Roasted Cherry Tomato Spaghetti

18 08 2010

Cherry tomatoes on the vine

It’s mid-August and we’re just coming into tomato season in Southern Ontario. It’s been a great year for tomatoes because we’ve had hot and dry weather for most of the spring and summer.  Some of the tastiest tomatoes that can be found at grocery stores and farmer’s markets are cherry tomatoes (bonus: they’re grown in greenhouses during the winter so high quality cherry tomatoes are usually available year-round).  They can be used in salads, pasta dishes sandwiches, roasted or just eaten on their own.

Roasting cherry tomatoes concentrates their flavour

This pasta dish is one of my most popular recipes on Suite 101.com.  It’s easy, delicious and only requires a few ingredients.  The sauce coats the noodles lightly but it’s very flavourful so a little goes a long way.  The spaghetti is delicious served with a green salad and a glass of wine.

Roasted Cherry Tomato Spaghetti

Makes approximately 6 main dish servings

(VEGETARIAN)

To roast tomatoes:

  • 4 cups cherry or grape tomatoes (about 40 tomatoes)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • Parchment paper

To finish sauce:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil + more to finish, if desired
  • 2 cloves chopped fresh garlic
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese, to garnish
  • 1 lb. / 500 g dried spaghetti
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large bowl, add cherry tomatoes, olive oil, salt and sugar and toss to coat all of the tomatoes. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit.
  3. Pour tomatoes onto the baking sheet and roast for 25 to 35 minutes or until they collapse and their skin begins to char.
  4. Remove tomatoes from the oven and let cool slightly. Carefully lift the parchment paper and pour the tomatoes and all their roasting juices into a large bowl. Set aside. (Tomatoes can be roasted in advance and refrigerated until ready to use).

To finish sauce:

  1. In a large skillet or enameled cast iron pot, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté for about 1 minute. Add the roasted tomatoes with their juices and oregano. Use a spoon to break up the cherry tomatoes and cook until heated through.
  2. Cook pasta according to package instructions (for al dente results, it’s usually cooked for 9 to 11 minutes). Reserve 2 Tablespoons of the pasta cooking water and drain spaghetti.
  3. Add pasta and 1 Tablespoon of the pasta waster to the tomato sauce. Stir to thoroughly coat the spaghetti. If it seems a bit dry, add the remaining tablespoon of pasta water and drizzle with a bit more olive oil.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with a grating of fresh parmesan to serve.

Roasted Cherry Tomato Spaghetti

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!

This article first appeared on Suite 101.com.





Corn Chowder with Bell Peppers

26 07 2010

Corn Chowder with Bell Peppers, made with fresh corn and sweet summer peppers.

When I was a kid, one of my favourite soups was corn chowder.  My mom made it using canned creamed corn, green peppers, onions, potatoes and milk.  It was simple, delicious and comforting.  I took the basic concept and dressed it up a little with fresh corn and added some red peppers, a hint of jalapeno, some garlic and fresh thyme.  It’s a great way to use up corn on the cob and can be a summery starter or a hearty meal on its own.  You can add some protein such as shellfish, chicken or ham if you’d like.  It can also be made vegetarian by using vegetable stock in place of chicken in the base. Serve the chowder with fresh bread or biscuits.

Click here to get the recipe from Suite 101.com: Corn Chowder with Bell Peppers.

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!





Asian Summer Slaw

7 07 2010

Beat the heat with a refreshing salad of seasonal vegetables and an Asian-style dressing.

We’re having a major heat wave in Southern Ontario, with high temperatures and humidity not seen here since 2007.  While this is good for growing things such as peaches, tomatoes and grapes, it can be a challenge when trying to decide what to eat for dinner each night.  No one wants to run a hot oven when the temperature is soaring so we look for things that are fresh and cooling.

So what should we eat?  Salads, of course!  Salads are a great option at the peak of summer because a lot of local produce is now available at the market.  A vibrant salad packed with fresh vegetables and lightly tossed with an Asian-inspired dressing is the perfect dish for dinner. It pairs well with grilled meats and rice dishes or you can add some grilled shrimp or chicken to make it a substantial main dish on its own. Cooked whole-wheat spaghettini or chow mein noodles would also be a nice addition.

