Vegetarian Baeckoffe

Translated from the Germanic Alsatian dialect, baeckeoffe means “baker’s oven,” as it was traditionally a dish that was brought to the local baker to cook in his oven. Classic versions are loaded with meat, but our vegetarian riff is equally hearty and rich.

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 pound sliced mushroom caps
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 large thyme sprig
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 2 tablespoons 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • Cooking spray
  • 4 cups vertically sliced onion (about 2 medium onions)
  • 1 (8-ounce) Yukon gold potato, peeled and cut into (1/4-inch-thick) slices
  • 2 cups packed baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 (6-ounce) turnip, peeled and cut into (1/8-inch-thick) slices
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese

Preheat oven to 350°.  Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms to pan, and sauté 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Add wine; cook 2 minutes. Add parsley, thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Uncover and cook 6 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Remove from heat; discard thyme. Add cream cheese, stirring until cheese melts. Remove mushroom mixture from pan. Wipe pan clean with paper towels.  Heat pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion; saute for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium; continue cooking for 15 minutes or until deep golden brown, stirring frequently. Set aside.  Coat a 6-cup baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange potato slices in dish, and top with spinach. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper evenly over spinach. Spoon the mushroom mixture over black pepper, and arrange turnip slices over mushroom mixture. Top with caramelized onions; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and tarragon. Pour whipping cream over tarragon, and sprinkle evenly with Gruyère cheese. Cover and bake at 350° for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender and cheese begins to brown.

Yield:  4 servings (serving size: about 1 1/4 cups)

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Turnips And Spinach

  • 1½ pounds spinach, washed
  • 5 turnips, peeled, sliced
  • ½ cup cream, boiled
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Seasonings to taste

Boil separately the spinach and turnips in salted water for about 20 minutes.

Drain off water.

Mix together.

Add the cream, butter and seasonings.

Mix well with a fork, and let cook together for about 2 minutes.

Then serve.

Stir-Fried Beef and Cauliflower

  • 1 lb. cauliflower
  • ½ lb. flank steak or sirloin tips
  • 2 Tbs. soy sauce
  • ¼ tsp. sugar
  • 4 tsp. cornstarch
  • 3 Tbs. peanut or corn oil
  • 2 tsp. dry sherry
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 piece ginger
  • salt
  • ½ c. broth or water
  • 3 c. thinly sliced Swiss chard or spinach

Break cauliflower into flowerets.  Cut steak into 1/8-inch thick strips (if you semifreeze it ahead, it will be easier to slice thinly).  Combine 1 Tbs. of the soy sauce, the sugar, and 1 Tbs. of the cornstarch with 1 Tbsp. water and 1 Tbsp. of the peanut or corn oil.  Pour over steak, marinate for 15 minutes.  Mix 1 tsp. cornstarch with 2 tsp. water; add the remaining soy sauce, sherry and sesame oil; set aside.  Heat the remaining oil in a wok or large saute pan until very hot; reduce heat slightly.  Mash garlic; add to oil along with ginger. Stir in cauliflower pieces, tossing to coat with oil.  Add a dash of salt and the broth or water.  Cover; steam-cook for 3 minutes.  Uncover, spread the meat on top, cover, and steam for 2 minutes.  Add the chard, spinach or other greens, cover and steam 1 minute longer.  Uncover, turn the heat to high, and toss all together.  Add the reserved sauce, and stir for 10-15 seconds before serving.

Serves 2-3.

From The Victory Garden Cookbook by Marian Morash

Spinach, Green Garlic and Mushroom Pie

  • ¾ Lb spinach and/or other greens
  • 1 cup sliced green garlic
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Lb ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • ½ Lb oyster (or other) mushrooms
  • 2 Tbs vermouth
  • 1-2 tsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Prepare a dough as you would for pizza crust.

Chop the spinach coarsely.  In a heavy pan, sauté the garlic in 1 Tbs of olive oil until limp.  Add the spinach with some salt and pepper and cook until the spinach is wilted and the water it releases is boiled off.  Remove from heat and toss with the lemon juice.  Beat one egg into the ricotta along with the parmesan cheese and mix with the cooked spinach mixture.

In another pan, sauté the onion in the remaining olive oil until it begins to brown.  Add mushroom and continue cooking until they begin to brown.  Add salt, pepper and vermouth and stir until the vermouth evaporates.

Lightly oil a cookie sheet and sprinkle with cornmeal.  Roll out the dough to about 15×20 inches and place on cookie sheet.  Spread the Ricotta and spinach mixture onto the dough leaving approx. 3 inches around the edges and cover the cooked mushrooms over the spinach.  Pull the edges of the dough over the filling and fold together.  Beat the remaining egg with a spoonful of oil and brush onto the dough.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 35 minutes.  When it is fully cooked, allow it to cool for a few minutes before slicing into wedges for serving.

Spinach and Turnip Bhaji

  • 7 ounces small turnips, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 pound frozen chopped spinach or other greens
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons grated ginger
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

Bring 1/2 cup water to a boil.  Add the turnips.  Cook 1 – 2 minutes. Add the spinach and paprika.  Cook 2 – 3 minutes or until all the water has evaporated. Mash the mixture to the best of your ability and remove from heat. Heat the oil in a second saucepan over low heat. Add the ginger and onion and cook 2 – 3 minutes.  Add the vegetables from the first saucepan.  Mix well and toss until everything is well seasoned.  Serve with the lemon juice.

