Posts filed under ‘vegetarian’

White Pizza with Mushrooms and Spinach

Sunday night is pizza night at our house.  I try to do something different each time I make one.  This time, I thought I’d try a white pizza.  Traditionally, white pizzas are just dough, herbs and olive oil – no sauce.  They are similar to foccacia and very tasty.  I was in the mood for something a little richer, though, and came up with a recipe that I’m sure you’ll enjoy.  It’s got a roasted garlic and rich and creamy white sauce as a base layer, followed by sautéed spinach and mushrooms, then topped off with a sprinkling of mozzarella di bufala and some feta.  The flavors meld together seamlessly and the pizza just looks amazing right out of the oven.  This one will definitely make it into the pizza rotation around here!

White Pizza with Mushrooms and Spinach

1 portion pizza dough
1 cup skim milk
3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper to taste
½ lb mushrooms, sliced
1 head garlic
2 Tbs. olive oil
3 cups fresh spinach, washed and stemmed
1 Tbs. fresh basil, chopped
¼ cup crumbled feta
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese (I prefer mozzarella di bufala)

To Make:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  
Peel outer skin from head of garlic, keeping cloves intact.  Slice off tips and set aside.  Drizzle 1 Tbs. olive oil over exposed cloves, wrap in foil and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until soft. Remove garlic from foil and set aside to cool (can be made ahead of time and kept refrigerated in an airtight container).  Meanwhile, press pizza dough into pan.  Drizzle lightly with olive oil and pre-bake for 7 minutes or until crust just begins to brown.  Squeeze roasted garlic from cloves and mash with a fork.  Spread over crust to form a thin layer.  In a saucepan, over medium-heat, whisk together milk and flour until thickened.  Season with salt and pepper.  Spread white sauce over pizza crust.  Coat a separate pan with remaining olive oil and heat on medium-high.  Sautée peeled garlic tips and mushrooms until tender.  Add spinach and continue cooking until spinach wilts.  Add vegetables to pizza.  Top with basil, mozzarella and feta and return to oven.  Bake an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and golden brown.

1 12 in. round pizza (8 slices)




April 9, 2008 at 11:21 pm Leave a comment

Watermelon Gazpacho

(Originally published by, by me, on May 16, 2007)
The weather here in Belgium has been absolutely fabulous and it has inspired me to dig into some of the refreshing seasonal fruits that are now available. This watermelon “gazpacho” is the perfect starter for a dinner party, an easy take a long for a picnic event or a tempting treat on the appetizer table. The ingredients can be varied to your tastes and imagination, but here is my favorite version:

Watermelon “Gazpacho”


5 cups seedless watermelon, diced and divided (approx. one 3lb. watermelon)

1 small cucumber, 1/4 in. dice (approx. 1 cup)

1/2 yellow pepper, de-seeded, 1/4 in. dice (approx. 1/2 cup)

1/2 red pepper, de-seeded, 1/4 in. dice (approx. 1/2 cup)

1 peach, 1/4 in. dice (approx. 1 cup)

1 small jalapeno pepper, de-seeded, minced

1/2 small red onion, 1/4 in. dice (approx. 1/2 cup)

1/4 cup mint, finely chopped

1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced

3 T. lime juice

2 T. red wine vinegar

1/4 tsp. salt
Olive oil and sea salt for serving

To Make:
Put 4 cups of diced watermelon into a blender and puree. Pour into large bowl. Add remaining 1 cup diced watermelon and the rest of the ingredients. Stir. Cover and refrigerate for 1-4 hours. (The longer it sits the better the flavors will blend). To serve, pour into shot glasses and drizzle with olive oil and a little bit of sea salt.

Approx. 20 shot glass servings

January 7, 2008 at 3:35 am Leave a comment


(Originally published by, by me, on May 29, 2007)
The following recipe is inspired by the delicious flavors we sampled on a recent trip to the Greek Isles. In Greek: Tyropitakia (pronounced tee-ro-pee-TAHK-yah) loosely translates to cheese-filled triangles. These are little golden packets of goodness which are very easy to make using store-bought phyllo dough and they look scrumptious on the table. The filling can be made a day in advance to help save time before your party. Be sure to buy extra phyllo dough as the sheets may stick together.

Tyropitakia (cheese-filled triangles)
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

4 ounces crumbled feta cheese

1 scallion, finely minced (white and light green parts only)

1 Tbs. finely minced fresh parsley

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. freshly grated lemon rind

1 egg

1/2 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

8 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted

8 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed

To Make:
Mix Cheeses together in a large bowl. Stir in scallion, parsley, oregano and lemon rind. Beat egg in small bowl and add to mixture with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Melt butter in small saucepan. Lightly brush a large rimmed baking sheet with about 1 tablespoon of the melted butter. 
Place 1 phyllo sheet with short end closest to you (keep remaining phyllo covered with plastic wrap and damp kitchen towel to avoid drying out). Brush phyllo sheet lightly with melted butter, then cut lengthwise into 3 equal strips each about 4 inches wide.
Place 1 tablespoon of cheese mixture at bottom end of strip. Fold a corner of dough over filling and repeat folding (like a flag) until entire strip is folded. Brush with melted butter as you go.
Place triangles on baking sheet and brush tops with more melted butter.
Repeat until you have 24 triangles. Bake until golden brown and crisp, about 20 minutes.

24 triangles

January 4, 2008 at 3:26 am Leave a comment

White Bean and Cherry Tomato Tartelettes

Faced with the daunting task of throwing a party for an equal mix of vegetarians and carnivores, I went in search of quick and easy appetizers that would appeal to all of my friends. I saw a photo of these tartelettes in one of my Marie Claire cookbooks a while ago and thought they would fit the bill. In Belgium, it is easy to find ready-made tart crusts at the grocery store. In retrospect, though, I would probably make them myself. The ones that I bought were a bit dry and probably a little large for this recipe. I don’t think anyone else minded, they disappeared quick enough!

White Bean & Cherry Tomato Tartelettes (Tartelettes aux haricots blancs et tomates cerises)
Adapted from “Marie Claire Recettes: buffets et cocktails, Michele Cranston”

1 can white beans
2 garlic cloves (peeled)
30 cherry tomatoes
1.5 Tbs. fresh lemon thyme
1/2 cup olive oil
30 pre-cooked mini tart shells
2.5 tsp. salt

To Make:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drain beans and place in dutch oven or medium pot with the garlic cloves. Cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. While the beans cook, place the tomatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tsp. thyme, 1/4 cup olive oil, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cook for 30 minutes. Set aside to cool. Add 2 tsp. salt to bean mixture during the last 5 minutes of cooking. When the beans are tender, remove from heat and drain. Puree the beans (with the garlic) in a food processor or blender with the remaining olive oil and thyme. Salt and pepper to taste. Fill each tart shell with 1 tsp. bean puree and 1 grilled cherry tomato. Serve immediately.

30 tartelettes

January 2, 2008 at 5:32 am Leave a comment


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