The prep work for this salad takes a bit of time but none of it is difficult.  You could use bagged shredded coleslaw mix in place of chopping the cabbage and carrots. The dressing can be made in advance and refrigerated until ready to use.  However, don’t dress the salad too far in advance or it will get soggy and limp.

Asian Summer Slaw

Makes 4 to 6 side dish servings (can be made as a main course as well, see above)

(VEGETARIAN)

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup Hellman’s/Best Foods style light mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon sodium-reduced soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, very finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more, if you prefer a bit of heat)
  1. In a small bowl, add all ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined.  Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Salad:

  • 3/4 cup snow peas (about 15), trimmed
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 small or 1/2 a large carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 4 green onions, chopped (white and light green parts – save the dark green tops for garnish)
  • 1 cup sliced cucumbers – cut about 1/4″ thick (about 1/2 a large cuke)
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 2 cups shredded Napa or green cabbage
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
  1. To blanch snow peas: Prepare a bowl of cold water and add a few ice cubes. Set aside.  Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add snow peas and cook for 1 minute.  Drain peas and plunge them immediately into the ice water to halt cooking.  Drain and dry them once they cool and add to a large salad bowl.
  2. Add the red pepper strips, carrot, green onion, cucumber, bean sprouts and cabbage to the bowl.  Use salad forks (or spoons) to toss all ingredients until combined.  Add dressing to the salad a little at a time and stir to coat the vegetables, making sure you don’t overdress the salad (you probably won’t use all of the dressing. Extra dressing can be kept covered in the fridge for a couple of days).  Stir in sesame seeds and garnish with green onion slices.
  3. Serve as a side dish or add some protein and noodles as described above.

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!





Tempura Chive Blossoms

26 05 2010

Chives are easy to grow and very versatile.

Chives are one of my favourite herbs and they couldn’t be easier to grow.  Stick some in a pot or garden and they will reappear each spring without any tending, spreading and becoming more robust each year.  The green chive stems can be used in a number of dishes and make a great garnish but their pretty purple blossoms are edible as well.

Chive blossoms: pretty decoration or delicious snack? They're both!

Chive blossoms can be dipped in a simple tempura batter and fried to make a delicious appetizer with a delicate oniony flavour. Tempura is a method of battering and frying seafood and vegetables that is popular in Japanese restaurants.  It sounds exotic but requires nothing more than some pantry basics.  Serve with cold beer, sake or sparkling wine.

Tempura Chive Blossoms

(VEGETARIAN)

Makes 30 to 35 blossoms

  • 30 to 35 large chive blossoms with about 1″ of chive stem still attached
  • 1 cup ice cold water (in a 2 cup measuring cup, add one cup of ice cubes and one cup of water – measure out 1 cup of water when ready to use)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt plus extra for finishing
  • Oil for frying (preferably a neutral oil such as safflower)
  • Chopped chives for garnish
  • Lemon wedges (optional)
  1. In a large bowl, add ice water and egg.  Beat until smooth and thoroughly combined.
  2. Add flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt.  Whisk batter until completely smooth and combined.
  3. Carefully place chive blossoms in batter and gently stir until blossoms are coated.
  4. Heat enough oil in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan to measure about 1″ deep.  Heat on high heat until it reaches 350 degrees Fahrenheit or a small piece of bread can be fried to golden brown in about 10 seconds.
  5. Carefully place about 10 of the blossoms in the oil, wiping off any excess batter against the edge of the bowl as you lift them out. You can use the stems to handle them.
  6. Reduce the heat slightly to medium-high and fry the blossoms until golden brown, about two minutes.  Use a slotted spoon or spider to remove the blossoms and place on a paper towel-lined plate.
  7. Repeat with remaining blossoms, working in batches.
  8. Sprinkle cooked blossoms generously with salt and serve immediately.  Garnish with chopped chives and serve with lemon wedges if desired.

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!

Tempura Chive Blossoms





Fiddlehead Salad with Sesame Vinaigrette

12 05 2010

Fiddleheads are only available for a short time each spring so enjoy them while you can!

When I was growing up in rural New Brunswick, we would pick fiddleheads every spring along the river near my parents’ house.  Because fiddleheads aren’t grown commercially, they are truly a seasonal treat and are only available for a short time each year.  However, many supermarkets and farmer’s markets sell them and sometimes frozen fiddleheads can be found out of season. They are delicious in soups, salads, quiches, pickled or just cooked simply and topped with a bit of butter. Be sure to cook them well – there have been some reports of food borne illness related to undercooked fiddleheads. Cooking them thoroughly will also remove any bitter flavour that may be present in the ferns.