Spinach and Mint Soup

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 (9- to 10-ounce) russet potato, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 1/2 cups (or more) low-salt chicken broth
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained very well
  • 1 cup chopped fresh mint, divided
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons Hungarian sweet paprika

Heat 1/4 cup oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; sauté until tender, about 8 minutes. Add potato and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Add 4 1/2 cups broth and green onions; bring to boil. Cover and simmer until potato is tender, about 15 minutes. Add spinach, 3/4 cup mint, and cilantro. Simmer soup 1 minute.  Puree soup in blender in batches; return to same pot. Thin with more broth by 1/4 cupfuls, if desired. Season soup with salt and pepper. Heat remaining 1/4 cup oil in small skillet over low heat. Mix in paprika; cook 1 minute. Ladle soup into bowls. Drizzle with paprika oil; garnish with 1/4 cup mint.

Spanikopita

  • 1 lb. mixed greens
  • 1 onion or 2 leeks, chopped
  • ½ lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 oz. feta cheese
  • ¼ c. parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • ¼ tsp. rosemary (optional)
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • ¼ lb. butter (1 stick)
  • 1 lb. filo dough

Wash and chop greens into ribbons. Bring 2 quarts of water to the boil. Drop in greens and boil for about 5 minutes. Drain in colander. Saute the onion, garlic and mushrooms in the olive oil with salt and pepper until tender. Squeeze any remaining moisture out of greens and stir them in to sauté pan. Cook for a few more minutes, then remove from heat.

Beat the eggs in a large bowl and crumble in the feta. Add the parmesan, black pepper, nutmeg, oregano and optional rosemary. Add a little salt, remembering that feta is salty. Stir in greens sauté mix.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt the stick of butter and brush a 2 or 3 quart oblong baking pan with it. Spread the filo dough out flat next to the pan. Brush the top layer with butter and lift it and the layer under it onto pan. brush next sheet with butter and lay it and the layer under it onto pan at a slight angle to the last layer. Continue to layer the sheets of filo, brushing every other one with butter and turning each one slightly so that the edges fan out over the sides of the pan. Stop when you have about 8 sheets left.

Spread the greens mixture evenly over the filo dough in pan, pushing it to the corners. Fold the edges of the filo dough over the mixture. Take the remaining sheets of filo and layer them on top of the greens mixture, again brushing every other sheet with butter, but this time pushing the edges down into the sides of the pan. It is difficult to do this neatly; just rumple the edges down into the sides of the pan (they will form a nice crisp edge after baking). Brush the top of the spanakopita with butter and make 1/2” deep diagonal slashes across it with a sharp knife.  Bake for 50 minutes, until the crust is puffed and golden. Cut into squares or diamonds and serve immediately.

Ricotta-Spinach Dip

  • 1 bunch fresh spinach
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 lb. ricotta cheese
  • 1-2 tbs. fresh dill (optional)
  • 3-4 scallions, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup finely minced water chestnuts
  • 5 to 6 healthy radishes, minced

Stem the spinach, clean and dry thoroughly (a salad spinner works fine, followed by paper towel).  Mince finely (a few whirls in the food processor with the steel blade works perfectly).  Place ricotta in a medium-large bowl.  Use a wire whisk or wooden spoon to beat it until quite smooth.  Stir in the spinach and all other ingredients, including the optional dill (or save as a garnish) and minced water chestnuts.  Cover tightly and chill until very cold.  Serve with chips, raw vegetables, or good crackers.

From Molly Katzen’s Still Life with Menu Cookbook.

Lemon-Mint Bulgur “Risotto”

  • 3 cups water
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 to 8 stalks green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 cup bulgur, uncooked
  • 4 cups spinach, washed and torn
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Garlic Shrimp:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound giant shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Lemon wedges, for garnish

Tossed Salad:

  • 1 bag mixed greens
  • 10 grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2-pound fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • Olive oil, for dressing
  • Balsamic vinegar, for dressing
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make the risotto: In a medium saucepan, combine the water and salt and bring to a simmer. Keep warm over low heat. In a medium saute pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the green onions and cook until soft, about 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the bulgur and cook until fluffy, about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the warm water, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently until each portion is absorbed before adding the next, about 20 minutes total. Remove from heat. Add the spinach, mint, lemon rind, and lemon juice. Stir until the spinach wilts, about 2 minutes. Keep the bulgur risotto warm until ready to serve.

To make the shrimp: In a medium nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and saute until soft, about 30 seconds. Add the salt, pepper, and shrimp, and saute until the shrimp are just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

To make the salad: In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and toss together. Add oil and vinegar and salt and pepper, to taste.

Divide the Lemon-Mint Bulgur “Risotto” evenly among 4 small plates and arrange the Garlic Shrimp evenly over the “Risotto”. Garnish with lemon wedges, if desired. Serve with Tossed Salad.

Lemon Mint and Spinach Salad

  • 1 largeish lemon
  • 1/3 cup fresh mint leaves, plus extra for the top
  • ½ tablespoon sea salt
  • 8oz/10 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Cut off the top and bottom of a lemon, stand it on a wooden board and, cutting down with a small sharp knife, slice off the skin and pith, rotating the fruit until you come full circle. Cut the lemon flesh into ¼ in circles and then each circle into eighths, putting them – and all juice – into a bowl as you go. In other words, you want the lemon in small chunks.

Cut the mint leaves, with scissors for ease, into thin strips over the lemon pieces, and sprinkle with salt and some pepper. Add the spinach leaves and oil and toss everything together with your hands. Now decant onto a large round or oval plate – or whatever you want to serve this on – and drop a few whole mint leaves over the dressed salad.