Monthly Archives: November 2011

RECIPE: Spaghetti Carbonara

I’ll admit that I did get behind on my posts there for awhile. I made this recipe for Valentine’s Day 2011. It was something I’ve never tried before and the fact that it usually has bacon in it didn’t scare this vegetarian at all. I’ve got my substitutes for nearly everything non-vegetarian and this was no exception. I originally found mention of this meal in one of my magazines and then changed the recipe so much that it’s not theirs anymore. πŸ™‚

I admit that even though the ingredient list isn’t that threatening I wouldn’t consider this a recipe that I would make on a regular basis. It does require some finesse and I think I actually didn’t do it justice.

The idea of converting a recipe from a meat based one to a veggie based one is always alluring to me. So many people think that if you’re a vegetarian you can’t enjoy the foods that everyone else does. I am here to tell you that’s a false notion. ANYTHING that a meat eater makes I can convert to a healthier, vegetarian option. I’ve been doing it for over 20 years now. I don’t deprive myself of cravings that I have. Yes, I still crave the bacon in BLT sandwiches and I have a healthy, vegetarian alternative for that that I quite enjoy and so does everybody that I make it for.

My message is this: if you think that you are going to be deprived if you decide to go meatless your fears are unfounded. Maybe 20 years ago that was the truth…okay, it was 20 years ago, trust me I know from first hand experience, but I can tell you that today there are so many vegetarian alternatives for meat that you can make just about anything you want by converting the ingredients. Having said that here are the ingredients for this recipe.

INGREDIENTS

1/2 Cup of Tempeh Fakin’ Bacon (just use the real thing if you’re a meat eater)

1 Small Onion

1 Garlic clove,Β  peeled

1 1/2 Cups of Half and Half

1 Bay Leaf

2 Sprigs of Thyme

1/4 Cup grated Parmigiano

Salt and Pepper to taste

2 Egg Yolks

1/4 Cup fresh or frozen Peas

In a large pan, saute the bacon until lightly browned. Add the onion and garlic and sweat until they are soft. At that point you can add the Half and Half, bay leaf and thyme and cook until the sauce is reduced by half.

Cook your pasta as directed. (If you’re really handy or really Italian or both you could even make your own pasta to use in this recipe. I know some of you do this but I am not mentioning any names…Camille! πŸ™‚ Me, I am not that handy and dough intimidates me so I opted for the boxed stuff.)

Now add the parmigiano cheese to the cream mixture and at salt and pepper to taste. Take the mixture off of the heat and whisk in the egg yolks and add the peas. Toss the sauce with the pasta and serve.

I made served this recipe with a nice green salad, garlic bread and a nice Mouton Cadet red wine. (See my review of this wine here.) For dessert we had Creme Brulee (You can check that recipe out here).

Overall this was a nice meal. I will admit that when it comes to whisking in raw egg yolks to a hot mixture sometimes I get a little leery and cook the ingredients some more which is what I did here. It made the end result a little too dry and the cream solidified a bit. However the taste of the meal was really good and we had a lovely Valentine’s Day

Columbia-Crest Two Vines 2008 – Washington State

RECIPE: Broccoli And Goat Cheese Souffle

Since making my first cheese souffle at the beginning of this year I’ve been on a quest to try as many souffle recipes as possible. Each time you make one you get better at it plus…well I bought all these souffle dishes of all sorts of sizes so I have to use them right?

If you read my blog regularly then you’re probably also catching on to the fact that I love goat cheese. I’ve declared my love for it in previous posts and so you know that I am not shy about my obsession. So when I found this recipe for a Broccoli & Goat Cheese Souffle at Eatingwell.com I knew it had my name written all over it.

The ingredient list is nothing to be scared of and most of them you’ll probably have in your kitchen anyway. The hardest thing about the recipe is the technique for incorporating the frothy egg whites into the rest of the ingredients but it’s not as hard as it seems and it’s all part of the process of learning how to make souffles. As I’ve said in previous souffle posts, you really can’t mess up a souffle. Even if it doesn’t rise like it’s suppose to it will still taste good so no harm, no foul. πŸ™‚

I followed this recipe to the T (I know it’s so unlike me to not mess with things right?) except for the fact that I left the dried Rosemary out. I thought I had some but in the middle of making the souffle I discovered I didn’t. Too late to run out and get some I courageously continued on. I really don’t think omitting that ingredient harmed this recipe at all.

If I do say so myself I did incorporate the egg whites perfectly and was very proud of myself. How do you know if you incorporate them correctly? Well, the proof is in what happens in the oven. If your souffle rises like you wouldn’t believe you’ve done your job well and that’s what making a successful souffle is all about.

