Keeping everyone happy at Christmas can be stressful, especially if they eat differently than you. For vegetarian guests like my sister, milk and eggs are usually OK but meat and seafood need to be avoided.
Rather than roll your eyes when presented with a vegetarian guest at your table, make something special that everyone will enjoy. Use vegetable oils and vegetable shortening rather than lard, especially in pie and turkey stuffing. Cook some stuffing outside the bird and use vegetable stock, water or milk rather than chicken, turkey or beef stock.
Also, avoid using the same utensils, cutting boards and pans for vegetarian and meat dishes.
Avoid tofu burgers and other mock meats.
Read labels to find fish or meat products in items like curry sauces and pasta sauces. Pizza, pastas, crepes, tacos, stews and quiches are easily adapted. Offer lots of vegetable dishes without meat stock, fresh or frozen fruits, bread and non-gelatin desserts, serve protein rich quinoa rather than rice and add lentils and legumes for added nutrition.
Cheese And Tomato Tarte
- 1 1/2 c. all purpose flour 350 mL
- 1/2 c. chilled unsalted 125 mL
- butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1/3 c. finely grated 80 Parmesan cheese mL
- 4 tbsp. Dijon mustard 50 mL
- 1/2 tsp. salt 3 mL
- 1 large egg
- 2 tsp. ice water or more 10 mL
- 1 c. coarsely grated 250 mL
- Fontina, gruyere, provolone or gouda cheese
- 1 c. coarsely grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese 250 mL
- 5 medium tomatoes, cored, cut crosswise into 1/2 inch thick slices, patted dry
- extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp. minced fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried 10 mL (5mL)
- fine sea salt
- fresh ground black pepper
Combine flour, butter, Parmesan cheese and salt in a food processor. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal.
Beat egg and two teaspoons (10 mL) ice water in small bowl to blend, add to dry ingredients. Pulse until dough comes together in moist clumps, adding more ice water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough into ball, flatten into disk. Wrap and chill one hour. It can be made one day ahead. Keep chilled.
Preheat oven to 400 F (200C). Roll dough on lightly floured surface to 13 inch (33 cm) round.
Transfer dough to nine inch (22 cm) tarte pan with removable bottom. Trim excess dough to 1/3 inch (1 cm) above rim. Spread mustard evenly over bottom crust. Toss cheeses in medium bowl to blend. Spread over mustard.
Arrange tomatoes, slightly overlapping, in two concentric circles atop cheese. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with thyme and salt and pepper.
Bake tarte until crust is deep brown, cheeses are melted and tomatoes are slightly charred and soft or about 45 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool on rack until cheese sets, about 30 minutes. Push up pan bottom, releasing tarte. Cut into wedges and serve.
Spanakopita (Greek Spinach & Feta Triangles)
- 1 box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
- 4 green onions, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp. olive oil 30 mL
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 c. chopped parsley or fresh dill 60 mL
- 4 large eggs
- 8 oz. feta cheese, crumbled 250 gm
- 2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese 30 mL
- 1/2 tsp. salt 3 mL
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper 1 mL
- pinch of nutmeg
- 1 box phyllo dough, thawed
- 1/2 lb. butter, melted 250 gm
Add olive oil to a large skillet over medium high heat. Add chopped onion. Saute until soft but not browned. Squeeze liquid from the frozen chopped spinach and add to the skillet.
Add green onions and parsley. Cook until all the liquid is evaporated and spinach is dry. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
Lightly beat eggs and add to cooled spinach mixture. Add feta cheese and seasonings. Stir to mix.
Lay out the phyllo pastry on the counter and with kitchen shears, cut in half lengthwise and then cut each half in half again so that you have four stacks of phyllo strips. Cover with a dry tea towel, then add a damp tea towel.
I brush the countertop liberally with melted butter so that you can lay out about seven strips of phyllo pastry. This prevents strips of pastry from moving around and also butters the outside at the same time.
Brush each strip with melted butter and top with a second strip of pastry. Brush the top one inch (2.5 cm) of the second strip with butter. Put a tablespoon (15 mL) of spinach mixture on the bottom end of the pastry strip. Fold the corner over the spinach mixture to make a triangle. Continue to fold like a flag until the whole strip is folded into a triangular packet. Brush with melted butter. Continue with the remainder of pastry and filling.
Bake at 375 F (190C) for about 20 minutes or until brown and crispy. They can be frozen unbaked and stored in the freezer up to three months. Bake frozen at 375 F (190C) for about 20 minutes.
It can also be made in a nine by 13 inch (23 cm x 33 cm) pan. Spray pan with oil. Lay one sheet of phyllo in and up the sides of the prepared pan. Brush lightly with butter. Top with seven more phyllo sheets and brush each one with butter.
Spread spinach mixture over pastry. Top with eight more sheets of phyllo and brush with butter between each, including the top layer. Roll the overhanging phyllo from the sides to form a border all the way around. With a thin, sharp knife, cut the pie into squares, but do not cut through the bottom layer or the filling will leak out. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Bake at 375 F (190C) for about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and cool a few minutes. Cut squares and serve.
Adapted from The All New All Purpose Joy of Cooking.
Sarah Galvin is a home economist, teacher and farmers’ market vendor at Swift Current, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. Contact: [email protected].