Dinner for Mom & Co.

18 07 2008

I had the unusual pleasure of having my mom, my sister, and my good friend Liz over for dinner last night, as Mom had to be at the airport, which is about five minutes from my house, for both a meeting yesterday and a flight out at like eight in the morning today. It’s a half hour drive from where she lives, so staying here made much more sense.

Since I very infrequently have the opportunity to cook for my mom, I decided to go all-out on the meal. Luckily, I just got a new cookbook consisting entirely of vegetarian entrees – a real find, especially since interesting main dishes are the hardest thing to come by in the vegetarian world. It’s called Vegetarian Suppers, by Deborah Madison, and I highly recommend you check it out. It’s amazing. I modified a frittata recipe from it, and the result was divine. I did stray from my usual dietary restraints (local, organic eggs and dairy, everything else vegan) and included some French chistou cheese. Well worth it, I’d say, for a special occasion! I also made a tasty salad and a chilled soup, and some classy cupcakes (my favorite kind) which I’ll put in a post all their own. Everything here served five perfectly!

Shallot & Vidalia Onion Frittata with Chistou Cheese and Sherry Vinegar Glaze

Modified from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Suppers

For the frittata:

  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb Vidalia onion, quartered and cut into 1/4 in slices
  • 1 lb shallots, sliced thinly into rings
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • Salt & fresh-ground pepper
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • 8 eggs, whisked with 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • About a cup of chistou cheese (it’s a blend of sheep’s and cow’s milk), diced very small
  • 2 tbsp butter

For the sherry vinegar glaze:

  • 1.5 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
  1. Warm the olive oil in a large skillet; add onions & cook until caramelized and golden (about 30 minutes).

    They're not quite there yet! But aren't they beautiful?

    They're not quite there yet! But aren't they beautiful?

  2. Add the sherry vinegar, raise the heat, and reduce while stirring.
  3. Add 1/4 tsp salt, black pepper to taste, and the pinch of cloves.
  4. Preheat the broiler.
  5. Add a few pinches of salt to the eggs and beat/whisk with the water.
  6. Stir in the parsley and caramelized onions & shallots.    

     

    Chop up your parsley finely! It's better for the texture, I promise. Also, sorry about the shoddy picture quality, the camera issues are ongoing.

    Chop up your parsley finely! It's better for the texture, I promise. Also, sorry about the shoddy picture quality, the camera issues are ongoing.

  7. Melt the 2 tbsp butter in a 12-in cast iron skillet, and when it sizzles, add the eggs.
  8. Cover and cook over low heat until eggs are set (about ten minutes)
  9. Slide pan under the broiler until the eggs are set and golden! Tip your beautiful frittata onto a serving dish and put the pan back on the stove.
  10. Add the 1.5 tbsp butter and, when it foams, add the 1 tbsp (or a little more) sherry vinegar.    

     

    See, even my cat, the consummate aristocrat, agrees. This vinegar is delicious! We did spring for a nicer sort, though, because it's used in small doses. Also, that's Adele. More on her in my About-Me section!

    See, even my cat, the consummate aristocrat, agrees. This vinegar is delicious! We did spring for a nicer sort, though, because it's used in small doses. Also, that's Adele. More on her in my About-Me section!

  11. Slide the pan back and forth to emulsify the butter and vinegar, and then pour over the eggs.
  12. Garnish each slice with parsley and a scoop of asparagus tapenade (recipe forthcoming) Yum!

 

See how chock-full of onions this is? I was sort of afraid it would be too much, but the caramelization process just makes it divine.

See how chock-full of onions this is? I was sort of afraid it would be too much, but the caramelization process just makes it superb.

