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May 27, 2015
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Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Posts Tagged ‘vegetarian’

Meatless Monday: Fried Brussels Sprouts Salad

Monday, March 30th, 2015

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Meet the recipe that will convert even the most virulent sprouts hater. Cup after cupful of quartered Brussels sprouts are skillet-fried to golden perfection, then tossed with toasted garlic, sweet pears, Bibb lettuce and creamy garlic aioli. Then gild the lily with an unearthly burnt honey dressing, made by boiling the golden liquid multiple times until it takes on a dark amber luster. Just try to tell us you hate Brussels sprouts after this Meatless Monday meal. Get the recipe for the Fried Brussels Sprouts Salad here and the Burnt Honey dressing here.

 

photo by Jonathan Gayman

By the Book: Warm Pear Crumble

Saturday, March 28th, 2015

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I love cooking seasonally. I refuse to buy zucchinis and tomatoes in winter, and I question the logic behind serving butternut squash risotto in June. But about this time each year, I find my resolve weakening. I’m desperate for something green and raw, and the thought of roasting one more carrot or sweet potato is enough to send me into fits. Are supermarket summer squashes imported from South America really so bad?

So when Veronica Bosgraaf’s Pure Food: Eat Clean with Seasonal, Plant-Based Recipes crossed my desk, I immediately flipped to her March recipes. Bosgraaf, who rose to fame with her line of organic snack bars, penned this cookbook to make simple, season-driven vegetarian meals using whole, unprocessed ingredients. Each chapter is dedicated to a month of produce, and as a fellow Midwesterner (she lives in Michigan), I imagine Bosgraaf can relate to my longing for springtime seasonality.

 

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Recipes for March still include those winter ingredients (oranges, carrots, cabbage, potatoes) and while she isn’t breaking any new ground with her dishes (curried carrot soup, pickled vegetables) they are definitely welcome respite from roasted everything. I chose to test Warm Pear Crumble, arguing that if we must eat winter produce, I wanted it paired with ice cream.

 

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Sauce intern Tori Sgarro had no trouble following Bosgraaf’s clear, simple instructions, though the recipe took nearly two hours after all the prep work and baking time. As with all crumble recipes, Team Sauce agreed that we wanted double the buttery, almond-oat topping. Admittedly that cuts down the health factor, but isn’t the buttery crust the real reason people make crumbles in the first place? The pear filling, while plentiful, fell flat; a pinch of salt did wonders to enhance the fruit flavor, and next time I’ll add depth with a bit of cinnamon or grated nutmeg. We served our crumble with a scoop of Serendipity’s Big O Ginger ice cream, which played nicely with the fresh ginger and added necessary richness.

 

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Warm Pear Crumble
4 to 6 servings

¼ cup (½ stick) plus 2 tsp. unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
¼ cup honey
2 Tbsp. tapioca starch
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
¾ tsp. grated fresh ginger
6 firm, ripe Anjou pears, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped
¼ cup rolled oats
½ cup almond meal
2 Tbsp. organic cane sugar
1/8 tsp. sea salt

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish with 2 teaspoons of the butter and set aside.
• In a large bowl, combine the honey, tapioca starch, lemon juic, and ginger. Add the pears and toss to coat. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and cover loosely with foil. Bake until hot and bubbly, about 45 minutes.
• Meanwhile, put the oats in a food processor and process until coarsely ground. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add the almond meal, sugar and salt. Add the remaining ¼ cup butter and, using a fork, blend in the butter until the mixture is crumbly.
• Remove the foil from the baking dish and sprinkle the crumble topping over the pears. Return the pan to the oven and cook until the top is golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.
• Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

Reprinted with permission from Clarkson Potter Publishers

How do you get creative with winter produce in the last days before spring vegetables finally arrive? Tell us in the comments below for a chance to win a copy of Pure Food.

