Pastabilities: Mushroom Walnut Bolognese

Mushroom-Walnut Bolognese

Anything is possible with a bag of pasta and your imagination. I picked up a bag of these beautiful Pappardelle noodles imported from Italy last week. Surprisingly, they were on sale for a dollar a bag. You know I just can’t pass up a bargain (I’m feeling sorry that I didn’t buy about 10 bags) or the chance to enjoy an extraordinary pasta meal. A traditional Bolognese sauce starts off with a “battato”, which is a mixture of carrots, celery, onions and garlic. Ground beef, pork and a cured meat like prosciutto are added, then simmered with milk, wine and beef broth. The sauce is finished off with heavy cream. It is delicate, aromatic and luscious. I played around with a mushroom-based version of Bolognese sauce a few weeks ago and served it with rotini pasta. I made a battato with onions, carrots, celery and ground fennel, then added in minced mushrooms and coarsely ground walnuts. For the simmering ingredients I used white wine, soy milk, tomato paste and a hearty vegetable broth. At this point, I reserved half of the mixture to freeze and added half of the cashew cream to the pot. (Warning: the sauce may not look too appetizing on its own, but when tossed with the pasta it’s quite pleasing.) The dish was flavorful, but the rotini wasn’t quite the “experience” I was after. So when I came home with this bag of Pappardelle, I remembered that I still had half of the Bolognese sauce in the freezer. I defrosted the sauce, stirred in some fresh cashew cream at the end and tossed it with the Pappardelle. Delicioso! This dish is a tasty alternative to pasta with marinara sauce for Sunday dinner yet fancy enough for a special occasion. If you can’t find pappardelle I recommend using a wide, flat pasta like fettucine or tagiatelle. I bet it would also be nice layered and baked with non-dairy ricotta and lasagna noodles. The possibilities for a plant-based lifestyle are limitless.  Just open up a bag of pasta and you can open up a whole world of pastabilities. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Mushroom Walnut Bolognese

Makes enough sauce for 1 to 1-1/2 pounds of pasta

½ cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 4 hours or overnight

1 small onion
1 small carrot
1 small celery stalk
½ teaspoon ground fennel

12 oz. mushrooms (white button or cremini)
1 cup walnuts

1 can of tomato paste
2 cups dark vegetable broth (either homemade or Better Than Bouillon “No Beef” base)
½ cup dry white wine
¼ cup non-dairy milk (soy)
1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
Dash of liquid smoke (optional)
Parsley, black pepper and salt, to taste (you can use truffle salt instead of table salt)

Drain cashews and place in high powered blender container with enough water to just about cover the nuts. Process on high until super smooth. Set aside.

Place onions, carrots and celery in bowl of food processor and pulse until minced. Heat a medium saucepot over medium heat. Add the vegetables and cook until softened, but not browned (about 10 minutes). Add ground fennel and cook another minute.

Process mushrooms in food processor until minced. Stir into vegetables in pot and continue to cook, uncovered. Process walnuts in food processor until coarsely ground. Add to pot. Add tomato paste, broth, wine, soy milk, parsley, pepper and salt. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer until the walnuts soften and the sauce is very thick. (You may need to use a heat diffuser to prevent the sauce from cooking too fast.) Add the cashew cream and stir to combine. Toss with cooked pasta. You can remove the sauce from the stove at this point and re-heat it later, adding the cream at the last minute of cooking. You can also freeze the sauce before adding the cashew cream.


