By Esther Sung, Epicurious.com
October is Vegetarian Awareness Month and I've been thinking about going back to being a vegetarian.
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It's been a few years since I last kept a vegetarian diet, and even though I'll eat seafood and some meat on occasion when dining out, I still mainly stick to vegetables, fruits, grains, and dairy. I'll be the first to admit that my old vegetarian diet wasn't a particularly healthy one with lots of cereal and pasta, but over time, I've gotten much better about incorporating non-animal proteins (hello, quinoa!) and varying my fruits and vegetables. Belonging to a CSA and shopping at the farmers' market seems to make it easier.
For anyone considering vegetarianism, I'd recommend going slowly. Incorporate the dietary changes slowly over time to prevent any relapses, and before you know it, you won't really be missing meat all that much. (Although I'll be the first to admit that bacon was my downfall.)
If you're hesitant about eating vegetarian, I encourage you to check out some of our favorite vegetarian dishes. With delicious recipes such as sweet potato pancakes, sesame soba noodles, and croissant bread pudding, you won't be eating just rabbit food.
So who's a vegetarian? How has your vegetarian diet changed over the years?
Swiss Chard, Raisin, and Pine Nut Tart (pictured)
The flavors of this tart are remarkably balanced-it's a bit savory and a bit sweet. (In fact, in the south of France, where it's known as tourte aux blettes, you'll often see the pastry served for dessert.) Paired with a simple salad, it makes for a supremely satisfying light dinner.
active time: 40 min
total time: 4 1/4 hr
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1 cup water
- 2 pounds green Swiss chard, stems and center ribs discarded
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh orange zest
- 1/3 cup pine nuts (1 1/2 ounces), toasted
- Pastry dough for a double-crust pie
- 2 teaspoons confectioners sugar
- Special equipment: an 11- by 8- by 1-inch rectangular tart pan with a removable bottom
Bring raisins and water to a boil in a 1-quart heavy saucepan, then remove from heat and let stand, covered, 1 hour. Drain in a colander, then pat dry with paper towels. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F.
Blanch chard in a large pot of boiling salted water, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tender but still bright green, about 5 minutes. Transfer chard with a slotted spoon to a large bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking. Drain chard in a colander, then squeeze out excess water by handfuls. Coarsely chop chard.
Whisk together egg, cream, granulated sugar, zest, and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Stir in pine nuts, raisins, and chard until combined.
Roll out larger piece of dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 15- by 11-inch rectangle and fit into tart pan (do not trim edges). Chill shell while rolling out top.
Roll out smaller piece of dough on a lightly floured surface with lightly floured rolling pin into a 12- by 9-inch rectangle. Spread chard filling evenly into shell, then top with second rectangle of dough. Using a rolling pin, roll over edges of pan to seal tart and trim edges, discarding scraps. Cut 3 steam vents in top crust with a paring knife, then put tart in pan on a baking sheet. Bake until top is golden, about 1 hour. Transfer to a rack and cool 10 minutes, then remove side of pan. Cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Dust with confectioners sugar.
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