This salad makes a great side dish for an Asian inspired dinner.  Why not serve it with some grilled salmon with a light teriyaki glaze and steamed rice?  Pair with a crisp white wine such as a dry riesling.

Fiddlehead Salad with Sesame Vinaigrette

(VEGETARIAN)

Makes 4 servings

  • 4 cups of fiddleheads, cleaned and trimmed of any brown parts
  • Large bowl of ice water
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 3 large green onions (scallions) cut into thin slices, white parts only – reserve some chopped green ends for garnish

Vinaigrette:

  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons peanut oil or other neutral oil such as canola or safflower (avoid using peanut oil if there is a concern about peanut allergies)
  • ½ teaspoon Asian sesame oil
  • 1 Tablespoon dark sodium-reduced soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more, to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, very finely minced

Directions:

  1. Prepare a large bowl of ice water and set aside.
  2. Fill a saucepan with enough water to just cover 4 cups of fiddleheads and bring to a boil. Add fiddleheads and cook until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain fiddleheads and plunge immediately into the ice water to stop cooking. Drain again and place on a dishtowel or paper towel to dry thoroughly.
  3. In a small bowl, prepare vinaigrette. Add rice vinegar, peanut oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, sugar and garlic and whisk until well combined.
  4. Place cooked fiddleheads and green onion slices in a bowl and toss with vinaigrette until dressing evenly coats the fiddleheads. Place salads on a plate and garnish with toasted sesame seeds and a sprinkling of green onion slices.

This article first appeared on Suite 101.com

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!

Fiddlehead Salad with Sesame Vinaigrette





Roasted Beet Salad with Walnuts and Feta

20 02 2010

 

Beets in cold storage

 

I tend to think of salad as a summer dish, which makes sense considering all the great produce available during the summer months.  Salads are the perfect meal when it’s hot out – crisp lettuce, juicy tomatoes and sweet peppers are refreshing when the weather turns humid.  However, salads can work in colder months too. Winter salads can be made with seasonal vegetables such as beets, celery root or potatoes and often incorporate cheese, nuts or meat to make them more substantial. 

Pairing roasted beets with nuts and cheese is not a new idea; in fact, I recently tried a delicious version with gorgonzola and pistachios at Locanda Verde restaurant in New York City.  My version calls for walnuts and feta cheese but goat cheese can be substituted if you’d prefer.  A bright sherry vinegar dressing pulls all of the flavours together.  Don’t skip the pickled shallots – they take a few minutes to make but add a nice sweet-tart element to the salad.  The salad is substantial enough to be a main course but you can always adjust the servings to work as a starter.

Roasting Beets:  To roast beets with minimal mess, trim the roots and greens, if still attached (reserve the greens for another use). Peel the beets and discard peelings. Cut beets into 1-1/2″ cubes and toss in a bowl with a tablespoon of neutral tasting oil such as canola or safflower oil. Spread beet chunks on a baking sheet and roast at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 20 minutes or until beets are tender and beginning to caramelize. Wash hands immediately after handling the beets to avoid staining.

Roasted Beet Salad with Walnuts and Feta

(VEGETARIAN)

Makes 2 main course salads or 4 starter course salads

  • 4 cups mixed salad greens
  • 4 beets, cubed and roasted (see ‘Roasting Beets’ above)
  • 1 cup toasted walnut halves
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese or to taste
  • Pickled shallots (see recipe below)
  • Sherry Vinaigrette (see recipe below)

Pickled Shallots

  • 5 shallots, peeled and cut into thin rings (about ½ cup of shallots)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup white wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  1. In a saucepan, combine sugar and vinegar and stir until combined. Bring to a boil and add shallots.
  2. Let mixture simmer on medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand until it cools.
  3. Drain vinegar and use pickled shallots as desired

Sherry Vinaigrette

  • 3 Tablespoons of neutral oil such as canola or safflower
  • 1 Tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon style mustard
  • A pinch of salt
  1. In a small bowl, add all ingredients and whisk until combined.

