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Welcome to delicious Destinations, a GourmetStation blog. Through the charater of T.Alexander and occasional real-life guests, our aim is to share with you light-hearted fun ideas about food, gift giving, entertaining and culture. At the same time we would love you hear from you. Please share your experiences from home or abroad.

Vegetarian Friends….Vegetarian Chefs

Posted: October 18, 2006
by: Mark Stine

A business trip took me to Denver for a mini conference….afterward I had the good fortune to visit my brother’s vacation home in the mountains near Westcliffe, Colorado.  With my boss Colleen in tow…we headed off through the mountain passes from Denver and then hit several large valleys with incredible vistas, before arriving in Westcliffe.

The beauty of the Westcliffe Valley is accented by the 12-13,000 foot peaks that the Valley faces. While it was late August and the height of summer when we visited, we were treated to a dusting of snow on the highest peaks one morning, after a rainfall. When the clouds lifted that morning, the upper portion of the whole range of mountains, running north and south was frosted with a decent layer of snow. Vegetarianshot

My brother, traditionally a fisherman and grilling man, who prefers rare steaks, was going to be, I feared, challenged when I told him my boss was a vegetarian.  Not missing a beat though, when we arrived, dinner that first night was one of the best vegetarian meals that I had eaten.

Dinner was also accented by some great wines, primarily Shiraz and Merlot, Australian and Chilean in origin, with the Sangre de Cristo Mountains as a backdrop to the meal setting. Not bad….and not a bad way to spend a long weekend, hiking and visiting a wolf rescue facility in the area.

I highly recommend the Westcliffe area for a mountain get-away. There is a great bed and breakfast located in town and wonderful hiking and trout fishing, along with horse back riding throughout the area. White water rafting is another option as well for the more adventuresome types. Try a Google search for more information on activities and accommodations in the area.

If you can’t make it to Westcliffe, you can try this wonderful vegetarian styled Mexican lasagna to spice up your night wherever you might be eating.

No Meat-Vegetarian Style Mexican Lasagna

1 10 oz enchilada sauce

14.5 oz can cut, peeled and drained tomatoes

1 16 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained

9 large lasagna noodles

2 cups low fat cottage cheese

3 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine the enchilada sauce, tomatoes and tomato paste, and blend well, adding in the beans.

Layer 1/3 of the mixture onto the bottom of a 12 x 8 inch rectangular cooking pan/bowl,

and then cover with three of the lasagna noodles. Spread your cup of cottage cheese and sprinkle with one cup of cheddar cheese. Then spoon on half of the remaining tomato sauce mixture.

Add another layer of noodles and another cup of cheddar cheese sprinkled across the top. Then add the remaining three noodles, sauce and cheddar cheese. Cover with foil tightly and bake 45-60 minutes.

Let stand and set for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Mark Stine

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