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November 22, 2009

Vegetarian dinner No. 1



Faithful readers know that my daughter is off meat and poultry at the moment, so I decided I should try to cook vegetarian dinners every night until Thanksgiving.

If I weren't on vacation, I would tell her to suck it up and eat what's on the table (usually take out), but I feel with a little more free time than usual I can afford to cater to her every whim. Plus my husband likes vegetarian meals. ...


Tonight's dinner was a cheese souffle; lima beans; spring mix, spinach and avocado salad; and leftover butternut squash from last night (that we had with the lamb chops we had last night before she got here).

Have you tried the already peeled and cubed butternut squash that the Giant and Whole Foods are carrying this year?  (I'm assuming the other supermarkets are, too, if both of them are.) I don't remember seeing it before.

It's so easy. I'm sure some of the nutrients are lost, but it's a great help when you get in from work late. You just boil the cubes till tender (about 10 minutes) and then mash them with a fork with butter, salt and pepper and a little maple syrup or brown sugar if you like.

Do you think it would be bad to buy some ground beef and make a hamburger on a bun for lunch tomorrow? That wouldn't count, would it? I mean, everyone is on his own for lunch, right?

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 7:42 PM | | Comments (20)


What a beautiful souffle!!!! I am jealous. Roast that squash tossed with some EVOO (ohhh Rachel) at 450. For another 5 minutes you get great caramelization that truly brings out the flavor. I had some with dried cranberries and a warm apple cider vinagrette today for lunch. UMM!!
Wegman's has had it prepped for about two years, but a sharp knife while the oven preheats will save you a few cents and gets me into the zen of cooking.

You'll be on to Tofurkey in no time.

Aaaarrrggghhh. EL

With regards to pre-chopped stuff, my chefs would laugh at me, but I do sometimes get this for exactly the convenience reasons you mention. Trader Joe's is the best for this stuff! They have all manners of pre-chopped items. Sometimes you just have to weigh if spending your limited "home-family" hours in an evening are worth saving a buck or two...sometimes they are, sometimes they aren't...and yeah, sometimes the zen is totally worth more!

If there's any beef left over, tell Gailor you'll just use it to stuff the Turducken on Thanksgiving. You know, just to see the reaction...

EL, the menu sounds fabulous. I would eat it myself and I am an avowed meatatarian. Only thing I would remove is the avocado. I have never liked it. But to even things out my DW loves it so I would graciously give her mine. Ain't I sweet?

I made a chicken and butternut squash dish last week using the precut squash. Since there are only the two of us there was enough left for a second meal, TBD.


Considering Gailor is old enough to live in two different states (since I've been reading you), I'm sure she'll manage to make her own lunch.

I tried a sample piece of Tofurky a few years ago, I would't say that it was vile.......... That would be an understatement

As a recovering meatatarian living with / engaged to a vegetarian, I've been pleasantly surprised to find that vegetarian meals can be plenty delicious; sometimes I'll add meat to a dish we cook together, but most of the time I don't bother to make the effort. I do balance it out a little by eating meat most of the time when we eat out.

My fiancee recently discovered the pre-cubed squash too - I don't recall seeing it in stores before this year. We had it in risotto last week and it was pretty tasty (; she has lots of other vegetarian recipes on there, though you're probably all set by now since you only have three days left to fill).

My fiance's father called her from the store today to enquire whether he should bring home a tofurkey for her to have at Thanksgiving. Her response? "Are you kidding? If you love me you'll never make me eat that stuff!"

It's nice to know that even my hippie vegetarian has some standards (though we do eat tofu in other forms regularly)

I generally don't bother with precut produce because I have a knife and I know how to use it, but I've been buying the precut squash at Wegman's for a couple of years now--ever since one of my coworkers had to go to the ER after slashing her hand trying to cut up a winter squash. I figure I'll save on medical bills.

It is quite perishable though, in my experience. I try to use it within a day or two of purchase. My preferred method is roasting la mdlrvrmncher (minus the R. Ray reference though).

wow. that souffle is so amazing looking, it's almost food porn!

I haven't used pre-cut squash yet but only because I haven't seen it. I totally embrace any time saver though. I find nothing wrong with pre-cut veggies, or pre-roasted peppers, or anything else that makes cooking faster.

I even like pre-made stocks as long as they're low sodium because they tend to be so salty they can really ruin a dish.

Dahlink, for winter squash, my $6 Chinese cleaver (from a Chinese restaurant supply store) works great. When I'm unsure of my aim, I just place the knife on the right spot and what the heck out of the back of the blade with a hammer, after a few taps to get it started, of course.

Everyone needs a cleaver, for when stuff needs to be whacked really hard.

My husband got me started using a potato peeler to remove the skin from butternut squash. After peeling, I slice it in rings 1-1 1/2 inches thick, then cut the rings in half and remove the seeds. It's easier than hacking and there's not so much waste.

Did your husband add bacon to the cheese souffle?

I made a vegetarian butternut squash and kale strata last week using the Wegman's precut (had a coupon). It was awesome! The recipe came from the Nov issue of Bon Appetit. They called it "savory bread pudding", but I prefer to just call it strata. It was a very filling and pretty main course with lots of cheese and crispy top. I highly recommend.

That acorn squash last week all but required a chain saw.

I saw a business across Falls Road from Poly/Western - I could swear it was a CVS but that doesn't make sense - whose sign reads: Time to order your Turducken

Ah, bob beat me to the bacon!

...but not the double post, apparently...

(PS: Wilmington's pink? Who knew?)

Happy Thanksgiving! Looking forward to hearing about more of the vegetarian meals.

Ah, yes. I better write that up. EL

The 10:04 comment is a shill. Although, for a change, it is kind of on topic.

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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