To Assemble Salads:

  1. In a large bowl, toss mixed greens with enough vinaigrette to moisten leaves. Assemble greens on plates.
  2. Top greens with beets, walnuts, feta and shallots. Lightly toss each serving until ingredients are combined. Drizzle with more vinaigrette if desired.

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!

This article first appeared on Suite 101.com.

Roasted Beet Salad with Walnuts and Feta





Basic Risotto

28 01 2010

Mushroom risotto garnished with chopped parsley and shaved parmesan

We’re already at the end of January (yay!) and I’m getting back to the kitchen after a nasty cold and some unpleasant plumbing issues in my basement.  I’ve been experimenting with some new recipes and have been inspired by some great restaurants and books in the past month. Last weekend it was raining and cold here so I decided to do a comforting braise served over risotto. Risotto has a reputation for being time consuming and difficult to make but it’s actually very simple if you take it step by step and follow a few pointers.

Risotto is a Northern Italian rice dish that is typically creamy tasting with a very slight ‘bite’ to the rice when made properly. Unfortunately, there are a lot of bad examples of risotto out there (it can be difficult for restaurants to do right because it must be made to order).  The best restaurant risotti I’ve eaten were a braised oxtail version at XO Le Restaurant in Montreal and a seafood risotto at Imàgo at the Hotel Hassler in Rome. In both instances the rice had a creamy texture and lots of flavour.   Although the texture of risotto should be ‘creamy’, no cream or milk is ever added to the rice. Rather, the creaminess is a result of starch being released during cooking.  The key to creamy risotto is to use the right kind of rice and to take your time adding the liquid during the cooking process.

Regular long grain rice doesn’t work for risotto – you need to use specific types. Carnaroli, Arborio and Vialone Nano rice are most commonly used.  I prefer carnaroli rice but arborio is usually more readily available in many areas.  Using good quality stock is also important for good risotto.  Homemade or a high-quality boxed stock are best (low-sodium is preferable).  Many butchers sell tubs of good house made stock as well.  If your stock is very strongly flavoured, you may want to cut it with some water so it isn’t too overpowering.  I prefer chicken stock for most risotti but it depends on what you are adding to the basic recipe so choose your stock flavour accordingly.

This recipe is for a basic risotto which is the foundation for more exotic versions – I have suggested a few variations at the end. However, the possibilities for additions are almost endless so use your imagination!

Basic Risotto

Makes 2 to 3 servings (can be doubled)

(Can be made VEGETARIAN)

  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup raw carnaroli or arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • About 3-1/2* cups stock (chicken, beef, seafood or vegetable), heated in a sauce pot or microwave
  • 1/2 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Salt, to taste
  1. In a large deep skillet or enameled cast iron pot, heat olive oil on medium-high heat.  Add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add rice and sauté for another 2 minutes, stirring periodically.  Pour in wine and stir rice.  Reduce heat and let simmer gently until the wine is completely absorbed, about 3 minutes.
  3. Once the wine has completely absorbed, add 1/2 cup of the stock.  Let the rice simmer gently, stirring occasionally.  Once the stock has almost fully absorbed (about 4 minutes), add another 1/2 cup of the stock.
  4. Repeat the process of adding the stock a half cup at a time once it has almost absorbed. Continue until the rice is creamy and cooked through but still has a very slight ‘bite’ in the middle of the grains (al dente).  Stir the rice on occasion and keep an eye on it.  It will take approximately 7* additions of stock in half cup increments (*Note: the rice may require a little more or less stock, depending on how absorbent it is).
  5. Once the rice is cooked to the desired tenderness, remove the pan from the heat and add the butter and parmesan cheese. Stir into the risotto until completely melted.  Any additions can be added at this point (see below for suggestions). Season with salt to taste and serve.

Suggested Additions:

Mushroom – Sauté mixed mushrooms with herbs such as rosemary and thyme.  Stir into a basic risotto and finish with a small amount of truffle oil if desired.

Onion-Sage – Adding a few fresh sage leaves and caramelized onions makes a risotto that pairs well with poultry and pork.

Roasted TomatoSlow roasted plum tomatoes or cherry tomatoes are hearty additions.  Season with your favourite herbs such as oregano or basil.

Butternut Squash – Roasted butternut squash or pumpkin with crispy sage leaves turn risotto into an autumn masterpiece.