Meatless Monday: Pasta with Zesty Horseradish-Tomato Sauce

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

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We know, this recipe’s title seems a little weird; horseradish and pasta shouldn’t be a killer combo. But hear us out: we all like a good dollop of the spicy root in our bloody marys, right? The same idea applies here, when  a bowl of your favorite pasta is dressed up with a simple homemade tomato sauce (swap canned for fresh in these early spring months) and a handful of crunch toasted breadcrumbs and walnuts. Add as much or a little horseradish as you desire, then toss it all together and enjoy the subtle interplay of bright, spicy and crunchy. You just might start placing the jar of horseradish next the Parmesan every time you serve pasta. Get the recipe here.

Meatless Monday: Grilled Ratatouille

Monday, March 16th, 2015

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It’s 80 degrees, and we’re firing up the grill on Meatless Monday. This recipe for Grilled Ratatouille tosses just about every grill-able vegetable over the coals – zucchini, summer squash, eggplant, red and yellow bell peppers, onions and tomatoes. Roughly chop them with a medley of fresh herbs and garnish with grated cheese, then enjoy it on the patio and soak up the sunshine while it lasts. Get the recipe here.

 

-photo by Carmen Troesser

Meatless Monday: The Reuben sandwich, 2 ways

Monday, March 9th, 2015

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Corned beef is about to pop up on tables all over town, and while everyone else piles leftovers high between two slices of rye, vegetarians are stuck with a bowl of leftover boiled potatoes and some pickled cabbage. Not this year. Enter the vegetarian Reuben, made two ways. In Version A, we broil Fuji apples slices, then stack them with Thousand Island dressing, sauerkraut and Gruyere cheese. Version B sees roasted red peppers making friends with fig jam, Emmentaler and kraut. Try them both in preparation for St. Paddy’s Day, and rest assured that whatever you choose, they both go nicely with an Irish pint.

-photo by Carmen Troesser

By the Book: Kimberly Hasselbrink’s Roasted Cauliflower with Olives, Currants and Tahini Dressing

Saturday, March 7th, 2015

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Reading Kimberly Hasselbrink’s Vibrant Food reminded me of Nigel Slater’s Tender with a touch of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s voice from his River Cottage cookbook series. It’s because of the colorful photos (she’s a photographer) and personal narratives (she’s the creator of the blog The Year in Food) that celebrate ingredients in their ripest moment. I love fresh food at its peak. I love a veritable rainbow of food on my plate. And I love good stories. I devoured Hesselbrink’s cookbook.

Vibrant Food is a gentle tribute to mother nature for whatever bounty she bestows on us throughout the year. If you’re the type to cook up whatever you’ve found at the farmers market, you’ll soak up Hasselbrink’s writing. Food is described as tender, delicate, soft and dramatic. As a cookbook, this one is filled with unfussy vegetarian recipes (with the exception of a handful of fish and seafood dishes). The parade of fruits and vegetables is ordered by seasons. The spring section is alive with recipes for greens, alliums and flowers; summer sees dishes appropriate for berries, stone fruits, tomatoes and peppers; autumn brings ways with grapes, figs and tree nuts; and winter cooking is defined by roots, brassicas and citrus.

Were I to cook from this book come May, I’d try Hasselbrink’s grilled halloumi with strawberries and herbs. In fall, I’d give her chile-roasted delicate squash with queso fresco a go. Alas, it’s winter, and nothing’s growing unless it’s in a hot house. The landscape is barren and brown, infrequently changing to a brilliant, snowy white. I’ll take white on a winter’s day, so I chose to make roasted cauliflower with olives, currants and tahini dressing. Nothing like some caramelized, crunchy brassica, briny olives, sweet currants and tangy tahini to brighten up a dull gray day.

If you’re in a hurry, this is the dish for you since it comes together in 30 minutes. Just season the cauliflower with olive oil and salt and pop it in the oven.

 

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While the vegetable is roasting, whisk together the tarator sauce. Typical uses of this tahini-based sauce are with falafel (try it with the creative falafel loaf I made just a few weeks ago), with beef or lamb on pita or as a salad dressing. As Hasselbrink’s recipe proves, tarator is a fine partner for all sorts of vegetables.