Now I must warn you, however, that like most souffles this souffle will deflate fast after taking it out of the oven. Unlike previous souffles that I’ve made though THIS souffle probably holds the record for fastest deflating souffle in history. The second I took it out of the oven it was already deflating and by the time I got it on a plate and to the table it looked sad. Really sad! Fortunately to put it out of it’s misery all I had to do is eat it. πŸ™‚ It was really tasty. The goat cheese and dijon mustard gave it a great tang and the broccoli added some nice color, flavor and the feeling that you were eating something that was really good for you.

I highly recommend this recipe and encourage you to try it. Just remember not to take its quick deflation personal. If it rises well in the oven you’ve done your job well and that’s what counts and remember even a souffle that doesn’t rise well is still delicious so you really can’t go wrong.

Vouvray Grande Reserve 2009 Alfio Moriconi Selection – Vouvray, France

RECIPE: Sliced Potatoes, Onions And Spinach

This recipe is just something that I make when I want some sort of potato side and I am not feeling really original.

The recipe ingredient can rotate depending on what I have in my pantry so like most of my recipes it’s made to be adjusted to your likes and what you have on hand. Feel free to get creative.

Let me know what creative things you do to make this your specialty too. I would love to try it.

INGREDIENTS

1/2 Vidalia onion, sliced thin

4 medium sized Red Potatoes, sliced thin

3 Tbsp Olive Oil

Sea Salt & Garlic powder to taste

1 Cup of Spinach

1 Tbsp of Butter

Once the onion and potatoes are sliced toss them in a baking dish with the rest of the ingredients and toss until everything is evenly coated. Place in oven preheated to 400 degrees and bake for about 30-45 minutes. Make sure you keep checking on this and tossing the ingredients around a few times during cooking so everything gets evenly browned.

While you’re waiting for the potato and onion mixture to cook saute the spinach with the butter and a little salt until nicely wilted and bright green.

Once the potato and onion mixture is done toss the spinach mixture with it and serve. It’s that easy and quite tasty too.

I served this with my go to Chicken Scallopini recipe (Veggie, of course. I use Gardien Chikn Scallopini for mine though) and corn on the cob. It’s a nice easy, hearty meal that is always a good to recipe in this household. Meat eaters and vegetarians alike will be satisfied and happy.

Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villages 2009 – Beaujolais, France

RECIPE: Brown Rice And Goat Cheese Cakes

Ah..goat cheese! Where do I start? How about…I love you! Yes, I love goat cheese in every way, shape and form you can serve it. It never gets old to me. So it was only natural that when I saw this recipe for Brown Rice & Goat Cheese Cakes at Eatingwell.com I had to try it. The ingredient list is simple and you probably have most of it already in your pantry which is always a plus.

For starters I will say that I didn’t follow the recipe to the T (when do I ever right?). I didn’t have shallots on hand and I didn’t feel like going out and getting some so I used half of a large, sweet Vidala onion instead and it didn’t hurt the outcome one bit. The recipe also calls for toasted pecans. I omitted those all together. I was going to use toasted Almonds instead because I don’t really like pecans, I think almonds are healthier, and well, I didn’t have any pecans in the house (refer back to the fact that I don’t like pecans) but quite frankly I got lazy by the time dinner time came and it just seemed too much of a bother to me. Yes, I was having a lazy day that day.

The recipe also calls for you to use a food processor to make all the ingredients incorporate completely and, again, I was feeling lazy and I really didn’t see the purpose in this step. To me it seemed another thing to do that was going to make the clean up afterwards even bigger than it already was (I am messy chef sometimes) and I just wasn’t up to that. Perhaps if you have children that are phobic of vegetables this step would be necessary in order to disguise the fact that you’re feeding them those evil things but for me, I love veggies and I am comforted to know they are there so I skipped that step for myself.

I cooked these patties up in a skillet with olive oil and served with a nice side of field greens and ranch dressing. It was a nice light meal for a warm Florida evening. The goat cheese gave these patties a nice tang but honestly these lacked something in the flavor department. Maybe it was the the fact that I left out the pecans or almonds but I really don’t feel that those would have given this recipe enough taste either. They were a little too dry for my taste also which is something I know the nuts wouldn’t have helped with.

Overall they weren’t bad but if I do make them again I’ll probably REALLY mess with the recipe in order to make them tastier and moister. I would imagine if you put some bouillon in the water that you cooked the rice in that it might perk this recipe up a bit. Do try these and let me know what you changed in order to make it better. It’s a recipe with definite potential.

Fish Eye Merlot 2010 – South Eastern Australia