Portobello Reuben Sandwich

IMG_5457.jpg

That little leaning tower of portobello sandwich is about to fall over! And it almost did but after I put my iPhone down, I caught it and devoured it.

Ok, so I love a Reuben. In fact, it has beens said that I make the best Reuben in town…but that was when I only thought tempeh was the main ingredient. But, who says a reuben has to be tempeh?  After seeing a few portobello recipe variations in a few of the new cookbooks I’ve been reading lately, I got hungry and decided to make this!

It’s not really even a recipe – it’s a marinated portobello, smothered in sauerkraut, topped with homemade Russian dressing in between two pieces of toasty bread.

Lunch is ready!

Makes 1 sandwich

1 portobello mushroom
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic
The juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tablespoon tamari
1 small clove of garlic, pressed
2 pieces of bread
Sauerkraut
Russian dressing (homemade is best: mayo + ketchup + relish)

Take the stem off the portobello. Use a spoon to clean out the “gills”. Whisk the marinade together. Pour the marinade over the portobello and be sure to coat the whole thing. Marinate for 30 minutes (up to 24 hours!)

Bake the mushroom at 350 for about 20 minutes.

Use tongs to lift the mushroom out of the baking dish. Save whatever is left of the marinade for extra dipping – if you are a dipper like me.

Let it rest for a moment. Meanwhile, toast the bread and make the Russian dressing.

Build your sandwich. I sort of cheat here and cut the portobello in half and the two pieces of toast in half and build them one half at at time.

Place the bottom toasts on a plate. Lay the portobello halves on each one. Top with sauerkraut. Slather the top toasts with Russian dressing and close the sandwich.

Enjoy!

Stuffed Artichokes

IMG_3893.jpg

I am a little shocked that I made this all by myself! I love artichokes but I have never made one at home. I first discovered artichokes when I went to college in California and used to eat them out. But there are not many vegan options out in restaurants and I have been craving them. So, when I saw organic artichokes at the health food store, I decided it was time. It was not nearly as complicated as I thought it would be! If I can make this, so can you!

2 artichokes
2 lemons
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 cup nutty parmesan
Small bunch of fresh chives, 6 or 8, thinly sliced

Cut the stem off the bottom of the artichokes and pull off any dark or unhealthy looking leaves at the bottom. Then, using a serrated knife, cut the top 1/4 to 1/3 of the artichoke off. Use kitchen scissors to cut the little spiky points off of each leaf. Gently pull the artichoke open a little between the leaves and rinse under cold water.

Fill a big pot up with boiling water and cut one of the lemons in half. Drop the lemon halves and artichokes into the water and bring to a boil. Put the lid on the pot but not all the way and cook the artichokes for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a knife is easily inserted.

While the artichokes are cooking, mix the breadcrumbs, nutty parm, and chives with the fresh lemon juice until it kind of clumps together.

When the artichokes are done, lift them out of the water with tongs and let them sit until cool enough to touch. Use a big soup spoon and scoop out the inedible part of the choke – it will be spiky and hairy. Clean out the center until you see the beautiful choke.

Gently pull the leaves apart and stuff in as much of the mixture as you can. Drop the rest into the center. There may be some stuffing leftover. Eat and enjoy!

Baked Cheesy Pasta Casserole with Wild Mushrooms

IMG_4150.jpg

Who doesn’t love macaroni and cheese? This version is absolutely decadent. I use my favorite vegan cheese – Kite Hill –  and add wild mushrooms to make this extra decadent. I bake the macaroni and cheese in individual oven safe bowls but you can easily  make this in a small baking dish if you prefer. This recipe makes 2 nice size servings.

1 cup of mixed mushrooms (I use shiitake and cremini)
1 clove of garlic
1 cup uncooked macaroni
1 cup homemade cashew milk *
1/4 cup Kite Hill ricotta
1/4 cup Kite Hill cream cheese
1 cup breadcrumbs + 1 teaspoon olive oil

*To make cashew milk, blitz 3/4 cup filtered water and 1/4 raw cashews in the Vitamix. If you don’t have a Vitamix, soak or boil the cashews.

Start the macaronis cooking in a big pot of salted water. Cook until al dente!

Sauté the mushrooms until just soft. Press the garlic and add to the mushrooms. Toss around. Add a spoonful of pasta water to deglaze the pan.

Preheat the oven to 375.

Drain the macaronis. Add back to the pot and combine with the cashew cream, ricotta and cream cheese. Stir in the mushrooms. It might be a touch loose but that is okay because the cashew milk with thicken up in the oven.

Portion into individual baking dishes. Top with breadcrumbs and drizzle of olive oil over the top. Bake until the top is golden, about 15 minutes. Enjoy!