Asparagus Tapenade

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, with ends removed
  • 1/2 c pine nuts
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • About ten fresh chives, torn into thirds so they fit in your food processor
  • Dash pear vinegar
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 350˚ while you snap the ends off the asparagus.
  2. Place asparagus tips in a large baking pan and toss with the 2 tbsp olive oil (they should be generously coated; if not, just add a little more).
  3. Roast asparagus in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender.
  4. Let cool to room temperature and cut into very small pieces, reserving the brushy-looking tips and a bit more (about 1/3 of the asparagus bits).
  5. Place all but the reserved asparagus in your food processor with pine nuts, garlic, chives, and vinegar and process until smooth. You may have to add a little extra olive oil to get it to blend, which is fine.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Stir in remaining asparagus and chill until you need it (on top of your frittata, in this case, but I ate the rest on some store-bought crostini. I love this stuff so much I’ve made it four or five times since I got the recipe six months ago).
  8. Scoop (with a small round spoon) into small balls atop each frittata piece.
A fantastic, fresh addition to the frittata! I love it.

A fantastic, fresh addition to the frittata! I love it.

Mediterranean Sprout Salad with Fresh Gooseberry Vinaigrette

For the salad:

  • 1 container Mediterranean sprout mix (Or some kind of sprout mix you like. Alfalfa is too small; get one of the larger sorts. I like sunflower sprouts a lot, also.)
  • About 1 c jicama, sliced thinly (about 1/4 in thick) and cut into shapes or simply sliced if you like. If you slice it, be sure you peel it.
  • About 1 c quartered kumquats, peels left on. The peel of the kumquat is very sweet, whereas the flesh is sour, and they’re tiny. So in the interest of taste and time-efficiency, leave ’em!

    A beautiful, tiny citrus fruit that adds a tangy zest to your salad!

    A beautiful, tiny citrus fruit that adds a tangy zest to your salad!

  • About 1 c slivered globe carrots, unpeeled and soaked in pear vinegar & water for a couple hours

For the vinaigrette:

  • About 1/2 c fresh gooseberries
  • 1/4 c Alessi pear-infused vinegar
  • Dash sherry vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley
  • About four or five fresh chives
  1. In a food processor or blender, puree gooseberries until smooth.
  2. Add vinegars and olive oil and blend.
  3. Add fresh herbs and process until there are small green flecks throughout but no large pieces.
  4. Arrange salad components on plate; pipe or drizzle dressing over the top.    

     

    I love the way this salad came out! It tasted as wonderful and fresh as it looks.

    I love the way this salad came out! It tasted as wonderful and fresh as it looks.

Chilled Avocado-Cucumber Soup
  • 2 large cucumbers, chilled
  • 2 medium avocados, chilled
  • 1 box soft silken tofu
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • About 10 or 12 fresh chives
  • 1/2 c mushroom broth
  • 2 tbsp pear vinegar
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  1. In a food processor, process the garlic and chives until chopped very small.
  2. Add cucumbers, avocado, and silken tofu, and process until smooth.
  3. Add mushroom broth, vinegar, salt and pepper and blend until mixed.
  4. Push mixture through a sieve, chill for no more than half an hour, and serve.
*Super make-ahead tip!* If you want to make this ahead of time, do steps 1-3 but leave out the avocado and chill the cucumber mixture. Then, just before serving, process the avocado until very smooth and stir into the cucumber mix until completely combined, and finally, push through the sieve and serve. That’s how I did this, because then you can just throw it in the fridge for a few hours until ten minutes before everything else is ready. This soup, however, does not photograph well. It does taste lovely, though.

 

And that's it! An elegant vegetarian dinner. Hope you enjoyed the post as much as I enjoyed this food!

And that's it! An elegant vegetarian dinner. Hope you enjoyed the post as much as I enjoyed this food!

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2 responses

7 08 2008
Donna Wesling

Mom verifies that the meal was amazing – great presentation and very tasty!

18 11 2009
Zen Knittin’ and Pancakes « pincushion crumbs

[…] a frittata to go with the blueberry pancakes. If this looks good to you, make it! You can use my previously posted recipe for a frittata and instead use 1 whole onion, caramelized, with diced red peppers thrown in until […]

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