Vegetarian Meatloaf, Mushroom Gravy

Vegetarian Meatloaf, Mushroom GravyA Moist, Tasty, Satisfying Vegetarian Meatloaf
made with
Oatmeal, Quinoa, Walnuts, Hazelnuts, and Gruyere Cheese
served with
Mashed Potatoes and Mushroom Gravy

The somewhat mysterious walnut loaf on the vegetarian restaurant menu seemed way too heavy for lunch, so I ordered the sprouted salad instead.

While the salad was completely delicious, I was still curious about that hearty, compelling “vegetarian meatloaf” so I decided to make one at home.

While researching vegetarian walnut meatloaf recipes, I came across several that sounded similar to our local restaurant’s version. Upon further investigation, it appears that the original recipe is over 2 decades old, from famous vegetarian chef Deborah Madison.

Madison recently noted that 20 years ago she would add cheese to many of her recipes. These days however, with the variety and quality of vegetarian ingredients, she no longer relies on cheese to substitute for the meat. In this vegetarian meatloaf, cheese does play an important role…but vegan cheese should work fine too.

In my interpretation of the recipe, I substitute oatmeal and quinoa for Madison’s brown rice, and make many other adjustments as well, but credit for the concept definitely goes to her.

Vegetarian Meatloaf, Mushroom Gravy Recipe

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Vegetarian Indian Biryani

Vegetarian Indian Biryani

Vegetarian Indian Biryani

If you were one of the 90,000 people who attended Natural Products Expo West at the Anaheim Convention Center earlier this month, you may have had a chance to sample my uber-popular Indian Biryani with Chickpea Risoni.

My friends at Explore Cuisine introduced this new product at the Anaheim show to rave reviews. Chickpea Risoni is rice-shaped chickpea flour (made into pasta, orzo style) produced in Italy that is gluten-free, higher in protein and fiber than white rice.

South-Asian Biryani is traditionally made with white rice and incorporates chicken, meats or fish to make a flavorful, all-encompassing one-pot dish. Here we substitute chickpea risoni for rice to provide protein for a very substantial vegetarian dish. Exotic spices, garlic, ginger, nuts, fruits, fresh herbs, caramelized shallots, and fresh lime juice all add fabulous textures and flavors.

The recipe is simple and easy…the result is layered and complex.

Vegetarian Indian Biryani Recipe

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Custardy Cornbread with Honey Butter

Custardy Cornbread with Honey Butter

Custardy Cornbread with Honey Butter

I awoke to another zillion emails, but one really caught my eye. It was for New Year’s Day Cornbread from Steve Sando of Rancho Gordo, a specialty food company known for their glorious Heirloom Beans.

Sando wrote, “This recipe comes from my pal Taylor Boetticher of the Fatted Calf Charcuterie. If you’re in the Bay Area, try making your Black Eyed Peas with their bacon or other pork treats. The recipe is true Texas cornbread and it’s perfect with your pot of good fortune. A huge thanks to Taylor’s mother, Star Boetticher, for sharing the recipe and keeping good conditions alive.”

I headed off to the kitchen to preheat the oven. Baking with available ingredients, it turns out that I had to replace the whole milk with 1% milk, and swapped low fat plain Kefir for buttermilk …hoping it would work. And it did! This Cornbread is perfect even with my substitutions, no need to look for any other cornbread recipe, ever.

The cornbread was served with room-temperature salted butter that was blended with honey…and a pot of coffee. ‘Twas a delightful December breakfast. The custard layer is simply genius. For good fortune, I will make it again on New Year’s Day to be served with Black Eyed Peas and Collard Greens (recipe now posted here).

Black Eyed Peas are eaten for luck, Collard Greens are symbolic of dollar bills, and Cornbread is symbolic of gold. And we will add a Glazed Spiral Cut Ham to the menu because pigs have long been a symbol of wealth and gluttony. Sounds delicious and lucky, can’t beat that. Here’s to a Prosperous New Year!

Boetticher Family Cornbread Recipe

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Kimchi Potato Latkes

Kimchi Potato Latkes

Kimchi Potato Latkes and Happy Hanukkah!

A jug of olive oil, which held enough oil to last for one day, burned for eight when the Holy Temple in Jerusalem was rededicated.

We eat foods fried in olive oil to commemorate that ancient miracle from the second century BCE and potato pancakes are almost everyone’s favorite symbolic food. This year my latkes have a daring twist. 5779 is the year of the Kimchi Potato Latke!

