Recently James and I have been thinking about being vegetarian. Not that we’re going to stop eating meat right away, but we’re beginning to learn and understand the benefits — both personally and environmentally — of eating less meat.
The goal isn’t necessarily to become a vegetarian, just be more aware of what we eat and how it affects the world around us (a bit grandiose, but hey we can hope, right?). So in our first plan of action, we’ve decided to make at least one vegetarian meal a week (an idea that came to me by way of Kim O’Donnel’s A Mighty Appetite).
Tuesday night was our inauguration vegetarian night with a mushroom and leek tart and the roasted red pepper and goat cheese salad. The salad is a mix of Martha Stewart and my own red pepper additions.
1 large bunch of arugula
2 red peppers
8-10 oz. goat cheese
2/3 cup walnuts, crushed and roasted
4 T. red wine vinegar
4 T. orange juice
6 T. olive oil
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 375
1. Wash and dry red peppers before putting them on cookie sheet. Place cookie sheet in oven and rotate peppers every 20 minutes so entire pepper gets roasted. Takes about an hour. Once the skin has black, roasted splotches and looks like a very inflated balloon, remove and set aside to cool.
2. Once the pepper is at room temperature remove skin using tongs or a fork — the skin should be very easy to take off. Slice peppers and set aside
3. Place walnuts in sandwich-sized ziploc bag. Using a bottle or hammer or other hard object, crush walnuts into chunky crumbs.
4. Pour walnuts into skillet on medium heat and roast for about 7 minutes or until fragrant
5. Pour walnuts onto plate and spread out in one layer to cool. Meanwhile, take goat cheese and roll into 4 mini goat cheese balls
6. Once walnuts are completely cool, roll goat cheese in walnuts until covered.
7. Arrange arugula on plate, add goat cheese and pepper slices. Sprinkle rim of plate with remaining walnut pieces.
8. For a quick, easy and light salad dressing mix red wine vinegar, orange juice, olive oil, salt and pepper in small bowl and whisk.
And voila! Our first once-a-week-vegetarian-meal!
Post-baking thoughts: The leek mushroom tart recipe is the same as the tomato gruyere camembert tart. But instead of tomatoes, I sauteed one leek and one 8 oz. carton of mushrooms. After making a variety of tarts I would say that they’re too cheesy! Here’s how I would layer it next time: camembert, leeks/mushrooms, spices, gruyere, leeks/mushrooms, spices and a small final sprinkling of gruyere. In past recipes there was an extra layer of camembert and gruyere after the second layer of veggies and it’s just too much!