19 Dec 2016

Navigating Noel: Roasted Vegetables, Farro & Porcini-Cashew Cream

Roasted Winter Vegetables & Farro

Roasted Winter Vegetables & Farro

The holiday season can present it’s own set of challenges when either hosting or being invited to a holiday dinner or party. What to serve, what to bring. Who likes what, who’s allergic to this, that or the other thing. It’s enough to make you want to go away for the holidays. I’ve hosted some pretty big dinners in the past, so I understand the amount of preparation that goes into cooking for a crowd. Here’s how I navigate Noel festivities. Whether or not a host offers to make something special for me and Bruce, I happily volunteer to prepare a dish for everyone to enjoy. Bruce and I get to eat the food that makes us feel good and it’s a nice way to show others that a plant-based diet can be sumptuous and scrumptious. We were invited to my cousin’s home for Thanksgiving and I wanted to make a dish that met certain conditions.The dish should be in keeping with tradition, so it had to be made with autumnal ingredients. Since we were traveling to New Jersey, the dish had to be portable and able to fit in the car with three humans, one dog and a dog crate. Lastly, it had to make a hearty meal for me and Bruce, yet suitable as a side dish for others to enjoy. I decided to combine a few of my favorite recipes into one scaled-down feast — Sauteed Mushrooms, Shaved Brussel Sprouts, and Roasted Broccoli, Cauliflower & Chickpeas served over farro and adorned with a Porcini-Cashew Cream. It may sound like a lot of work, but it’s not any more difficult than making three side dishes for a holiday dinner. You can always opt to roast the mushrooms and Brussel sprouts with the broccoli and cauliflower. Or you could saute the mushrooms and Brussel sprouts and simply steam the other vegetables. If you have leftover porcini-cashew cream, you can use it as a condiment for bean burgers or grilled vegetable sandwiches.What’s especially nice about this recipe is that everything can be prepared ahead of time and re-warmed either in the microwave or oven just before everyone’s ready to sit down for dinner. Less time fussing over food means more time making merry with family and friends. Have a joyful holiday season and thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Roasted Vegetables, Farro & Porcini-Cashew Cream

Porcini Cashew Cream (recipe follows)

1 cup farro
Vegetable broth
Fresh or dried herbs to taste (thyme, sage, rosemary, etc.)

1 small head cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 small head broccoli, cut into small florets

1 lb. mushrooms, sliced

4 large shallots, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. Brussel sprouts, shaved

1 can chickpeas, drained
Smoked paprika

¼ cup toasted pignoli nuts

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cook the farro according to package directions, using vegetable broth instead of water and adding your choice of herbs.

Place cauliflower and broccoli in steamer basket and steam until they start to get tender. Remove and place on prepared baking sheet. Place on lowest rack and roast until the florets brown on the edges. Remove from oven and place in a large oven-proof serving bowl. Reduce oven temperature to 200F and place bowl in oven to keep warm.

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook until browned. Add to broccoli and cauliflower and return bowl to oven.

Add shallots to skillet and saute until softened and browned, adding water 2 tablespoons at a time to prevent sticking. Add garlic and cook another minute. Add Brussel sprouts and continue to cook, tossing frequently. Add to the bowl with the other vegetables and return to oven.

If necessary, wipe out skillet to remove any burned vegetables. Heat skillet on medium-high and add chickpeas. Cook until chickpeas start to brown. Sprinkle with smoked paprika. Add to the bowl with the other vegetables.

To serve: spoon farro onto a plate, then add roasted vegetables on top. Drizzle porcini-cashew cream on top of farro and vegetables.

Porcini Cashew Cream

½ oz. dried Porcini mushrooms
½ cup cashews, soaked and drained
1 tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 large garlic clove (preferably roasted)
Ground sage, black pepper and salt to taste

Pour ½ cup of boiling water over porcini mushrooms and let sit about 20 minutes. Drain mushrooms, reserving water, and place in container of high-powered blender. Add remaining ingredients and process on high, adding reserved porcini liquid as needed to thin out.

12 Dec 2016

All the Trimmings: Black Friday Burger

Black Friday Burger

Black Friday Burger

The Thanksgiving dinner that I grew up with was always turkey and all of the trimmings, with the emphasis on the trimmings. With all of those yummy side dishes — stuffing, stuffed mushrooms, Brussel sprouts, green beans, mashed potatoes, sweet potato pie, cranberry sauce — it’s a wonder that I had room for even one slice of turkey. And we always looked forward to the left overs that would last until Sunday. My Mom would make a sandwich with all the trimmings by layering turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and hot  gravy on a hard roll. Since there seems to be an over abundance of recipes for Thanksgiving dinner, I decided to make something to gobble up in the days following. Maybe you’d like to take advantage of Black Friday sales. Perhaps family will be visiting for the long weekend. And what about all those football games? With all the comings and goings, you might want to have something easy for your guests to re-heat and assemble on their own. You know, “make yourself at home and help yourself” . . . to a Black Friday Burger.

