Tag Archives: Vegetarian

Recipe: Maple-Sriracha Glazed Carrots.

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Good Morning:

Just in case you need something bright orange, vegan and zingy for your holiday table.

Maple-Sriracha Glazed Carrots

  • 1 lb. carrots cut into 2″ long quarter-inch thick julienne (or use 1 lb. of baby carrots)
  • 1 Tbsp. neutral flavored oil
  • Maple-Sriracha Glaze (see below for two versions)

I like my cooking time short because of a preference for very crunchy carrots. You may cook the carrots longer–it’s your stomach, make it your food.

Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium heat until it starts to shimmer.

Blanch the carrots in boiling water for 15 seconds, drain thoroughly.

Immediately add the carrots to the oil–watch out for splatter!–and stir until coated in oil. Keep cooking, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or if you prefer softer veggies, 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the glaze according to one of two versions:

I’m Nice with Spice

  • 1 tsp. Sriracha
  • 5 tsp. Maple Syrup
  • Salt and Pepper; OR

I Bring the STING

  • 1 Tbsp. Sriracha
  • 1 Tbsp. Maple Syrup
  • Salt and Pepper

Whichever glaze you choose, combine all ingredients into one bowl.

At the end of your preferred cooking time, scrape the glaze onto the carrots and stir until thoroughly coated. Keep cooking and stirring for at least one but no more then two minutes. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl, and serve at once. Serves 4-6.

This yields a very small amount of glaze as I prefer only the thinnest coating on my carrots. You may choose to double either version.

Options: Use toasted sesame oil instead of a neutral oil. Add 1/2 tsp of Chinese Five Spice blend to the glaze. Or both.

Vonn Scott Bair

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Recipe: Feta with Honey-Apricot-Mustard-Thyme Glaze.

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Good Evening:

The original inspiration came from the New York Times, but no one in my family can resist experimenting with recipes. For us, cookbooks are less textbooks and more like collections of timidly proffered suggestions to ignore at our pleasure. The original recipe called for honey only as a glaze, but that didn’t seem quite flavorful to me.

Feta with Honey-Apricot-Mustard-Thyme Glaze.

Feta with Honey-Apricot-Mustard-Thyme Glaze.

Feta with Honey-Apricot-Mustard-Thyme Glaze

Ingredients

  • 1 8 oz. slab of feta cheese, patted as dry as possible with paper towels
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 Tablespoon apricot preserves
  • 1 Teaspoon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Line a small oven-safe baking dish with aluminum foil, place the feta on the foil, and bake for 8-10 minutes until the cheese turns springy. Remove from oven.
  3. Preheat the broiler.
  4. Stir the honey, apricot preservers, mustard and thyme together in a microwave-safe dish and microwave it on high for 45 seconds.
  5. Gently spread the mixture on top of the cheese until you have an even layer.
  6. Stick the baking dish with the coated feta under the broiler for one minute, then remove and inspect.
  7. If the glaze has not started to bubble, stick the cheese back under the broiler for one more minute ONLY. That should suffice.
  8. Remove from broiler, let cool for a few minutes, and carefully use a spatula to transfer the cheese to a serving dish. Everything is hot, so watch your fingers!
  9. Serve the cheese with crostini and watch your friends annihilate the appetizer.

You may use a small wheel of Brie as a substitute, however!, you must use a whole wheel, not a cut wedge. The Brie must be covered entirely in that famous white rind or it will melt into nothingness.

Enjoy!

Vonn Scott Bair

Recipe: Three Basil-Mint Pestos, One Vegan, Two Vegetarian.

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Good Evening:

In my previous post, I described how I dealt with an overabundance of mint. But before I had the overabundance of mint, I had an overabundance of mint–plus an overabundance of basil.

Presenting how I got rid of that in a manner most pleasing to the stomach: Pesto.

Pesto does not require basil and only basil, plus pine nuts and only pine nuts. It does not even require Parmesan cheese. Whilst the famous Pesto Genovese includes all three, multiple variations exist. For example, the Provencal “pistou” is a Genovese with no cheese or nuts. You should feel free to invent your own.

Basil-Mint Cheese-less Pesto

I began with these ingredients:

  1. 2 cups of Basil leaves
  2. 1 cup of Mint leaves
  3. 3 cloves of Garlic
  4. 1/4 cup of shelled Pistachios (yes, Pistachios)
  5. 1/4 cup of slivered Almonds (a more traditional substitute)
  6. 3/4 cup of Olive Oil

Put the first five ingredients into a food processor, and pulse until everything is finely chopped. You will need to pause and scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times. Now leave the process on and slowly add the olive oil until all is incorporated and thoroughly blended.

