Roasted Acorn Squash Stuffed with Curried Lentils, Rice and Goat Cheese

December 18, 2012 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes

This week is “clean the pantry” time at the Veggin’ household. So, everything in this meal was with stuff I had already on hand. You can play with the spices a bit, I had a wonderful punjabi chana masala spice blend, so I used that. If you don’t have that exact blend of spices, no worries, use garam masala or stick with combination of cumin, coriander, curry and a little cayenne pepper.

Acorn squash is so incredibly easy to make, especially if you’re stuffing it. I paired preparation of the acorn squash with using the rice cooker, so I barely had to do anything to get this meal put together.

So, not only did I not have to do any shopping for this meal, I barely had to do any cooking. Score!


Grilled Zucchini with Goat Cheese and Fresh Herbs

August 03, 2012 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes, Side Dishes

You ever have those moments where you’re smacking yourself for not thinking of something sooner? Well, I had that in the creation of this recipe.

You see, I was the recipient of a GIANT zucchini from a friend’s garden. (Apparently, she has these monster plants, that spit out monster zucchinis that hide under the leaves until they practically grow legs, walk up her stairs and knock on her door to ask to be let in.)

So, I’m staring at the mutant she gave me…as it stared back at me from the counter. I wanted to grill it, but wanted to do something different. I had goat cheese, I had some fresh herbs and I had olive oil. But, one thing stood in my way, it was 847 degrees outside and I really didn’t want to have to stand there flipping things on a hot grill.

Then, I heard a little tiny voice coming from the zucchini that said, “Hey, you. Slice me vertically, but not all the way through. Stuff the goat cheese and herbs in the slices, drizzle on olive oil, salt and pepper, then wrap me in tin foil.”

Whaaaaat? Seriously? Why didn’t I think of that sooner?

I began to joyously prep the zucchini, happy at my task. When, suddenly, the potatoes in the cupboard started singing: “Grill us, maybe?” And, the knives came out so they could become some packet potatoes (mainly so I could get that song out of my head). I chopped up those lyrical potatoes, drizzled with olive oil, threw in some chopped garlic, salt, pepper, parsley, oregano and basil.

I then plopped the humungoid zucchini on the grill next to the packet potatoes. I only came back a few times just to roll around the zucchini and flip the potato  packets to ensure everything was evenly cooked. Ta-da. No hot grill babysitting required.

Once off the grill, the zucchini was roasted to perfection and the goat cheese melted into a gooey loveliness of fresh herby goodness. It could either be served with each person receiving a whole slice, or cutting the slices into pieces. I chose to cut it into pieces.

I could sit back and enjoy this delectable grilled behemoth with a glass of wine – happy the vegetable voices inside my head subsided. (But, hey, with the idea that giant zucchini had, they can talk to me whenever they’d like.)

Grilled Zucchini with Goat Cheese and Fresh Herbs
by Megabeth

Zucchinis (the fatter the better, the more the merrier)
Goat cheese
Olive oil
Fresh herbs – oregano, basil, parsley, etc., chopped
Salt and pepper

Starting close to the top of the zucchini, slice lengthwise towards the other end, but do not cut all the way through. Place zucchini on aluminum foil.

Squish – yes, that’s a technical cooking term – as much goat cheese and the herbs as you like into the gaps.

Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper. Drizzle olive oil over the zucchini.

Wrap zucchini up and place on hot grill for 15 – 20 minutes (depending on size of zucchini). Rotate periodically so as not to scorch on one side. Carefully remove foil and enjoy!





Basil Sun-dried Tomato Goat Cheese Spread

November 21, 2011 By: Megabeth Category: Snacks/Appetizers

Layers of goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and basil. Oh yeah, there’s nothing wrong with that – especially when you’ve got to feed a lot of people. Or, perhaps distract folks while you head back into the kitchen to work on the rest of the meal.

I embellished this recipe only a tiny bit by adding some red leaf basil along with the fresh oregano.  This went very over well at a company potluck with some folks remaining non-believers that I actually made it.

Oh, I also had to improvise a bit because I didn’t have a 8 x 4-inch loaf pan. Fortunately, I just happened to buy a package of flatbread crackers that came in a little plastic container that was perfect as a mold. You could probably also get a little more “Martha Stewart” on the presentation than I did but you get the idea.

Basil Sun-dried Tomato Goat Cheese Spread


  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 8 ounces goat cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 teaspoons chopped fresh or 1 1/4 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto
  • 1/2 cup dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
  • Garnishes: dried tomato slivers, fresh oregano sprigs
  • French bread slices or crackers

Process first 5 ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

Spread one-third of cheese mixture in bottom of a plastic wrap-lined 8- x 4-inch loaf pan. Top with pesto; spread one-third cheese mixture over pesto.

