Friday, June 28, 2013

Monday, June 10, 2013

I Could Become a Southern Vegetarian . . .

I was so excited when I learned that Amy Lawrence and Justin Fox-Burks (the lovely folks from the Chubby Vegetarian blog) had garnered a cookbook deal!  I enjoyed the blog and, I now confess, I had admired Amy's home-made treats from across the lunch table.  They looked tasty.

As much as I'd like to move meat to a peripheral role in my diet, most of the many vegetarian recipes I have tried have tasted a bit, well, weedy.  From the way Amy described the recipes, it sounded like the remedy.

In early May, my own personal copy of The Southern Vegetarian landed in my mailbox.  The writing, of course, is engaging, and the recipes reflect the creativity and variety we've come to expect from the Chubby Vegetarian.  The pictures are deliciously rich, too.

The test

My May schedule precluded any serious cooking, so I merely drooled over the recipes until the first of June.  Since I'm a meat-lover, I tried their "mushroom meat" recipe.  It is a combination of mushrooms, eggplant, and onion which are finely chopped and then roasted.

A food processor is recommended, and would have made short work of the prep, but my work bowl had suddenly gone MIA, so I did all the work by hand.  I mixed the chopped vegetables with the seasonings and spread them in a pan lined with the southern equivalent of parchment:  aluminum foil with cooking spray.

After roasting at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, the smell was amazing, but the vegetables were more mushy than I would have liked.  I ended up roasting them for nearly an hour, especially to get the onions browned.  On my next batch, and I do plan to try it again, I will mince the onions (finely), and cut the eggplant and mushroom into smaller pieces to improve texture and reduce cooking time.

The verdict

Mushroom meat was tasty on toast, and I found I could not resist nibbling on it while it was cooling.  I can see it replacing meat in lasagna and casseroles.

What's next on the list to try?  Perhaps Oyster Mushrooms Rockefeller, but I'm looking forward to working my way through the book.  You should, too.

What's cooking in your Savory kitchen?