Shaw's vegetarian recipes

December 01, 1991

For a holiday dinner, Diana Shaw suggests a menu with th elegant touch of pate. In another recipe, called celebration couscous, bright red and yellow bell peppers add color. These dishes lend themselves well to buffet service. Here are the recipes:

Three-vegetable pate

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter

1/2 cup chopped scallions, white part only

1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

7 large eggs

3/4 cup half-and-half

1/2 cup dry whole wheat bread crumbs

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 pound fresh button mushrooms

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 small white onion, chopped

2 tablespoons dry sherry

salt to taste

freshly ground black pepper to taste

3 large carrots, cooked until soft

2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

L Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.

Saute the scallions in 2 tablespoons butter until translucent. Add the spinach and saute for 3 more minutes. Remove from the heat.

In a medium bowl, combine 3 eggs, lightly beaten, 1/2 cup half-and-half, 1/4 cup bread crumbs and the cheese. Add the spinach mixture and stir until well blended. Spoon into the prepared pan and smooth the surface.

Trim the mushrooms and wipe them clean. Take 6 perfect mushrooms, toss them with lemon juice and set aside. Chop the remaining mushrooms.

Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a saucepan and saute the reserved whole mushrooms for 5 minutes, turning often. Lift out and arrange them in the pan in a row over the spinach.

Saute the chopped mushrooms and onion in the same saucepan until the onion is translucent. Stir in the sherry. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat. Add 2 eggs, lightly beaten and 1/4 cup bread crumbs, and spoon the mixture over the spinach layer.

Puree the carrots in a food processor or blender until smooth. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan. Stir in the flour, 1/4 cup of half-and-half, the ginger and the nutmeg. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove from the heat and beat in the remaining 2 eggs and the carrot puree. Spoon the carrot mixture over the mushroom layer.

Cover the pan with wax paper, then foil. Set in a larger and deeper pan. Pour boiling water into the outer pan to a depth of 2 inches.

Bake until the pate feels firm to the touch, about 2 hours. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool at least 1 hour. Refrigerate the pate overnight. Let it come to room temperature before serving.

Run a thin knife around the pate and turn it out onto a place. Invert the pate onto another plate so it comes out right side up.

Celebration couscous

Makes 6 servings.

4 Japanese eggplants or 4 small zucchini, sliced crosswise

coarse salt to cover eggplants

2 tablespoons ( 1/4 stick) unsalted butter

1/4 cup olive oil

2 shallots, minced

1 medium red onion, sliced thin

1 large red bell pepper, sliced lengthwise into thin strips, 2 strips reserved for garnish

1 large green bell pepper, sliced lengthwise into thin strips, 2 strips reserved for garnish

1 large yellow bell pepper, sliced lengthwise into thin strips, 2 strips reserved for garnish

6 new potatoes (about 3/4 pound), halved or quartered, depending on size

1 cup cooked chick peas

1/4 cup raisins

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon saffron threads softened in 1 tablespoon hot water

1/4 cup dry white wine

minced fresh parsely for garnish

1 1/2 cups couscous, prepared according to package directions

garlic pepper sauce (see recipe below)

Sprinkle the eggplants with salt and let them drain on paper towels for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the oil and butter together until the butter has melted. Add the shallots and onion and saute until softened. Add the red, green and yellow bell peppers and saute 5 minutes more.

Pat the excess moisture from the eggplants and add them to the skillet, stirring to blend. Add the new potatoes, chick peas, raisins, tomato paste, coriander, cumin and saffron, and stir well. Add the wine. Cover and simmer gently until the potatoes have cooked through, about 30 minutes. Let sit 15 minutes before serving. If you're making this a day ahead, cover and refrigerate it, then reheat gently until heated through. Prepare the couscous just before serving.

To serve, put the prepared couscous on a platter, spoon vegetables over it and lay the reserved bell pepper strips on top. Sprinkle with minced parsley. Pass the garlic-pepper sauce on the side.

Garlic-pepper sauce

Makes 1 cup.

1 cup plain yogurt, whisked until smooth

1 clove garlic, grated

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

Whisk together the yogurt, garlic, paprika and cayenne. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Spinach-orange-sesame salad

Makes 6 servings.

2 bunches fresh spinach, washed and thoroughly dried

1 large navel orange, peeled, sectioned and cut into bite-size pieces

1/4 cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted

2 tablespoons sesame seeds, lightly toasted

DRESSING:

2/3 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt, whisked until smooth

1 1-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and grated

1/4 cup orange juice

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons sweet paprika

Tear the spinach leaves into bite-size bits. Toss them with the orange, almonds and sesame seeds.

To make the dressing, whisk together the yogurt, ginger, orange juice, cumin, coriander and paprika.

Add the dressing to the salad at serving time and toss well to coat.

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