Remove one-third of the Pesto, put in an airtight jar, and refrigerate. That is your first pesto recipe.

Basil-Mint Asiago Pesto

New ingredient:

  1. 3/4 cup freshly grated Asiago (you don’t even need the “right” cheese!)

Add the cheese to the pesto remaining in the bowl and pulse until thoroughly blended and incorporated.

Remove one-third of the Pesto, put in an airtight jar, and refrigerate. That is your second pesto recipe.

Basil-Mint and Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

New ingredient:

  1. Six ounces of jarred sun-dried tomatoes in oil, with the oil. Seriously.

Add the tomatoes to the remaining pesto in the bowl and pulse until the sun-dried tomatoes are thoroughly chopped, blended and incorporated.

Remove the remaining pesto, put in an airtight jar, and refrigerate.

Now all you have to do consists of combing the online websites for cool new recipes calling for any kind of pesto! Sorry, I can’t help you with that, but it is a fun activity.

Vonn Scott Bair

Recipe: Lemon-Mint Chimmichurri.

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Good Evening:

The thing is, the vendors at farmers markets must sell you much bigger bunches of fresh herbs than you actually need. They don’t have a choice; either that, or their produce spoils on the farm.

So yes, I knew what I got myself into when I purchased an innocent “little” bundle of mint leaves at the Civic Center Farmers Market. Even after using too much for the recipe in question, I still had vast quantities leftover and needed something different from making 50 gallons each of iced tea and lemonade (the traditional solution in New England).

Therefore I committed blasphemy. Chimmichurri is a magnificent Argentinian condiment made with fresh parsley, sometimes with either fresh cilantro or oregano added, plus garlic, olive oil, and white vinegar. I still had over a half cup of mint leaves leftover, and desperate to use all of a very fine quality batch, I developed this recipe instead.

Lemon-Mint Chimmichurri

Ingredients

  1. Two cups of parsley leaves (save the stems for soup stock)
  2. 3/4 cup of mint leaves
  3. 1 garlic clove
  4. Finely chopped zest of one small Lemon
  5. 3/4 cup of olive oil (you can splurge with the high-quality stuff)
  6. Salt and Pepper to taste
  7. Juice of one small Lemon

Process

Place the first 6 ingredients in a food processor. Pulse to chop, frequently pausing to scrape down the sides, until everything is finely chopped and blended. Add one-half of the lemon juice and pulse again a few times. If sufficient, save the other half for another use. If not enough, add the other half and pulse again a few times until everything is blended.

What foods go well with this?

Hundreds of them. It’s astounding how well this worked out. Chicken, pork chops, grilled vegetables, a dip for fresh vegetables, a dip for grilled shrimp, a marinade, a salad dressing, a sauce for egg noodles, a sauce for diced summer squash and halved cherry tomatoes (uncooked)–Lemon-Mint Chimmichurri works on almost every entree. Someone else must have discovered this before I did, because it’s just too dang good not to already exist.

It will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week. Let it reach room temperature before using.

Vonn Scott Bair

Carrot, Mint and Creme Fraiche Dip.

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Good Evening:

Another experiment, but this one turned out surprisingly well for a first attempt. Should work as a spread on crackers or crostini, but today I served with crudités.

Carrot, Mint and Creme Fraiche Dip

Ingredients

  • 8 oz Carrots cut into half-inch dice
  • 1 cup of Vegetable Broth, with more in reserve
  • 16 oz Creme Fraiche
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, washed
  • Optional: 1/4 – 1/2 cup chopped pistachios
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Technique

  1. Bring broth to a boil in a small saucepan.
  2. Add carrots and stir.
  3. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and let the carrots poach for 20-30 minutes until tender. Check frequently; if broth evaporates, immediately add more.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool. If any broth remains, drain and save for another use.
  5. Place carrots, mint, creme fraiche, salt and pepper into a food processor and puree until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
  6. Scrape into a bowl. Stir in the pistachios if using.

Pretty darn easy. This should serve a crowd, so cut all ingredients in half for family. You have other options. For example, add a tablespoon or two of tahini before pureeing. Or use dill instead of mint and no pistachios. Lemon juice to taste, perhaps. Or use Zatar for seasoning. It’s a pretty adaptable and versatile dip.

Vonn Scott Bair

PS–Once I figure food photography, I’ll try to include some shots.

Recipe: Carrots, Fennel & Olives in Curried Tomato Sauce.

