Last year Michael Pollan wrote an article in the NY Times proposing a theory on the human diet that went as follows: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." Looking at my own cooking I realized that I didn't follow this theory by a long shot, I was a die hard carnivore. Blogger and Times food columnist Mark Bittman has been using a "vegan before six" approach to achieving this, and I modified that approach to "vegetarian before six" because you'll get my cheese and bread when you pry them out of my cold dead hands. Full disclosure: I've been known to cheat with sushi, ahi tuna is a seductive siren to me.
The economy being what it is, this has meant increasing my vegetarian cooking skills in the evening so that leftovers can be brought into work for lunches. It's a recession diet baby. Up until about 6 months ago almost all of my best cooking was done with meat so learning to cook without it, even on the occasional basis, has been a severe challenge. Seeing a sale on portabella mushrooms last week, I decided to test that staple of the vegetarian diet, the Portabella Burger.
The recipe I used included brushing with a balsamic vinaigrette, grilling, topping with cheese, tomato, and arugula and sticking on a grilled bun. With a brilliant stroke of luck, I had made lamb chops with a rosemary balsamic sauce the week before, and the remaining sauce was still in the fridge. Any opportunity to not waste expensive balsamic sauce I seize upon. The sauce mixed with some olive oil worked beautifully in place to the vinaigrette. Should you not happen to have such a delightful sauce in your fridge, however, store bought should work just fine.
Rosemary Portabella BurgersAddapted from Bon Appetit
Ingredients:2/3 cup balsamic vinaigrette
2 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
4 round rolls, split
4 large portobello mushrooms; (about 5 inches in diameter), stemmed
4 slices deli-style provolone cheese
1 tomato, thinly sliced
1 cup (loosely packed) arugula leaves
Directions:Prepare grill (medium-high heat). Whisk vinaigrette and rosemary in small bowl. Brush cut sides of rolls with vinaigrette. Place rolls on grill, cut side down. Grill until lightly toasted, about 1 minute. Transfer to plates.
Brush mushrooms on both sides with vinaigrette. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Place mushrooms on grill, dark gill side down. Close grill or cover mushrooms with small metal roasting pan; cook until mushrooms begin to soften, brushing with vinaigrette once, about 5 minutes. Turn mushrooms over. Cover; grill until tender when pierced with knife, about 7 minutes longer. Place 2 cheese slices on each mushroom. Cover; grill until cheese melts, about 1 minute.
Place 1 mushroom on bottom half of each roll. Top each with tomato, arugula, and top half of roll.
The best part? By wrapping the tomato and mushroom separately and sticking an extra piece of provolone, a handful of arugula, and a bun in a bag, I had two days of brilliant vegetarian lunches that were envied by coworkers, making me feel the appropriate level of smug. When arugula is sticking out of your sandwich, people know you aren't eating PB&J.
You will notice on this blog that a good deal of the recipes come from Epicurious. I am a Gourmet Magazine subscriber and they post many current and past recipes here along with ones from Bon Appetit. Like an 80 year old woman, I still subscribe to print publications. I get daily delivery of the NY Times and currently refuse to buy a Kindle. Someday I will probably be won over when they start refusing to bring me my lovely paper every day, but for now I revel in my stubbornness.
Last thing before I sign off for the week, I mentioned in my welcome message that I work out of a very tiny urban kitchen, and I thought the readers might like to know how tiny.
And no, there is no dishwasher.