This year, Cotton Candy Magazine® wants you to broaden your culinary horizons and experiment with new choices by trying more vegetarian meals. Going meatless can be a delicious change of pace. And truthfully, options for those who want to try a vegetarian diet have increased exponentially over the years. That’s why Cotton Candy food contributor Chef Evelyn Paul has fashioned these five vegetarian creations that’ll have you yearning for more.
Chilled Carrot Soup
1 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced ½ inch thick
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup diced onion
6 cups vegetable stock
1 tablespoon honey
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 cup of sour cream or crème fraiche for garnish
1. Combine olive oil and onion in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the onion is soft, about four minutes.
2. Add carrots and cook for two more minutes.
3. Add stock, bring to a boil and reduce heat.
4. Simmer for 30 minutes until carrots are soft.
5. Puree soup in a blender.
6. Add honey, season with salt and pepper and chill soup for at least 3 hours.
To serve, ladle chilled soup into a bowl. Add a dollop of crème fraiche or sour cream in the center of the bowl. Sprinkle with finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley and salt and pepper. Serves 6.
Heirloom Beet, Orange, and Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese and Walnuts
3 heirloom beets (if unavailable, use red beets), trimmed
3 navel oranges, zested, peeled and quartered
8 ounces baby spinach, finely chopped
1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese
½ cup toasted walnuts
½ cup balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 425°F.
1. Roast beets on a baking sheet for about an hour, or until tender.
2. Set beets aside to cool.
3. Once cool, peel and then slice.
1. Arrange salad on a plate by alternating beet, orange, and spinach.
2. Generously sprinkle crumbled goat cheese over the salad.
3. Garnish with walnuts and orange zest.
4. Serve with balsamic reduction
To make balsamic vinegar reduction:
1. Bring balsamic vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.
2. Simmer till reduced to ¼ cup
3. Take it off the heat and let it cool.
Vegetable Risotto with Summer Squash, Sweet Corn and Herbs
1 large shallot diced
4 tablespoons olive oil divided
2 cups risotto rice, such as Arborio
1/3 cup white wine
Salt and pepper to taste
6 cups vegetable stock, heated
½ pound summer squash and zucchini, ends trimmed and peeled lengthwise into ribbons using a vegetable peeler
2 cups fresh corn kernels cut from cob
3 tablespoons herbs such as purple basil, marjoram, and parsley
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
1. Using a large sauce pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and saute the shallots until soft.
2. Add rice and cook, stirring frequently until the rice starts to become translucent or about two minutes.
3. Add wine and a few pinches of salt and cook until the liquid evaporates.
4. Add a ladle full of hot vegetable stock to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until almost all the liquid is absorbed.
5. Repeat step four until stock is gone and rice is al dente.
6. Add the squash and corn, then stir well. Turn off the stove and cover for two minutes.
7. Stir in the herbs and Parmesan cheese. Serve hot and garnish with remaining Parmesan cheese
Rummed Nectarine Clafouti
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) salted butter, melted, divided
1 1/2 pounds nectarines, pitted; 2 nectarines sliced thin, others cut into 1/2-inch cubes
7 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup sugar, divided
4 tablespoons spiced rum, divided
1/4 cup thawed frozen orange juice concentrate
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 large eggs
Confectioners sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 375°F. Brush a 1 quart oval baking dish (9 inch baking dish optional) with 1 tablespoon of melted butter. Place the dish on a rimmed baking sheet. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, cook diced nectarines, 4 tablespoons sugar, and 2 tablespoons rum until juices bubble. Stir often. Cook for about 5 minutes. Cover the skillet and cook until nectarines are just tender, stirring occasionally. This will take 2 to 3 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, place cooked nectarines in the prepared baking dish. Add orange juice concentrate to juices in skillet and stir. Pour juices into a 1-cup measuring cup. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of rum, then enough cream to measure 3/4 cup total.
In a large bowl, whisk 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar and flour. Whisk in cream mixture, eggs, and remaining 3 tablespoons of melted butter. Spoon batter over nectarines. Top with nectarine slices, then sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar.
Bake clafoutis until puffed and crusty and center is just set. This will take about 30 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes. Dust with confectioners sugar and serve warm. Serves 6 to 8.
Cucumber Lemon Verbena Mojito
6 lemon verbena leaves (or basil), roughly chopped
5 1-inch pieces of peeled cucumber, one of which is finely diced
3 teaspoons simple syrup or sugar
2.5 ounces white rum
Splash of freshly squeezed lime juice
Splash of club soda
Slice of cucumber, for garnish
Put lemon verbena and simple syrup in the bottom of a glass. Crush the lemon verbena with the back of a spoon or the side of a measuring cup. Fill the glass with ice and add rum, lime juice, cucumber, and soda. Stir and garnish with a cucumber slice and sprig or lemon verbena. Serves 1.