Bloodroot vegetarian and vegan recipes: The sequel

We return to our review of The Best of Bloodroot: Volume One, Vegetarian Recipes and The Best of Bloodroot: Volume Two, Vegan Recipes, by Selma Miriam & Noel Furie with Lagusta Yearwood ($27.50 each) from the vegetarian Bloodroot restaurant in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Yesterday, we looked at some of the concerns of the books. Today, we look at recipes (and we got two, too!).

Let's look over those recipes
A lot of the recipes are quite high in fat. Let me give you an example. The first recipe that grabbed my attention was the best strawberry shortcake recipe from the vegetarian volume. So I was making my shopping list ... 2 cups half and half cream, 2 cups heavy cream, 1/4 pound butter, 2/3 cup half and half cream ... when I realized this was quite a lot of fat (in all fairness, however, it is pretty low in sugar). So I passed.

Next thing I notice is that a good amount of the recipes call for ingredients, such as manioc meal, that are not really readily available. For me, recipes that call for items I can get at the farmer’s market and at the grocery store are best. I just don’t have time to run around to the health food store or the Indian grocer or what have you as often as I would like. And, the reality is, the type of vegetarian I wish to be is the not the type that relies on specialty foods. Instead, I prefer to be the type that eats a non-processed, non-meat version of what everyone else is eating. A mainstream style of vegetarian, if you will.

So that’s the bad news. But the good news is a lot of the recipes look really easy.

Let's get cooking
We were heading for the farmer's market, so I decided to look for two easy, easy recipes that would take advantage of the great fruit and vegetables.

First up: Tomato salad. This salad is so simple that the quality of your produce is critical. I got heirloom tomatoes, organic basil, and so on. It was a lovely and refreshing start to the meal. I would have it again despite the fact that my Italian husband (who, by the way cleared his plate) took one look and said “It needs mozzarella.”

Second up: Zucchini latkes. Fast and easy, these were light, tasty, and ideal for a summer afternoon. Let's put it this way: The husband asked for seconds. Without any prompting. They were that good.

So, now it’s your turn. Here are two recipes I got from their site. Give them a try, then tell me what you think.
Bloodroot vegetarian recipe (selected to make the husband happy): Roasted Peppers and Sun-dried Tomatoes with Fresh Mozzarella
1) To roast peppers, choose large, heavy ones. A mix of red and green will look best. Preheat broiler very hot. Place rack so that peppers don't touch the flame and roast, turning peppers as they blacken. As each pepper is fully roasted, place it in a paper bag and fold it closed. Remove one pepper at a time and use a knife to pull the skin off. Carefully cut around the stem so that it and the core and seeds come out together, letting the pepper drop into a bowl or jar. Barely cover the peppers with virgin olive oil and add a splash of balsamic vinegar. Store refrigerated.

2) Place a handful of sun-dried tomatoes in a pot with 1/2 - inch of water and stew until softened, adding more water if necessary. Remove and chop coarsely. Pour a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar over them. If available, fresh basil or oregano leaves may be sprinkled over the tomatoes.

3) Water buffalo mozzarella is a very soft, creamy cheese. It is expensive and perishable. Domestic mozzarella, if fresh and locally made, can substitute. Lay leaves of Boston lettuce on a plate and top with strips of peppers. Arrange two or three slices of mozzarella and a spoonful of sun-dried tomatoes on top. Slices of onion, a few wrinkled Italian olives, and Vinaigrette complete the salad.

Bloodroot vegetarian recipe: Green Tomato Pie (from an earlier cookbook of theirs: The Political Palate)
A savory dish that appears to be Pennsylvania Dutch in origin. Proportions are hard to be specific about in this recipe since it depends on how big your pan is and how many green tomatoes you have. From Roberta (Sage) of A Woman's Place, Athol, NY

1) Make pie crust (see recipe index) using 9 c. white flour, 2 1/4 t. salt, 1 lb. plus 1/2 stick sweet butter, 2/3 c. vegetable shortening, and 1 1/2 c. ice water.

2) Using a large pan, for example, one 11" x 17", roll out enough pie crust to fit and line pan.

3) Thickly slice 8-10 very hard green tomatoes, removing stem end.

4) Slice 2 very large onions and sauté in fry pan in 1/2 stick sweet butter.

5) Slice 1 lb. Swiss cheese and 1 lb. Muenster cheese.

6) Sprinkle pie crust lined pan with bread crumbs. Layer tomato slices, cheeses and sautéed onions in pan. Sprinkle with coarse salt and lots of fresh ground pepper. Also sprinkle over about 2Tb. brown sugar. Repeat layers until ingredients are used up. Top with more bread crumbs and a sprinkle of wine vinegar.

7) Roll out crust to top pie. Crimp edges and slash. Bake at 375° until brown. When it begins to brown, the top crust can be brushed with milk to glaze it. Leftover portions can be reheated in an oven or toaster oven.

So, the bottom line is ...
Would I buy the Bloodroot books? At $55 for both, no, I would not. Instead, I would rather have a book such as Alice Waters' Chez Panisse Vegetables ($23.10 at Amazon) which I just bought.

But I would take them out of the library. And, next time I make it to the east coast, I know where I want to dine. I can only hope the cat is there, too.

Brand new contest!
Okay, it’s not just a new contest, it's the only contest I have ever run, and I’ll tell you all about it next week.