Vegetarian

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

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Your New Favorite (Corn) Salad

Even thought I was in the throes of moving, when I saw this corn salad recipe on the Smitten Kitchen site, I paused and made it for lunch for friends who were helping us. Just give yourself a little time for the onions to pickle.

Your New Favorite (Corn) Salad

  • 1/2 a small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • Slightly heaped 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 medium ears corn, shucked
  • 1/3 cup sour cream, or crema
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 ounces (heaped 1/2 cup) crumbled cotija cheese
  • 1 lime, halved
  • Tajín seasoning or chile powder
  • Handful of fresh cilantro leaves

Combine red onion, red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons cold water, salt, and sugar in a bowl or jar. Set in fridge until needed. Onions will be very lightly pickled by the time you’re done assembling the salad, but if you can give them 1-2 hours in the fridge, they’ll be better.

Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high. Lightly oil grill grates and place corn cobs directly on them. Cook corn until charred in spots all over, turning as often as needed. Transfer them to a cutting board to cool slightly.

While you’re grilling your corn, combine sour cream, mayo, and cotija cheese. Spread on the bottom of your serving plate. Cut corn from cobs with a sharp knife and pile it over the cheese mix on the platter. Squeeze the juice of half a lime all over, then scatter with the pickled onion rings from the fridge. Generously shake Tajín or chile powder all over; if you’re using plain chile powder, season with salt and an extra squeeze of lime. Top with cilantro leaves. Cut remaining lime half into wedges and serve alongside. Serve and enjoy right away while the dressing is cold, and the corn is warm!

My verdict: Amazing! I’ve been wanting to try to make elote anyway and seeing this just sealed the deal. I had some chorizo, so we grilled that and served it with the corn salad. It was a perfect summer lunch and there wasn’t a kernel of corn leftover.

It was so good, that in the middle of moving, I almost bought some more corn just to grill so we could have it in our new (grillless apartment), but I’m hoping my grill pan will do a decent job.

If you have a Mexican grocery nearby, you can get the Tajin, cojita and crema there, otherwise substitute chile powder, crumbled feta and sour cream. I did use homemade mayo and crema, but it’s so good that that probably didn’t make much of a difference.

The Tajin seasoning is great and you’ll find lots of other uses for it. I might introduce it to some Fritos and see if I can replicate my favorite junk food from Mexico—Fritos with chili and lime. What do you put it on?

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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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Crazy Easy, Crazy Good Zucchini Pizza

Finished zucchini pizza slicedThis time of year, our CSA influences what’s for dinner so when Frank came back with some beautiful zucchini and summer squash, they seemed destined for this crazy pizza recipe I saw on Food 52.

It’s super easy with only a few ingredients, just give yourself some time for the dough to proof. Probably feeds about 4:

Crazy Easy, Crazy Good Zucchini Pizza

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil for greasing the pan, plus more for your fingers
  • 1 Jim Lahey’s Basic Pizza Dough (below), or your favorite
  • 1/2pounds (about 5 small-medium or 3 large) zucchini or other summer squash, trimmed
  • 1/2teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 2 cups (8 oz) coarsely grated Gruyere cheese
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons plain breadcrumbs

Shredded zucchiniHeat your oven to 500°F with a rack in the center. Brush a 13×18” rimmed baking sheet with olive oil.

Use oiled fingertips to pull, stretch and press the dough across the bottom of the pan. The dough will be thin and imperfect; just try to get it even. If holes form, just pinch them together.

Use a food processor with a grater attachment or the large holes of a box grater to grate the zucchini. In a large bowl, toss together the zucchini and salt.

Let stand for 20 to 30 minutes (more, if you have the time), until the zucchini has wilted and released its water. Drain the zucchini in a colander and then use your hands to squeeze out as much water as possible.

Back in the large bowl (wiped out if still wet), toss the zucchini with the gruyere shreds, being sure to break up any clumps of zucchini. Taste the mixture; it should be seasoned enough from the salt, but you can add more, plus ground pepper or pepper flakes if desired.

Spread the zucchini mixture over the dough, going all the way to the edges of the pan and piling it a bit thicker at the edges, where it will brown first. Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the topping is golden. Remove from oven, cut into squares, serve and enjoy!

Jim Lahey’s Basic Pizza Dough  

  • 2 cups minus 1 tablespoon (250g) all-purpose or bread flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons (5g) instant or active dry yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon (heaped) fine sea or table salt
  • 2/3 cup (150g) room-temperature water

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, yeast and salt. Add the water and, using a wooden spoon or your hand, mix until well blended, about 30 seconds. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature until the dough has more than doubled in volume, about 2 hours. Continue using instructions above.

My verdict: Well, Frank’s actually:” The best pizza you’ve ever made!” “You can make this any time.”

It was really delicious. Super simple and could easily be dressed up if you felt like it.

I was thinking a sprinkle of lemon zest and/or some Niçoise olives be good additions.  Some crumbled Italian sausage would be nice too.

If you want a great way to use up some of summer’s endless zucchini and summer squash, this is your recipe!

 

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Pickles: Easy and Easier

Easiest PicklesPickles are so easy, and these two recipes will have you making them again and again. I always have a jar of the sliced pickles in my fridge and the fermented ones are like the ones I miss from Gus’ in the city.

