Easy Gourmet Vegetarian Cooking With Guests over the July 4 Weekend

David Burke’s Yellow Gazpacho and Ratatouille

David Burke’s Yellow Gazpacho and Ratatouille

I always have a house full of guests on the 4th of July weekend, we all like to eat well, and my guests want to help cook without stumbling over each other. I found three recipes in Linda Long’s book, “Great Chefs Cook Vegan,” published by Gibbs Smith that fit the bill. They are not intimidating to a home cook and add a special twist, both in terms of flavor, color and presentation: Terrance Brennan’s Warm Provencal Vegetables with Olives and Basil Tempura, David Burke’s Yellow Gazpacho and Ratatouille, and Cat Cora’s Basque Vegetable Kabobs with Key Lime Sauce.

Terrance Brennan's Warm Provencal Vegetables with Olives and Basil Tempura

Terrance Brennan's Warm Provencal Vegetables with Olives and Basil Tempura

Cat Cora’s Basque Vegetable Kabobs with Key Lime Sauce

Cat Cora’s Basque Vegetable Kabobs with Key Lime Sauce

I met Linda Long, a food writer and photographer, a year ago through the New York Women’s Culinary Alliance, an organization of professional women in the food and wine industry. She kindly sent me a copy of her new book, A long-time vegan, accomplished photographer and enthusiastic foodie, Linda convinced 25 chefs in 13 cities to offer recipes for her book. I saw Linda again two weeks ago at the Sarah Moulton event, when she photographed my rendition of Sarah’s “Rice, Radish and Snap Pea Salad with Seared Beef” and renewed my friendship with Linda.

The separate preparations within these recipes can easily be divided among a group of cooks. For the first recipe, one person could make the Provencal vegetables, another the basic tempura, and a third could make the Niçoise olive tapenade. For the second recipe, one person could make the gazpacho, another could make the ratatouille. For the third recipe, one person could make the Basque vegetable kabobs and another could make the key lime sauce.

Wine enthusiasts seldom write about pairing wines with vegetables because they often clash. A more successful approach is to pair wines with the accompanying sauces and spices and the manner in which the dish is cooked. Grilling, seasoning with lemon, tomato sauce and oil, or accompanying a dish with a salty tapenade, make the vegetarian dishes excellent matches with light and medium-bodied wines. (Read on for recipes and pairings…)

Warm Provençal Vegetables with Olives and Basil Tempura

Serves 6

Why I like this with Bouké Perlant:
The basil tempura is such a surprise in this dish! I recommend it with a light sparkling wine, because it contrasts with the texture of the tempura, complements the taste of the salty tapenade, accompanies the light-bodied weight of vegetables, is elegant enough to serve with a multi-textured dish, and is casual enough to serve with grilled food. The Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir in the Bouké Perlant blend have enough weight to marry the complex, interwoven tastes of this dish.

To make the Provençal Vegetables: Combine the oil, garlic, and thyme in a large bowl. Add the vegetables and toss thoroughly until evenly coated. Marinate for 30 minutes and then season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Preheat an outdoor grill or grill pan over medium heat. Grill the vegetables until they are lightly charred and tender, about 3 minutes per side; set aside.

To make the Basil Tempura: Preheat a deep fryer to 325 degrees F. In a small mixing bowl, sift the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and sea salt. With a fork, gently stir in the soda water. With a 2-inch pastry brush, brush the basil leaves on both sides with a generous layer of the batter. Deep-fry until crisp, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain; set aside.

To make the Niçoise Olive Tapenade: In a food processor, blend the ingredients until coarse, about 1 minute; set aside.

How to Plate: Arrange the Provençal Vegetables artfully between size plates. Drizzle the Niçoise Olive Tapenade evenly over the vegetables and place 5 pieces of Basil Tempura on top of each plate. Serve immediately.

PROVENÇAL VEGETABLES
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
½ pound zucchini, cut diagonally into ¼-inch thick pieces
½ pound yellow squash, cut diagonally into ¼-inch thick pieces
½ pound Japanese or regular eggplant, cut diagonally into ¼-inch thick pieces
1 red pepper, roasted and then sliced into ¼-inch pieces
½ pound baby fennel, cleaned, or 1 medium bulb, cleaned and cut into 8 lengthwise pieces
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper

BASIL TEMPURA
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2-teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ cup soda water
30 basic leaves, washed and patted dry

NIÇOISE OLIVE TAPENADE
1-cup Niçoise olives
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/8-teaspoon sherry vinegar
1-tablespoon capers
1/8 teaspoon minced garlic
1/3-cup extra virgin olive oil

Recipe by Terrance Brennan, published by Gibbs Smith in Linda Long’s Great Chefs Cook Vegan. http://amzn.to/95BmG5

Yellow Gazpacho and Ratatouille

Serves 6 to 8

Why I like this with Bouké Rosé:
I love the contrasting textures of the puréed vegetables in the soup and the diced and sautéed vegetables in the ratatouille. The cumin, coriander celery seeds, and sherry vinegar of the gazpacho are well balanced by the acidity and fruit of a rosé wine. The bit of oil and tomato sauce in the ratatouille add richness to a vegetarian meal, just enough to marry a rosé, but not a red wine. Bouké Rosé, made with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, can stand up to the flavors and varied textures of these dishes.

