Saturday, April 10, 2010

Can Vegetarian Food Be Interesting: Yes!

This is one of the best courses I have created in a long while. I cannot stop eating it at the moment.  My brilliant wife is a tough foodie critic.  Her star ranking goes from 1 to 5 stars.  She is famously frugal with her stars.  This particular dish earned the full allotment of 5 stars.  The combination of flavors at work here is mesmerizing.

An influential stimulating force for this dish was watching the work of Pierre Gagnaire. Chef Gagnaire has reinvented modern French cuisine in his amazing 37 year career.


When conceptualizing a dish I ask myself three important questions. What do I want to see on the plate? What do I want to smell? What textures do I want in my mouth? This course is an eccentric confluence of textures, consistencies, colors, and flavors.


The base of the dish is a sauté of shiitake mushrooms, Yukon gold potatoes, and shallots. The middle portion is a succulent, immoral, wickedly tasting Yukon gold puree. Next up following in the footsteps of yesterday’s Florida tomatoes post is a medley of diced plum, purple Cherokee, and tangerine tomatoes tossed in balsamic. The final flourish is a crunchy Parmigiano-Reggiano crisp.

An extraordinarily earthy veggie course even the most dedicated meat-lover will take pleasure in.

Yukon Gold Two Ways with Shiitake Mushrooms

For the Sauté:
2 small Yukon gold potatoes - (diced)
5 Shiitake mushrooms – (small chop)
2 shallots - (small dice)
Olive oil
Sea salt
Smoked paprika
Marjoram

1. In sauté pan heat 2 tbs olive oil over medium heat.
2. Add the Yukon gold potatoes. Cook for about 10 minutes.
3. Add the shiitake mushrooms. Cook for about 5 minutes.
4. Season with sea salt and smoked paprika.
5. Add the shallots. Cook for 3 minutes.
6. Sprinkle with marjoram. Take off the heat.

For the Yukon gold puree:
4 small Yukon gold potatoes – (peeled)
Half and Half
1 cinnamon stick
1 vanilla bean – (split)
2 bay leafs
Allspice
Ground nutmeg
Brown sugar
Sea salt
1 stick of butter – (unsalted)

1. Place the potatoes in a stockpot
2. Cover with half-and-half.
3. Add the cinnamon stick, vanilla bean, 2 bay leafs.
4. Season with allspice, ground nutmeg, brown sugar, and sea salt.
5. Simmer till potatoes are tender.
6. Remove the potatoes to a plate.
7. Strain the poaching liquid – (reserve)
8. Clean the inside of the stockpot. Put the stick of butter in the clean stockpot.
9. Rice the potatoes, using a potato ricer, into the stockpot.
10. Over low heat mix the potatoes and butter well.
11. Add a bit of the reserved poaching liquid. Whisk hard and fast to emulsify.

For the Tomatoes:
1 purple Cherokee tomato – (diced)
1 tangerine tomato – (diced)
1 plum tomato - (diced)
Balsamic vinegar
Olive Oil
Sea salt

In a bowl combine the tomatoes with a splash of balsamic and olive oil. Season with sea salt. Mix well.

For the Parmigiano Crisp:
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Ring mold
Silpat Mat

1. Preheat the oven to 320 F.
2. Using a Microplane grater finely grate the cheese.
3. Place a Silpat mat on a baking sheet.
4. Using the ring mold, make mounds of cheese.
5. Bake in oven for 10 minutes.

Silpat Mats are the best baking tool known to man.  Nothing sticks to it and clean up is quick and easy.  If you do not have one...get one you will not regret it.  Demarle Silpat 11-3/4-by-8-1/4-Inch Nonstick Silicone Baking Mat

That's it for now...till we exchange a few words again...Peace!

71 comments:

  1. Five stars- Mazol Tov! Especially from your most important and challenging critic.
    I love Yukon gold potatoes- I think they call them gold for a reason.
    Shiitake mushrooms are so flavorful and the combo looks amazing.
    I have never heard of a silpat- I will look it up. Great post.
    Have a great weekend!

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  2. Lady Ren...Thank you for the kind words. Yukon gold potatoes are gold...my absolute favorite.

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  3. Love this dish..first because it's vegetarian, then because it's pretty, and finally because the combination is perfect. I didn't know Demarle silicon molds are sold in the US, I always buy mine in France or steal them from my mom! I love Demarle molds! I could not live without them! Great job Mr. Lazaro!

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  4. Silvia...Thank you so much for your support. You are awesome. Yes cannot live without the silpat mat...very useful.

