Victoria’s Vegetarian Victuals

This has been a winter to remember. We have been up here in central New York State for three winters now, and I remember that gorgeous October day when the leaves were still bright on the trees, the sky was a blinding blue, and there was just a whisper of snow on the ground to set it all off. Little did I know.

Well, that was October 1, 2000. It snowed until March, 2001. The following year was mild. We had some snow. Up here, one always has snow. But it was within reason. This year, this winter that we have just survived, our snow had snow. Doors froze shut. When we got them open, we couldn’t shut them, because they were now frozen open. We lost power, electricity, heat, phone, computer, TV … all of them … several times. At the beginning of the winter, we had two cars, our Ford van, which was promptly buried in a snow bank in October, and finally had its road test today. The van is beautiful, roomy and elegant, but has no 4-wheel-drive. We live on the top of a small mountain, and our driveway curves up the hill. So, we had a second car, a trim and powerful Dodge RamCharger. On February 25, the RamCharger caught fire on the highway. It backfired twice, and began to smoke. We pulled over, Mom shut it off, and opened the hood. (I don’t know how she did that, because Mom is little, and that hood is big and heavy. She says she was scared.) Well, so was I, when I saw the engine flaming away. She said, "Vicky, help me," and we both began to heave double handfuls of snow from the side of the road at the blaze. A man stopped to help, and his fire extinguisher was frozen. More snow. We put the fire out, and saved the RamCharger, but the insurance company declared it a total loss anyway. We sold what was left of it back to the man from whom we bought it, and he will try to put a new motor in it. It still looks like new, but its innards under the hood are rather charred. He seems to think that he can rescue it.

As soon as we can get the van in for inspection, which we hope will be by the end of this week, we can drive it again. Meantime, we are still hitching rides with friends, and we do hate to inconvenience them. All in all, we are more than ready for spring and a rebirth of good things.

Our friends on the other side of this mountain bought some baby chicks last fall, and it worked out so well (we gave them laying mash for Christmas) that they just bought a dozen more. Last fall’s babies are grown now, and laying, and our neighbors, NJ transplants like ourselves, have fresh eggs.

Now, I have to tell you, my mother loves eggs, and can’t eat the yolks. She’s allergic. Can’t have a flu shot, either. So, I buy her Scramblers, which she can eat. No rash. All you folks who have egg allergies, might want to investigate egg substitutes. They are lower in cholesterol, too. Here are some great recipes to enjoy them (or the real thing) in.

Baked Eggs with Cheese and Herbs

  • One 8-slice package of Old English or American cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup half- &-half (or milk if preferred)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 12 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons fresh (or frozen) chives
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • Slight dash tarragon
  • Sprinkling of paprika

Butter or spray with non-stick cooking spray a 9 x 13-inch glass baking dish and arrange cheese slices evenly on the bottom. Top each with a dot of butter. Mix half- &-half, salt, pepper, and mustard together and set aside. Beat eggs and chives together. Pour 1/2 of the cream mix over the cheese, then eggs/chives, and finally remaining cream mix. Arrange grated cheddar on top and sprinkle with paprika. (You can cover and refrigerate this overnight at this point if you want to.)

Cover and bake in a preheated 325-degree oven for about 20 minutes, then remove cover and bake for another 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven when "solid."

  • Yields: 8 servings
  • Preparation Time: About an hour

Cheese and Egg Puffs

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • One 15-ounce can tomato sauce
  • One 4-ounce can sliced mushrooms, drained
  • 3/4 cups flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Beat eggs in large mixer bowl until thick. Cook and stir green peppers and onion in butter in 2-quart saucepan over medium heat until tender. Add tomato sauce and mushrooms. Cook, stirring constantly until mixture thickens. Reduce heat and cover and simmer 15 minutes.

Heat lightly greased griddle over medium heat. Mix flour, baking powder and salt, beat into eggs gradually. Fold in cheese. Drop the batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto hot griddle. Cook until light and fluffy brown on each side. For each serving, top 2 or 3 egg puffs with 1/2-cup sauce.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: About half an hour

Skillet Eggs

  • 6 cups cubed, frozen, hash brown potato
  • 1 package (about 3 cups) shredded cheese (yellow or white)
  • 6 vegetarian bacon substitute strips (we use Morningstar Farms)
  • 1/2 cup grated, chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup green and /or red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 6 extra-large farm fresh eggs (room temperature)

In a large a large skillet, cook the vegetarian bacon substitute until crisp. Remove vegetarian bacon substitute and crumble, set aside. Reserve 2-1/2 tablespoons of the drippings. Add potatoes, pepper, and salt to the drippings. Cook until brown and tender, stirring about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the stove and make 6 wells in the potato mixture.

Break an egg into each well, cover and cook on low heat for about 9 to 12 minutes, until set. Top with cheddar cheese and vegetarian bacon substitute and serve hot.

  • Yields: 6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 45 minutes

French Baked Eggs

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 slices of vegetarian bacon substitute
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped plum tomato
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped green onion
  • 2 teaspoons of grated mixed cheeses
  • Sprinkle of nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Butter

Butter a small casserole for one. Place the vegetarian bacon substitute (we use Morningstar Farms) on the bottom, and the two eggs on top. Sprinkle the cheese over the eggs, and then the tomatoes, green onion and nutmeg. Bake in a hot 350-degree oven for about 5 minutes, or until the eggs are done to the person's likening.

Serve with homemade biscuits.

  • Yields: 2 servings
  • Preparation Time: About half an hour

Cheddar ‘n Eggs

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/3 cup Monterey jack cheese, grated
  • 1/3 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Beat eggs with whisk until light and fluffy. Whisk in cheddar cheese, Monterey jack cheese, and cottage cheese. Add seasonings. Pour into 4 small ramekins. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: About 20 minutes

Saffron Crème Eggs

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/8 teaspoon saffron
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 1/4 cup butter (sweet cream)
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4 cup pecans
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 12 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Heat cream and butter to make a base sauce and add cheese. Let thicken. Add seasonings, blend, then place eggs gently into sauce. Cook until desired doneness.

  • Yields: 6 to 12 servings
  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes