There have been moments throughout my adult life when a sensation has brought back a memory from days gone by. It could be a song on the radio, a chill in the air, a certain aura in the room or a familiar aroma. Just the act sharpening a pencil has the power to transport me back to elementary school. (What can I say? I’m weird that way.) Coming from a family that celebrated life with food it’s no surprise that many of my recipes are inspired by these memories. This phenomenon, “anamnesis,” is defined as the recollection of remembrance of the past. Well, I had an “anamnesis moment” one day while making my Smoky Shitake Stir Fry recipe. Shitake mushrooms have a meaty and somewhat “chewy” texture that is similar to clams. (A few years ago I tried a recipe for New England “Glam” Chowder that used shitake mushrooms instead of clams. While the soup wasn’t to my liking, I did appreciate the textural attributes of the shitakes.) I thought about Clams Casino that Bruce and I used to make. Clams Casino are little neck clams that have a butter-anchiovy paste tucked between the shell and the clam, then adorned with bacon and red bell pepper and baked on a bed of rock salt. There was a lot of action going on in that little clam shell it’s a wonder we could even taste the clam. Suffice it to say, they were quite tasty. My Glams Casino have the all the flavor ingredients without the clams. I had a bag of shitakes mushrooms that were starting to dry out, so I soaked them with nori seaweed in some water and topped them off with a mixture of bread crumbs, liquid smoke, red bell peppers and vegan butter. I was as happy as a clam with the results. (The meaning of this saying is thought to have originated in the 19th century from the way clams are protected during high tide. I guess you could say that I’m a modern-day protector of the clam.) Anyway, these Glams Casino make a light first course for a special meal or a nice appetizer for your New Year celebration. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.
24 shitake mushrooms (about 3” diameter)
½ sheet nori seaweed
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
½ cup bread crumbs
¼ cup diced red bell pepper
2 tablespoons melted vegan butter (Better Butter from Non-Dairy Evolution cookbook)
½ teaspoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
½ teaspoon vegan Worstershire sauce (optional)
Salt & pepper to taste
Place seaweed, salt and sugar in a quart container. Fill half-way with boiling water. Place mushrooms in container and add more water to cover. Let sit at least 30 minutes. Drain and place on rimmed baking sheet.
Preheat oven to 400F. Mix remaining ingredients together. Season with salt and pepper. Gently press bread crumb mixture onto mushrooms. Bake until bread crumbs are browned and mushrooms are tender, about 15 minutes.
30 Dec 2015