Vegetarians vehemently shape quality ingredients into patties and cook them. It’s the mission of, “Look at this great, nutritious, cohesive combination that I’ve made!” I say this with the utmost respect -- I was that earnest vegetarian for a good 15 years. Now, as more of a mindful omnivore, I view a recipe such as the “Carrot Barley Galettes,” from Chocolate & Zucchini, with culinary curiosity. How will these patties hold together, I wonder. Why use a rolled grain? The inclusion of nutritional yeast always interests me, as it will add a cheesy, rich flavor. My ultimate concern, of course, is how will these galettes taste?

I took a few liberties with ingredient substitutions, here. After all the hype about using carrots, I went ahead and grated a golden beet instead. No one would mind such a swap. And instead of using rolled barley, I used easy-to-find rolled oats. The rolled oat has been flattened and toasted, enabling it to absorb more liquid and to cook quicker. Also, I used chia seeds rather than flax seeds. I figured the “binding” purpose could be achieved by any such seed -- and this is exactly how a creative vegetarian would think. I combined and soaked my ingredients for two-and-a-half hours.

Be ready for your patties to soak up a lot of olive oil in the frying pan. They tasted great: shallot, cumin, and crispy edges. I made sure to treat my galettes to a dab of Sriracha hot chili sauce and some cilantro sprigs.

Next, I made 20 of the “Broccoli Eggrolls,” from The Perfect Pantry, as if frying the aforementioned galettes wasn’t enough of an indulgence. These were right on: crispy and addictive. Buy some eggroll wraps, and get silly with your filling and folding.

Instead of using diced chicken, I cooked some ground turkey. Of course, any meat -- or even tofu -- would be fine. You know I defrosted some frozen broccoli, rather than using fresh. I included a handful of crispy mung-bean sprouts in my mix.

If you find a bottled plum sauce that you like, that would be fine. I went ahead and made my own. It’s a simple mix of plum jam, vinegar, brown sugar, dried onion, red pepper, garlic, and ground ginger. This makes a tart and bright sauce that is perfect to dip your eggrolls into. Beware of these eggrolls: you may enjoy them too much!

 

Not yet ready to calm down, I also made the “Blueberry Buckle,” from Smith Bites. I’m too eager to enjoy the berries that are beginning to appear at my Food Coop. This is definitely my kind of cake.

My version did not “buckle,” but it was a wonderfully moist coffee cake, topped with sugary crumbs. I do love using a springform pan. I baked my cake for 60 minutes.

PRICES
Gold Beet (1) = .87¢
Rolled Oats (7 oz.) = .31¢
Shallots (2) = .62¢
Mushrooms (1/4 lb.) = .88¢
Lemon (1) = .19¢
Blueberries (1 pint) = $3.74

RECIPES: all successful exercises: the galette formula yields patties with integrity, crispy eggrolls are fantastic dipped in plum sauce, and a blueberry buckle is like a comforted sigh
PREP TIMES:
galettes can soak for hours, but are formed and fried in 30 minutes; unless you’re an old pro, take care when you roll and fill your eggrolls (the frying is quick); dedicate 90 minutes to cake creation and baking
TASTES: the winning galette combo includes a sweet vegetable, a grain cooked until crunchy, shallot, and cumin; crispy eggrolls give what you put in -- meat, veg, sauces -- and are made exquisite with a dip in plum sauce; butter + sugar + blueberries = building blocks of happiness

Feeling ambitious, I will next cook the “Negroni Chicken with Braised Blood Oranges,” from the January 2011 issue of Bön Appetit. I’m only too interested in this ode to one of my favorite cocktails, as well as the inclusion of currently attractive blood oranges. See my meal when you come back to my site on Monday, April 18.