 

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Then, just toss the warm cauliflower in the sauce and add currants, olives and parsley. Normally for By the Book, I follow recipe directions to the letter. I admit to deviating with the olives. Hasselbrink called for kalamata. I wanted vibrant color (and flavor and texture) so I included a mélange of olives. Stop at the olive bar at your area grocery or at Extra Virgin, An Olive Ovation in Ladue. And if you have leftovers after serving this dish, stop by the Sauce HQ and leave them for me. As with this cookbook, I’ll gladly have another helping.

 

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Kimberly Hasselbrink’s Roasted Cauliflower with Olives, Currants and Tahini Dressing
4 servings

1 large cauliflower (about 3 pounds), trimmed and cut into florets
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt
¼ cup tahini
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1½ tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/8 tsp. fine sea salt
2 Tbsp. water, plus more as needed
¼ cup currants
¼ cup coarsely chopped kalamata olives
¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

• Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
• Toss the cauliflower florets with the olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt to taste. Arrange the cauliflower florets in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast for about 20 minutes, turning once, until the edges are brown and caramelized.
• While the cauliflower roasts, make the dressing. Whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and salt until smooth and creamy. Add the water and whisk until combined. The sauce will be thick. Add more water to thin it slightly if you like. It will continue to thicken as it sits.
• Toss the warm cauliflower with most of the dressing. Add the currants, olives and parsley and toss to combine. Taste and add more dressing or salt, if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.

What’s the most creative way you prepare your winter produce? Tell us in the comments below for a chance to win a copy of Vibrant Food.

Meatless Monday: Pierogi

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

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Making homemade pierogi sounds complicated, but these traditional Polish dumplings come together in a snap with a bit of practice. First, prepare a filling of bright green spinach, starchy potatoes and creamy goat cheese. Then, turn your attention to the dough, mixing together flour, milk and eggs and kneading well. Fill the half-moon pockets with your vegetarian filling and then pan-fry in butter and serve these delicious bites with a side of sour cream. Bonus: extra uncooked pierogi are perfect to freeze for an upcoming Meatless Monday – or any night comfort food calls. Get the recipe for the dough here and the filling here.

 

-photo by Greg Rannells

Meatless Monday: Veggie Gyros, Two Ways

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

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A gyro to-go is one of our favorite carryout options on a busy night, but we’ll lighten things up and save a little money this Meatless Monday with Veggie Gyros two ways. For a hearty meat substitute, marinade mushroom caps in a host of spices and garlic, then saute in a hot cast-iron skillet. For a gooey, creamy option, fry up slices of salty Kasseri cheese, then wrap either filling in a warm pita garnished with lettuce, cucumber, tomato and homemade tzatziki sauce. Get the recipe for the fillings here and here, and the gyro recipe here.

 

-photo by Carmen Troesser

Meatless Monday: Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

Monday, February 16th, 2015

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Well, we almost made it, St. Louis. Winter just couldn’t let us go without one good snowy kick on the way out. Combat it with a cold weather classic: grilled cheese and tomato soup. Put the plastic-wrapped American slices away; we’ve got a deliciously decadent Grilled Cheese sammie from The Crow’s Nest that calls for a rosemary-scented apple compote, gooey cheddar and stringy mozzarella. Dip it in a warm Tomato Broth (use less liquid for a thicker consistency) kicked up with cayenne, chile flakes, garlic and red wine. Opt for your favorite high-quality canned tomatoes for that fresh taste of summer in the middle of snowy muck. Get the Grilled Cheese recipe here and the Tomato Broth recipe here.

 

-photo by Jonathan Gayman

Meatless Monday: Warm Mushroom Salad

Monday, February 9th, 2015

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Sometimes we need a meaty, filling salad without any pesky lettuce getting in the way. That’s when we turn to this Warm Mushroom Salad. Simply saute nearly a pound of your favorite mushrooms (we opt for oyster, shiitake and cremini) in a warm garlic oil, then garnish it with walnuts, pecorino cheese and fresh parsley. Get the recipe here.

 

-photo by Carmen Troesser

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