Goat Cheese Souffle in Phyllo Cup
Christmas is just around the corner and you are probably already planning meals. Keeping everyone happy is always stressful especially if they eat differently than you. There are many people who practice a vegetarian or semi-vegetarian lifestyle. A vegetarian abstains from eating meat, fish and seafood and products thereof. Milk and eggs are usually okay but be sure to check with your guests in advance. My sister grew up beside me on the farm and for her own reasons has, since a teenager, been vegetarian.
Rather than roll your eyes into the back of your head when you are presented with a vegetarian guest at your table, just make something nice that everyone will enjoy. There is usually no need to buy a lot of extra ingredients. Use vegetable oils and vegetable shortening rather than lard especially in pie and turkey stuffing. Cook some stuffing outside the bird. Use vegetable stock, water or milk rather than chicken, turkey or beef stock. Avoid using the same utensils, cutting boards and pans while you cook vegetarian beside meat dishes.
Don’t assume that vegetarians will pick vegetables out of a meat dish or eat fries and vegetables that have been cooked in the same oil as meats. Be sure you serve all guests equivalent quantity and quality of food. Don’t assume that a wedge of iceberg lettuce or pasta in boring tomato sauce will satisfy while others enjoy a full meal.
Avoid the tofu burger and mock meat syndrome. Vegetarians are not interested in meat substitutes. Read labels. Often there is a fish or meat product in things like curry sauces and pasta sauces. Remember that vegetarians eat what non-vegetarians eat except without meat. Pizza, pastas, crepes, tacos, stews and quiches are easily adapted. Offer lots of vegetable dishes without meat stock, fresh or frozen fruits, breads, and non-gelatin desserts. Serve protein rich quinoa rather than rice and add lentils and legumes for added nutrition.
Pear and Roguefort Salad
Cheese and Tomato Tarte is so yummy that everyone will want to try it.
Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Feta Triangles)
1 box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
4 green onions, finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1/4 c chopped parsley or fresh dill
4 large eggs
8 oz feta cheese, crumbled
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
1 box phyllo dough, thawed
1/2 lb butter, melted
Add olive oil to a large skillet over medium high heat. Add chopped onion. Sauté until soft but not browned. Squeeze out all liquid from the frozen chopped spinach and add to the skillet. Add green onions and parsley. Cook until all the liquid is evaporated and spinach is dry. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
Lightly beat eggs and add to cooled spinach mixture. Add feta cheese and seasonings. Stir to mix.
Lay out the phyllo pastry on the counter and with kitchen shears, cut in half lengthwise and then cut each half in half again so that you have 4 stacks of phyllo strips. Cover with a dry tea towel. Then cover with a damp tea towel.
I brush the countertop liberally with melted butter so that you can lay out 6 or 7 strips of phyllo pastry. This prevents strips of pastry from moving around and also butters the outside at the same time. Brush each strip with melted butter and top with a second strip of pastry. Just brush the top 1 inch (2.5 cm) of the second strip with butter. Put a tablespoon (15 mL) of spinach mixture on the bottom end of the pastry strip. Fold the corner over the spinach mixture to make a triangle. Continue to fold like a flag until the whole strip is folded into a triangular packet. Brush with melted butter. Continue with the remainder of pastry and filling.
Bake at 375F for about 20 minutes or until brown and crispy. These can be frozen unbaked and stored in freezer up to 3 months. Bake frozen at 375F for about 20 minutes.
This can also be made in a 9” x 13” pan. Spray pan generously with oil. Lay 1 sheet of phyllo in and up the sides of the prepared pan. Brush lightly with butter. Top with 7 more phyllo sheets and brush each one with butter. Spread spinach mixture over pastry. Top with 8 more sheets of phyllo and brush with butter between each, including the top layer. Roll the overhanging phyllo from the sides to form a border all the way around. With a thin, sharp knife, cut the pie into squares, but do not cut through the bottom layer or the filling will leak out. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Bake at 375F for about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and cool a few minutes. Cut squares right through to the bottom and serve. (Adapted from The All New Joy of Cooking)