Thursday, February 27, 2014

Baked Stuffed Mushrooms

I feel genuinely sorry for those sad, misguided people who claim to dislike - or even hate - mushrooms. because they are missing out on one of this life's most delicious things. On the other hand, their narrow-minded prejudice leaves more fungus for those among us with the wit and discernment to appreciate the 'shroom's unique and earthy charms. 

Today's treatment of the delightful Agaricus bisporus is based on a recipe posted on the PPK awhile back, which was in its turn inspired  by one from the infamous Pioneer Woman. (I won't link to the latter because A. her recipes are bursting with every type of carnage imaginable, and B. her whole cowgirl schtick annoys the living bejesus out of me.) Anyway, while planning snacks for what was conceived as a cozy family-and-a-few-close-friends New Year's Eve - in the event it became something of a bacchanal, but that's another story - I came across this recipe and a little bell went off in my head because what could be better suited to a finger-foodie occasion, right? 

Well, let me tell you these babies totally delivered the goods: vegans, omnivores, invited drunkards, and random droppers-in alike devoured them, and my only regret was that I hadn't made twice as many. These will definitely be making a reappearance at future gatherings, and I hope they will at yours, too. (For the record, I also made mini crustless quiches, pesto pinwheels, a baked spinach and artichoke dip I have yet to type up, and a bunch of less complicated stuff like crudités, dip, chips and salsa, etc. 'Twas good!)

Baked Stuffed Mushrooms
~ 1 tbsp. ground flaxseed
~ 3 tbsp. water
~ 1 8oz container Tofutti cream cheese
~ 3/4 cup nutritional yeast
~ 3 10 oz. packages large white mushrooms, cleaned and de-stemmed
~ 2 tbsp. olive oil
~ 1 medium onion, diced very fine
~ 4 cloves garlic, minced
~ 1 tsp. each: salt, sage, marjoram, thyme
~ ½ tsp. each: white pepper, dill, smoked paprika
~ 1/3 cup white wine
~ 1 package veggie meatballs, cooked and mashed (I like Nate's or TJ's)
~ 1 tbsp. each: hot sauce, vegan Worcestershire sauce
~ 1 tsp. each: Liquid Smoke, Marmite

~ Preheat the oven to 375 fahrenheit and coat a large, rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
~ In a mixing bowl, whisk together the ground flax seed and water and allow to thicken for 5 minutes. Stir in the cream cheese and nooch, mixing until smooth, and set aside.
~ In a large, deep skillet, sauté the onion over medium heat until soft and golden but not brown; about 7 minutes.
~ While the onion is cooking, finely chop the mushroom stems, add them to the onions, and continue cooking about 5 minutes more.
~ Add the garlic and dry seasonings and cook a few more minutes.
~ Pour in the wine to deglaze the pan and cook another minute or two, then add the mashed meatballs and stir to combine.
~ Add the hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, Liquid Smoke, and Marmite. Mix well, and continue cooking another 5 minutes. 
~ Mix in the cream cheese/nooch mixture, combine thoroughly, and set aside to cool to room temperature.
~ Carefully fill the mushroom tops with stuffing mix (you can pack them pretty full) and arrange them on the baking sheet; I had just about the right amount of stuffing for the number of mushrooms, but your mileage may vary.
~ Bake at 375 for 30 minutes (ovens differ wildly from one another, so check them periodically), until the tops are browned and the whole business smells delicious. 

~ Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes before transferring to a platter and serving to the rapturous applause of family and/or friends.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Vegetable Coconut Curry

I served this Thai-inspired vegetable curry alongside a simple yellow dal (recipe to follow; watch this space), but you could easily make it a one-dish meal by adding some tofu, tempeh, cooked chickpeas, etc. This dish is  quite saucy - PHWOAR! - which is A Very Good Thing, because the broth is so delicious you may just want to drink it straight. But resist the urge and serve on a pile of fluffy rice instead, which will ensure that you eat your veggies and have something to soak up any extra sauce.