Quick & Easy “Inauthentic” Vegan Ramen Noodles

IMG_4326.jpg

A while back I spied beautiful fresh artisanal ramen noodles at Whole Foods by a company called Sun Noodles. And of course, I had make some ramen but since I have (a) never had ramen and (b) never made ramen, this probably totally inauthentic. It’s super delicious though!

I use one of my go to tofu/tempeh marinades – miso, maple syrup, tamari, and a dash of umeboshi vinegar – to pan fry the tofu and then as the basis of the soupy sauce. Now, my inauthentic ramen is in the regular rotation. It makes a great lunch/dinner/snack!

IMG_4328.jpg

Makes 2 small bowls (or 1 big one), enough for 1 really hungry person or 2 sort of hungry people

Sauce
1 tablespoon chickpea miso
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon tamari
1 teaspoon umeboshi vinegar

Whisk the sauce together and set aside.

1/2 package ramen noodles (i.e., one ramen noodle cake)
6 pearl onions
6 mushrooms
1 scallion
1/4 small carrot
4 small squares of tofu (pressed for as long as you ave time for)

Get the water boiling for the ramen noodles. Set a nonstick skillet on medium.

Thinly slice the scallions and use a vegetable peeler to make a few slices of carrots, enough for 2 small bowls.

Drop the tofu in the sauce and coat each side. Place into the skillet. Let the tofu cook for a minute on the first side and then flip over. When the second side is brown, take them out of the skillet and set aside.

Cut the pearl onions in half and slice the mushrooms thinly. Add them to the pan and pour the rest of the sauce over the onions and mushrooms. Toss around and coat with the sauce.

When the water is boiling, drop the noodles in and let them cook for a minute until al dente. Scoop out 1 cup of the liquid and add to the onions and mushrooms and thin out the sauce. Use more water if necessary, but the sauce should be thick-ish.

Use a spider strainer to lift the noodles out of the water and drop half into each bowl.

Use a big slotted spoon to place onions and mushrooms on top of the noodles. Then use a ladle to equally distribute the sauce over the top of each bowl.

Decorate with 2 pieces of tofu each, a handful of scallions and carrots. Enjoy!

Book Report: But My Family Would Never Eat Vegan + Bonus Recipe

9781615193424-831x1024

Another vegan cookbook! Kristy Turner of Keepin’ It Kind has done it again. She as written a follow up to her first book, But I Could Never Go Vegan. That book addressed many of the common excuses people have when resisting going vegan like “Vegan cooking is too hard” or “I could never give up cheese!”

Now,  in her second book, she addresses the issues that arise when cooking vegan for friends and family members. The new book, But My Family Would Never Eat Vegan, has 125 easy and stress free recipes that will satisfy everyone – from teens to those who say they just love their bacon. (Grrrrrr…)

Anyway, the book is organized around 20 familiar objections like, “My brother thinks there is no such thin as a ‘meatless’ sandwich” and “it’s just not the holidays without Aunt Betty’s pumpkin pie!” There are fun recipes for breakfasts, sandwiches, holidays and of course desserts. Most of the ingredients are totally recognizable so there not a lot of unusual or “overly vegan” ingredients that might turn people off. Kristy does use tofu, tempeh and jackfruit – staples of the vegan kitchen – and veganizes familiar meals like maple peanut butter pancakes, oatmeal, and vanilla french toast. She has recipes for chickpea and dumplin’ soup, shiitake stroganoff, no tuna casserole, fillet o’ chickpea sandwiches. There are scones, muffins, cookies, hash browns, fondue, gravy, even a marbled pumpkin cheesecake and deviled potato salad. I am excited to make the beer marinated portobello tacos (recipe excerpted below), the roasted carrot wild mushroom ragu and my favorite idea, cauliflower parmesan!

I feel simpatico with Kristy – so many of her recipes are dishes that I already make and have posted my own versions of. And, it seems to me that Kristy is influenced by Isa Moskowitz, my vegan hero, as well as recent vegan culinary trends, so this book is really on point. I really like this book, and I think it is great for someone who doesn’t have a lot of vegan cookbooks or is looking for some good dishes to go with the excuses people make!

And But My Family Would Never Eat Vegan is going to be our vegan cookbook for our January cook along. Hop on over to Instagram, follow me @lisasprojectvegan, and see what recipes we are making. We will be using #BMFWNEV and #vegancookalong and posting on Sundays (and sometimes other days.) You can join in too – start with the recipe below. It will be the first one I make!

