The Savory Vegetarian Pantry

I've been pondering a return to my blog for a while now - throughout the school year I find I lack the energy. However, I think I may be able to find the time now, as I will be teaching a prep (teacher speak for "course for which you prepare instruction") with which I am well-familiar, and only that single prep.

Since my last post in 2014, I've been photographing my food (very unprofessionally) on my Instagram (which you are privileged to see only if you know me [don't want my 16 year old students to view my devotion to wine and craft beer]) - maybe if I stick with this I will create an account just for the foods.

I decided to rename my blog "The Savory Vegetarian Pantry." Since my decision to eat vegetarian years ago, I have generated a very well-stocked pantry with the ingredients I use most. Nearly all the meals I cook are savory, and I focus on world cuisine. When I bought my house in October of 2015, one of my heaviest boxes was full of spices, and the number of kitchen boxes rivaled the number of book boxes - for those who know me, you know that is a whole lot of boxes. My house also does not have a pantry (so perhaps I chose the wrong name), so fitting in all my kitchen things is quite the chore.  

I receive a delivery bi-monthly of local and regional produce from Local Fare, and have been a customer for years, almost from the birth of my vegetarianism. This week I received bell peppers and yellow crookneck squash, among other delightful things (I refer to you, okra). I have been thinking endlessly of squash casserole (which I also made in April 2013) and still cannot capture the taste of my childhood memory. I've basically given up. It may be appropriate, however, to give up - my palate is not the palate of my formative years. Tonight's recipe comes from the New York Times, with a few modifications of course.

One of my desires in restarting my blog was to write of the way I integrate past products into my meal - and I did so tonight with some leftover homemade mayonnaise. I know many people really dislike mayonnaise, but I take great delight in the sauce, as well as making it from scratch (which is so, so different from Hellmann's, which I still find delicious). Another of my goals is to provide the methods for the shortcuts I take. 

My modifications:
  • 1/4 cup homemade mayonnaise with 1/4 cup heavy cream, in place of the 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • panko, in place of toasted whole wheat bread - this quantity was eyeballed and toasted with 1 tablespoon of butter
  • whole wheat Ritz, in place of plain Ritz - these I crushed in the Ritz bag instead of in a food processor
  • 1 whole green bell pepper in place of a half with a half red pepper - that's what I had
  • I left the squash sliced - the vegetables in the casserole get very tender, so I see no reason to process the squash after boiling
    • Note: As I was sauteeing the peppers and onions, I considered that the squash can be sauteed with those, instead of boiling separately. It would likely retain texture this way, so that the casserole is less mushy.
    • I also halved the amount of butter with which I sauteed the peppers and onions - 3 tablespoons was plenty.
My thoughts on the finished product:
  • A little bit of freshly ground pepper will go a long way to adding needed bite
  • I did not taste the jalapeno at all - I will likely double in the future.
    • Pepper jack would substitute for cheddar and add the needed extra heat.
  • Some sort of seasoning was missing - at least for this to function as a main dish. Fresh thyme might go well.
  • Grains would be a lovely addition and add to its elevation to an entree.

I paired with a salad, dressed the way I prefer - nutritional yeast, ground flax, pepitas, pine nuts, and homemade vinaigrette - this time a mustard vinaigrette.

Also paired with that gorgeous blonde ale, Raging Blonde, from Veteran's United Brewery, and a gothic/romance/mystery by a new favorite author, Simone St. James.

Thanks for joining me on the return to my blog - the next posts will be more abbreviated. My apologies to your short-internet-colored attention spans. Wink, wink.  

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