Vegetable Coconut Curry
~ 2 14 oz. cans coconut milk (I used one "lite" and one full fat)
~ 4 tsp. "no chicken" bouillon
~ 2 bay leaves
~ 1-2 tbsp. hot sauce (or to taste)
~ 1 tbsp. coconut oil
~ 1 large, yellow onion, diced
~ 1 tbsp. each: minced garlic, grated ginger
~ 1 large carrot, sliced thinly on the diagonal
~ 1 large red bell pepper, diced
~ 1 medium zucchini, sliced thinly on the diagonal
~ 1/2 lb. mushrooms, sliced
~ 1 generous tsp. each: cumin, coriander, ground lemongrass, chili powder
~ 1/2 tsp. each: salt, cinnamon, white pepper, cardamom
~ 3 medium cooked potatoes, cut into 1/2" cubes (I used Yukon Gold)
~ 1 small head broccoli, cut into florets with stalks sliced thinly
~ Juice of 1 lime

~ In a beaker or pot, combine the coconut milk, bouillon, bay leaves, and hot sauce, and heat nearly to boiling. Cover and set aside to "steep."
~ In a large wok or very deep skillet, melt the coconut oil and sauté the onion over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
~ Add the garlic, ginger, and carrots; stir just until fragrant.
~ Add the bell pepper, zucchini, mushrooms, and dry seasonings. Stir well and continue cook for about 5 minutes, until the veggies are cooked but not completely softened.
~ Stir in the potatoes, mix well, and pour in the coconut milk mixture. Cover the pan, bring just to a boil,  then reduce to a simmer and cook 10 minutes more.
~ Add the broccoli, replace the cover, and cook for about 4-5 minutes, until the broccoli is bright green but still a bit crisp.
~ Stir in the lime juice and serve hot over jasmine or basmati rice.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Black (Magical) Bean Soup

Onions chopped and peppers diced,
Garlic minced and carrots sliced;
Broth of veggies, beans of black,
Every spice within the rack.
Simmer for a good long time,
add coconut, tomatoes, lime;
For a dinner so nutritious,
Brew this soup, 'cause it’s delicious.

Black (Magical) Bean Soup
~ 1 tbsp. coconut oil
~ 1 large onion, diced
~ 1 large stalk celery, chopped fine
~ 1 large carrot, diced
~ 1 large red bell pepper, diced
~ 2 tsp. each: cumin, chili powder
~ 1 tsp. each: salt, thyme, oregano, marjoram, basil, cilantro, smoked paprika, adobo seasoning
~ 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
~ 1/4 tsp. cayenne
~ 2 bay leaves
~ 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
~ 1 15 oz. can diced, fire-roasted tomatoes, including liquid
~ 3 15 oz. cans black beans, drained
~ 2 cups no chicken broth
~ 1 15 oz. can "lite" coconut milk
~ 1 tbsp. hot sauce (I like Frank's)
~ Juice of 1 lime

~ In a large, heavy bottomed pot, melt the coconut oil and sauté the onion, celery, and carrot over medium heat for about 5 minutes. 
~ Add the bell pepper and dried seasonings, stir well, and continue cooking another 10 minutes, until the vegetables are softened.
~ Add the garlic, cook for about a minute, then add the tomatoes and cook 5 minutes more.
~ Stir in the beans and the broth, cover the pot, and bring just to a boil. 
~ Reduce the heat to a simmer, crack the lid a bit, and continue cooking for about an hour, until the mixture is quite soft and beginning to thicken. Stir occasionally to make sure it doesn't stick.
~ Remove and discard the bay leaves, and add the coconut milk, hot sauce, and lime juice; cook about 5 minutes more.
~ With an immersion blender, partially purée the mixture; the soup shouldn't be completely smooth, but should still have some texture. If it seems too thick, you can add a bit of water or broth.
~ Taste for seasoning and serve hot, optimally with cornbread
Peace! The charm's wound up.