Seafood – Add your favourite shellfish such as cooked lobster, scallops or shrimp to risotto.  Use shellfish stock in place of chicken stock and leave out the cheese.

Asparagus – Add chopped cooked asparagus and season with a bit of lemon juice and zest for a delicious spring dish.

Saffron – Soaking a few strands of saffron in the chicken broth makes a traditional Risotto Milanese.

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!





Potato Latkes

15 12 2009

Tonight is the 5th night of Hanukkah, the Jewish celebration of lights. Potato latkes are traditionally eaten during the eight days of festivities but you certainly don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy them.  You can sometimes find them on menus at delis but they’re very easy to make at home. The potatoes and onions can be grated by hand or with a food processor. Latkes are best eaten fresh out of the pan – they don’t really re-heat very well.  Serve with sour cream or applesauce.

Potato Latkes

(VEGETARIAN)

Makes about 8 large latkes

  • 3 large russet potatoes, peeled
  • 1 small onion, peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • Neutral oil such as safflower, for pan frying latkes
  • Sour cream or apple sauce, to garnish (optional)
  1. Grate potatoes and onion and place in a large bowl.  Season with salt and pepper and let sit for five minutes.  
  2. After five minutes, use your hands to wring any liquid from the shredded potatoes and discard the liquid (you can also do this by pressing the potato mixture in a colander).
  3. Add egg and flour to the potato mixture and use your hands to thoroughly combine the ingredients.
  4. In a large, deep skillet, add oil so that is about 1/4″ to 1/2″ deep in the pan. Heat on high until ready to fry (to about 350 degrees Fahrenheit or until a small piece of potato dropped in sizzles and turns golden).  Be sure to watch the oil carefully!
  5. Use a 1/3 cup measuring cup to scoop out some potato mixture.  Carefully place in the oil and flatten slightly with a spatula. Repeat scooping the mixture but make sure the latkes are not crowded in the pan (you will likely have to do two batches).
  6. Let the latkes cook until browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes.  Carefully turn over with a spatula and cook the other side.  When the pancakes are dark golden and cooked through, remove from the pan and place on a paper-towel lined plate. 
  7. Season with additional salt to taste and serve with sour cream or applesauce, as desired.

Happy Hanukkah and Enjoy!

A Potato Latke topped with sour cream.





A Vegetarian and Vegan Thanksgiving

23 11 2009

Fresh cranberries at the farmer's market

American Thanksgiving is this week and it’s the biggest food day of the year for millions of people. Cooks across America have been busy in on-line chat rooms and blogs discussing menus and what recipes they’ll be making for their feasts.  Turkey is usually the centerpiece of a traditional Thanksgiving meal but what if you or one of your guests don’t eat meat or poultry?  Not to worry – there are plenty of delicious options that everyone can enjoy without feeling like they’re missing out.

Many recipes can also be adapted for vegans (who don’t eat any animal products, including milk, cheese, butter and eggs).  To make a recipe vegan, sometimes all you have to do is substitute margarine or oil for butter and leave out any cheese the recipe may call for.  I have noted which recipes can easily be adapted for vegans. Here are some suggestions for a delicious, meat-free Thanksgiving dinner:

Stuffed Butternut Squash is an elegant vegetarian alternative to turkey.

White Bean Dip with Fresh Herbs – Get the party started with this vegan-friendly dip made with white beans and hearty autumn herbs. 

Mushroom Crostini – These make impressive hors d’oeuvres for any autumn dinner. Leave out the cream, parmesan and sour cream if serving vegans.  Adjust the flavour by adding more seasonings to taste.

Butternut Squash Soup – This low-fat soup is easy and delicious.  To adapt for vegans, omit the brown butter – use olive oil to sauté the sage leaves instead.

Peppery Leek and Potato Soup – Using vegetable stock instead of a chicken base makes this easy soup suitable for both vegetarians and vegans.

Stuffed Butternut Squash – This makes an impressive main course dish that easily takes the place of turkey.  Can be adapted for vegans (see pointers in the article).

Potato-Sage Dressing – Cooking the stuffing outside the bird means that everyone can enjoy it, including vegans.

Roasted Green Beans with Shallots – Take a break from the usual green bean casserole with this vegan-friendly dish.

