If you owned a Vietnamese pho restaurant, what would you name it? Around here, we have “What the Pho?”, “Pho Shizzle,” and then there’s just straight-up “Pho King.” I guess if I opened a pho (pronounced “fuh”) place, I’d have a hard time resisting getting punny, too. Maybe I’d call mine “Pho the Love of All That is Good and Holy.”
Orrrr … yeah. Maybe I’ll just make vegetarian pho from scratch at home now and then, and that’ll be plenty good enough.
Ours is a home divided. Or, I guess more specifically, a barbecue divided.
As is the case in many backyards across America, my guy is the lord of the grill. I mean, I know how to use it. Okay, fine, I’m ashamed to admit he showed me how to operate it last summer. Then I promptly forgot.
I know, I know, I totally know. Hamburgers?! And veggie burgers? And the patties are bought directly from the meat counter or picked up in the frozen section at the grocery store? Wow, advanced stuff, Food Blogger Lady. (Like, is this chick for real?)
But you know what? My primary goal with this blog is to amass a gazillion (that’s an exact number) recipes and ideas especially for vegetarians and meat-eaters living together. A blog I would have loved to have discovered a few years back, myself. A blog with real-life ideas for real people who often only have just 10 minutes to throw together a decently-balanced dinner.
It took me a long, long time to “get” spaghetti squash. It was a case of misguided expectations. I wanted spaghetti squash to have the taste and texture of spaghetti noodles – the perfect low-calorie pasta substitute! – and when it didn’t? Ewww.
When I started thinking of spaghetti squash as, well, squash, my relationship with the vegetable took a turn for the better. In fact, now I love the stuff. My favorite way to enjoy spaghetti squash is cooked up simply (either roasted with a little olive oil and kosher salt or via the microwave express), then scraped into a bowl and tossed with coarse salt, fresh-ground black pepper and a good amount of parmesan.
This, however – a version of baked spaghetti with half of the noodles replaced with spaghetti squash – is pretty darn delicious, too.
I’m convinced the reason why my guy’s so happy to eat so many purely vegetarian meals is because I throw him a bone now and then. Kind of literally – sometimes, dinner is centered around a dish that’s alllll meat. I’m content with a couple of yummy side dishes, my guy feels spoiled, all is right with the world.
I always say the Crock Pot is ideal for the vegetarian who occasionally cooks meat, because generally you have to do very little with the meat. Sometimes a quick browning, then plop it in the slow cooker and a few hours later, it’s done, delicious, and the carnivores are content, and most of the process was nice and hands-off.
This incredibly easy recipe was inspired by this one for coffee-braised short ribs. Coffee and beef, you ask? You bet! The coffee adds a rich, deep flavor that goes perfectly with the tender, moist chuck roast. Chili powder and cayenne pepper add some nice heat; onion, garlic, oregano, and white wine add dimension and even the whole thing out. Note: I asked my guy to describe the flavor exactly and he responded, “It’s tasty? And I wanted more?”
I guess that’s a hearty enough endorsement.
I’ve tried many, many variations on chili over the years. Super simple chili, chili with a gazillion ingredients, chili with “secret ingredients” like unsweetened cocoa or brewed coffee (both very good, actually). But this chili recipe is the one that’s been floating around on a piece of paper with the title of “THE Chili.” My guy took a bite of his version (with meat) and said, “This is it. You can stop at this one. It’s perfect.”
Shepherd’s Pie. At first glance, it seems like a humble, even somewhat ho-hum dish. Ground beef (or lamb, traditionally) mixed with a few veggies and topped with mashed potatoes. Comforting, sure. But amazing? Probably not. Except, actually, yes. It’s really, really delicious.
This version brings together ground beef with a little gravy, some onions, carrots, peas, and corn for the carnivores. Vegetarians get their own delectable version with diced crimini mushrooms and lentils in place of the ground beef. Both are topped with cheesy mashed potatoes then sprinkled with more cheese and breadcrumbs, then baked so the potatoes form a nice golden crust.
Welcome to the inaugural post on Kitchen Treaty! My aim is to show that vegetarians and meat-eaters can live together – and happily, too. Over the years, I’ve developed an arsenal of easy recipes that please meat-eaters and veggies alike. I’m looking forward to sharing them here!
French Onion Soup. My first “gotcha” dish when I became a vegetarian some 12 years ago. It’s onion soup! A veggie! No meat! Silly me. Traditional french onion soup is made with beef broth. This one isn’t (unless you add some to the meat side), but you don’t miss it.
Instead, after cooking a huge amount of onions down into wonderful brown caramelized goodness, you add rich vegetable stock and, of course, a few other ingredients. Simmer for a good long while, then take some of the good stuff and add it to a new pot. This is where you’ll add the meatballs for yourself or your loving (and appreciative) carnivore.