Category Archives: Vegetarian Main Courses

Summer Vegetables with Fried Goat Cheese

melty_fried_goat_cheese

Sorry for the long gap between recipe posts, but I assure you, I’ve been cooking up a storm. Last weekend I picked 20 pounds of chokecherries and made some jelly syrup, and also started a batch of chokecherry wine (to be shared here very soon). And then I had a one-day obsession with making zucchini bread waffles, but those still need tweaking.

Last night, I finally made something worth sharing.

I wandered out to the garden for some basil, and 20 minutes later found myself hauling in a whole lot more, using the bottom of my t-shirt as a makeshift basket. And I’d just picked zucchini that morning!

afternoon_harvest

The nightshades are still new and exciting, but frankly I’m starting to get a little tired of the squash. And the green beans.

Fortunately, a little bit of creamy goat cheese, fried in a panko crust, is just the thing to make the summer’s bounty exciting again. And I’m pretty sure it’ll be great on top of whatever you’re growing, too. I’d love to hear what you come up with — leave your favorite variations in the comments!

Summer Vegetables with Fried Goat Cheese

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Summer Vegetables with Fried Goat Cheese

Ingredients

  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 2 medium slender eggplant, or 5 small round eggplants (if you use a larger eggplant or one that's been in the fridge a few days, you'll need to salt it first to remove the bitterness).
  • 2 handfuls small green beans (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • a handful or two of cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • 1 sprig fresh basil leaves
  • 1 sprig fresh flatleaf parsley
  • 1 small log soft goat cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Instructions

  1. Cut the goat cheese into 8 equal rounds (it's easiest to do this with unflavored dental floss, but you can use a sharp knife and then reshape the rounds with your fingers.)
  2. One by one, dip each slice of cheese in egg and let the excess run off, then dredge it in breadcrumbs. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, cut the squash and eggplant to uniform thickness, and trim and halve the beans. Finely chop the garlic and fresh herbs.
  4. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet and add the squash, beans, and eggplant, plus a sprinkle of salt. Cook until they're almost done, but still crisp (I use my purple beans as an indicator, I pull the veggies off the heat when they turn green). Add garlic and tomatoes, cook for a minute more and then set aside.
  5. Pour enough olive oil to coat a large frying pan, then put over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. To check temperature, toss a few breadcrumbs into the oil -- when they start bubbling as they hit the pan, add the goat cheese rounds, being careful not to overcrowd them. Cook until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes on each side, and drain on paper towels.
  6. Divide the vegetables among 4 plates and top each with a sprinkle of fresh herbs and 2 pieces of goat cheese.

Notes

The goat cheese portion of this recipe is adapted from Gourmet

http://www.homegrowngourmet.org/summer-vegetables-with-fried-goat-cheese/

Savory Mushroom and Goat Cheese Tart

mushroom_goat_cheese_tart_cut

Last Saturday, I had big plans. First, it was off to the Farmer’s Market in search of fruit, and then I was going to fire up the outdoor canning station and make jar after jar of plum butter and peach basil jam.

But when I got there, the only peaches were already in jars — they’d sold out of fresh peaches within 15 minutes of the market opening. And what’s worse, the farmer told me that the late spring blizzards this year killed off all their cherry and plum blossoms. On the bright side, they still have peaches and I like them better in August anyway, when there are freestone peaches instead of cling.

Still, the thought of a year with no plum butter followed me around the market like a little black raincloud. That is, until I spotted the sign for Hazel Dell Mushrooms. They were pretty picked over too, having already sold out of their lion’s mane (my favorite), but they still had some shiitake and oyster mushrooms left. A quick stop to grab some Haystack Mountain goat cheese, and I was on my way home with an idea already starting to take shape in my head.

ingredients_for_mushroom_tart

Every once in a while, I get really lucky. I’ll come up with some half-baked plan, and it turns out exactly as I imagined it on the first run. This is rare, though it happens slightly more often now that I’ve had more practice in the kitchen and have learned from my previous disasters (luck favors the prepared mind, right?).

But if I happen to be working with expensive ingredients in short supply, my experiments are pretty much guaranteed to flop the first time. It’s Murphy’s Law.

fresh_shiitake_and_oyster_mushrooms

saute_mushrooms_until_liquid_is_reabsorbed

whisk_eggs_and_milk_into_goat_cheese

pour_filling_into_tart_shell

So you’ll imagine my surprise when this tart, basically a savory mushroom cheesecake, turned out almost exactly as I envisioned it. I cobbled it together from bits and pieces of various recipes, and for once ended up with a great result on my first test run. It may just be my favorite thing I’ve ever invented, but I’ll probably need to make it again next weekend just to be sure.

Savory Mushroom and Goat Cheese Tart

51

Prep Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Savory Mushroom and Goat Cheese Tart

Rich and flaky, with a silky layer of goat cheese underneath, this mushroom tart is even better the next morning alongside a green salad and some scrambled eggs.