Cranberry Sauce – Just because you don’t have turkey doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some vegan-friendly cranberries with your meal.

Mashed Potatoes – Always a favourite, mashed potatoes can be adapted for vegans by nixing the butter and cream.  Use a little vegetable stock and a bit of olive oil to give them a creamy texture.

Mashed Potatoes are a must at any Thanksgiving table.

Butternut Squash Gratin with Sage and Parmesan – The key to this dish is the butter and parmesan so vegans may have to pass on this one but vegetarians and meat-eaters will no doubt enjoy it.

Corn Scallop – This dish is tasty and rich but unfortunately it’s not vegan-friendly. However, Roasted Corn with Red Pepper and Herbs is – just use olive oil in place of the butter. Fresh corn is not in season right now but canned corn works very well in this dish.

Roasted Beet Salad with Walnuts and Feta – This hearty winter salad is practically a meal on its own.  Leave out the feta for vegans.

Braised Garlic Swiss Chard – Cooking swiss chard in lots of garlic and stock makes eating your greens a lot more delicious.  Use oil in place of the butter for vegans.

Roasted Tomatoes – These sweet and addictive slow cooked tomatoes are great in salads, on pasta or even just eaten with bread. They are vegan-friendly as well. 

Celery Root Slaw – This tangy salad is the perfect accompaniment to rich dishes.  If serving vegans, use a vegan-friendly mayonnaise that doesn’t contain any eggs.

Salads – Mixed greens and other vegetables are a great option for vegetarians, vegans and health-conscious diners.  Recipes for Basic Vinaigrettes will give you  lots of ideas for dressings.

Pumpkin Pie with Maple-Walnut Praline – The pumpkin custard contains eggs and milk so it’s not vegan-friendly but everyone else will enjoy this dressed up version of a classic.

Apple Pie – Another classic.  Be sure to use a pastry recipe (or prepared dough) that doesn’t contain animal products if serving vegans.

Take a break from green bean casserole with vegan-friendly Roasted Green Beans and Shallots.

Many people are eliminating meat and animal products from their diets for both health and ethical reasons but there’s no reason why they can’t enjoy a tasty holiday meal as well.  

Bon Appétit and Happy Thanksgiving!





Butternut Squash Gratin with Sage and Parmesan

17 11 2009

Butternut squash at Jean Talon Market, Montreal

 

Squash and pumpkins are the superstars of fall.  They are cheap and readily available and can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes.  A butternut squash gratin makes a great side dish for Thanksgiving because it can be assembled in advance which makes one less thing to fuss with on the big day.  Because the ingredients for this dish are so simple, it’s important to use good quality products: fresh sage leaves, real parmesan cheese and real butter.  

Butternut Squash Gratin with Sage and Parmesan

(VEGETARIAN)

Makes 4 to 6 servings as a side dish

  • About ¾ of a medium butternut squash (enough to yield 4 generous cups of sliced squash)
  • ¼ cup (4 Tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 20 small to medium sized fresh sage leaves or 10 large leaves torn in half
  • 1 cup (about 75 g / 2.5 oz.) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a standard sized loaf pan and set aside.
  2. Using a very sharp chef’s knife, trim off both ends of the butternut squash and discard. Place the squash upright on a solid cutting board and peel it by cutting the skin off in a downward motion. Cut the peeled squash in half vertically down the middle and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and any stringy flesh.
  3. Using a very sharp knife or mandoline, cut squash into thin slices, about 1/8″ thick. Slice enough squash to yield about 4 generous cups of squash slices. Set aside.
  4. In a medium saucepan, heat butter on medium-high heat. Once butter has completely melted, reduce heat to medium and add sage leaves. Watching carefully and swirling the pot frequently, heat butter for about 5 minutes, until it turns a dark golden brown and sage leaves are crispy. Remove from heat.
  5. In loaf pan, layer 1 cup of squash slices, overlapping them in 2 or 3 layers. Drizzle with 1 Tablespoon of butter-sage mixture and top with ¼ cup of grated cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Repeat layering until there are a total of four layers, finishing with cheese on top. Gratin can be assembled in advance and refrigerated.
  7. Bake gratin at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until squash is tender and the top is bubbling and brown.

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!

This recipe first appeared on Suite 101.com

Butternut Squash Gratin with Sage and Parmesan