The first one is so simple, you’ll think it’s a joke, but it makes great pickles fast. You’ll find a jar of them hanging out in my fridge all the time.

  • 3-4 small pickling cucumbers, sliced about 1/8” thick
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • 1 scant tablespoon kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh dill
  • 1-2 cloves garlic (optional), lightly smashed
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

Put all the ingredients in a quart Ball jar, cover it and give it a good shake. Put the jar in the front of the refrigerator. Every time you open the fridge, give the jar a shake. Pickles should be good after 2 hours, but I usually let mine sit overnight. They last for a while and are great on burgers and sandwiches.

The other was a recipe for half-sours that I found on Fine Cooking. It was pretty simple, just requiring a little patience (something not normally on my top-ten list of attributes) to let them sit and become pickles.

Now that I have my kits from Kraut Source, this recipe is almost as foolproof as the other. I’ll usually let them sit for about 2 weeks in a cool dark place (for some reason, under my guest bathroom sink seems to work well), taste them and then cover and refrigerate.

This makes pickles closer to those classic sour pickles and you can control how “sour” you want them to be.

My verdict: These are very different but both really good and easy pickles to make, so give them a try and let me know in the comments what you thought.

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Roasted Salmon Niçoise Salad

Plated Salmon Nicoise SaladNow that the weather is getting better it’s time to start breaking out the salad recipes. This is an interesting take on a classic salad Niçoise, using salmon instead of tuna. Serves 4.

Roasted Salmon Niçoise Salad

  • 1 pound baby Yukon Gold potatoes, halved
  • 8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (about 1 clove)
  • 1 anchovy fillet, minced
  • 6 ounces haricots verts or green beans, trimmed
  • 1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes
  • ½ cup pitted olives, preferably Niçoise or Kalamata
  • 4 (6-ounce) center-cut, skin-on salmon fillets
  • 5 ounces tender salad greens, like baby red and green leaf lettuce

Tomatoes, Beans and Olives for RoastingHeat the oven to 400° and place a rack near the top of the oven. In a bowl, toss the potatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. On a baking sheet (lined with parchment paper to make cleaning up easier), arrange the potatoes so the cut sides are facing down and roast for 20 minutes.
While the potatoes roast, fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add the eggs and cook over medium heat for exactly 6 minutes. Remove the eggs, and when they are cool enough to handle, peel and quarter them.
Make the dressing: In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, the garlic, anchovy, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Slowly whisk in 4 tablespoons of olive oil and set aside.
In the bowl you used for the potatoes, add the haricots verts, tomatoes and olives along with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt and toss well. Add the vegetables to the sides of the baking sheet with the potatoes, leaving a space in the center of the sheet pan. Pat the salmon fillets dry with a paper towel and place them, skin-side down, in the center of the sheet pan.
Salmon and Vegetables for RoastingBrush salmon with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Roast on the top rack in the oven for 10 minutes.
Turn the broiler to high and broil for 2 to 3 minutes to lightly brown the salmon. (If you don’t have a broiler, roast salmon for an additional 2 to 3 minutes instead.) The salmon should flake easily and be just cooked in the center.
Add the greens to the large bowl with the dressing and toss gently. Place greens on a large platter, leaving a narrow border at the platter’s edges. Place the salmon fillets in the middle of the platter, then arrange the roasted vegetables and eggs around them. Serve and enjoy!

My verdict: For a couple of people who are usually pretty particular about their Salade Niçoise this was a great version! And since eating more fish, especially salmon, is a goal, this is a painless way to add it to our diet.
Now that it is warmer out, I might just do everything on the grill. Either way, it’s a good main course salad.
Next time, maybe a handful of capers?

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Brussels Sprouts Hash

Brussels sprouts cut to make hashWe love Brussels sprouts and this looked like an easy way to make them. Slicing them for the “hash” is about the most time-consuming job here (and see below for my opinion as to whether it’s worth it), after that it’s about 5 minutes from start to finish. Serves 4 to 6:

Brussels Sprouts Hash

• 1 pound large Brussels sprouts
• Juice of 1/2 lemon
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
• 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
• 1/4 cup white wine
• Salt and pepper

Cut the stems from the Brussels sprouts and halve each one lengthwise. Slice each half into thin slices, about 1/8” and toss with the lemon juice in a large bowl.

Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over high heat almost to the smoking point. Stir in the hashed sprouts with the garlic and poppy seeds.

Add the white wine and continue stirring for about 3 minutes, until the sprouts are bright green and barely crunchy. Reduce the heat to low, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 1 additional minute. Serve and enjoy!

The finished Brussels sprouts hash dish platedMy verdict: Good but not great. I might have liked it better with the Brussels sprouts halved and browned in the oil. It’s probably a really good dish for people who are on the fence about sprouts.
If shredding Brussels sprouts seems like a waste of time, shredding some cabbage and treating it like the sprouts would be a fine replacement.

Of all the spices I have, surprisingly poppy seeds are not in the house, so I used some of my favorite everything bagel spice, figuring that it had a lot of poppy seeds. Frank started to get huffy about it “do you ever see me eating an everything bagel?” but it was fairly innocuous and served it’s purpose.

No open bottles of white wine? A little chicken or vegetable stock, splash of red wine, or even water would work instead.

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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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