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Holiday Supper With Vegetarian Delights

Those of us who are not vegans, myself included, may suffer these days from the politically correct movement toward eating healthier, low-fat foods. Vegetarian cooking for me used to be risotto Milanese or eggplant Parmesan. These dishes were easy for me but the cheese and butter these dishes call for are tough to give up. Moving beyond these winners is still a challenge. I am too often unsure about cooking vegetarian for the evening meal. Perhaps you too find yourself somewhat at a loss trying to decide how to cook a purely vegetarian meal, without resorting to the ease of pasta and marinara, or another lentil, bean, tofu or tempeh specialty. Did I hear someone ask to pass the bowl of quinoa? 

 

Eating meat is still a fashion for me that is hard to give up. I know that eating steak and potatoes every night is not going to shed the pounds nor is eating meat 24 /7 good for the environment. And I too often feel I have eaten too

much come morning after ribs and mashed potatoes.   Yet I must also admit that BBQ ribs prepared “low and slow” with my own Midwestern bbq rub, a Hamburg with chopped onion inside, or a juicy rib eye with chimichurri on the side still attract me like no other meal can. There are alternatives however. Eating less meat is one step forward; trying out a vegetarian option 1-2 days a week is another. (See Mark Bittman’s book, Food Matters, for a more in-depth discussion of options.) I believe that over time we will find that family and friends will give us room to experiment. They are looking for cooking and eating guidance that is nutritious and tasty as well. 

 

Chefs and authors Mark Bittman, Deborah Madison and Heidi Swanson are very helpful in this movement towards vegetarianism. So we are not alone. Interestingly only Swanson considers herself a vegan, yet all three value the joys and healthy benefits of vegetarian cooking. Each of these authors is enabling the rest of us to make this conversion an easier, more natural one. This column will continue to share their insights, along with my own, to help all of us prepare our vegetarian creations more easily and naturally. And I will continue to share the angst I sometimes suffer in helping others move closer to eating healthier vegetarian options. Perhaps my episodic discomfort will help you all feel more comfortable knowing you are not alone. 

 

As the founder of the restaurant, Greens at Fort Mason in San Francisco, Deborah Madison managed to build an incredibly popular vegetarian restaurant that never labeled itself as such. Her groundbreaking book Vegetarian Cooking for

Everyone became an extension of the West Coast healthy food movement led by Alice Waters with whom Madison worked. 

 

Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking became the new alternative to the Moosewood Cookbook of the 1960’s and ‘70’s–a more grown up version if you will. Whenever I would visit the West Coast and the Bay area in those days, Greens at Fort

Mason became a destination of choice. The dishes served  were elegant, beautifully presented, and delicious to eat. And their wine cellar continues to be world class.

 

Today I have drawn from one of Madison’s more recent books called Vegetarian Suppers where she recommends over 100 everyday meal recipes. She has published nine books to date. The recipe I have chosen is tasty as can be and truly wonderful when accompanied by mustard cream. It’s not meat but it is a fine alternative with a fresh salad and homemade cannellini beans both on the side.  

 

Cabbage And Leek Gratin—With Mustard Cream—

Serves 4-6                                                                                 

 

Ingredients

 

1 ½ Lbs. green savoy cabbage- chopped into 2-inch squares                                                  

 

3 fat Leeks, white parts only, quartered lengthwise, chopped and washed

 

Sea salt to season                                                                                                                                         

 

1/3 cup of flour                                                                                                                                   

 

1 cup of milk                                                                                                                                             1/3 cup of sour cream                                                                                                                

 

2 eggs

 

3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley or dill                                                                

 

Mustard cream (recipe follows)

 

Preheat the oven to 350 F and butter or oil a 6-cup gratin dish. Put a large pot of water on for the chopped leeks and cabbage. When the water boils add salt to taste. After 5 minutes, pour the vegetables into a colander. Force out as much water as possible with the back of a rubber scraper.

 

Whisk the flour, milk, sour cream, eggs, and herbs together, then add the cabbage and leeks and mix together. Season with ¾ teaspoon salt. Pour into the prepared dish and bake until firm and lightly browned—about 45 minutes. Serve with mustard cream on the side.

 

Mustard Cream                         

 

1 small shallot, finely diced                                                                                                    

 

1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

 

Pinch of sea salt 

 

2/3 cup sour cream or whole milk yogurt                                                              

 

2-3 teaspoons prepared mustard, smooth or coarse or mixed with horseradish. 

 

Mix the shallot and vinegar in a small bowl with the salt and let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk in the sour cream and mustard. Adjust the seasonings, adding more mustard or vinegar to taste as preferred. Enjoy.

News

“I didn’t know I needed my own Teddy Bear,” said a woman after the first annual Teddy’s Taste of the West dinner and fundraiser at Canterbury Ales on March 19.

Members were given an authentic Teddy Bear as a surprise gift at the end of the evening. As they say, membership has its privileges and that includes a June 11 event when Ken Burns will come to share a preview of his new film on three Roosevelts. Burns’ film explores the political and family ties between President Theodore Roosevelt, President Franklin Roosevelt and his wife, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, a Roosevelt in her own right.  

The preliminary 2014-15 school budget was adopted at last Tuesday night’s Oyster Bay-East Norwich school board meeting. The proposed budget, which came in at a figure of $54,578,478, is a 2.01 percent difference from the 2013-14 final budget figure of $53,504,111. With a budget to budget change of $1,074,367, it is the lowest expenditure increase in the last 15 years. No programs were cut as a result of balancing this budget.

“The biggest change in budget numbers is in the area of salaries and wages with a budget to budget increase of $683,428,” said School Superintendent Dr. Laura Seinfeld.


Sports

Muttontown resident and Kellenberg freshman Ceara Ann Conroy has been named an All-League athlete for Girls Winter Track. The title of All-League is awarded to athletes based on a vote of all the coaches in the NSCHSAA League. All of the Girls Winter Track coaches in the league vote based on the athletes performance during the season, and Conroy’s outstanding performance has earned her the title of All League this year.

The Girls Varsity Lacrosse program at Oyster Bay High School is just in its second year and already it is making a difference. Senior defender Danielle Maggi has committed to play Division III lacrosse at Albright College.

Last year Maggi was recognized as the “Most Improved Player,” and this year she is being recruited to play in college.

Maggi said, “We did very well in our first varsity season last year (12-2). This year we are 100 percent going for the conference. I’m excited we finally have a varsity team.”


Calendar

LI Sound Vocal Jazz Ensemble

Saturday, April 19

Annual Egg-stravaganza

Saturday, April 19

Palliative Care

Wednesday, April 23 



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com