Ingredients

    For the tart dough:
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons cold salted butter, cut into cubes
  • 4-5 tablespoons ice water
  • For the filling:
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 pound fresh oyster mushrooms
  • 1/4 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons minced white onion
  • 1 small clove garlic (or half of a large clove), minced
  • 1 tightly-packed teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, removed from stem and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 1 small handful fresh chives (to equal about 2 tablespoons minced)
  • 5 ounces fresh chèvre or other soft mild goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg (I used 2 medium)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Special equipment:
  • A 9" fluted tart pan with removable bottom

Instructions

    Make the tart dough:
  1. Combine flour, salt, and butter and mix with a dough cutter until the lumps of butter are pea-sized (you can also pulse it in a food processor)
  2. Dribble ice water across the top, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together in a ball. Shape it into a disk and wrap tightly in plastic wrap, then refrigerate for at least an hour while you make the filling.
  3. Make the filling:
  4. Whisk together goat cheese, eggs, and cream in a large bowl and stir in chives. Set aside.
  5. Chop mushrooms (I left a few larger slices of shiitake for decoration)
  6. Heat butter in a large heavy skillet and add onions and mushrooms, cooking over low-medium heat until the mushrooms have given off their liquid and are mostly dry. Add sherry, thyme, and garlic, and cook a few minutes longer until the liquid is absorbed and remove from heat. Set aside.
  7. Assemble and bake the tart:
  8. Preheat over to 375F
  9. Remove the chilled dough from the fridge and roll it out on a lightly floured surface. Try to get it about 1/8" thin, and don't worry too much if it cracks at the edges -- you'll have plenty of overhang and some leftover dough.
  10. Gently drape dough across your tart pan and tamp down the bottom edges and sides. Leave a section of dough hanging over the pan if you can (I forgot) to reinforce the edge, as the dough will shrink a bit.
  11. Use a fork to prick holes all over the bottom of your tart shell, this keeps it from puffing up when it bakes.
  12. Pour goat cheese mixture into the tart shell and bake until set, about 6 minutes. Carefully spread mushrooms across the top and bake until the edges of the shell are golden brown, about 35-45 minutes. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes and then move to a rack to finish cooling. Serve warm or at room temperature.
http://www.homegrowngourmet.org/savory-mushroom-and-goat-cheese-tart/

Brown-buttered Zucchini with Basil

patty_pan

It’s summer squash season, and you know what that means: It’s best to keep your car windows rolled up and your doors locked, or you might come back to find that someone’s “gifted” you a zucchini that could double as a baseball bat.

gold_rush_zucchini_blossom

Gold Rush zucchini — easier to spot than the green ones

I don’t resort to that anymore though, mainly because I mostly grow squash that aren’t green. They’re easier to catch while they’re small, so as long as I check the plants daily I don’t often find myself staring down a squash that’s bigger than my femur.

cocozelle squash

Cocozelle

The one exception this year is a variety called Cocozelle, and it’s proving to be a bit of a challenge because the scalloped green zucchini look a lot like stems. I love the way it looks though, and it’s definitely our top producer right now.

zephyr squash

Little two-toned Zephyr squash — they won’t seem so innocent in a few days.

So in honor of high squash season, I’ll be putting up some of my favorite recipes in the coming weeks. This is one of my very favorite simple dishes — zucchini sliced very thin and sautéed for just a few minutes in a simple brown butter sauce, then brightened with shards of fresh basil.

brown_butter_then_add_zucchini_and_onions

And if you have some fresh parmesan on hand, grate some on top to make it even better. Try doubling the butter and serving it over pasta for a simple vegetarian meal. If you have some fresh sweet corn? Throw it in. The brown butter and basil combination makes magic with almost any summer vegetable.

zucchini_with_brown_butter_and_basil

However: This is not one of those recipes for dealing with big, hulking squash that are watery and full of seeds (I’ll be posting one of those next time) — if you’re using zucchini, they should be market-sized (about eight inches long).

Brown-buttered Zucchini with Basil

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 7 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

Serving Size: 1/2 zucchini

Brown-buttered Zucchini with Basil

A simple and delicious way to deal with too much zucchini (if there is such a thing).

Ingredients

  • 1 medium zucchini (about 8 inches long) or summer squash
  • 1-2 tablespoons white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp salted butter
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh basil

Instructions

  1. Cut squash as thin as you can manage and set aside.
  2. Put butter in a large skillet and melt it over low-medium heat. Cook butter just until it starts to brown, you'll need to watch it like a hawk as it goes from brown to burned in seconds.
  3. Immediately throw onion into skillet and stir, cook until translucent.
  4. Add squash and cook a few minutes, until heated through but not mushy.
  5. Remove from heat and finely chop fresh basil leaves. Sprinkle across the top and serve hot.
http://www.homegrowngourmet.org/brown-buttered-zucchini-with-basil/