This year, not eating meat on Good Friday was suddenly the fashion. I do not subscribe to this myself, but we did have guests trying to observe this non-meat eating thing. We thought we'd oblige them.
One good thing about putting together a "vegetarian" meal is how fairly quickly it is to put together said meal. We had to work on Good Friday, up till around 4 in the afternoon. Our dinner guests were coming in at around 7 in the evening.
[Note: Please see comments below on the definition of this "vegetarian" meal.]
Given the time constraints -- and I suppose, the occasion -- we kept the menu very simple. We had a lot of good old button mushrooms hanging about our fridge, so we thought to do a mushroom soup with it.
We didn't really want a cream-based soup. Although I didn't follow a recipe when making the soup, I happened upon Bourdain's recipe for mushroom soup (from his Les Halles cookbook). It's quite funny.
I sweated onions with butter then added in the button mushrooms.
To "astound [our] guests with a Wild Mushroom Soup" (haha), I also soaked just a tiny bit of dried porcini mushrooms to add to the mix. They smelled so much like those dried cuttlefish snacks! Weird.
I cooked the onions and mushrooms until soft, then added in some chicken broth (from a tetra pack! sorry). I added the green parts of the leeks from our leek pasta below as well.
After sort of forgetting about that for a while, I eventually used the hand blender to blend the whole thing (minus the leek greens). We served it with some sauteed portobellos from out mushrooms on toast snack and garnished with shaved Parmiggiano-Reggiano.
Roasted Bell Pepper Bruschetta
My mother bought some red and yellow peppers that day, because she wanted some roasted bell peppers to serve. I cut up 6 of the peppers and did not want to cut up more peppers. We figure that 6 peppers were not enough to satisfy 12 people, especially when they're individual roasted pieces.
The solution? Chop up the pepper pieces and put over a baguette. Thus, the roasted bell pepper bruschetta was born as another starter.
These are the worst pictures of the bunch. I don't know what happened.
Simple and straightforward, this one. We roasted some peppers and toasted some bread. I used the same pan for the bread that was used for the peppers. That way, the bread soaked up the residual bell pepper-y oil left on the pan. One less pan to wash, too. Smart, see.
We had a couple lonely tomatoes lying around, so I diced those as well and added some of my world-famous balsamic vinaigrette.
The only barely "acceptable" shot in this dish.
I mixed the tomatoes and the roasted peppers (which I've diced) and on top of the toasted bread they went. A drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette on top, and done!
Fettucine w/ Leeks
For our main dish, it was another simple dish. We wanted to do a pasta with braised leeks. This would've been good with BACON, but since we couldn't do that, we decided on bread crumbs for the textural difference.
To dress this very simple dish up, we decided on fresh pasta cut into fettuccine.
First thing, toasting and making the bread into crumbs.
Now, for the leeks. Oooh, butter! This pasta dish was a little bit butter-intensive... for us, anyway.
It's more or less a dump-into-a-pot dish. Leeks, garlic, thyme and some homemade chicken broth went in. Then, it was waiting for them to cook down.
When the leeks were ready, we just needed to cook the pasta -- fresh pasta we made, of course.
Look, so pretty! We used the fettucine cutter this time, no more of this maltagliati business.
And here's another shot, just because it's so BEAUTIFUL! Professional-looking, dare I add?
We tossed the fettucine with the leeks and added just a touch more butter.
The boiled pasta looks beautiful!
Apparently, we can't stop tooting our own horn.
We garnished the dish with toasted bread crumbs and shaved Parmiggiano-Reggiano.
All in all, quite a satisfying meal for me. I was happy with the mushroom soup and especially happy with the fresh pasta.
And so, this is us "roughing it". ;)
Sunday, March 30, 2008