Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Veggie Kind of Night

This post is for my BFF, Heather. Yes, you can be 30 something, and still have a BFF. And she has been that for the last 18 years :) While, I love some meat (grass fed & organic please), she would rather eat her veggies. This is a meal she would love. Trust me, no one will miss the meat in this meal. It is hearty, warm, and full of flavor. Delish.

Spinach Potato Cakes with Wild Mushroom Ragout

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cup assorted sliced wild mushrooms
2 large shallots; minced
1 cup peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped green onions
4 garlic cloves; minced
2/3 cup mushroom broth
1/4 cup white wine
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper

Spinach Potato Cake:

1/2 cup chopped and blanched spinach
1 cup mashed potatoes
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup seasoned flour
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup olive oil, for frying


2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 tablespoons chopped chives

For the ragout: In a saute pan, heat the olive oil. Add the mushrooms and shallots and saute for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, green onions and garlic and continue sauteeing for 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the mushroom broth and wine to the Sauteed mixture and reduce by half. Finish with the butter and reseason.

For the potato cakes: In a mixing bowl, combine the spinach, potatoes and garlic together. Season with salt and pepper. Portion the mixture into 2-ounce cakes. Dredge the cakes in the seasoned flour. Dip into the beaten egg, letting any excess drip off. Coat each cake completely with the seasoned bread crumbs.

In a saute pan, heat the olive oil. When the pan is smoking hot, add the cakes. Saute until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the cakes over and continue sauteeing until golden brown. Remove from pan and drain on a paper-lined plate.

Spoon the ragout in the center of the plate. Place the cakes in the center of the ragout. Garnish with chopped parsley, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and chives.

Stuffed Tomatoes

3 beefsteak tomatoes
1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
3/4 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon butter, softened
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Cut the tomatoes in half, horizontally. Use a small spoon to gently hollow out the inside of the tomatoes, discarding the seeds and reserving the pulp and being careful not to puncture the outer shell. Chop the reserved pulp and put in a medium bowl. Add the parsley, bread crumbs, cheese, and pepper and mix gently to combine. Place the tomato halves in a buttered casserole dish, and fill with the bread crumb mixture. Drizzle the top of the tomatoes with olive oil. Bake until the tops are browned, about 20 minutes.

Sweet-n-Spicy Carrots

1 pound carrots; peeled and cut on the bias into 2 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 cup apple cider (or apple juice)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
A fresh piece of rosemary
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
Kosher Salt & Pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium heat and add the carrots. Cook for 2 minutes, then drain in a colander and set aside.

In a medium-size pot combine all the remaining ingredients, except the rosemary, and bring to a simmer over low heat. Add the drained carrots and toss to combine. Simmer on low heat for 5 minutes to incorporate flavors. Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with rosemary and serve.

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