Sprinkle with dried tomatoes; top with remaining cheese mixture. Cover and chill 8 hours.

Invert spread onto a serving plate, discarding plastic wrap.

Garnish, if desired. Serve with French bread slices or crackers.

Vegetarian Giro d’Italia: Goat Cheese, Grilled Japanese Eggplant and Zucchini With Balsamic Red Wine Reduction

May 23, 2010 By: Megabeth Category: Other, Snacks/Appetizers, Vegetarian Giro d'Italia

This is an original recipe by a fellow cycling fan and friend from Podium Cafe – Fred Marx (aka Chris). When I decided to tackle the Giro, I immediately thought of approaching him for a guest post as he always provides great suggestions, insights and ideas on anything food related. When I asked him to help, he jumped at the chance and brought Veggin’ this mouth-watering dish.

(By the way, Mr. Fred Marx is not only a talent in the kitchen, but also behind the lens. Check out these great photos and this chance to win one of them!)

And, without further ado, I hand over the steering wheel of Veggin’ and let Fred Marx take a spin with his contribution to the Vegetarian Giro d’Italia: Goat Cheese, Grilled Japanese Eggplant and Zucchini with Balsamic Red Wine Reduction.

He’s definitely allowed into my kitchen whenever he’d like…

Goat Cheese, Grilled Japanese Eggplant and Zucchini With Balsamic Red Wine Reduction
recipe by Fred Marx (aka Chris) from Podium Cafe


  • One medium Baguette, sliced on a bias, brushed with extra virgin olive oil and baked until golden brown at the edges
    • lightly salt and pepper as desired
    • oven as hot as you are comfortable with and can watch
    • too slow and they are stale or soggy too fast and they burn.
  • One small 4-5 oz goat cheese.


  • Two Japanese Eggplant
  • One small zucchini about 4”
  • ½ of  a smallish red onion
  • 6 sun-dried tomatoes
  • Capers
  • Roasted Garlic
  • Fresh Basil

The zucchini and the eggplant are sliced thinly.  1 or so hours ahead of preparation, lightly dust the sliced eggplant with Kosher salt.   Allow to drain though a strainer, then pat dry.  This will leach away some of the water content, tenderize and also remove some of the bitterness associated with the eggplant.

Heat a pan with ridges similar to a panini pan or your grill, lightly brush the sliced veggies with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  About 60/40 oil to vinegar.  Avoid soaking the veggies because they will flare and spatter.  Salt and peeper as desired.  Cook until lightly browned, but still firm.

Slice the onion and caramelize it over medium heat until golden brown.  Red onion caramelizes much better than white or yellow.

After cooking, julienne the sliced veggies, 4 of the sundried tomatoes and fine dice the onion.  If possible do this while they are still warm.  Mix together with a generous tablespoon of the capers (more if you like em, less if you’re not sure), set mix aside where it will stay warm.  Alternatively, cool the partially cooked veggies and then make the mix.  If cooled it will need to be reheated so the initial cooking time needs to be shortened.  The goal is firm grilled veggies, flavorful but not soggy.

Roll the basil leaves lengthwise and slice finely. Set aside.

Finely slice a couple of sundried tomatoes. Set aside.

Hang on to the remaining capers.


  • 1-1.5 cups veggie stock – unsalted
  • 1/2 cup red wine, something hearty, flavorful, but inexpensive Burgundy or Italian Red
  • ¼ cup quality Balsamic vinegar
  • 4-5 tbls Unsalted Butter

This is going to end up as your basic Buerre Rouge more or less.

A reduction finished with whole butter.

Put stock, wine, and vinegar in a non-reacting pan and bring to a rolling boil, reduce heat slightly and allow to cook until volume is reduced thick liquid.  This is the critical part.  This reduction will hold at a moderate temperature until needed.  Key here is not allowing it to get cold. When everything else is ready, you’re going to add the butter (whole room temp is fine, but not melted) in approximately 1 tbls slices and allow to mix into the reduction.  This is an emulsion much like oil and vinegar.  Too hot it will separate, too cold and it will not go together.  Once you get these nailed anything is possible.  The more common Buerre Blanc (Butter Sauce) is made with white wine, a mild white vinegar, shallots and other savory herbs.


Place 3-4 pieces of toast on a plate.  Gently smear with a goat cheese.  Place a proportionate serving of the warm veggies on the cheese.  Finish the sauce if it isn’t and drizzle it over the servings, and around the plate.  Garnish with sliced sundried tomato, capers, and the basil and serve.  This made approximately 12 pieces.

It looks prep intensive, but it assembled in about 45 minutes.  These can be done as cold apps without the reduction, but it’s more fun the other way.  Alternately, the veggies can be left whole but the end result is less delicate, and the flavors tend to be come harder to balance.

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