Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Carrot-Mushroom Loaf

I found this recipe in the Moosewood Cookbook (I have both the first edition and the revised 15th anniversary edition). This comes from the 15th anniversary edition.

If you're wondering why a cattle ranch household would be serving a vegetarian dish, there are several reasons. We like to mix it up, and this sounded good. Especially when you have just come home from a stock-up trip to Costco with 10 pounds of organic carrots that you just couldn't resist. So, there you have it.

It seems like Mollie's recipes are chronically underestimating the assembly time. Even having a precious assistant like Sawed Off (age 4) to help put carrots in the food processor, peel onions when my eyes were burning and chop mushrooms (I'm so proud!), it sort of seemed like this took forever to assemble. I used the food processor for the bread crumbs, carrots and cheese, as suggested. I also used it for the onions. I honestly can't say what took so long, or even how long it took. It just seemed like much longer than 30 minutes, Mollie. That's all I'm saying.

I took a couple liberties with the recipe. I added an extra egg because I felt like it needed another egg. Perhaps this was because after processing the last of our artisan bread, I had less than half the required bread crumbs, so I used oatmeal. Sawed Off, the little genius, suggested that I make "oatmeal crumbs" with the food processor, so I did. (*I use oatmeal instead of bread crumbs in my meat loaf too) I also used more butter with the onions and mushrooms. I felt like I had to.

I topped the loaf with a bit of cheese, some dill, a few sesame seeds. I made it early in the day, so I simply covered it with aluminum foil and put it in the refrigerator. This made it quick to pull out and toss in the oven before dinner, leaving time to make a salad, maybe have a glass of wine.

So, the recipe isn't very photogenic, plus we had a dinner guest and we were busy talking. No picture this time, but there will definitely be a next time! Everyone loved this dish! Stay tuned...

Carrot-Mushroom Loaf
30 minutes to assemble; 45 minutes to bake Yield: 6 to 8 servings

A food processor fitted with the grating attachment makes short work of this casserole. Use it first to make the bread crumbs, then to grate both the carrots and the cheese--without cleaning it in between.

You can use store-bought bread crumbs, but homemade ones will make this dish taste exceptional. To make superb bread crumbs, the trick is to use superb bread.

Note: Once baked, this casserole can be frozen. It reheats beautifully.

2 cups minced onion
1 tablespoon butter (I used at least 2 tablespoons)
1 pound mushrooms, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon dill
3 to 4 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds carrots, grated (about 6 cups)
2 cups superb bread crumbs (I used about half bread crumbs and half "oatmeal crumbs")
1 cup (packed) grated cheddar
2 eggs, beaten (I used 3 eggs)
black pepper, to taste

Optional toppings:
extra dill, cheese, bread crumbs; a sprinkling of sesame seeds; any, some or all

Lightly oil a 9x13-inch baking pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large skillet, sauté onions in butter over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, salt, herbs, and garlic, and continue to sauté for about 10 more minutes.

In a large bowl, combine carrots, bread crumbs, cheese, eggs, and pepper. Add the sautéed mixture and mix well. Spread into the prepared pan and sprinkle with your choice of toppings. Cover the pan with foil.

Bake for 30 minutes covered, then uncover and bake 15 minutes more. Serve hot or warm.


Kristen said...

This sounds like a great dish, though in my carnivorous family, I'd have to serve it as a side to a roast or some chops.

Min said...

Kristen, your family sounds just like mine! =) However, this dish was very filling, we just served it with brown rice and a salad. If anyone missed meat, they didn't say!

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