Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Meatless Menu

Still hungover from all the red meat I ate last week, I decided to go vegetarian tonight. I often make meatless dinners featuring portobello mushrooms because they are so meaty they really fill up the tummy. They even satisfy my husband's hunger, and believe me that is quite a fete. Going meatless can also be very affordable. Tonight I made marinated portobello mushroom caps topped with tomatoes and fontina cheese. I served it with a greek orzo salad. The recipes are below.

Portobello Mushrooms, Tomato and Fontina Cheese
4 Portobello mushroom caps
1 Tomato thickly sliced
1 cup shredded Fontina cheese
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tsp dried oregano
Salt and Pepper

In a large, sealable plastic bag, pour in the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, oregano, and salt and pepper. This doesn't have to be an exact science, just eyeball it. Add the portobello caps to the bag, seal it and toss it around to coat the caps. Marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Once marinated, heat a non-stick pan or grill pan over medium to medium-high heat and place the mushrooms in the pan. Cook until tender, flipping occasionally. This will only take a few minutes. Top the mushrooms with the tomato and turn off the heat. Distribute the cheese evenly among the mushrooms. Tint with a piece of foil until the cheese melts.

Greek-style Orzo Salad
1/2 pound of orzo (1/2 the box)
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (about half a lemon)
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
salt and pepper
1 Tbsp fresh oregano or 1 Tsp dried oregano
1/3 cup olive oil
feta cheese
A combination of any of the following vegetables you like and however much of each you like: kalamata olives, chopped; cucumber, chopped; sun-dried tomatoes in oil, chopped; canned artichoke hearts, chopped; scallions, chopped

In a large bowl, whisk the lemon juice, vinegar, salt and pepper, oregano and olive oil together. Add the vegetables. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt liberally. Add the orzo and cook for about 10 minutes. Drain the orzo and add to the bowl, mix well. Lastly, add the feta cheese. This salad can be served warm, cold, or at room temperature.

I often make this salad into a main course by adding shrimp. Peel and devein a pound of large shrimp. When the orzo has about 3 minutes left to cook, add the shrimp to the boiling water. Shrimp is done when they are bright pink and curled up. It doesn't take long. Then just drain both together and add to the bowl with the dressing and veggies.

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