Friday, March 11, 2011

Veg Head

My Aunt Susan gave me this vegetarian cookbook for Christmas about 2 years ago I think and it's been sitting on the shelf ever since. Because of the lack of internet, I depended more on my cookbooks. This lead to me discovering some recipes I had never tried before and trying out some of the recipes in this book, "Totally Vegetarian" by Toni Fiore. She hosts the PBS show "Delicious TV's Totally Vegetarian" The first recipe I tried I was really excited about because it could possibly be used again as a sauce over something instead of just Fettuccine Alfredo. I'm trying to stick to a more kosher diet and this is a great replacement for a creamy sauce over sauteed or baked chicken. Totally dairy free (unless the Parmesan cheese is added on top).

I started wondering about using this sauce on a pizza as well. I served it up with the Parmesan on top and all my boys were none the wiser. They sincerely believed it was an Alfredo sauce until I told them. I'm not trained chef but this was good enough for me to make this a regular in our home. The Author suggests this as a sauce to spoon over green beans or asparagus (a nice white sauce over asparagus for Easter?)

Here Goes:

Fettuccine Walnut Alfredo

  • 1/2 lb. fettucine (or whatever is in the pantry)
  • 3/4 cup walnuts or walnut pieces
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 pine nuts
  • few sprigs of parsley (I didn't have this)
  • 2-3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of sea salt (I used kosher salt)
  • Freshly grated black pepper
  • Grated Parmesan (optional)
1. Cook pasta according to directions

2. Pulse half of the walnuts with the garlic in the food processor. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. With the processor running, add the remaining walnuts, the pine nuts, and parsley and then drizzle in the oil. When the sauce has a pesto-like texture, stop the processor and scrape down the sides of the bowl. The nuts should be very finely ground. Turn the machine on and slowly add 1/4 to 1/3 cup very hot water, checking the consistency to make sure the sauce doesn't become too thin. The sauce should begin turning white with a fluffy creamy texture. Stir in the salt.

3. Have a large deep pasta bowl handy. Quickly drain the pasta and drop into the bowl. Toss with about 5 tablespoons of sauce, more or less to taste. Serve immediately with a few grinds of black pepper and Parmesan, if desired.

The next recipe is definitely more along the lines of a "cruncher" recipe as my husband would so eloquently put it! I also was trying out vegetarian recipes not only because they are healthy but also because they can be a lot cheaper. This is one of those that I picked out to be cheaper. Mike and I really enjoyed it but unless the kids eat beans regularly, this may be something they give the stink eye to.

I ended up having to add a little more water in the end to suit my consistency preference. The lemon at the end it nice. I'm sure there are a ton of variations that can be done with this. I'm definitely planning on making it again.

Lentil Stew

3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 Large yellow onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup parsley chopped (I only had left over, I didn't use the parsley)
1 1/2 cups lentils
4 cups vegetable stock or water
1 lemon
2-4 cups baby spinach, torn (optional)
chopped cilantro, mint, or additional parsley, to taste

1. Heat a heavy stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. After a minute, add the onion and celery. Saute gently until translucent, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for a few minutes longer. Add the parsley and stir well to combine. Add the lentils and stock and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat and gently simmer until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Just before serving, season with salt and pepper, a good squeeze of lemon juice, and a grating of fresh lemon zest to taste. Spoon the stew over a bed of fresh spinach if you life and top with chopped cilantro. Serve hot.

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