Beer-Marinated Portobello Tacos with Avocado Corn Salsa.BMFWNEV copy.jpg

Beer-Marinated Portobello Tacos with Avocado Corn SalsaMakes 8 tacos // Prep Time: 25 Minutes // Active Time: 35 Minutes // Inactive Time: 15 Minutes

Guess what? Marinating food in beer isn’t just for meat anymore! Woohoo! What that means for us is that we can drench meaty chunks of portobello mushrooms in beer and other spices, pan-fry them, and throw them in tacos, smothered in avocado-corn salsa. Sound too good to be true? It’s not. Get over your astonishment, pop open a bottle of beer, and after you’re done drinking it, pop open another bottle and start cooking!

1½ cups (360 ml) vegan pale or blonde ale (Ground Breaker Brewing IPA No. 5 and Brunehaut Bio Blonde are both vegan and gluten-free)
Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon garlic powder
4 portobello mushrooms, stemmed, gills scraped, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) slices
Sunflower oil, for cooking
6 to 8 corn tortillas (or small flour tortillas)

Avocado-Corn Salsa
2 avocados, pitted, peeled, and diced
1 cup (140 g) corn kernels (fresh or thawed frozen)
1 cup (50 g) chopped fresh cilantro
½ cup (135 g) chopped red onion
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon chopped jalapeño
Salt to taste, optional

Combine the beer, lime juice, cumin, and garlic powder in a shallow baking dish. Add the portobello strips and toss to fully coat. Marinate for 30 minutes, moving the strips around every 10 minutes.

While the portobello strips are marinating, make the salsa: Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, cover, and chill until ready to use.

Heat a large frying pan, preferably cast iron, over medium heat. Add a couple of teaspoons of oil and tilt the pan around to evenly coat the bottom. Add about half of the portobello strips and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, turning every few minutes, until tender and slightly charred, and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Transfer the strips to a plate or bowl and cover with aluminum foil. Add another couple of teaspoons of oil to the pan and repeat with the remaining strips.

Heat a griddle or frying pan over medium heat (or just clean the pan you cooked the portobello strips in and reuse it). Cook the tortillas for 30 to 60 seconds on each side, placing them on a plate and covering with aluminum foil when they’re done.

To serve, place a few portobello strips in a tortilla and top with the avocado-corn salsa. Leftovers will keep in the fridge in separate airtight containers for up to 4 days.

Recipe from But My Family Would Never Eat Vegan!: 125 Recipes to Win Everyone Over © Kristy Turner, 2016. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold. theexperimentpublishing.com

Penne in Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Sauce with Sautéed Lemony Sun Dried Tomatoes & Artichoke Hearts

IMG_4657.jpg

When it comes to sun dried tomatoes I like to add a lot of other stuff to make them more dynamic and interesting. In this recipe, I used them two ways – in the cream sauce and sautéed on top of the pasta.

This two part recipe is really versatile. Use just the cream sauce over pasta. Use just the sautéed sun dried tomatoes and artichoke hearts over pasta, rice or as a little side dish all by themselves. You might have sauce left over to experiment with – it could be used over tofu or tempeh. If you don’t use it within a few days, freeze it.

Note: I use organic sun dried tomatoes packed in oil.

Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Sauce, makes about 1 cup
1/2 cup cashews
1 cup filtered water
6 sun dried tomatoes
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1/2 tablespoon miso paste
1 clove of garlic
Pinch of salt

Drop all of the ingredients into the Vitamix and blend until creamy and smooth. Add more water, if necessary.

Sautéed Lemony Sun Dried Tomatoes & Artichoke Hearts, makes 2 bowls
8 sun dried tomatoes
1 can artichoke hearts, halves or quarters, drained
The juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup breadcrumbs, homemade or store bought
Pasta, enough for 2 people, about 1/2 a box of penne

Get the pasta going.

Drain and thinly slice the sun dried tomatoes. Add to a skillet and heat through on medium heat.

Drain the artichoke hearts. If you got halves, quarter them. Add to the skillet. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and toss around.

Add the lemon juice and continue to cook until the breadcrumbs get nice and charred.

Drain the pasta, reserving some cooking water. Add the sauce to the pasta and toss to coat. If too thick, add some pasta water.

Turn out into two bowls. Divide the sun dried tomato/artichoke heart mixture between the two bowls. Enjoy!

Leek & Mushroom Chickpea Omelette

IMG_3868.jpg

I make crepes every morning for my son – chickpea flour, arrowroot powder and plant milk. So easy. My son likes them plain. My husband likes them with maple syrup. I like them doctored up with mushrooms and leeks.

If you really want to be fancy about it, you can fold it over and make it look like an official omelette.