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  5. Awesome dish and so packed with flavours.
    Have a great Sunday x

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  6. Primo, you're torturing me! OMG, this looks so good. You will definitely have to make this for us when you come visit ... otherwise, I'll disown you! :-) I am definitely making this one soon. Mmmmmmmmmmm.

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  7. What a beautiful and delicious looking dish. Great presentation!

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  8. At first, it may not be that good tasting and hard to enjoy but you will then realize that indeed, it is great!

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  9. wow....I am more and more amazed at how creatively vegetables can be served.....bravo!!
    what a beautiful presentation, I am sure it tastes even better than it looks!!

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  10. This looks so impressive! I may have to try it next weekend!Thanks for vistiting my blog ;) Figtree

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  11. I'm always looking for an interesting veggie meal. This looks fantastic! I'll try it soon. I'm your latest follower!

    Alex aka Ma What's For Dinner
    www.mawhats4dinner.com

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  12. Ana Powell...Thank you for your comments. I hope you have a great Sunday.

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  13. Without a doubt we will make this dish when I go over there. Just trying to keep with your amazing veggie dishes. I'm not really keeping up...kinda of way behind. Your dishes show me that vegeterian can be interesting. Thank you!

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  14. Cristina (TeenieCakes)...Thank you for stopping by and commenting. It is a wonderfully flavored dish.

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  15. crib...Thank you for stopping by. This dish is quite layered flavor wise, but very tasty. Have a great day.

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  16. Chef Dennis...Thank you for commenting. Veggies can and should be interesting. Too many times cooks devote all of their creative juices towards meat dishes and serve boring veggie courses. Times are a changing.

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  17. figtree...With pleasure. Your blog is wonderful. Glad you enjoyied the dish. Cheers!

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  18. Ma What's 4 dinner...Thank you for visiting, commenting, and following...that's the trifecta. I'm also following Ma What's 4 dinner. Hope you like the dish. It's full of flavor.

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  19. I think I've died and gone to veggie heaven!! Eating this, I would never even think about meat. I know I would dive right in - there is not one thing in it that I do not absolutely love! The frico that tops it all is genius! A work of rapture inducing, edible art. Bravo!!!

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  20. Hi there, thanks for stopping by my blog earlier and nice to meet you. You kidding me! I think all your food looks so presentable and so yummilicious. Mostly are 5 stars! Are you a pro chef??? However, hope to hear from you more often. Have a great weekend.
    Regards, Kristy

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  21. Great looking dish. Your right..vegetarian cuisine can be very good!

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  22. I realy like it and will try soon
    presentation is perfect.

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  23. This looks absolutely fantastic! I love the distinctive flavors in each layer and that crisp on top is fabulous. :-)

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  24. Denise...Thank you for all your support. Much appreciated. High praise coming from such a talented cook.

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  25. My Little Space...I was a pleasure to meet you. Hope that we will keep in touch. Look forward to your next post. Thank you for the comments.

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  26. sadaf...Thank you for commenting. I hope you enjoy the dish.

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  27. Ed Schenk...Thank you. Vegeterian cuisine can and should be just as interesting as meat courses. It is our job as cooks to make that happen.

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  28. Rambling Tart...I've enjoyed checking out your blog. Thank you for wonderful comments. Glad you liked the dish.

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  29. It looks lovely.....and I like the flavour considerations!!!!!!!!! I also agree that vegetarian food can be delish....it just depends on who is cooking and how. In this case, YOU!

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  30. It looks fantastic, very professional! I love all the textures! I don't think that I have to cook, vegetarian or I have to have meat. I just like good ingredients, that I like, and that work well together. Often we eat vegetarian meals unintentionally!

    Thank you for stopping by my blog and taking the time to make such a nice comment! It's nice to meet you!

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  31. Wow...this is absolutely great! From the simple vegetables you have created such a beautiful and delectable dish. Love that Parmigiano Crisp....

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  32. This looks incredible! I will definitely have to give this one a try. Inspiring!

    Sommer
    www.aspicyperspective.com

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  33. i'm SUCH a fan of potatoes, and this has to be one of the most unique and elegant presentations i've ever seen making use of it. really excellent and interesting combination of flavors and textures!

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  34. Well, if that dish doesn't take the cake!!! Gorgeous, simply heavenly. Thank you so much for sharing...Bookmarked!!!

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  35. Thank you for visiting my blog, Lazaro. It is nice to meet new friends. I am working on a potato recipe right now so this is timely for me. I will have to try this.

