probably work fine and of course, a grill pan would too.

The thyme is a small amount and could be forgotten if you didn’t have any, or swapped out for some rosemary. Please don’t use dried thyme, it’s noxious and will ruin the dish. Better to go without.

Off to toss some more on the grill!

 

 

 

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Grilled Artichokes With Remoulade

Accidental Locavore Grilled ArtichokeOK, your first thought, like the Accidental Locavore’s, is probably – artichokes are time-consuming enough to cook, why would I want to grill them, but trust me, you do.

And, you want to grill them on charcoal. I’m only slightly a charcoal snob, because there are many times when time is at a premium and it’s faster to toss something on a gas grill. For this, the smoky taste from the charcoal is really the reason you’re grilling them in the first place, so go light some charcoal!

While you’re waiting for the grill to be ready, wash and trim the artichokes. I had two big ones; figure on at least 1/2 per person depending on the size and what role they’re playing in your meal (appetizer, main course, side dish). You can save a lot of time, by wrapping them in either Saran Wrap or parchment paper, and steaming them in the microwave for about 8 minutes (again depending on size and microwave strength) until the stem end is tender and gives when you touch it.

Once they’re cool enough to work with, cut them in half. Using a small spoon, carefully remove the choke and the smallest inner leaves (if you want to, the choke can be removed before you cook them, but it’s easier this way). Brush the artichokes with either a little melted butter, some of the remoulade you’re going to eat with them or a little good olive oil.

Grill them, cut side down, for about 5 minutes, then flip and grill the other side for about 5 more minutes. Serve with the remoulade sauce below, or your favorite dipping sauce and enjoy!

My verdict: These were great! Absolutely worth doing over charcoal, and definitely worth grilling! This may sound silly, but it’s awfully nice to have the chokes already removed so you can just zip though them. My quick version of a remoulade may or may not be terribly authentic, but it sure tasted good! I think it’s one of those things that takes well to improvisation. Probably having some homemade mayo helped too, but by this point I hope I’ve convinced you ages ago that it’s the only way to go.
Accidental Locavore RemouladeRemoulade 

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise (preferably homemade)
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon capers, chopped
  • 3 anchovy filets, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon chives, finely minced (or scallions)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Mix everything together in a small bowl. Taste and adjust to suit your palette.

 

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