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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Sardine Smørrebrød

Sardine Smørrebrød

Sardine Smørrebrød

Smørrebrød is a Danish word that simply translates to buttered bread. What comes after the butter has been spread, however, is where plain bread is elevated to an absolute art form.

There is specific etiquette associated with composing and consuming these fabulous Danish open-faced sandwiches:

  • It would not be prudent to lift the sandwich to the mouth and risk the precious toppings falling off. A knife and fork are required.
  • Proteins are not mixed, each smørrebrød has a stand-alone special protein.
  • Several types of smørrebrød sandwiches are to be eaten in a particular order: herring is always enjoyed first, then other fish, then on to meats and last, cheeses.
  • The bread is always spread with a generous portion of butter, for taste, of course, but it also adds a protective layer to keep the other ingredients from turning the bread into a soggy mess.
  • Dense dark rye bread is the bread used most often, and always paired with herring. But sometimes white bread is used and often paired with smoked salmon.
  • The toppings always generously cover the entire piece of bread in an artful manner.

In planning to make a sardine smørrebrød, I chose ingredients that have a natural affinity for the fish: fennel, orange, lemon, dill, onion, garlic, chili. As always, color and texture enhance the taste, so I added peppery pink radish and some edible flowers too. It is the presentation that makes this open-faced sandwich so compelling.

Sustainable wild-caught sardines are a nutritional powerhouse. Ounce per ounce they boast more calcium than milk, more iron than spinach, more potassium than coconut water, and as much protein as steak.

Sardines are an excellent source of Omega 3s and low in mercury due to their petite size on the food chain. Canned sardines are readily available and have a long shelf-life. Lightly smoked canned sardines packed in extra virgin olive oil that are cleaned and scale-free are preferred.

Mimosas make the perfect sparkling orange accompaniment. Be sure to toast with friends between bites. Cheers and Skol!

Sardine Smørrebrød Recipe

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Kabocha Shooters, Candied Pepitas

Kabocha Shooters, Candied Pepitas

Kabocha Shooters
Candied Pepitas, Creme Fraiche, Pink Peppercorns

Is it a drink? Is it a soup? Is it an amuse bouche? Yes. Yes. Yes. Complex in flavor and compact in presentation – these kabocha shooters are excellent for Fall entertaining. Kabocha, a winter squash also known as Japanese pumpkin, has a delectable taste with beautiful flesh the color of turning Autumn leaves.

The soup’s sweet profile includes nutmeg, cardamom, vanilla, and brown sugar while the savory side contains caramelized onion, garlic, ginger, and dry sherry. The roasted squash is blended with the various ingredients and a touch of cream. All this flavor is packed into a little shot glass where a rich cultured cream floats atop and a sticky-candied-crunchy pumpkin seed garnish is perched on the side.

Kabocha Shooters, Candied Pepitas

Kabocha Shooters Recipe

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Palos Verdes Pastoral Outstanding Oaxacan Theme

Work with Lori Lynn

Palos Verdes Pastoral at Terranea Resort

Thirty years ago in 1988, our community chose sanctuary over sprawl and open land over bulldozers, and launched the Land Conservancy on a journey to preserve and restore open space on the Palos Verdes Peninsula in Southern California.

Palos Verdes Pastoral is the Conservancy’s most important annual event, allowing it to raise support, funds, and awareness for the conservation and management of 1600 acres of permanently protected rare coastal habitat.

Pastoral is an enchanted fundraising dinner that brings people together amidst nature for an exclusive experience at Terranea Resort featuring the best of California handcrafted, organic, and sustainable foods.

This year Pastoral was inspired by the colorful state of Oaxaca, one of Mexico’s major gastronomic centers. It shares many native plant species with the Peninsula; those include lily, sunflower, coastal sage, and cactus. Executive Chef Bernard Ibarra, created a menu with foods sourced from local artisan ingredients and Terranea’s award-winning garden. The menu highlighted staples of Oaxacan cuisine such as squash flowers, sage, prickly pear cactus, dragonfruit, chocolate, and mezcal.

In addition to the camaraderie, gourmet foods, stellar wines, and ambiance that is truly second to none – the evening increases awareness of the important work of the Conservancy in protecting and stewarding our open space and nature. We celebrate the mission of the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy to preserve land and restore habitat for the education and enjoyment of all.

Outstanding Oaxacan Cuisine at Terranea Resort

Preserving Land and Restoring Habitat

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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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Mexican Hot Chocolate with Molinillo

Mexican Hot Chocolate with Molinillo

Chocolate Caliente Mexicano
Chile de Arbol, Canela, Vainilla

Sweet and spicy, warm and frothy, authentic Mexican Hot Chocolate couldn’t be more delightful or welcome on a chilly winter’s day.

Spicy hot chiles de arbol and aromatic cinnamon sticks are simmered in a pot of hot milk for about ten minutes, then removed. Luxurious dark chocolate granules along with vanilla extract are stirred into the spiced milk until the chocolate has completely melted. A molinillo (Mexican whisk) is placed into the pot and rotated between the palms in a twisting motion to create espuma (froth).

The molinillo is hand carved from solid wood and burnt to create artistic darker shades by artisans in Mexico.

The elite ancient peoples of Mexico would ceremoniously pour their chocolate drinks from one cup to another to create a froth in which the spirit of the drink was said to lie.

Ingredients for Two Mugs of Mexican Hot Chocolate:

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Hot Mulled Wine with Orange, Spices, and Scotch Whisky

Hot Mulled Wine

Hot Mulled Wine
Orange, Spices, Scotch Whisky
Amarena Cherries

Whether on the slopes or off, Hot Mulled Wine is guaranteed to ward off that winter chill.

A fruity orange juice reduction has a touch of sweetness, warming spices of cinnamon and clove, the exotic flavor of star anise and the unique herbal fragrance of bay. A hearty Cabernet Sauvignon (that’s not too oaky or tannic) is simmered with the orange spice mixture until piping hot.  The wine is fortified with a generous splash of scotch whisky for an extra kick.

When it comes to hot mulled wine, the garnish is important! We jazz it up, otherwise, it just looks like murky fermented juice in a glass. Orange slices and cinnamon sticks are a traditional garnish. Additionally, we skewer luscious amarena cherries to enhance the dark fruit characteristics of the wine. Skol!

Hot Mulled Wine Recipe

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