So, I thought about all the foods I love about Thanksgiving and squeezed them all into one neat little burger. We always made our bread stuffing with celery, onions and mushrooms. Sometimes we’d add pork sausage to the stuffing, so I included fennel and sage to capture that flavor. The white beans are used for substance and the sweet potato keeps everything together. At the end of the meal we would break out the nutcrackers and a basket of nuts and chestnuts, so I added some ground walnuts. I might try some roasted chestnuts in the next batch. Be sure to save some Shaved Brussel Sprouts, cranberry sauce and gravy from Thanksgiving Day to use to dress up the burgers. If you don’t want to fuss with the gravy, you can just use the Dij-ayo spread at the end of the recipe. This burger has it all. The stuffing. The sweet potatoes. The mushrooms. The flavor. Take some Roasted Butternut Squash Soup out of the freezer or make a huge Powerhouse Salad to serve with the burgers. The only ones stuffed this year will be your friends and family. You can make the burgers ahead of time, cook them and place them in the freezer, leaving you free to cut down a Christmas tree, spend time with your guests or shop for those Black Friday deals. This Thanksgiving I give thanks for my health, my family and friends. And I thank you for being Vegi-curious.

Black Friday Burgers

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
8 oz. cremini mushrooms, chopped
2 garlic cloves, pressed

1 (15-ounce) can white beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup cooked sweet potato
½ cup rolled oats
¼ cup walnuts, coarsely ground
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon ground fennel
1 teaspoon ground sage
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)

whole wheat burger buns
left over shaved Brussel sprouts or fresh baby spinach
cranberry sauce
Dij-ayo spread (recipe follows)

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and celery and saute until golden. Add mushrooms and garlic and continue to saute until browned. Add fennel and sage and cook another 30 seconds. Remove from heat and place into large mixing bowl.

Place beans into the bowl and mash the beans using a fork or potato masher. Add sweet potato and mash into beans.

Place the oats in a mini-chopper and pulse just enough to break them down but not processed into a flour. Add to mixing bowl with remaining ingredients and mix well with a fork. Adjust spices as desired.

Separate into five or six portions and form into patties. (I find that 1/3 cup is the perfect size for a standard burger bun.) Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper and refrigerate until firm. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 400F. Bake for 20 minutes, turning half-way through cooking. You can also cook in a non-stick skillet or on a non-stick electric griddle. You can enjoy them now or place them in the freezer for future use.

Serve on burger buns with shaved Brussel sprouts or fresh baby spinach and top with Dij-ayo and cranberry sauce.


½ cup raw cashews
2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon tahini
Water as needed to thin out

Place all ingredients in high-speed blender and process until smooth.

17 Nov 2016

Build a Better Taco Step 3: Mushroom Tacos

Mushroom Tacos

Mushroom Tacos

Perhaps you’ve tried seitan; or tofu; or TVP; or jackfruit. I’ve tried every one of these “meat replacements” and what I don’t like about them is that they need a lot of moisture (i.e. oil) or salt to make them palatable. Which brings me back to mushrooms. I’ve always enjoyed eating mushrooms, but they were usually as a side dish. Since I gave up eating meat (and our close proximity to the mushroom capital of the world), they’ve become the focal point of many of my recipes. Mushrooms are versatile and easy to use in recipes. They can be hearty in flavor and texture, like a cremini or portabella; or they can be delicate in taste and bite, as in an oyster mushroom. I used cremini mushrooms for this taco recipe because they can withstand the high heat used to brown the filling and are able to stand up to the spicy heat of the taco flavorings. Once you have your sour cream, taco seasoning and sauce ready, the recipe comes together quickly. It’s a simple saute of onions, garlic, bell peppers and mushrooms spiced to your liking. Spoon it into taco shells, then layer on fresh tomatoes, lettuce and pumpkin seeds. If you don’t like the idea of non-dairy sour cream, whip up some super soft avocado with a spritz of lime juice instead. Make your meal a fiesta by serving some black beans and Spanish rice to accompany the tacos. (One margarita wouldn’t hurt, either.) Makes me wanna shout Ole! Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Mushroom Tacos

