Tag Archives: Vegetarian Dinner Parties

Pulled Veggie Sliders

Pulled Veggie Sliders

I firmly believe that this is the worst time of year to be trying to lose weight. I know because I’ve been there. Not only is the most food-centric holiday of the year approaching in one short month, but before then you’ve got the barrage of Halloween candy, then after that more holidays largely featuring lots of feasting at family dinners, cookie exchanges, and holiday candy. And that’s not even mentioning that on top of all that decadence, this is football and tailgating season!

pulled veggie sliders

Game day grub is generally not all that figure-friendly. Lots of tortilla and potato chips, fattening dips, cheese and fatty meats feature prominently. It’s tough to stick to your calorie count during this time. I know – I’ve been there.

So I wanted to offer up something appropriate for game day that is pretty figure friendly, that won’t blow your calorie allotment for the day, but isn’t a consolation prize. This little slider is incredibly tasty – Matt remarked that it was better than many pulled pork sandwiches he’s eaten – full of familiar barbecue flavors and the pulled meat texture you’re looking for, but with huge amounts of fat cut out.

pulled veggie sliders

It comes together much more quickly than a pulled pork or short rib slider would, and these babies are FILLING! I guess it’s all that fiber from the veggies, but trust me, once you’ve eaten a serving of these sliders, you won’t have any room for the loaded nachos or creamy onion dip. Oh, and obviously a fantastic option for any vegetarians at your tailgating party. Enjoy!

Pulled Veggie Sliders

Source: Vegetarian Dinner Parties by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough

Ingredients:
1 (15 oz.) can crushed tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted
½ cup cider vinegar
¼ cup packed brown sugar
2 tbs tomato paste
1 tbs mustard powder
1 tbs smoked sweet paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp celery seeds
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp hot sauce, such as Frank’s RedHot or Texas Pete’s
1 ½ cups shredded carrots (peel them first)
1 ½ cups shredded yellow potato (no need to peel)
4 cups shredded green cabbage
1 bottle (12 oz.) dark beer, divided
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
8 slider rolls
Coleslaw, for topping the sliders
Pickled jalapenos, for topping the sliders (optional)

Directions:
Combine the crushed tomatoes, vinegar, brown sugar, tomato paste, mustard powder, smoked paprika, oregano, celery seeds, cloves, and hot sauce in a large Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring until the brown sugar dissolves. Stir in the carrots and potatoes, then bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer slowly for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the cabbage and ¼ cup beer. Cover and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Add more beer as necessary to keep the vegetables from scorching. Your end goal is for the mixture to have the consistency of pulled barbecued meat – saucy but not at all soupy.
When the mixture is ready, mound some onto the bottoms of the slider rolls. Top with some coleslaw, the pickled jalapenos if using, then the top bun. Serve immediately.

Savory Gorgonzola, Walnut, and Sage Cheesecake

Savory Gorgonzola, Walnut and Sage Cheesecake

If you should ever find yourself looking for an extremely elegant and beyond delicious appetizer you could set out at a holiday (or other) party that will feed a small army, then you are in the right place. If you ever need an appetizer to blow people away, you’ve come to the right place. This is it.

Savory Gorgonzola, Walnut and Sage Cheesecake

First of all, people will go, “Wow, you made a savory cheesecake?”. Secondly, well, you will completely blow them away with this dish. I would know. My darling husband and a decent handful of close friends plus some acquaintances are floating their way back to Earth right now because I served this to them.

Suffice it to say, everyone went crazy over it. It’s rich, filling, tangy, creamy, and unique. Also, it’s better the second day, so this is perfect make-ahead food for a party. And honestly, I can’t say enough good things about it!

savory gorgonzola, walnut and sage cheesecake

I’ve definitely done my part dabbling in dessert cheesecakes, but this was my first savory cheesecake. It’s something I’ve been curious about for awhile now, but I really had no idea if I would like it at all. I approached the whole endeavor with a bit of uncertainty, but I’m most assuredly now a savory cheesecake convert. I was thoroughly impressed with the whole thing.

Savory Gorgonzola, Walnut and Sage Cheesecake

The crostini toasts are optional. I found it fun to smear the cheesecake on the little toasts, but it’s also delicious just eaten with a fork. (Or with your fingers when you’re pretty sure no one’s looking.). Enjoy!

Savory Gorgonzola, Walnut and Sage Cheesecake

Sources: adapted from Vegetarian Dinner Parties by Mark Scarbrough and Bruce Weinstein and The Bon Appetit Cookbook by Barbara Fairchild

Ingredients:
CRUST:
1 ¾ cups fresh bread crumbs
1 cup grated parmesan
6 tbs unsalted butter, melted
Pinch of kosher salt

CHEESECAKE:
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese
4 oz. sour cream
1 ½ tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
4 large eggs
½ cup heavy cream
6 oz. crumbled gorgonzola
2 tbs minced fresh sage
4 oz. walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 French baguette, sliced (optional)

Directions:
For the crust, preheat your oven to 350 F. Mix all crust ingredients in a medium bowl until well blended. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-10” diameter well-greased springform cake pan. Bake the crust until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Cool the crust while preparing the filling. Maintain oven temperature.
For the filling, add the cream cheese and sour cream to the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream together until the mixture is fluffy. Add the salt and pepper, and with the mixer on medium-low, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the heavy cream and mix until just combined, then add the gorgonzola, sage and walnuts. Mix gently until combined. Shut off the mixer.
Pour the filling into the cooled crust, then wrap the bottom of the cheesecake pan well with aluminum foil. Place the pan in a roasting pan or large, high-sided baking dish. Carefully pour hot water into the pan so that the top of the water level barely comes halfway up the cheesecake. Bake in the preheated oven for 70-90 minutes, until the cheesecake is lightly browned on top, slightly puffed and set on the sides and the center moves slightly when shaken. Remove from the oven, transfer to a rack and cool completely. Serve chilled or at room temperature. To serve, either slice and eat with a fork, or use a butter knife or cheese knife to smear a portion onto the baguette slices.

