Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Veggie Cheesecake = Yummmmm

Janet here: When I stopped eating red meat over 30 (!) years ago, the Moosewood Restaurant Cookbook was my bible. Mollie Katzen's hand-scrawled recipes with quirky drawings was my go-to spot for figuring out how to serve a meal to my new live-in boyfriend (now husband) after we left working at a private school and actually had to fend for ourselves. What does one put on a plate that does not have meat as its centerpiece? I couldn't just serve salad — my mainstay at the boarding school. We needed to eat a "meal."

Moosewood came to the rescue big time. I went through just about every recipe in the iconic lilac covered book (except those with major mushrooms because I can't stand mushrooms) and bought the second — and third and fourth books — as soon as they came out. I had only one failure in all those recipes — zucchini pancakes that just turned into glop in the frying pan.

Moosewood took a back seat when we had children because, well, I didn't have children who liked vegetables that much. So we added chicken and fish into our meal plan. It was just easier than fighting.

But now that they're gone, we're back to eating more all-veggie meals. I pulled Moosewood a couple of weeks ago. It was like reconnecting with an old friend: instant ease and lots of good memories. I made a variation on Moosewood's vegetable cheesecake and it was just as good as the first time I pulled it off.

Do you have a go-to cookbook? What makes it so special?
We'd love to hear. I'm always looking for another cookbook. :)

Vegetable Cheesecake
serves at least 8

1 cup each grated carrots or zucchini or whatever you like. I did carrots and some leftover cauliflower. If you do zucchini, be sure to put in a sieve with a little salt to get rid of excess moisture. Don't do more than 2 cups of veggies altogether.
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup minced onion
2-3 gloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons flour
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon basil and oregano
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1 cup grated mozzarella
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 large eggs
1 1/2 medium tomatoes slices
bread crumbs

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Melt the butter in a sauce pan and saute the onions, garlic with the flour. Add the veggies with spices and cook for a few minutes until just tender.

In a large bowl stir together the eggs and cheeses. Add the sauteed veggies and pour the entire bowl into a spring-form pan that has been dusted with bread crumbs.

Cook for 30 minutes at 375. Then add the tomatoes, which you have dredged in bread crumbs, to the top. Lower heat to 350 and bake for another 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and open the oven door. Let sit there for 10 minutes. Then take out and let rest for another 10 minutes before slicing and serving.


  1. ma-
    sounds and looks delicious. perhaps a meal for next week once we return to our regularly scheduled grocery shopping...
    my go-to cookbook is "the best recipe". already crusted with dried cooking goop, i imagine it will be my comrade in the kitchen forever.

  2. i love the fannie farmer book, and it's easy to make vegetarian substitutions for most recipes.. it's just classic american cooking, pretty simple stuff (which is why i like it)

  3. Claire I've seen that cookbook but don't actually have it. I'll check it out. Simple is definitely appealing!