1 lb. cremini mushrooms, minced
3 to 4 teaspoons taco seasoning
1 large bell pepper, minced
1 large yellow onion, minced
2 tablespoons red wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste (or taco sauce)
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)

Taco shells
Non-dairy yogurt or sour cream
Taco sauce
Chopped tomatoes
Shredded lettuce
Toasted pumpkin seeds

Heat a non-stick skillet over high heat. Add one third of the mushrooms to skillet and brown, turning frequently. When browned, remove to clean bowl. Repeat two times with the remaining mushrooms. (The goal is to cook the mushrooms without allowing them to get watery.) Add taco seasoning and stir to combine.

Add peppers and onions to skillet and saute until lightly browned, adding just enough water to prevent them from sticking. Reduce heat to low, cover and continue to cook until softened. Add mushrooms and raise heat to high. Add wine and cook until evaporated. Add tomato paste and nutritional yeast and cook for about 5 minutes, adding water if necessary. Taco mixture should be slightly moist and meaty, not soupy. Remove from heat and serve on corn taco shells with tomatoes, lettuce, yogurt, taco sauce and pumpkin seeds.

04 Nov 2016

Power of Pretty: Portabello-Pepper “Steak”

Portabella-Pepper Steak

Portabello-Pepper Steak

Presentation is a key ingredient in my recipes. It doesn’t matter how tasty or nourishing a dish is, if it doesn’t look appetizing I might not want to eat it. It’s what I call the “power of pretty.” I’ve been getting a few bell peppers in our CSA share just about every week. Our produce overflow goes into a fridge in the basement, which can become somewhat of a black hole. (I didn’t realize the value of a second refrigerator until I started my plant-based style of living. A few bags of kale and a bushel of apples from an apple-picking adventure sure do take up a lot of real estate.) So I unearthed a supply of red, green and yellow peppers today and thought I’d try my hand at making Pepper “Steak”. Since I’m not a fan of seitan I resorted to my trusty friend, the mighty, meaty portabello mushroom. The thing about cooking mushrooms is that they can hold a lot of water which can lead the rest of the ingredients down a path of murkiness. My solution for this recipe was to grill the mushrooms and stir them in during the last minute of cooking. The portabello strips had a nice bite to them and allowed the other ingredients to show their colors (and flavors). Pretty as a picture, almost too pretty to eat . . . almost. Pick up some portabellos and peppers and experience the power of pretty with this Portabello-Pepper “Steak”. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Portabello Strips

Portabello Strips


Grilled Portabello Strips

Grilled Portabello Strips

Portabello Pepper “Steak”

2 portabello caps, thinly sliced
Freshly ground black pepper

1 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon corn starch

2 garlic cloves, sliced
3 large bell peppers (red, green and yellow), thinly sliced
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced

Rice for serving

Heat a large non-stick skillet or electric griddle on high. Place portobello slices (one layer at a time so as not to overlap the slices) in skillet and brown on both sides. Remove from skillet and place on a plate. Repeat with remaining portabello slices.

Measure vegetable broth in a one cup liquid measuring cup. Add soy sauce and corn starch and whisk thoroughly. Set aside.

Lightly coat non-stick skillet with oil and heat on medium-high heat. (Alternately, you can heat 2 tablespoons of water in skillet to eliminate the oil.) Add garlic and saute until lightly browned. Remove from skillet and set aside. Add peppers and onions and stir fry until browned and crisp –tender, adding water one tablespoon at a time to prevent sticking. Return garlic to skillet and vegetable broth mixture and stir to coat. Cook on medium heat until sauce thickens. You can add part or all of the broth depending on how much sauce you prefer. Add more soy sauce to taste. Add portabello slices and lightly stir. Remove from heat and serve over rice.