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  36. Kitchen Butterfly...Thank you for stopping by and commenting. Veggie food can be wonderful. With some love and care.

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  37. Lyndsey...Thank you. With good ingredients, whatever they may be, come good dishes. I agree.

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  38. TREAT AND TRICK...Thank you for the kind words. The crisp on top really sets the dish off.

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  39. A SPICY PERSPECTIVE...Thank you so much. You have an inspiring blog too. Give the dish a go.

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  40. grace...I love Yukon Golds. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

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  41. Angel Santos...Thank you for stopping by and commenting. Cheers!

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  42. ~~louise~~...Thank you for stopping by. Glad you liked the dish.

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  43. Hi ...nice blog too...interesting recipes and I love this creative dish...mmmm shiitake mushroom. Well done...so you got your stars from the wife :))

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  44. Oh wow I love potatoes in any form but this totally takes it up a notch...or five! Those parmesan crisps are heavenly!

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  45. Elin...Thank you for dropping by and commenting. Yes I got the full compliment of 5 stars. They are not easy to achieve.

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  46. Chef Aimee...Thank you for the kind words. Potatoes are such a wonderful ingredient to work with.

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  47. Wow! This looks fabulous. Your description has me ready to give it a try...the combination of flavors in this sound superb. Great photography, too! Loved your description of how you pre-plan a dish.

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  48. Thanks for stopping by Regional Recipes! You should participate in the event next month if you're interested, the country we are visiting is Haiti!

    This dish is stunning. I love your presentation of it!

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  49. Perfect and lovely. Wonderful click. Do visit my blog when time permits.http://shanthisthaligai.blogspot.com/

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  50. I love potatoes and this dish is truly mesmerizing! Great combo of flavor and taste!

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  51. This looks absolutely delicious! I could see it with some nice plump wheat berries as well. And as for silpat baking sheets...can't live without them!!

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  52. Your site is gorgeous. This recipe looks amazing but I may need to secretly rehearse before sharing with the family! Thank you for sharing.

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  53. Hi and thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm so glad that you did because I love yours! This dish looks wonderfully interesting - a nice blend of flavors and textures. I'm a big fan of Shiitake mushrooms - love 'em. Well done.

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  54. Hi! Thanks for stopping by my blog; I'm so happy you did and I learned about your great blog.

    I love your shitake dish and must try it. It looks really delicious and I love it with the potatoes! Thanks for the recipe!

    I keep meaning to buy a Silpat as so many cooks swear by them. I will definitely put it on my list now that you have reminded me!

    Cheers!
    Pam

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  55. I'm not sure if my first attempt at commenting went through but delete as necessary if my 1st one was successful...

    I love the flavor profiles you've created in this veggie dish. I've never thought of flavoring potatoes with vanilla beans. I would love to try this dish. Very impressive! :)

    Do you know what would be a decent substitute for Yukon gold potatoes? That variety is definitely not available here.

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  56. Gorgeous dish and I bet its super tasty. Hooray for vegetarian food!!!!

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  57. This looks delicious! It's definitly going on my list of recipes to try.

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  58. Wow, what a combination of flavors and textures. I can see why your wife gave it five stars!

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  59. what a perfectly wonderful dish..oh my you really nailed it my friend..awesome!! will try soon...

    sweetlife

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  60. That's an awesome dish, very interesting! Nice presentation!

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  61. Wow that looks beautiful. I'm impressed with how healthy and conscience of the environment your dishes are.

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  62. Wow! I need to make more of an effort with my dinners, you've put me to shame :)

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  63. Chanel...Thank you for the kind words. But there is no shame here...only love. Good luck with your dinners I am sure they are amazing!

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  64. This sounds delicious and the presentation is stunning! Thanks for sharing!

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  65. Fantastic! Looks amazing... you eat with your eyes first afterall. The ingredients sound as though they would make a very palate pleasing dish!

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  66. WOOT, this is singing to me. Give me a great veggie preparation and I'll prefer it to non veg. This one is gorgeous! Love the flavours and the luxury! Yay too that I have ring molds. Will try this soon Lazaro... I seriously love the very idea!

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  67. Here via your foodbuzz acct :)

    Vegetarian food can MOST definitely be interesting! And from the looks of it, especially the dishes that you make. Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe (and all the others!) I'm adding you to my google reader and can't wait to try out your recipes in the future.

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  68. I wholeheartedly agree that vegetarian food can be delicious! :D This recipe is wonderfully intricate- it sounds amazing!

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