Strong Arms for Kids

 
Well turned out to be mission impossible because my family made it a Vegetarian Rosh Hashanah dinner with a brisket and a chicken.  But I did get to introduce them to some new ingredients and dishes they have never tried before, and everyone seemed to enjoy everything.  So all in all, even though it wasn't a fully vegetarian meal, it was still a success.

This time I really did mean to bring my camera and take photos, but, of course, I forgot.  Also, I would not have had time anyway, there were some very hungry people, and some hyperactive kids, so I don't think I would have had the opportunity anyway.  Soon though, back to the photographs, really, but for now, you will just have to use your imaginations.  

The Menu

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Eggplant Caviar

Roasted Butternut Squash, Corn, Cashew Soup

Bulgur Pomegranate Celery Salad

Pasta with Swiss Chard

Vegan Chocolate Mousse

And the winner of the night was the Eggplant Caviar.  I got this recipe from the Food and Wine website.  Everyone loved it, and I am sure to make it again soon.

Eggplant Caviar
 Ingredients

·      1 large eggplant, halved lengthwise

·      1 tablespoon olive oil

·      1 small French baguette (about 6 ounces), sliced 1/4 inch thick

·      Vegetable cooking spray

·      1 medium red bell pepper, cut into1/8 -inch dice

·      1 small onion, minced

·      2 garlic cloves, minced

·      1 large tomato--peeled, seeded and cut into1/8 -inch dice

·      3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

·      Salt and freshly ground pepper

·      2 tablespoons minced chives

·      1 tablespoon minced fresh basil

·       

Directions ·      Preheat the oven to 350°. Brush the cut sides of the eggplant with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil. Set the eggplant, cut sides down, on a baking sheet and roast for about 1 hour, or until tender and collapsed. Let cool.

·      Arrange the bread slices on another baking sheet and spray lightly with cooking spray. Bake for about 8 minutes, or until golden and crisp. 

·      Heat 1 teaspoon of the olive oil in a nonstick skillet. Add the red pepper, onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened but not browned, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. 

·      Using a spoon, scrape the eggplant flesh from the skin; discard the skin. Finely chop the flesh and add the eggplant to the sautéed vegetables. Stir in the tomato, lemon juice and the remaining 1 teaspoon oil. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate until slightly chilled. Stir the chives and basil into the eggplant caviar and serve with the croutons.





I also really love the Pasta with Swiss Chard.  I adapted this recipe from a recipe I found while watching Gourmet's Diary of a Foodie.  They made this recipe with beet greens, but I couldn't find any quality beet greens, so I substituted them for swiss chard and it came out delicious.  The bitterness of the chard, the sweetness of the golden raisins and the saltiness of the olives all compliment each other so well.




Pasta w/ Swiss Chard

  1/4 cup olive oil

·      1/3 cup pine nuts

·      3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

·      2 medium red onions (1 lb), halved and thinly sliced lengthwise

·      3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

·      1 1/2 lb swiss chard, leaves cut crosswise into 3-inch-wide pieces, divided

·      1 cup water, divided

·      3/4 lb penne

·      1/3 cup golden raisins

·      1/2 cup pitted brine-cured black olives, coarsely chopped

·       Accompaniment: ·      Toasted bread-crumb topping for pasta

·      Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Add pine nuts and toast, stirring, until golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon.

·      Add garlic to oil remaining in skillet and cook, stirring, until golden. Add onions and 1/4 tsp salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add vinegar and cook, stirring, until most is evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add beet stems, 3/4 cup water, and 1/2 tsp salt and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until stems begin to soften, about 12 minutes.

·      Cook penne in a pasta pot of boiling salted water (2 Tbsp salt for 6 qt water) until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta-cooking water, then drain pasta.

·      Meanwhile, add raisins, then beet leaves to onion mixture in handfuls, turning each handful with tongs until beet leaves are wilted before adding next batch. Add remaining 1/4 cup water and 1/4 tsp salt and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Add olives, then add pasta and cook, tossing and moistening with some of the cooking water as necessary, just until liquid has thickened slightly. Serve sprinkled with pine nuts.





And I love to shock non-foodies with the Vegan Chocolate Mousse.  People can never ever guess what goes into this mousse but they all absolutely love it.  And I love telling them that it is actually really good for you.  I found this recipe on the Vegetarian Times website.


Vegan Chocolate Mousse

      * 1 large mango, diced (1 1/2 cups)

    * 1 medium avocado, diced (3/4 cup)

    * 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

    * 1 Tbs. brewed espresso or strong black coffee

    * 1 Tbs. rum, optional

    * 1 tsp. vanilla extract

    * 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted

  1. To make Chocolate Mousse: Blend mango, avocado, cocoa powder, coffee, rum, if using, and vanilla in food processor until smooth. Add melted chocolate, and blend until smooth. Chill 2 to 3 hours.

 

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