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Good Evening:

The same old story–take what you find, throw it all in one pot, somehow make it work. The odd combination here consists of fenugreek and thyme, which to my surprise worked together rather well. I served it with a lemon-rosemary roast chicken and white rice, but this would also make a good vegetarian/vegan main course.

Carrots, Fennel & Olives in Curried Tomato Sauce

Serves 2 as an entree, 4 as a side dish

The Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1.5 cups carrots in half-inch dice
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1.5 cups fennel in half-inch dice
  • 30 Kalamata olives, split lengthwise
  • 2 teaspoons ground fenugreek
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2-cups tomato puree
  • 2 teaspoons thyme

The Process

  1. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat until shimmering.
  2. Add the carrots, salt and pepper, stirring until everything’s coated, then stirring frequently for five minutes.
  3. Add the fennel, stirring until everything’s coated, then stirring frequently for another five minutes. Reduce heat if the carrots cook too quickly.
  4. Add the olives, fenugreek, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, stirring until everything’s coated, then stirring frequently for another five minutes.
  5. Add tomato puree and the thyme. Stir until everything’s coated, then reduce heat to a low simmer for ten minutes, stirring frequently. You will thicken the sauce in this fashion.

Serve piping hot over white rice, brown rice, or couscous. Probably best with a pale ale.

I hope you enjoy this recipe, or ever better, inspires you to create something even better!

Vonn Scott Bair

Recipe: Christmas Pasta e Fagioli, Vegan and Vegetarian Versions.

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Good Evening:

During my Christmas visit to family, it came to pass one evening that we supposedly had “no food” in the house. Rather than order Chinese takeout or pizza, I took a look around and found a few items that I threw together and we ended up having a dinner of equal parts improvisation, vegetarianism, and tastiness. I’ve tweaked my madcap make-do meal a bit to create a Christmas-themed variant of the classic Italian dish Pasta e Fagioli.

Many Christmas Eve traditions include a vegetarian dinner in preparation for the Christmas day feast, making this a good choice for a main course soup. In addition, the bright red and green colors make this meal visually appropriate for the holiday. Although it requires many steps, all are extremely easy. I prepped and cooked the entire dish in less than one hour. I hope you will experiment with it and enjoy!

Christmas Eve Pasta e Fagioli, Vegan and Vegetarian Versions.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of farro pasta, preferably small shells or elbows
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, quarter-inch dice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • One 15-oz. can of garbanzo or red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup of chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika (pimenton)
  • 1-3 teaspoons of dried red pepper flakes to taste
  • 1 tablespoon ground fenugreek seeds (odd but effective)
  • 12 cocktail cucumbers (2-3 inches long, .5 inch thick), sliced into quarter-inch slices. Substitution: 2 Persian Cucumbers or 2 small Zucchini in quarter-inch dice
  • 30 red cherry or grape tomatoes, split lengthwise
  • 1-2 tablespoons of dried thyme to taste
  • 2 cups of julienned spinach leaves
  • 3 tablespoons Pesto Genovese (the traditional basil, Parmasan cheese and pine nut recipe). Vegan: Three tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil.
  • 1 pint vegetable broth
  • Finely chopped Italian parsley and/or basil for garnish
  • Optional Garnish: finely shredded Parmasan and Cheddar cheeses. The Cheddar seems odd, but it worked.

Cooking

  1. Have reading a boiling pot of salted water for the pasta.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat until shimmering.
  3. Add the onion and reduce heat to medium low, stirring frequently, until translucent and soft, about 8-10 minutes.
  4. Add salt and pepper, the beans, and the chopped walnuts, stirring until everything is coated. Add the smoked paprika, fenugreek, and red pepper flakes, stirring until everything is coated again. Stir for about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Stir in the cucumbers and saute for about 3 minutes.
  6. Stir in the tomatoes and thyme; saute for about 3 minutes.
  7. Stir in the spinach and either the pesto or basil.
  8. At this point, make sure the pot of salted water is boiling.
  9. Add the broth to the saute, stir once more, bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer and cover.
  10. Add the pasta to the water and cook until al dente. Drain thoroughly, but reserve one cup of pasta water.
  11. Add the pasta water to the broth. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
  12. Set forth 4-6 bowls.
  13. Divide the pasta evenly among the bowls.
  14. Divide the broth evenly among the bowls, pouring over the pasta.
  15. Garnish with the herbs and optional cheeses.
  16. Serve with soup spoons, accompanied by a rustic bread and mixed green salad.

The bright red and green colors will lend a festive appearance to the Christmas Eve table. Totally improvised from an “empty” larder but the results came as a nice surprise to everyone, including yours truly.

Vonn Scott Bair