CARROT AND MUSHROOM AND CAULIFLOWER, OH MY!
Fresh vegetables signal springtime from the produce aisles and the farmers’ markets, showcasing this season of renewal. Utilizing raw, grilled, roasted, and baked vegetables. along with a variety of fresh herbs, Laura Swayne shares with us just a sampling of her favorite vegetarian recipes.
Fresh and healthy gazpacho soup does double duty as either a cold soup on a warm spring day or as a hot soup on a chilly spring evening. For an early-spring supper, portabella mushrooms update the classic chicken Parmesan with a vegetarian twist, sided by roasted cauliflower with even more delicious Parmesan cheese. And don’t forget dessert with Swayne’s “best ever” carrot cake recipe!
While gazpacho is typically served cold as a hot summer soup, this dish is also delicious as a hot tomato soup on a chilly evening.
Servings: 6; Prep Time: 15 minutes; Chill Time: 2 hours3 small fennel bulbs, roughly chopped 4 celery stalks, roughly chopped 1 bunch scallions, roughly chopped 1 medium sweet onion, roughly chopped 2 small garlic cloves, chopped 3 red bell peppers, roughly chopped 2 large tomatoes, diced or 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained 1/2 cup olive oil 1 tablespoon kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 1 32-ounce container tomato or vegetable juice 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice celery leaves (optional) fresh dill (optional)
Place fennel, celery stalks, scallions, onions, garlic, and bell peppers in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is finely chopped and combined but not pureed. Pour the mixture into a large glass or plastic bowl. Stir in the tomatoes with their juices, oil, salt, black pepper, tomato or vegetable juice, and lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. To serve, sprinkle with celery leave, dill, or both.
Portabellas have a meaty texture, fabulous flavor, and are so easy to prepare. Even the most die-hard carnivore will love this hearty mushroom dish.
Servings: 4; Prep Time: 20 minutes; Cook Time: 20 minutes4 portabella mushrooms, stemmed and wiped clean 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 cup spicy tomato sauce 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese 1/4 cup shredded fontina cheese 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Heat grill or grill pan to high heat. Preheat oven to 400. Brush mushrooms with oil on both sides. Sear mushrooms for 5 minutes per side. Spread 1/2 cup tomato sauce in bottom of a 9×13 pan. Place mushrooms in pan, bottoms up. Pour remaining sauce over them.Combine mozzarella and fontina cheeses and spread evenly over top of mushrooms. Sprinkle Parmesan over entire dish. Bake 15 minutes or until cheeses are bubbly and golden brown.
ROASTED CAULIFLOWER WITH HERBS AND PARMESAN
Chop your bunches of parsley, thyme, and tarragon for this recipe, and then freeze the remaining fresh herbs in small Ziploc bags for future use.
Servings: 4; Prep Time: 15 minutes; Bake Time: 25 minutes6 cups cauliflower florets (about 1 head) 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 teaspoons parsley, finely chopped 1 teaspoon thyme, finely chopped 1 teaspoon tarragon or rosemary, finely chopped 3 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated 1 tablespoon lemon juice salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 450. In a large baking dish, mix florets with olive oil. Bake 20 minutes, stirring every five minutes. Sprinkle with fresh herbs and garlic and bake five minutes more. Add cheese, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Mix gently until well-combined and serve.
HONEY-ROASTED ROOT VEGGIES
Roasting brings out great flavors in the various vegetables in this recipe
Servings: 4; Prep Time: 20 minutes; Cook Time: 35 minutes1 cup peeled, chopped sweet potato 3/4 cup peeled, chopped turnip 3/4 cup peeled, chopped parsnips 3/4 cup peeled, chopped carrot 1 shallot, finely diced 2 tablespoons olive oil 1/4 cup honey kosher salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 450. In a large baking dish, mix vegetables together. Toss with olive oil, honey, and salt. Bake 35 minutes until tender and brown, stirring halfway through.
Wine Tip: Riesling is a natural complement to vegetable dishes due to its mineral flavors.
BEST-EVER CARROT CAKE WITH CREAM CHEESE ICING
This version of a classic is moist, simple to prepare, and beautiful too!
Servings: 10-12; Prep Time: 30 minutes; Bake Time: 45-50 minutesCARROT CAKE: 4 cups carrots, peeled and grated 1 1/2 cups walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped 1 cup dark raisins 2 cups flour 1 tablespoon cinnamon 1 teaspoon cloves 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 4 large eggs 1 cup canola oil 1 cup sugar 1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed 1 tablespoon vanilla 1 cup walnuts, or pecans, finely chopped to cover sides of cake (optional) CREAM CHEESE ICING: 1 cup butter softened 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened 5 cups powdered sugar 2 tablespoons grated orange zest 1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans. A 9×13 pan could also be used for a sheet cake. Mix the carrots, nuts, and raisins together in a bowl and set aside.
In a separate bowl, mix together flour, cinnamon, cloves, baking powder, soda, and salt.
In a large mixing bowl, beat together eggs, oil, sugars, and vanilla until well-blended.
Slowly fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture, mixing just until all ingredients are moistened. Fold in the carrot mixture until well-combined. Divide batter evenly between pans. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, until cake springs back to the touch and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Allow to cool in pans 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from pans to a cooling rack to continue cooling completely. With a long serrated knife, trim off rounded portion of each cake layer to create flat surfaces. Place one cake layer, cut side down, on a serving platter. Spread with 1/3 of the icing. Top with second layer, cut side down, and spread top with about 1/2 of remaining icing. Use remaining icing to cover sides of cake. If using nuts for the side, press these carefully into the sides, as well.
For the icing: Cream butter and cream cheese together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating well after each addition, until smooth. Add grated orange zest and vanilla. Continue beating 1 minute to make the icing very fluffy.