December 23, 2009

It’s a funny limbo – these days right before Christmas. I’m busy planning Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day breakfast and dinner and just don’t have time or mental energy to plan TODAY’s dinner.
These are days when I fall back on the easy favorites that Dennis loves. The dishes I’ve been making for years and years. Like Vegetable Pie. I first came across this recipe in the ’70’s – back in college when I was struggling, poor, and hungry! It’s been a staple ever since. Great for vegetarians. Very pantry-friendly. Easy to alter to your liking or the limits of your refrigerator. The crust is kind of a latke, kind of a kugel and totally tasty. And the filling is like that old fashioned classic, cheesey cauliflower.

And it uses so little equipment. Hardly any clean up.
a food processor (best) and/or box grater
a knife & cutting board
a pie pan
a mixing bowl & wooden spoon
a skillet & same wooden spoon
a cup measure & whisk/fork

Serve with a quick green salad and a glass of wine for a satisfying, warming dinner.

Vegetable Pie
adapted from The Moosewood Cookbook

Olive Oil
3 Yukon Gold potatoes
2 onions
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cauliflower, cut up into smallish bits
1 tsp herbes de provence
3 eggs
1/3 c milk
1.5 c shredded cheddar cheese (I cheated tonight and used a bag o cheddar cheese from Trader Joes)
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400F
Lightly oil a 9″ deep pie pan
Using the food processor, or a box grater, grate 1/2 onion and the potatoes into the large mixing bowl. Generously salt & pepper, add one egg, and mix well.
Press mixture into the pie pan, pushing it up the sides to make a thick crust.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Remove the pie from the oven and brush the crust with olive oil. Return to the oven for 20 minutes more.
While the crust is baking, dice the remaining 1-1/2 onions.
Heat some oil in the skillet and add the onion, cooking until it’s just beginning to brown on the edges.
Add the minced garlic and toss around in the pan for a couple of minutes.
Add the herbes de provence.
Add the chopped cauliflower and stir to coat all the pieces well. Cook for 8-10 minutes, until just cooked. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
When the crust is done, sprinkle with 1/2 c of the cheese. Add 1/2 the cauliflower mixture. Next, layer 1/2 c of cheese, the rest of the cauliflower, and, finally, top with the rest of the cheese.
Break two eggs into the milk and beat well with a fork or whisk. Make a hole in the filling and pour the milk/egg mixture into the pie.
Bake at 375 for 35 minutes. Allow the pie to rest for 5-10 min. before serving.
Other things to think about: mix broccoli & cauliflower, add a layer of chopped spinach on the bottom of the pie, add frozen tiny peas, use Emmenthaler & thyme, Ricotta/Parmesian and rosemary. Do NOT use the pretty purple heirloom cauliflower. It makes a VERY scary looking pie.

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