Monthly Archives: November 2009

Veggie Royale Sandwich

Research days really work up an appetite! All day today (literally all day) I’ve been researching and developing a blog about Meatless Mondays, a brilliant movement to encourage people to abstain from meat for one day a week for the greater global good. There are a lot of compelling arguments and really surprising details that are quite eye opening. I encourage everyone to check out I originally planned a short post with pretty basic info, but before I knew it I had a whole in-depth write up in front of me, I had started to crate a spreadsheet to analyze impact on a variety of scales and I was HUNGRY! I wanted something quick and simple but very hearty and filling. What better than a huge sandwich to fill me up and keep me going?!?

Assemble the following:
  • Asiago Kaiser Roll, sliced sandwich style
  • 1/2 large fresh Portobello Cap sliced into thick ribs (five or six thick slices)
  • 3 Tbsp Bean Paste (Dry Cayenne, Red Onion, Mushroom and Spinach)
  • 4 Tbsp Finely minced red onion
  • 1 Tbsp Feta cheese crumbles
  • Small handful of baby spinach leaves
  • 1 Tbsp Butter
  • 4 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Italian seasoning and pepper to taste

  • Preheat broiler, if not using toaster oven.
Do this with it:
  • Heat olive oil in a small sauté pan to very hot.
  • Toss in onion and Italian seasoning and sauté very briefly. Remove from heat.
  • Dip cut side of each half of the roll in the pan to absorb olive oil and pick up onion bits.
  • Wrap roll halves separately in aluminum foil and toast in toaster oven or under broiler.
  • Return pan to very very low heat and melt 1 tbsp butter.
  • Gently lay the Portobello slices in the sauté after the butter has melted.
  • Cook mushroom slices over extremely low heat until butter and olive oil mixture has been absorbed. Mushrooms should be thick and still a little firm. Remove mushrooms from pan to a cool surface to gently slow cooking to a stop.
  • When Asiago bread is toasted to taste remove from oven and spread Bean Paste on bottom half of sandwich.
  • Sprinkle with Feta crumbles, layer on the mushrooms evenly, sprinkle with more Feta.
  • Top with Baby Spinach and close sandwich, securing with two toothpicks.
  • Slice sandwich in half and serve.

Notes and Abstract:
  • It is very important not to over-cook the Portobello cap ribs. Think of them as the meat of the sandwich, they are a vital element in the texture of each bite.
  • Bean paste is made by mashing 16 oz. cooked, drained black beans and thoroughly blending with a savory vegetable mire poix. Add up to four tbsp. all purpose flour to thicken to desired consistency. End texture should be almost like a thick hummus.

Spinach, Artichoke and Portobello Mushroom Lasagna

Rainy days, and dreary cold weather really take it out of a person, especially when you cannot hole up in the house with good books and a warm blanket. For those of us who are forced to be out and about in these depressing conditions need a nice comforting meal to come home to at the end of the day. Savory ingredients, in a warm nourishing dish are sure to brighten up the spirits of the weary and warm up the cold. Where lasagna actually originated could probably be debated forever, but why it came to be is obvious: there was a need for the ultimate in decadent comfort-food goodness! I’ve had lasagna prepared in a number of different ways and it’s always delicious, it’s always unique, and it’s always quite satisfying. I’m quite glad to be able to say that this lasagna (my first real stab at lasagna) meets all those qualifications. It’s light but still very decadent and satisfying. Using the right type and a reserved quantity of cheese left more room for other fantastic layers like fresh baby spinach leaves and lots of Portobello mushrooms, and my chunky homemade Roasted Roma Tomato Marinara (next recipe down).

    Assemble the following:
  • 2 Tbsp. Butter
  • 5-6 Large marinated artichoke hearts, coarsely chopped, canning water reserved
  • 1 Large Portobello cap sliced very thin
  • 2 Tbsp. roasted garlic paste
  • 1/2 C. red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 C. scallion or green onion, finely chopped
  • Fresh Spinach
  • Lasagna noodles, cooked al dente
  • Feta and Parmesan cheeses
  • Fire Roasted Roma Tomato Marinara
  • Olive oil, salt and pepper

    Do this with it:

  • Sauté onions, scallions, and artichoke hearts in butter and 1 tsp olive oil until tender and slightly reduced.
  • Stir in canning water from the artichoke hearts, simmer uncovered 5-10 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and pour over Portobello slices.
  • In a well-oiled 9X9 baking dish put down a layer of noodles.
  • Spread marinara over noodles, sprinkle with cheeses, and add another layer of noodles.
  • Spread Mushrooms and artichoke hearts evenly across second layer of noodles.
  • Sprinkle with cheeses, cover in spinach.
  • Cover with last layer of noodles and spread marinara over the top, sprinkle with cheeses, salt and pepper.
  • Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate several hours, overnight preferably.
  • Bake covered at 375° F for 25 minutes, and uncovered for an additional 10 minutes.
  • Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Notes and Abstract:
  • I think I boiled the noodles too long, they ended up being a little tough. Come to think of it, I had massive pasta drama to begin with. Lasagna noodles really are a pain in the ass.
  • Refrigerate leftovers up to two days, wrap individual portions in foodservice film to freeze.

Kitchen Essential: Roasted Roma Tomato Marinara

Fire Roasted Roma Marinara: (About three servings)

Roast Roma Tomatoes under flame broiler until tender and juicy, about ten minutes.

  • 3 Cloves garlic finely, minced
  • 1/4 C. scallion or green onion, finely minced
  • 1/2 C. Red Onion, finely minced
  • 1/8 C. Fresh raw Roma tomato, chopped
  • 1 1/2 C Fire Roasted Roma tomato, coarsely chopped
  • 16 oz (1 Can) diced tomatoes in water, canning water reserved, tomatoes separated equally
  • Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper, Italian Seasoning

  • Sauté minced veggies until golden and tender in heavy sauce pan .
  • Stir in half the canned tomatoes.
  • Combine in blender other half can, canning water, 1 tsp Olive Oil, salt and pepper, Italian seasoning; liquefy., add to saucepan.
  • Fully drain and coarsely chop roasted Roma and stir into sauce.
  • Bring to boil for a few minutes, reduce heat and let simmer to desired consistency.

Make in large batches and freeze in containers that hold between three and four servings. Foodsaver Brand Vacuum Bags are great because you can just drop them in boiling water to thaw.