A Vegetable Tapestry

2011.Feb.03 Thursday · 2 comments

in Casa SaltShaker, Food & Recipes

“We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.”

– Maya Angelou

It really doesn’t seem like forty years since Carole King’s Tapestry album was released, but amazingly, it has been, and it’s still one of the greatest pop albums ever produced. And what better theme than a “tapestry” to inaugurate a new series of vegetarian dinners – we’ve been getting more and more requests, so have decided to add one dinner a month, the fourth Sunday, as a specifically vegetarian dinner. We’ll see how it goes – this last weekend filled up quickly – unusual for in contrast to our past vegetarian eves. But then, we’ve recently been getting some nice press for our occasional vegetarian dinners, so maybe that will make the difference for having something “regular”.

Tapestry is a pop album by singer-songwriter Carole King, released on January 30, 1971. Tapestry was ranked US number 1 for 15 consecutive weeks, which is the longest time for an album by a solo female artist to occupy that position, and remained on the Billboard 200 for 305 weeks. In terms of time on the charts, it ranks fifth overall and in terms of length on the charts for solo musical acts it ranks second. It remains the longest charting album by a female solo artist. Tapestry has sold over 25 million copies worldwide. In 1972 the album also garnered four Grammy Awards including Album of the Year, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, Record of the Year, and Song of the Year (“You’ve Got a Friend”). Three songs from the album, “I Feel The Earth Move”, “It’s Too Late”, and “You’ve Got A Friend”, all reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 after Tapestry’s release.

– excerpted from Wikipedia

Gazpacho with Watermelon Pickles

To launch the evening, a chilled gazpacho. Reasonably classic, with a puree of tomatoes, garlic and chilies, and a dice of cucumbers, peppers and onion, various herbs and spices. To give it a little twist, and a hit of something to wake up the tastebuds, scattered cubes of watermelon rind pickles.

Grilled Romaine Salad

If you’ve never had grilled lettuce before, particularly romaine lettuce, you’ve been missing out on a treat. Here, a warm salad of grilled romaine lettuce leaves (lightly tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper, topped with cherry tomatoes sauteed with salt, pepper, sugar, and a little vegetarian worcestershire sauce (we make our own). Some toasted hazelnuts and fried bocconcini that are coated in shichimi powder and panko crumbs.

Asparagus Shallot Risotto

I’ve made my version of Simon Rimmer’s (The Accidental Vegetarian) asparagus and shallot rendang for a couple of different meals at different times in our past. Here, I turned it Mediterranean fusion – taking the seasonings that go into making the rendang and using them as a base for a risotto. The stock was a lemongrass and kaffir lime leaf broth. Blanched asparagus, both white and green, caramelized shallots, and a finishing touch of coconut milk and cilantro brought it all together.

Black Pepper Caramel Tofu

One of my favorite Vietnamese dishes is one that I learned from an ex-, fish slow cooked in a black pepper soy tomato caramel. Here, the same with extra firm tofu, and the whole thing served over bok choy sauteed in sesame and peanut oils. It was the first tofu dish a couple of people had ever tried – they licked their plates clean, so I guess it worked.

Avocado Mousse Pie

A true weaving together of different cultures in this one – I’m not even sure what to call it… Avocado Mousse Pie? The base, a coconut crust, topped with a layer of cocoa avocado mousse, and then a piping of crema de abacate – avocado, lime and coconut cream. Some toasted coconut to finish, and voila!

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jparis February 3, 2011 at 19:12

That Vietmanese dish looks fab. I’m always struggling to find what to do with tofu. I always seem to end up stir frying it in soy sauce.

Jwill February 4, 2011 at 04:17

Wow, weird coincidence, I just listened to Tapestry on my IPod today. Hope you are well Dan.

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