Category Archives: Vegetarian

When Inspiration Strikes...

Last week felt like it lasted an eternity and I was looking forward to just having some wine and dinner out after work Friday. That changed when J texted me in the afternoon saying our friend was coming to dinner, so I found myself clicking through Food Gawker trying to find some inspiration. I’d pretty much decided on making a baked pasta dish, only because I had a batch of homemade marinara in the freezer I could use and I knew I didn’t have a lot of time. I wasn’t exactly sold on the idea but couldn’t think of anything else. After making a shopping list I headed out of work and off to Whole Foods.
On the way there I was finally hit with a wave of inspiration after remembering some beautiful heirloom potatoes I’d purchased a couple of days before. They were baby, fingerling-like ones that came in several different colors- deep purple, pink, blush…and I knew I wanted to make something using those.
Luckily Whole Foods still had them, so I tossed the baked pasta idea out and a dinner started to take shape. After grabbing a tub of Boursin cheese, a ball of pizza dough from the Whole Foods chef and some marinated seafood anitpasti, I was off.
Here’s what we ended up having last night:

Marinated mussels and marinated octopus with green olives, which I purchased.

Spicy Genoa salami

Roasted carrots drizzled seasoned with garlic, drizzled with lemon juice & olive oil and finished with cilantro.

The result of the inspiration: a potato pizza which was so easy to put together. I just pressed the pizza dough into a baking sheet, brushed with olive oil and then smeared with Boursin cheese. Topped with thinly sliced potatoes, red onion, fresh rosemary and Italian parsley, it was really delicious!

This was the thing that I did spend some time on, but it didn’t take too long. I had some beautiful blood oranges from my parents’ tree so I layered them with some sugar and butter into a simple galette crust made from flour, sour cream, butter, ice water and lemon juice.

I especially loved the colors of the meal and I am really looking forward to the spring and summer produce at the local farmer’s markets for more inspiration!
Hope you give this potato pizza a try sometime!

Simple Never Tasted So Good…….

I realize it’s been a couple of years since the whole roasted cauliflower craze has spread. I mean, it’s not exactly on the same level as say, the American Idol or Toyota Prius boom, but in food circles, it was pretty big news. Most people had thought of the colorless vegetable as boring, bland and out of favor (again, only in food circles;). Then one day, somewhere there came news that the plain little cauliflower transformed into something magical when roasted in the oven. Alas, a new side dish was born.

Lay out the raw cauliflower in one layer on a baking sheet……

As a long time fan of roasted cauliflower, I can’t tell you enough how fantastically easy, healthy and delicious this dish is. It’s also very versatile- you can add whatever spices you like, toss it together with some wheat pasta, buttered bread crumbs, garlic oil and parmesan for a fantastic vegetarian main course or serve it alongside any meat or seafood. I make a big batch almost every week- the results far exceed the minimal effort so I just can’t help myself. If I’m low on time (as I was this past weekend) I just buy two bags of cauliflower florets from Trader Joe’s instead of a whole head. After slicing them into “1/2 pieces, I simply toss them with a bit of olive oil, sea salt, pepper and whatever else I’m feeling at the moment. Yesterday I cut one red onion into large chunks and mixed it in with the cauliflower, sprinkled the whole thing with Madras curry powder and coriander seed, and baked at 450 degrees for 20 minutes. The hands-on part of this takes less than 10 minutes total, and you end up with a load of this caramelized, nutty and buttery dish that could hardly be any better for you.

After baking at 450 degrees for 20 minutes….

If you haven’t tried this preparation, I highly recommend it. One of my favorite dinners last week was a big bowl of this topped with finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, accompanied by a crisp, Oyster Bay sauvignon blanc. Delicious!