Adults who adore kimchi’s complex spicy, salty, sweet, sour, bitter, umami, fermented flavors will fall hard for this pancake. Kids, unfortunately, not so much…the younger set should probably stick to traditional style potato latkes with that wonderful combination of sweet apples and sour cream, like this one.

The recipe is a marriage between my kimchi jeon (mind-blowing kimchi pancake batter) and my standard recipe for potato latkes. The combination is amazing pancake synergy.

Kimchi Potato Latkes Recipe

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It’s Not Over Yet! Another Farmers Market Summer Salad

Summer Salad: Israeli Couscous, Wilted Kale, Grilled Corn, Nectarine, Pickled Red Onion, Mozzarella, Toasted PecansAnother Farmers Market Summer Salad
Israeli Couscous, Wilted Kale, Grilled Corn, Nectarines
Pickled Red Onion, Fresh Mozzarella, Toasted Pecans

Labor Day has come and gone… it was the official end of summer you say? Not so fast! We still have a bounty of lovely summer produce at our Farmers Market; juicy sweet aromatic nectarines and corn that is at its best just-picked, when it is high in sugar and low in starch. These beauties are the inspiration for this colorful fruit & vegetable summer salad.

Israeli couscous is airy, toasty, and kind of fun. Perfect for summer. This roasted pasta is shaped like little balls, it makes a pasta salad that’s light and not too pasta-y. Fruit and vegetables are the stars, but the couscous makes it into a pleasingly varied and balanced meal. A vibrant healthy meal for summer’s waning hot days…

Farmers Market Summer Salad Recipe

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Mighty Satisfying Meatless Meal

Bulgur and Burrata with Grilled Okra and Roasted Tomatoes

Bulgur and Burrata with Grilled Okra and Roasted Tomatoes
Basil, Oregano, Mint, Lemon
Garlic Ginger Olive Oil, Aged Balsamic Vinegar
Grilled Lodge Bread

The fresh crisp okra was surprisingly popular at the farmers market last weekend, I just had to join in the frenzy. If you like the taste but are not a fan of the mucilaginous properties of okra, this preparation will be for you. Okra brushed with olive oil and cooked over high heat for a short amount of time results in a very tasty charred veggie with only the tiniest hint of its unappealing characteristic.

Bulgur is an ancient whole grain that makes a nice addition to our rotation of favorite grains like farro,  quinoa, buckwheat, and oats. Red bulgur is hard red wheat that has been parboiled and cracked. Its chewy texture and nutty flavor adds to the satisfying qualities of this meatless meal. The “hard red wheat” is also the type used in the Lodge Bread. Hard red wheat has more protein than its white counterpart.

The tomatoes were plentiful and popular as always. I roast the cherry tomatoes in a 375°F oven with olive oil and balsamic for a half hour to really concentrate their sweetness.

And who can resist burrata cheese…a mix of mozzarella and cream, it’s simply heavenly.  It was super-fresh, made the day before, also a product of the Torrance Farmers’ Market where they feature top quality products from over 60 California farms.

More market items – lemon, basil, oregano, and mint add the tangy and herbaceous qualities to the meal. The addition of finely minced garlic and ginger add a pop to the olive oil, while aged balsamic vinegar brings sweet mellow notes.

And it’s very difficult to leave the Farmers Market without a loaf of fabulous Lodge Bread. Here I brush slices of Seeded Country Loaf with olive oil and grill until semi-burnt. That burnt charcoal flavor inspired the wine, a Zinfandel.

Mighty Satisfying Meatless Meal

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Peach, Quinoa, and Almond Milk Ricotta Salad

Peach, Quinoa, and Almond Milk Ricotta Salad/Grain Bowl

Peach, Quinoa, and Almond Milk Ricotta Salad/Grain Bowl
with
Toasted Almonds, Red Oak Lettuce, Mint, Basil
Olive Oil, Balsamic Syrup, Edible Flowers
Lemon Verbena Iced Tea

Hey! How’s your summer going? Hot enough for ya? Try this Peach, Quinoa, and Almond Milk Ricotta Salad/Grain Bowl  – it’s a bright, light, and simply delicious summertime meal. Perfect for these sweltering days…there is no recipe per se, just a combination of healthful ingredients that have a particular affinity for each other, all arranged in a bowl. It’s gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan too.

Enjoy the salad/grain bowl al fresco along with refreshing Lemon Verbena Iced Tea – the high levels of essential oil contribute to a delightful citrusy aroma and lovely lemony flavor.

Peach, Quinoa, and Almond Milk Ricotta Salad/Grain Bowl

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