Crepe/Omelette Batter
1/2 cup chickpea flour
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
1 cup homemade creamy cashew milk (see recipe below) *
6 cremini mushrooms
1 leek, white and light green parts
Vegan butter, as much as needed
Cherry tomatoes, for garnish
Fresh parsley, for garnish

Whisk together the chickpea flour and arrowroot powder in a bowl. Slowly pour the cashew milk in and continuously whisk until a smooth batter forms.

Clean and thinly slice and then the leeks. Add to a skillet with a bit of butter and a pinch of salt and turn the heat to medium.

Wipe the mushrooms with a paper towel and then slice thinly. When the leeks begin to soften, add the mushrooms. When the mushrooms are nicely done, set aside.

Heat up a crepe pan (or nonstick skillet) and brush with vegan butter. Pour about 1/3 cup of batter onto the surface of the skillet. Lift it up and swirl it around so it spreads out to the edges of the skillet. Cook the first side until you see the chickpea batter becoming dry-ish. Flip it over.

Sprinkle some of the leek/mushroom mixture into the middle of the crepe and distribute toward the ends. Press the leeks and mushrooms into the crepe with the back of a spatula. Gently flip the whole thing over and press down again. Flip the crepe back over being careful not to lose the leeks and mushrooms.

Serve open faced or folded and garnished with fresh herbs and tomatoes or whatever else you like. Enjoy!

Creamy Cashew Milk
1 cup raw cashews
2 1/2 cups filtered water

Place the cashews in the Vitamix and let it rip for at least a minute until super creamy. Pour into a glass jar and store until ready to use.

Cauliflower Leek Soup

IMG_2257.jpg

This is my famously creamy and very delicious cauliflower leek soup. I make it without oil, but feel free to sauté in oil if you prefer. Also, I like using water in this recipe as opposed to vegetable stock because I think it keeps the flavors simple and crisp.

Remember, cooking is an art not a science. Cauliflower heads differ in size. And so do leeks for that matter. Don’t worry about being exact, it will be delicious no matter what!

1 medium head of cauliflower
1 smallish onion
1 regular size leek
1 big clove of garlic
1 cup cashew milk, homemade is best
2 cups filtered water
Salt, a pinch
Croutons and chives, for garnish

Prep the vegetables. Coarsely chop the onion, clean and chop the leek and chop up the cauliflower.

Add the onions to a soup pot. Dry sauté until the onions start softening. Add a few tablespoons of water and then add the leeks. When they start to soften add the cauliflower, cashew milk, and water. Season with salt.

Bring to a boil and then reduce to a high simmer and cook until the cauliflower is soft.

Take the soup off the heat and carefully pour it into the blender or Vitamix. Be sure to be super careful because it will be hot! I like to put a dishtowel over the top and hold it while I start the Vitamix on low. Turn it up and blend until smooth. Don’t go too long, you don’t want baby food. (I have done that. It’s not good!)

Serve immediately or save until later. Refrigerate or freeze and reheat when ready. Garnish with croutons and chives. Enjoy!

Instant Ice Cream #4: Chocolate

IMG_3606.jpg

Frozen bananas + cacao powder = instant ice cream! Soft serve at its best!

This is a great base. I like it plain but you can add superfood powders like lacuma, maca or mesquite. Or other flavors like peanut butter, strawberries, or blueberries. Pretty much anything goes with chocolate!

2 frozen bananas
2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
Water or plant milk, if needed

Place all of the ingredients into the food processor or Vitamix. Let it rip until smooth. Add a bit of water or plant milk, a few tablespoons at a time, until you achieve the consistency you and your family like. Enjoy!

How to Make Coconut Butter

IMG_4741.jpg

I needed coconut butter for a recipe for the Essential Vegan Desserts course I am taking. It is an online baking course through Rouxbe.com with the queen of chocolate Fran Costigan! I usually like to make everything myself and coconut butter is no exception. It is stupidly easy and a lot less expensive than buying it.

Just use organic shredded coconut. With nothing added.

IMG_4739.jpg

I like to use my processor for this just like for nut butters. It takes 7 to 10 minutes to get to an oil texture. It will solidify in the refrigerator, so if it doesn’t get soft enough at room temperature, for when you need it, place the jar in a bath of boiling water for a few minutes. Stir the coconut butter around and then use as you desire.

IMG_4740.jpg

2 cups shredded coconut

Process in the processor until creamy and as smooth as possible, about 10 minutes.

Pour into a jar and store in the refrigerator. Use in recipes or spread it on toast. Enjoy!

P.S. This is what I had to make for my class. It is a mini raw chocolate ganache tart. The crust is crushed pecans, coconut sugar, cinnamon and coconut butter. The filling is homemade almond butter, homemade date paste, maple syrup, coconut butter, cacao powder, tamari and ground vanilla. Thats a little dollop of vanilla cashew cream with a strawberry!

IMG_4952.jpg