09 Oct 2016

Make Mei Fun Your Fun: Singapore Squash

Singapore Squash

Singapore Squash

Singapore Mei Fun is one of my favorite Asian dishes. I usually order this spicy noodle dish when we’re at Little Teriyaki and I’m not in the mood for sushi. Mei Fun is a stir-fry made with a variety of vegetables and rice noodles. What makes it “Singapore” is spicy curry powder. I kept putting Mei Fun on the back burner mostly because I didn’t have the curry powder on hand. I’m not savvy on the differences between curry powders, so I decided to go with one labeled as “Thai Curry Powder.” I wanted to use spaghetti squash instead of rice noodles in this recipe for a few reasons. One: this is the beginning of squash season, so all kinds of locally-grown squash are available. Two: I’m trying to eat more vegetables and less starch. Three: I’m becoming quite the fan of spaghetti squash. As in my other spaghetti squash recipes, I started out by seasoning and baking the squash before mixing it with other vegetables and seasonings. I sprinkled minced garlic, ginger root and curry powder on the squash and baked it for about an hour and a half. After one taste of these sultry strands, I wasn’t sure if they would make it into my wok! Since I already had the peppers, onions, carrots and mushrooms already cut up, I proceeded with the recipe. All I can say is that this recipe was fun cutting board to table. Why not make Mei Fun your fun today? Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Singapore Squash

1 extra large spaghetti squash
Canola oil (optional)
6 garlic cloves, minced
2” piece of ginger, minced
Thai curry powder

Vegetable broth or water for sauteeing
8 oz. mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
Reduced sodium soy sauce, to taste

Preheat oven to 350F. Cut spaghetti squash in half from stem to blossom end. Scoop out seeds. Place in baking pan. Lightly coat the surface of the squash with oil if using. Sprinkle with garlic, ginger and curry powder. Bake for about 1-1/2 hours until surface is golden brown and you’re able to scrape the spaghetti “strands” out of the skin. When cooled, scrape squash out of skin and set aside.

Heat a non-stick wok or large skillet over high heat. Add mushrooms and stir-fry until browned. Remove from wok and set aside. Add a few tablespoons of broth to wok, add onion, peppers and carrots and stir-fry until crisp-tender. Return mushrooms to wok along with the spaghetti squash and toss, allowing the vegetables to brown slightly. Add soy sauce and additional curry powder to taste.

13 Sep 2016

Simply Special: Grilled Vegetable Torte

Grilled Vegetable Torte

Grilled Vegetable Torte

Bruce and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary over the weekend. We tried, once again, (and unsuccessfully, again) to get a reservation at Vedge in Philadelphia. It’s the only restaurant with plant-based fare within an hour that is worthy of such a special occasion. So I wanted to make something special for our anniversary dinner. I recalled a layered vegetable and hummus cake on Facebook and used that concept for this Grilled Vegetable Torte. I wanted the torte to reflect my Italian heritage and went with grilled eggplant, zucchini, portobello mushrooms, roasted peppers and tomatoes. Instead of hummus, I made a “ricotta” using tofu, raw cashews and pesto. The “ricotta” acts like mortar to hold everything together. A whole wheat tortilla was placed on the bottom to make it easier to lift out the slices when it came time for serving. I baked the stem of the eggplant on top of the torte for a little drama. After 40 minutes in the oven, the torte came out perfectly cooked and picture perfect. It’s impressive enough for a special occasion yet easy enough to make for a weekend dinner. You could serve it as a first course for a holiday meal or enjoy it all week long sandwiched between some Italian bread. This simple vegetable torte can make any occasion a special one. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Grilled Vegetable Torte

16 oz. extra firm tofu
2 cups raw cashews
2 tablespoons lemon juice
8 oz. spinach or Swiss chard, wilted and squeezed
A few tablespoons of pesto

2 red bell peppers
1 eggplant, ¼” sliced
1 zucchini, ¼” sliced
3 portobella mushroom caps, left whole

2 to 3 tomatoes, thinly sliced

8” tortilla

Place tofu, cashews, lemon juice, spinach and pesto in food processor and process until combined. The mixture does not have to be smooth. Set aside. (You can make this the day before.)

Set outdoor grill to high. Place red peppers on grill and cook until charred on all sides, turning as one side is done. Place in brown paper bag to soften skins. When cool, remove skin, seeds and stem and slice into strips. Set aside.