To make the Gazpacho: Toast the cumin, coriander, and celery seeds in a nonstick skillet until aromatic. Cool, and then grind in a spice grinder until fine. Combine all of the ingredients except Tabasco, salt, and pepper in a bowl and marinate overnight. Purée in a food processor and strain out pulp. Season with Tabasco, salt, and pepper; refrigerate.

To make the Ratatouille: Heat oil in a 10-inch sauté pan. In small batches, sauté vegetables until slightly brown and crispy. Remove and place into a mixing bowl. Season with garlic, salt, and pepper to taste. Bind with tomato sauce and basil.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the corn tortilla into ¼-inch strips. Place on a baking sheet and top with another. Crisp for about 10 minutes; cool.

How to Plate: Fill a large wine glass about one-third to one-half full (depending on the size of the glass) with Gazpacho and float a teaspoon of Ratatouille in the center with the scallion julienne.

Place a 1 ½ x 3-inch ring mold in the center of a side plate. Plate. Carefully fill mold with Ratatouille and pack to remove any excess liquid. Let set momentarily, then carefully slide a turner underneath and transport to a dinner plate; remove mold. Add two corn tortilla strips as a garnish. Serve immediately.

GAZPACHO
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon celery seeds
6 ripe yellow beefsteak tomatoes, roughly chopped
3 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and roughly chopped
3 yellow peppers, cored, seeded and roughly chopped
2 red onions, roughly chopped
1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cups sherry vinegar
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Tabasco, salt and pepper to taste

RATATOUILLE
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
1 yellow bell pepper, finely diced
1 eggplant, finely diced
1 yellow squash, finely diced
1 zucchini, finely diced
1 red onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
2/3 cup prepared tomato sauce
¼ cup finely chopped fresh basil
1 or 2 corn tortillas

GARNISH
1 scallion, julienned

Recipe by David Burke, published by Gibbs Smith in Linda Long’s Great Chefs Cook Vegan. http://amzn.to/95BmG5

Basque Veggie Kabobs with Key Lime Sauce

Serves 6 to 8

Why I like this with Bouké White Wine:
I’ve grilled summer vegetables many times, but never with a chile powder rub. Nor have I accompanied them with key lime sauce in this recipe. Yum! This zesty twist on a classic calls for a cool, refreshing, light-bodied wine. I love the citrus and tropical fruit notes of Bouké White Wine with this dish.

Combine salt, pepper, orange rind, and chile powder, and rub onto cut vegetables; set aside. Preheat a grill pan and soak some 10-inch wooden skewers in water.

To make the Key Lime Sauce: While vegetables are absorbing the rub, make the sauce by combining the garlic, bay leaves, peppers and sea salt in a mortar and mash with a pestle until a smooth paste is formed. (If you do not have a mortar and pestle, put the ingredients in a blender with a teaspoon or so of vinegar.) Transfer paste to a mixing bowl and add the parsley, oregano, and basil Juice the limes into the bowl. Whisk in the vinegar and oil until well combined; set aside.

Skewer the vegetables, layering by type and varying color, and grill on all sides until tender.

How to plate: Arrange the kabobs on a large plate and drizzle with Key Lime Sauce. Use any remaining sauce as a dip.

1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1 tablespoon dried orange rind
½ tablespoon chili powder
3 bell peppers, all colors, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 red onion, cut into 8 pieces
2 Portobello mushrooms, cut into quarters
2 zucchini, cut into 2-inch rounds
Olive oil

KEY LIME SAUCE
6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
3 dried bay leaves
1 fresh poblano pepper, coarsely chopped with the seeds left in
1 fresh serrano chile, coarsely chopped with the seeds left in
½ tablespoon sea salt
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parley
¼ cup finely chopped fresh oregano
¼ cut finely chopped fresh basil
3 key limes
¼ cup sherry vinegar
1/3-cup olive oil

Recipe by Cat Cora, published by Gibbs Smith in Linda Long’s Great Chefs Cook Vegan. http://amzn.to/95BmGble Kabobs with Key Lime Sauce

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