Welcome!

Welcome to Romeo's Food Lady! This blog contains recipes for delicious vegetarian food. Most of these are not MY recipes, just a compilation of great veggie food I've found from all over the place, usually tweaked just a little. It's intended to be a reference you can consult again and again rather than a daily inspiration. After more than 25 years of being a vegetarian, I know what tastes good.
Romeo's Food Lady is named after my friend and cat, Romeo. Romeo is not a vegetarian, but his Food Lady is. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Day Brunch for Four

Happy December 26th!!! I don't know about you, but I am thankful to see the end of the caloric and financial excesses of the holiday season! Now that the chaos of the holiday schedule is behind us, I have time to post some recipes for you.
Yesterday Scott and I hosted a small brunch. The menu turned out great, so I'm going to share it with you here in case you're thinking of having a little brunch on New Year's Day.

brunch menu:
quiche (If you're hosting a vegan brunch, substitute a vegan tart for the quiche. I don't have a vegan tart recipe for you right now, but I've got one in the wings I'm going to try soon. I'll let you know if it's good.)
pan-fried paprika potatoes
fruit
homemade yeast bread
mimosas

Quiche-
I got the basis for this recipe from http://www.allrecipes.com/ just searching for "spinach quiche", but I ultimately designed my own using the blueprint from that website.

1 stick vegan margarine (or real butter...This recipe isn't vegan AT ALL, but I like to minimize dairy use when possible.)
1/2 white or yellow onion, finely chopped
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
6-8 ounces of frozen chopped broccoli or frozen chopped spinach, thawed (I used broccoli.)
4 ounces organic mild cheddar cheese (I used Organic Valley.), diced into 1/3-inch cubes
3 free-range eggs
3/4 c. organic heavy cream (Again, I used Organic Valley.)
salt and pepper, to taste
1 frozen 9-inch pie crust

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium skillet, melt the margarine (or butter) over medium-low heat. Sauté the onion, shallot, and garlic in the melted butter until the onion and shallot become translucent. Turn off the heat. Mix the thawed broccoli (or spinach) into the onion and butter mixture. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with a fork. Add the heavy cream and salt and pepper, to taste. Mix it again with the fork until everything is blended.

Stir the cheese cubes into the broccoli (or spinach) mixture, then spread this mixture into the frozen pie crust. Pour the egg mixture over the broccoli (or spinach) mixture in the crust, allowing the egg mixture to penetrate the broccoli mixture thoroughly. Set the pie pan on a cookie sheet with an edge (or a jelly roll pan) to catch anything that bubbles over, then set the cookie sheet in the preheated oven. Cook 50 minutes or until center of the quiche is set. Remove from oven, and allow to set for 10 minutes prior to serving. Serves 4-6 as an entrée.

Pan-Fried Paprika Potatoes-
This is based on a recipe in January's Living magazine from Martha Stewart Enterprises. I modified it slightly.

2 large baking potatoes, scrubbed clean
3 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, sliced 1/3-inch thick and separated into rings
coarse sea salt
1/4 t. paprika (or more, as needed or to taste)

Cut the potatoes into 1-inch pieces, leaving the skin on. (The only exception is this: If you notice a green tint under the skin of the potato before or after you cut it, remove the skin and the green tinted flesh.)

In a large non-stick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Stir in the potato pieces to coat with oil. Cover the skillet, and cook for 5 minutes. (NOTE: If you don't have a lid for the skillet you're using, you can cover it with aluminum foil.) Remove lid and add coarse sea salt to taste. Stir to coat in oil again, re-cover, and cook another 5 minutes. Remove lid, add the onion rings and paprika. Stir to coat everything in the paprika. (You may have to sprinkle in a little more paprika to coat. Use your own judgement.)

Re-cover the pan and allow potatoes to continue to cook. Remove the lid every 5 minutes to stir to coat and to test for doneness. The dish is ready to serve when the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork and the onion rings are translucent and golden. This takes a total of about 30 minutes. Once they reach this stage, turn out onto a platter or serving dish and serve hot. Serves 4 as a side dish.


Fruit Platter-
3 large clementines or 5 small clementines, peeled and separated into sections
1/2 c. blueberries, washed
1/4 c. pomegranate seeds

To get the seeds from a pomegranate, first cut off the flower end of the fruit. Next, score the flesh superficially so that the exterior can be opened to reveal the seeds. In a medium bowl of cool water, gently work the seeds free from the fruit using your fingertips. The seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl while the rest of the flesh will float to the top. You can compost the flesh and exterior.
NOTE: Pomegranate juice will stain things, so take care when opening the fruit and seeds.

I just mixed the fruit and served it as is. Serves 4 as a side dish.


Homemade Yeast Bread-
This recipe comes from Peta's The Compassionate Cook cookbook, which I highly recommend. It's the simplest "French bread" I've ever made.

1 T. plus a heaping 1/4 t. active dry yeast (or 1.5 packages yeast)
1 T. sugar
2 c. lukewarm water (When touched to the inside of your wrist, it should be neither hot nor cold.)
1 T. salt
about 6 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
olive oil
cornmeal
water to brush over loaves

In a very large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the lukewarm water, allowing the yeast to grow for 5 minutes.

Mix the salt with 3 cups of the flour. Using a wooden spoon, stir the first cup of salted flour into the yeast mixture until blended. Now add 1/2 c. of the salted flour at a time to the yeast mixture, stirring with your wooden spoon between each addition. When you've used all the salted flour, start adding 1/2 c. of the remaining flour in the same way until you have a stiff dough. Stir with a wooden spoon at first, then your hands when necessary, after each 1/2-cup addition. You'll probably only need to add about 5 c. flour before the dough is stiff. Sprinkle the rest of the flour on a clean counter. Turn the dough out onto the floured counter and knead the dough until it is no longer sticky, about 10 minutes. Add more flour, if necessary, until you reach this non-sticky stage.

Pour enough olive oil into your bowl to grease it, and return the dough to the bowl. Turn the dough over so that it is covered in the olive oil. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and leave it in a warm place for the dough to rise. (I will often, especially in winter when the house is chilly, turn the oven on 200 degrees for 30 seconds or a little longer to make it a "warm place" and let my dough rise there. Don't forget to turn the oven right back off, though!) The dough should rise until it is doubled in bulk, which takes 1.5 to 2 hours.

Sprinkle cornmeal over a cookie sheet, 3 T. or so. Punch the dough down with your fist, then divide it into 2 equal portions. Return the first portion to the floured countertop and pat it out into a flat, oblong shape. Starting at one of the longer sides, roll it into a cylindrical loaf. Place the loaf seam-side down on the cormealed cookie sheet. Now do the same with the second portion. Brush each loaf with water using a basting brush.

Put your cookie sheet into a cold oven, and set the temperature to 400 degrees. Every 10 minutes or so during cooking, pull the sheet out and brush each loaf with water again to help form a nice crust. Allow the loaves to cook until they are golden brown and hollow-sounding with tapped with your knuckles (about 30 - 40 minutes). Makes 2 loaves.

Mimosas-
1 bottle champagne
1/2 gallon orange juice

In individual champagne flutes, mix your favorite ratio of champagne and orange juice by adding the champagne first, then topping off with orange juice.

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