Monday, July 15, 2013

Veggies: Haute to Homestyle - Mushroom "Bacon" BLTs & Zucchini Crudo with French Feta

Sure, it happens to be Meatless Monday, but today's post is just an everyday celebration of vegetables and all the wonders they possess.  

Zucchini Crudo Marinated in Lemon, Chili, & Mint Topped with French Feta, Photo: NK 

"Vegetarian" the cuisine, not just the lifestyle, has really caught on, and that, as they say, is a good thing. From enterprising chefs to the everyday cook, so many are on board with the idea that vegetables, when treated right, can hold all the delicious appeal and decadence of an omnivore plate.
My Sister-in-law's delicious Tomato, Basil and Feta Salad, Photo: NK

Summer's an ideal time to incorporate more vegetables into your diet.

Tomatoes (technically a fruit, but we'll look the other way) are especially delightful right now and will play a supporting role in a meatless

Portobello Mushroom "BLT" with Dill Mayonnaise

Looking for an elegant veg side dish? 

Zucchini Crudo with Chili, Lemon, Mint and French Feta is just the thing. 

I hope you enjoy both our Haute and Homestyle Veggie Recipes:  
Marinating the Zucchini Ribbons, Photo: NK 


Today's Zucchini Crudo is a great option if you are looking for an elegant yet exciting veggie side. It's packed with flavor thanks to Lemon Juice and Zest, super spicy Thai Chilies, and fresh Mint. A sprinkling of French Feta chunks (French Feta is milder than Greek Feta) add some nice, round saltiness and cool the spiciness of those Thai Chilies. 

Be sure to allow this dish to marinate about a half hour to an hour before serving. It looks pretty stunning on the plate and tastes amazing if you like big bold flavors on your Vegetables. 


Zucchini Crudo with Chili, Lemon, Mint and French Feta

Thai Chilies and Zucchini Ribbons, Photo: NK
Serves 3-4 as a small salad or side 

1 to 1.5 Large Zucchini, sliced into very thin ribbons on a mandoline (about 20 slices)

1/8 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 or 2 Small Thai Chilies (depending on your spice tolerance), minced.

Zest of 1 Lemon

2 teaspoons Lemon Juice

7 Mint Leaves, finely minced + a few sprigs for garnish 

1/8 teaspoon Sea Salt

Black Pepper to taste

4 Ounces French Feta, cut into small cubes


French Feta, Photo: NK 
1. Lay the Zucchini Ribbons In a leak-proof container with a top. 

2. In a small bowl, combine Oil, Chilies, Lemon Zest, Lemon Juice, and minced Mint Leaves. Stir in the Salt and Pepper. Pour the dressing over the Zucchini Ribbons and seal the lid. Shake well in several directions until all Ribbons are coated. Allow to sit a half hour to an hour. 

3. When ready to serve, arrange about 5 slices of Zucchini in small bundles across each plate. Drizzle with any leftover dressing from the container. Scatter with French Feta and garnish with extra Mint Sprigs. Enjoy! 

Our yummy and vegetarian friendly BLT adapted from a clever recipe in the latest Food & Wine is super satisfying. We changed up the Richard Landau's ingenious original recipe just a bit by using more accessible Portobello Mushroom Caps instead of King Oyster Mushrooms. Also, I got the idea to spike my faux "Bacon Mushrooms" with a healthy pinch of Spanish Hot Smoked Paprika to achieve something a bit more like smokey Bacon flavor. In a final tweak, I created a Dill Mayo (I love the brightness of Dill) rather than the (I'm sure delicious) Basil Mayo that Landau employs. 

Tip- Real Bacon is salty so don't skimp on the Salt in this recipe. It makes the flavors come alive. 

Portobello Mushroom Vegetarian "BLT" With Dil Mayonnaise
Adapted from Chef Richard Landau of Vedge in Philadelphia/As published in Food & Wine
Serves 2

Portobello Caps, Dill, Tomatoes, Photo: NK 
4 Slices Country White Bread, toasted

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 large and very ripe Beefsteak Tomato, sliced into rounds

1.5 - 2 Large Portobello Mushroom Caps, very thinly sliced

1/4 Light Mayonnaise (or Vegan Mayo if you prefer)

1 heaping Tablespoon finely chopped Dill, plus sprigs for garnish

1/2 teaspoon Hot Smoked Spanish Paprika

Sea Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper

4 Leaves Specialty Lettuce - we prefer Red Oak Leaf Lettuce

1. Combine Mayonnaise and finely chopped Dill in a small bowl and set aside. 

2. In a very large skillet or grill pan, heat 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil over medium heat until shimmering. Swirl to coat. Lay the Portobello Mushrooms into the pan in a single layer in the pan. Keep in mind they will shrink considerably. Allow Mushrooms to cook about 5 minutes until very golden.  Flip the Mushrooms to the other side and cook another 4 minutes. Remove to paper towel to drain off oil.

3. Immediately sprinkle the mushrooms with Salt and Pepper to taste, and finish by sprinkling all over with the Hot Smoked Spanish Paprika.  

4. To assemble Sandwiches, spread 2 slices of toasted Bread with the Mayonnaise/Dill Mixture. Top each with as many Tomato slices as you like (we went with two thick slices per sandwich). Sprinkle the Tomatoes with a good pinch of Salt. Add the even amounts of the Mushroom Slices and then top with two slices of Lettuce per sandwich. Top the Sandwich with the other bread halves. Garnish with Dill Sprigs, serve and enjoy!

Portobello Mushroom "BLT" with Dill Mayonnaise, Photo: NK 

See? Two delicious dishes - no meat needed! My husband, the original "Bacon Boy" as we call him, ate this sandwich with no complaints. I know he'd prefer Bacon but I told him that he too must suffer for my art. We hope you enjoy these meat-free dishes that go from everyday to elegant in a snap. 
Don't forget to eat your veggies! 

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