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The Essential Vegetarian

By Katie Jeffreys

Features Editor

When a vegetarian hears about a diner or other greasy-sounding restaurant, she is often wary. They tend to offer very few, frequently bland options for the vegetarian patron. One of these locations which may be easy to overlook is Deli Haus on Commonwealth Avenue in Kenmore Square. The walls are as brightly decorated as the patrons, and the music is loud and certainly not what you would hear on pop radio stations. The sassy but friendly (and overwhelmingly pierced and tattooed) waitresses only add to the ambiance.

This is not the place which sets out to impress, but the food is good, and the menu is surprisingly vegetarian friendly. On the night I visited, there were several vegetarian specials including chili, a vegetarian shepherd’s pie made with the chili, and a western variety of their veggie burger. I chose the last of these (primarily because I was there late in the day and they had run out of the chili).

The burger was good, topped with fried onion rings and cheese, and served with barbecue sauce. I was also surprised to see on the menu sweet potato french fries. I only discovered sweet potatoes this fall, and this huge portion of fries proved to be a treat. They are heartier than the regular fries, though not nearly the gourmet treat I had experienced at more expensive restaurants.

The menu also contains such favorites as the Velvet Elvis, a peanut butter and banana sandwich which meat-eaters and vegetarians alike enjoy.

I will say again that Deli Haus is not a gourmet restaurant, but it has no pretense of being so. It very successfully does what it sets out to do: offer inexpensive tasty food until late at night.

Some of you may have noticed that this column did not run last week. There were two reasons for this, both because I was busy with the start of term and because I had nothing to say. To keep this column going, I need help from my readers: pose questions, offer topics for discussion, etc. I feel like I don’t have much more to say without beginning to repeat myself, so let me know which topics to explore more in depth.

Also, if you are interested in finding vegetarian recipes previously run in this column, you can find them all online by searching <> for “Essential Vegetarian.”

Finally, to The Dan, my esteemed nemesis: Thanks for the award. I’m sure you too would earn something along the lines of “Most Annoying Omnivore” if I held a contest.

This week’s recipe is for Asparagus Quiche. I am a big fan of “spear grass,” as my family calls it. Use a premade pastry (not graham cracker) crust to save some time.

Asparagus Quiche

Pie crust (your favorite recipe)

18-20 spears fresh asparagus

1 1/2 cups freshly grated swiss cheese

1 cup half and half

4 eggs (or substitute)

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Line bottom of quiche pan (or pie plate) with pie crust. Chill. Wash asparagus, and trim to lengths to fit into quiche pan as spokes on a wheel, tips pointed toward outside edge. Bring pot of water to boil, put asparagus in boiling water and cook until water returns to boil. Plunge asparagus immediately into ice water to stop cooking process. Dry on towels. In a small bowl, whisk the half & half with eggs, salt, and pepper.

To assemble quiche: spread swiss cheese evenly over pie crust. Lay asparagus spears, as spokes on a wheel evenly in quiche pan. Pour egg mixture over all. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over top. Bake at 375° for 45 minutes or until center is set. Let rest about 15 minutes before serving.

Serve with a nice tossed salad and herbed focaccia bread for a great supper.