Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Culinary Day

A grocery list made by my darling girl when she was wee. I  recently found it hiding in the cookbook.

I have been a vegetarian for about forty-five years.  These days, it is a pretty normal to eschew meat, as do so many of my friends.  When Dennis and I decided to stop eating meat those many years ago, however, we didn’t know a single other vegetarian.  It just was not done!  When friends invited us to dinner, we inevitably got macaroni and cheese.  Our restaurant life was limited to Chinese, Mexican, or grilled cheese sandwiches.  And vegetarian cookbooks?  Well, there were a few.  One of the few was by a woman named Elsa Michaels. It is so not-hot now, that you can buy it for 1¢ on Amazon.  I was thrilled at the time to find it. Dennis and I marveled at the weirdness of the recipes, and a bit at the authoress too.  We decided that, given the peculiarity of the food, she must be English.  Vegetarianism seems to have been popular in England far longer than here.  Vide, GBS.  We also found her  somewhat fantastic hair and lack of makeup fascinating.  We thought that this indicated some strictly no-makeup religion.  Or maybe she was a country western singer.  But then, there would have been lots of makeup. 

As I said, the recipes were odd, and many would qualify as hippie food these days, but Elsa was definitely not a hippie (see photo.)  While almost universally mundane, and often unattractive, the recipes were invariably delicious.  Just not the sort of thing one serves to impress.

I was trying to think of something to fix for my Aunt Dakki, whose approved list of suitable ingredients is very short. It excludes almost all vegetable matter except cauliflower and onions. I consulted Rebecca and she suggested a cauliflower and nut dish that she had particularly liked when she was little.  I was pretty sure it was from the above mentioned cookbook, but when I looked for “cauliflower” in the index – nothing. Same for the other main ingredients - “nuts” and “cheese.”  I flipped through the whole book and finally found “protein loaf.”  I prepared it for Dakki, and it was a great success.  As I had the ingredients left and it had been so good, I made it again for Ana. 

You can try it too.  It’s really tasty.  Here is the recipe:

Cauliflower Protein Loaf

1 cup cauliflower, chopped quite small (easily done in the food processor)
1 cup cashews, chopped ditto,
1 tbs butter or marge
1 cup grated cheddar cheese,
1 large onion, chopped
2 eggs
teaspoon Marmite
½ cup chopped parsley
salt, pepper

Saut√© the onions and cauliflower until softened.  Mix in the other ingredients.  Bake in a greased loaf pan for about 30 minutes

Elsa serves it with a chive white sauce, but I thought a nice tomato sauce sounded better.  


Pru said...

The rest of the protein loaf looks good, but you had me at Marmite. My sister and I were fed it religiously, and our mother swore that it was due to Marmite that we remained cold-free until we were at least 3. Marmite on toast is still my ultimate comfort food.

Pru said...

And I almost forgot to say that Becca's shopping list is adorable, no wonder you kept it.

Marta said...

Love the shopping list. Talented Becca!

Interesting recipe. I may try it.
I thought marmite was a cooking pot for individual servings. I am confused. I'll check online.

Marta said...

I looked up marmite...Brewers yeast was one of my mother's favorites. As kids we were not as enthusiastic. Perhaps the mixture is delicious.

Laura said...

Marmite- that was a new one for me. Thanks to previous commenters, I've been educated. I'm glad you showed the picture which looks very good because the name 'protein loaf' doesn't stir the appetite. Becca's shopping list is adorable. She showed great interest in food even then and now she is your food consultant!

Pru said...

Marta, you are correct, "une marmite" is a French cooking pot, and indeed the English spread Marmite comes in a jar shaped like une marmite. It is an acquired taste (very similar to the Australian Vegemite), best acquired in an English nursery!