Vegetarian Pâté with Chestnuts and Porcini

Vegetarian Pate with Chestnuts and Porcini 6665

Pâté seems to be the perfect elegant party food, especially around the holidays. It appears to be most likely featured in the December issue of popular food magazines, and even cookbook entries tend to extoll its December-y seasonal virtues.

Vegetarian Pate with Chestnuts and Porcini 6643

Pâté is traditionally made with cooked and pureed chicken livers, but today I wanted to share a vegetarian (vegan, actually!) version. Firstly, because your vegetarian friends and guests cannot eat the chicken livers, and secondly because many of your carnivore friends and guests probably won’t eat the chicken livers either.

Vegetarian Pate with Chestnuts and Porcini 6654

Chicken livers have gained of lot of foodie ground in the past decade or so, but they are still fully capable of dividing an otherwise peaceful room of people. Personally, I find them delicious and will eat them in whatever form except for over- or undercooked; but I am not everyone.

This particular pâté will solve all your problems. It’s still completely delicious, completely sophisticated and completely seasonal, but no one will lodge any complaints. (Except maybe your chicken liver loving friends… Nah, they’ll take one bite and get right over it!)

Vegetarian Pate with Chestnuts and Porcini 6662

This cocktail party favorite is very easy to throw together, and since it must chill before you serve it, it automatically falls into the make-ahead category, which we all know is ideal for hosting a party. Everyone will adore this one, promise. Enjoy!

Vegetarian Pate with Chestnuts and Porcini 6670

Source: Vegetarian Dinner Parties by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough

{One Year Ago: Recipe Round-Up: 75 Comfort Foods}

Ingredients:
5 tbs olive oil, divided
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
1 large garlic clove, smashed and peeled
5 oz. (about 2 cups) thinly sliced cremini mushrooms
2 tbs brandy
¾ cup roasted, unsalted cashews
1/3 cup jarred roasted chestnuts
1 tbs finely ground dried porcini mushrooms
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried thyme
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp fresh cracked black pepper
¼ tsp ground turmeric
Toasted bread slices, for serving
Cornichons, for serving
Radishes, stemmed and halved, for serving

Directions:
Set a medium high-sided skillet over medium heat for a couple minutes, then add 2 tbs olive oil. Add the shallot and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until softened, about 4-5 minutes.
Shut off the heat and carefully add the brandy. Swirl the brandy around gently, then turn the heat back on. Cook for about 1 minute, stirring to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom, then shut the heat off again and transfer the contents of the skillet to your food processor. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Add the cashews, chestnuts, dried porcini powder, sage, thyme, salt, pepper, turmeric, and the remaining 3 tbs oil. Process until very smooth, scraping down the bowl a few times to get every last speck of nuts of spices incorporated. Be patient, as this may take a few minutes.
Once the mixture is completely smooth, scrape the pate into a serving bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours.
Serve with the toasted bread slices, cornichons, and radishes.

Butternut Squash, Onion, and Espresso Bruschetta

Butternut Squash, Onion, and Espresso Bruschetta 5835

Does your family have Thanksgiving appetizers? I tend to think they are necessary. I mean, usually on Thanksgiving Day, you have the one large meal, but generally it’s not served until mid to late afternoon. Obviously eating a regular sized lunch is out of the question, but asking people to not eat anything until the big meal is a bit unreasonable. A little snack earlier in the day is a necessity.

roasting butternut squash and onion 5801

And this year, I think you should shake things up and serve these wonderful little bruschettas. Nothing about them was the least bit unbalanced. All the diverse flavors melded perfectly together in one harmonious bite (though rest assured, you’ll take more than one bite!).

This is fairly easy to throw together too, as steps can be taken ahead of time, and it’s supposed to be served around-ish room temperature anyway (a little warm is also just fine though). The butternut puree is incredibly thick, kind of like peanut butter! I was a bit skeptical, but that wasn’t needed – it was perfect. The espresso powder sprinkled on top might sound weird, but it works soooooo well. It provides a bitter note that perfectly balances out the sweetness of the squash.

butternut squash, onion and espresso bruschetta 5815

I think I’m using the word “perfect” a little too often, but well, that says it all! Try this one, either as a snack earlier in the day on Thanksgiving, or a wonderful h’or d’oerve at a holiday cocktail party. Enjoy!

Butternut Squash, Onion and Espresso bruschetta 5823

{One Year Ago: Pumpkin Scones, Bacon-Wrapped Monkfish with Apple-Shallot Jam}
{Two Years Ago: Sweet Potato Biscuits, Chili Dogs}

Source: slightly adapted from Vegetarian Dinner Parties by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough

Ingredients:
2 cups peeled, cubed, and seeded butternut squash (about 1 small)
1 small onion, roots cut off and quartered
Kosher salt and black pepper
3 tbs olive oil
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp cayenne
1 loaf Italian semolina bread, sliced on the diagonal and grilled or toasted
Instant espresso powder, for sprinkling

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 375 F. Spread the butternut squash and onion quarters on a baking sheet, then sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, and then drizzle with olive oil. Shake the pan or toss to evenly coat everything. Bake until the squash is soft and golden, 30-45 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then scrape the contents of the baking sheet into your food processor.
Add the cumin, cinnamon, oregano, and cayenne. Process until very smooth. Using a small cereal spoon or a butter knife, spread a dollop of puree onto each bread slice. Sprinkle a small amount of espresso powder on top of the puree. Set out on a platter or tray and let your guests dig in.