On Monday my friend Miss Bliss and I toddled over to Milford for a bit of shopping (somebody got her Xmas present early), and then stopped at Edge of the Woods Natural Marketplace ** on the west side of New Haven for more shopping and lunch. EOTW is that rarest of creatures, an independent, family-owned, urban grocery store that started life as a co-op in 1977. (We'll sidestep the politics of that for the moment, shall we?)
When I've mentioned EOTW to friends and acquaintances in our edge of the woods this week, none of them had heard of it, or they vaguely thought it a restaurant of some sort. I suppose I can understand why, as it's not in the trendy downtown area near Yale and the New Haven Green, the British Museum or either of the train stations. You have travel west on Whalley Avenue towards West Haven and Edgeville, in an area with a working-class and ethnic feel that is decidedly not "chic" in any way. It's a bit funky inside in the best sense of the word; think the original Wild Oats before it lost it lost it's charm. Their cafeteria/ready-to-eat area includes hotbar, salad bar, bakery and deli and made-to-order sandwich counter, all tucked off to the side of the store so as not to interfere with the shopping aisles. Beyond the cash register is a cozy little eating area that resembles a greenhouse. All of their offerings fall somewhere on the veganarian scale, including the made-to-order wraps. Everything is economically and sensibly priced, even for budget-conscious folks like Miss Bliss and myself. The old-fashioned bakery case is overstuffed with whole grain breads, a variety of muffins, cookies and cupcakes, all baked on premises. (I just stopped myself from buying a tiramisu cupcake or a fudge brownie, and instead chose a large double-chocolate cookie and an apple cinnamon muffin. Both items were labeled as vegan, gluten-free, and soy-free; Miss Bliss is on a strict diet at the moment and I didn't want her to feel deprived of something sweet.)
What a lunch it was! While my friend enjoyed a heap of roasted and well-seasoned mixed veggies (eggplant, mushrooms, squash and the like) with salad on the side, I was less disciplined. Root veggie pancakes, crisply browned on the outside and tender within, were dolloped with mixed-fruit sauce of stewed dried fruits such as apricots and blueberries - not your grandmama's latkes and applesauce. Then I helped myself to a portion of leek and butternut lasagna, blanketed with sweet, melting cheese. Baby spinach and red bell pepper slices added a contrast of color, texture and temperature; lastly some tender green peas because they were fresh, tender and, frankly, cute. That well-loaded plate of food, it should be pointed out, cost me $7 and change and was well worth every bite; my friend's more modest portion was about $3-something.
I was intrigued by the brussels sprout pate with walnuts and miso, available and priced by the pound in the deli case, but didn't buy any; I noticed that a few other people did, however.
My friend glanced skeptically at my loaded platter; I assured her that it was meant for two meals, with some to be saved for the drive back home to New London. I wish I could tell you that is exactly what I did do. But, I shouldn't like to compound falsehood atop of gluttony.
After I saw the brussels sprouts pate I was determined to find a recipe (my new-found love of sprouts is well-recorded here), but I kept coming up with versions that included horseradish, not a walnut or a spoonful of miso in sight. The nearest approximation is a roasted chestnut and sprout pate recipe posted just days ago on the Rocket and Roses (love the name) Vegan Kitchen blog from the UK. I'd replace the chestnuts with toasted walnuts from Fiddleheads, which have distinct flavor of their own I've come to appreciate in the last few years. (If the walnuts you buy taste bitter, it means they've gone rancid.) FYI: the "rapeseed oil" referred to in the recipe is what we call "canola oil" on this side of the pond.
As to the butternut and leek lasagna, there are so many variations on the internet that it's nearly absurd, with no way to tell which is "closest" to the EOTW version, other than knowing that what I ate did contain cheese and eggs. This vegan version from the blog Dinosaur Egg seems fairly simple to make and reasonably similar to what I had, sans the eggs but adding pine nuts. If pine nuts are unavailable or beyond your budget, once again walnuts make a very respectable substitute. There is also this version with shiitake mushrooms that sounds delicious if a bit more complicated and is neither vegan nor heart-healthy. (Why throw half-and-half in the blender with the butternut puree except for it's tongue-coating and artery-clogging properties? Broth and herbs would bring out the squash's natural flavor rather than masking it.)
I have no way of knowing who first created or published a recipe for butternut leek lasagna, when I see a recipe repeated so many times online with the some of the exact same wording, I suspect a chef, cook, blogger or cookbook author not getting proper credit.
**Full disclosure: I'm not employed by EOTW, not connected to the owners or employees by way of kinship or acquaintance, and am NOT receiving any gratituty or compensation for writing this. Not even a free brownie. Alas. Someday, gentle reader, I shall find a way to make a living from all of this, but until then....
/recipe-archive.htmlPrintable pdf files of the recipes on this blog can be found on our Recipe Archive Page.
Text and photos copyright 2011-2013 Janice Janostak unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.