Thursday, November 25, 2010

Grilled Vegetable Terrine

Imagine a grocery bag brimming with fresh vegetables: squash, eggplant, mushrooms, red peppers, and spinach. Now picture it all being compacted into the size of a cheesecake. This terrine was my attempt to compete with the turkey. I have this same showdown every year. It's the centerpiece vegetarian dish I made for Thanksgiving, and I wanted it to be beautiful to look at without looking anything like a meat substitute.
It took 24 hours, 2 foil-wrapped bricks, and a little bit of babying, but I don't mind. In my view, that's what a Thanksgiving meal should entail: ritual and presentation. Each layer is seasoned, grilled, and bursting with smoky flavor; egg and goat cheese add richness in between it all.

This year, we did something new since we didn't host the event at our house. After all the prepping and schlepping, we had a relaxed meal with the Memphis + St. Louis crew. In addition to the vegetable terrine, we brought thyme-and-truffle mac-and-cheese (which the four boys under the age of five surprisingly loved), brussels sprout salad (everyone else's request this year), and three kinds of cranberry sauce (apple-triple-ginger was the winner).
We are so lucky and thankful for so many things. In addition, we have had a head-spinning surprise this week being named a Blog of Note and watching as more and more people discover our site, a labor of love since 2008. Welcome to those of you who have chosen to follow what we make; we hope to inspire you to get into your kitchen and cook as well as connect with the people you love over food that's great for you.

Grilled Vegetable Terrine

2 Not-Beef bouillon cubes
white wine vinegar
6-7 large portobello mushroom caps
4 medium zucchini
3 medium yellow squash
1 medium eggplant
6 red bell peppers (roasted & peeled)
20 ounces fresh spinach (blanched & squeezed dry)
4 ounces goat cheese
4 medium eggs
handful of fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic
olive oil
salt & pepper

Mix bouillon cubes with 1/3 cup of olive oil and 1/2 cup of white wine vinegar. Pour mixture over the gill-side of the mushrooms and set aside. Run the zucchini, eggplant, and squash over a mandolin. (Each slice should be about 1/8 inch thick, so adjust your mandolin accordingly.) Lightly sprinkle each slice with salt and pepper.
Now fire up your outdoor grill. This would be a great time to roast the red peppers first. Next, grill the sliced vegetables over a high flame for about 3 minutes per side. (You will need to do this in batches.) Set vegetables aside to cool. Finally, grill mushrooms gill-side-down for about 4 minutes, then turn them, weigh them down with a brick, and grill for another 4 minutes.

Into a food processor, add the spinach, goat cheese, eggs, garlic, parsley, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Blend mixture until smooth. Now you're ready to start assembling the terrine.

I formed my terrine in a spring-form pan, but you could use a loaf pan or even a casserole dish. I started with the zucchini just because it looked pretty; the first layer you put down will be the top of the terrine. Other than that, the order is unimportant. Between each layer of vegetables, spoon about 1/4 cup of the spinach mixture. Continue until you have used all of your vegetables.

Place the spring-form pan on a pizza pan or rimmed baking sheet, place a slightly smaller pan on top of the terrine, and stack two foil-wrapped bricks on top of that. Allow this crazy looking contraption to sit in the fridge overnight. The next day, remove everything from the top of the terrine, pour off and excess water that has been pushed out of the terrine during the compression, and bake it in a 350 degree oven for 2 hours. Allow it to cool completely before turning it onto a serving plate. Slice with a sharp knife. It's delicious with a little ricotta and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Whew! In the end, it really did seem worth the effort.


Komal said...

Wow!! Really jealous wish england celebrated thansgiving then I could eat so much delicious food!

priyanka said...

I am a strict vegetarian and love to experiment with food...however, people laugh at me when I tell them that vegetarian meal is equally tasty.Your blog will prove my words for sure. Keep posting blogs for people like us !

Christine Chaplin said...

Beautiful dish!!!

autena said...

Looks absolutely delicious -- a feast for the eyes as well.

Amanda Hoynes said...

Wow, looks amazing. Can I come to your house for dinner :-)

Simon said...
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Sheila Lightfoot said...

That looks so good. I think I might try it at Christmas. Love what you've done with the zucchini!

Rosaria Williams said...


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Mary Kay said...

The next time you are in St. Louis, try the Winslow Home on Delmar. They serve the best veggie Torta. Looks a lot like your terrine, but no work for you!

Stephanie Moeser said...

wow....very impressive!! beyond me unfortunately... I will just drool at the photos!

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Its wonderful

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MAC Cosmetics said...

Thank you share with us your experience, I like the post, because it has taught me a lot. Thank you to let me continuous learning everyday.

h said...
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Shmead no1 said...

Wow this looks amazing. I tried at being vegetarian for a while and it was going well. But then I got a really bad stomach bug and lost lots of weight, and decided meat was the way to get it back on. But these recipes are incredibly tempting.

stacey said...

Hi chubby vegetarian

Your terrine inspired a passover dish for me, so I linked to this page for any readers of my blog who might find my inspiration as inspiring as I do. Here is what you set in motion for me:

I dig your cool blog, your fun writing, and your beautiful photos. I'm a fan.

-the voluptuous vegetarian

goldfinch said...

I'm trying this out as a starter for our Christmas dinner - i have a vegetarian guest and some of us just like veggie food! I've made a smaller version as a practice. i haven't turned it out yet but it looks very brown on top (I realise this will be the bottom once it's turned out) - did yours look brown? Or did you cover it before baking? I'll post a pic if it turns out well! thankyou for the recipe- I'm sure it will taste delicious, just not sure how it will look!! I've made a red pepper coulis to serve with it. We're looking forward to trying it tomorrow.

The Chubby Vegetarian said...

We left this one out of the book because so many people thought it looked too difficult or time consuming. So please give it a try and tell us what you think. ...and yes, bake it uncovered.

syltetoy said...

We made this as a new years dish- because there's so much early prep but not a lot to do right before hand. We had a few issues, the first of which was deciding to grill on the last day of December in Montana. The horrifying temperature actually helped when we had to press it, but was not pleasant for the grilling!

We also ran into trouble with size. The spring-form pan we used was much too small and we ended up having about 1/3 that didn't fit. How big was the original pan?

Taste wise, it was very good. Surprisingly rich! The leftovers we made into a mini one that we didn't press. This one did not have nearly as good a taste. The flavors really mellowed and came together when it was pressed.

Looks wise, we did eggplant (it was sturdiest) but with some red pepper laid in as well. It was beautiful, but we did have some burning on the bottom. We might tin-foil it next time. The recipe seemed to indicate that you ended on a veg layer, which we did, is that right?

Some minor additions: We doubled the amount of goat cheese and tripled the amount of garlic for the middle. It still was a very mild (almost delicate) dish, we might add some grilled onions into the layers and some lemon juice or vinegar into the spinach mix to brighten it some.

The Chubby Vegetarian said...

It's a recipe that involved so many steps that we decided to leave it out of the book. I'm happy you summited that mountain! Our pan was a 10-inch springform pan. It recently met its demise when the hinge snapped.

Anonymous said...

could this be served cold, and not do the 2 hour cook?

The Chubby Vegetarian said...

The eggs have to cook, so the cooking time is crucial. You may let it cool and serve i cool.