Saturday, October 15, 2011

Vegetarian Eats

Despite my love of meat I don't always need to have it on my plate in order for me to consider my dish a 'complete' meal. There are plenty of vegetarian options for everyone (meat lover and non-meatlover alike). One of my favorite veggie dishes has got to be balsamic portobello mushroom sandwiches. All you have to do is put your portobello mushrooms in a pan (usually starting with the gill side up) whose bottom is just covered with balsamic vinegar. I usually add a few tablespoons of water to thin the balsamic out so its not too strong and then sprinkle spices atop my mushrooms (red pepper flakes, thyme, oregano, garlic powder and salt and pepper). I put the heat on high, cover my pot, and let the balsamic come to a boil so that it steams my portobello while reducing-thickening the balsamic water mixture into a sauce. After about five minutes you can flip the mushroom and following another five minutes it is done. So quick and easy! Some wonderful toppings for this sandwich is some sauteed red peppers and onions, fresh tomato slices, lettuce, a goat cheese spread for the bread and a bit of honey mustard slathered on. So easy and quick! On average you can get a big portobello at the grocery store for around a dollar while if you go to a restaurant for one of these sandwiches you can spend $12 or more on a similar sandwich at a place like The Oval Room in DC. Of course a nice foccacia bread would be an amazing addition to this sandwich but I only had some wheat on hand and it worked just fine.
I also recently had dinner with my vegetarian friend Emily and we created a beautiful vegetarian meal together. I had some free white eggplant from the farm who I cut it into slices and used a new breading technique (eggs were not available so we improvised) coating the eggplant in flour first, dredging it in olive oil and then covering it with panko bread crumbs. We let this cook in the oven for about 25 minutes at 375 and then ten more at 400 (topping it with some goat cheese the last five minutes to get it beautifully melty). Emily cooked asparagus right in her convection oven with some lemon and spices. She also cooked some cauliflower in the microwave (right in the bag) and then put it in the blender with some almond milk, butter and garlic so it was almost like a mashed potato consistency. I thought this was a great vegetarian meal and the eggplant almost melted in your mouth it was so light and silky smooth.
I am sure I will have more vegetarian recipe ideas posted again soon-and some non-vegetarian ones as well. <3

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