How about a Chinese hot pot? With only vegetables and sans meat.
I feel that I derailed this thread. As I understand it now, emglow is asking for small (stunning, sparkling, delicious) vegetable plates.
A starter cup of veg soup: boil until tender any veg with half an onion, garlic clove and peeled potato. Puree in the pot with immersion blender, thinned with vegetable broth or cream, if allowed. Drizzle of creme fraiche if allowed.
A clump of arugula with blanched green peas, and quartered strawberries. Barely lemoned olive or walnut oil.
A platter of blistered padrons (or mini red and yellow peppers, Maldon salt. And or whole green beans.
A smear of polenta topped with a quick “stew” of baby limas and asparagus, herbs of your choice.
Chinese onion pancakes.
And, or, and or…
Yes, interactive can work well. Our family version for involving everyone is usually sushi making. Plenty of wine, banter and unhelpful advice! Easy to stick to the OP’s veggie brief.
Don’t worry. He hasn’t gone totally over to the Dark Side.
p.s. He’s in the boating business too. 2nd officer on some 74m canoe. They get fed like kings!
Most of our regular vegetarian dishes are autumn/winter ones.
But lentil burgers are about to appear at Casa Harters for the first time this year.
Fry onion, garlic, carrot & celery to soften and lightly brown. Add cooked green lentils, parsley, cumin and ground coriander and saute for a few minutes more. Put everything in a food processor along with an egg and some breadcrumbs. Blitz for a little while then form into patties and fry on both sides for a while (taking care how you flip them).
Serve them as per your favourite burger style. We like them just with fries, a tomato salad and mayo spiked with curry powder.
How about Spanish-style?
Blistered capsicum or any sweet peppers
Salmorejo (without jamón)
And some of these…
Spinach and chickpea stew (a very common Moorish tapas dish in Andalucia)
Replace bits of jamón with mushrooms
I made this the other day. (Photo taken in Alicante)
Make ***!! sure you have good olive oil and lots of nice olives and most importantly good wine!
I like the ‘tapas’ idea, because (as with the ‘thali’ concept and the ‘meze’ one) it provides a sort of narrative as to what’s going on. Not that I think every meal needs a theme – much less an elevator pitch – but the ‘lots of small dishes’ thing is less self-explanatory than ‘we’re having a two/three-course meal’, so could be handy. Not that you need to be in any way strictly ‘regional’ much less ‘authentic’ about any of them, of course.
My wife and I will sometimes share three appetizers for dinner rather than deal with oversized portions and taking leftovers home. In our neck of the woods ‘tapas’ are expensive, but appetizers are just appetizers.
That’s my elevator pitch. grin
Makes me think about how you could adapt the small plates idea to a variety of cuisines, depending on the vegetables you have and the dishes you like to prepare.
For example, now I’m dreaming of a summertime dinner inspired by the foods of the southern US. Say buttermilk biscuits, tomato salad, corn on the cob, smoky greens (using smoked paprika), pimiento cheese, and some sort of quick pickled veg.
A person really could go on and on with these ideas. Happily.
A Greek restaurant I used to visit had a vegetarian combo meal.
Spanakopita, tiropita and gigantes (elephant beans with tomato and dill).
Baked feta with tomatoes and garlic or cheese saganaki are other popular veggie mains.
Also meatless stuffed grapeleaves or stuffed zucchini flowers, eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes .
Vegetarian moussaka. Lentils.
We do that often, and generally it’s because the apps on a menu look and sound much more creative and appealing than the mains!
I like the tapas idea .
Same, but I can’t take credit - it wasn’t my idea
Totally, the Spanish don’t hold the IP on small plates. Italian cicchetti, Portuguese petiscos, a buffet of French hors d’oeuvres – and we didn’t even (as it were) leave the EU yet!
Or the connection could be a " five ways", or something on those lines.
Of course, as I say a meal doesn’t need a plot summary, so equally you could just mix and match.
When we used to eat out, I felt like restaurants didn’t appreciate we were only ordering 4 appetizers and 2 desserts without any main courses. Do you ever get that vibe?
Not something I do – big carb-loading mains here, plz – but my take is this is perfectly reasonable and indeed pretty common thing to do. Especially in the “only if it’s worth the calories!” community, I’m given to understand. Even if it were just one of each per person, indeed, if it’s more than that I’d imagine that the restaurant is coming out ahead, on a per-setting basis. You might be getting a degree of “confused server” energy if this isn’t something they’re familiar with. No harm to ask them when you’re making the booking if it seems unclear if that’s their “idiom”.
Short of hogging a table for hours “nursing” a small portion of food, any rational-actor food business should price each item to viably make money on them in any combination. Or else make clear at some point ‘this is a dinner service, and dinner means a main+optional extras’, rather having clear unstated expectations.
Sometimes, especially because we’re not big drinkers. If at all, we might get a couple glasses or a couple cocktails. Never a bottle. But generally, I try not to think too hard about it. We are spending our hard earned money, even if someone else might have sat in our chairs and spent more.
No. But then it’s not something we’d ever do except in “small plates” places, like Middle Eastern restaurants where we’d usually order several starters and a single main course, with everything to share as a mezze. Otherwise, it’s just not in our culture to order as you indicate.
Depends. The restaurants won’t like when everybody at the table order different courses (or without), like some are ordering 3-course meal and the others are ordering small plates menu. First it makes serving difficult. Also, depends the size of the restaurant, it may mean more work and some unsold main course.