Lower grill temperature to medium. Grill eggplants and zucchini until grill marks appear on both sides. Grill mushroom caps until tender with grill marks. Slice mushrooms thinly.


Preheat oven to 375F.

Wrap the bottom of an 8″ spring form pan with aluminum foil (in case of any leakage). Place an 8” tortilla in bottom of 8” spring form pan. Spread a thin layer of tofu-cashew mixture on top of tortilla, then layer as follows: eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes. Repeat from tofu-cashew mixture, ending with a top layer of tomatoes.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. If tomatoes do not brown, place under broiler for a few minutes. Let set until room temperature before removing sides of spring form pan. Serve at room temperature.

02 Aug 2016

Coming Around: Pepper, Onion & Mushroom Tofu Scramble

Tofu Scramble

Tofu Scramble

I’m slowly coming around to liking tofu scrambles. I’ve only had them once or twice before and they were usually made with a heavy hand for oil and/or turmeric. Tofu is like a sponge. It’s rather bland-tasting on its own, but can absorb the flavors (and fats) of whatever it’s cooked with. For some reason I felt like having something “eggy” today and decided to try my hand at a scramble. Since I already had some leftover grilled veggies from last night’s dinner, I went with what I had — bell peppers, onions and mushrooms. Zucchini and spinach would work nicely as well. For the “eggy” part of the scramble, I used firm tofu and cashew cream. I seasoned it with black salt (for a hard-cooked egg taste), nutritional yeast (say “cheese”) and turmeric for color. I was quite pleased with the results. The combination of tofu and cashew cream gave it that nice, soft mouth-feel of perfectly-stirred scrambled eggs and the rest of the ingredients distracted my taste buds from what is usually bland-tasting tofu. I had my scramble for lunch with toasted sour dough bread, but it would also make a nice breakfast alongside some home fries. If you’re a tofu take-it-or-leave-it person like me, this might be a good recipe to get you coming around to tofu. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Peppers, Onions & Mushroom Tofu Scramble

Makes one serving

1/8 bell pepper, chopped
1/8 small yellow onion, chopped
3 button mushrooms, sliced
4 oz. firm tofu, not pressed
1 tablespoon thick cashew cream
¼ teaspoon black salt (you can substitute plain or truffle salt)
¼ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast

Break up tofu using a fork. Stir in cashew cream, black salt, turmeric and nutritional yeast. Set aside.

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add peppers, onions and mushrooms and saute until lightly browned, add a teaspoon of water if necessary to prevent sticking. Add tofu mixture and continue to cook, stirring often. Remove from heat and enjoy.

21 Jul 2016

In Season: Red Potatoes, Asparagus & Mushroom Melange

Red Potatoes, Mushrooms & Asparagus

Red Potatoes, Mushrooms & Asparagus

One of the things I like about belonging to a CSA is that the produce is fresh and in season. This is how we ate long before refrigeration or the food transportation system existed and our species was able to evolve and thrive. Imagine a reality show about a community that ate only food that was in season or preserved after the harvest. For many, including me, that would seem like a harsh reality. The least we can do is buy as much local produce as possible when it’s in season. It’s good for you, good for the local economy and good for the environment.

Here’s a recipe I put together with some of the produce that was in this week’s CSA box. Among other things, we had shallots, red potatoes, asparagus, button mushrooms and rosemary. I steamed the potatoes until they were almost cooked, then browned everything in a non-stick skillet. I topped it off with a creamy cashew cheese sauce, but I bet it would be just as nice served warm with some type of vinaigrette. I can’t wait to see what goodies will be in next week’s box. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Red Potatoes, Asparagus & Mushroom Melange

1-1/4 lbs. small red potatoes
1 large shallot, thinly sliced (about ¾ cup)
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1-1/2 lbs. asparagus, tough ends removed and stalks cut into 2” pieces
6 oz. button mushrooms
Herb of choice (rosemary, tarragon, etc.)

Place potatoes in double boiler and steam until almost tender, about 12 minutes. Rinse under cold water and cut into quarters. Set aside

In large non-stick skillet, saute shallots in olive oil or water. Remove to separate bowl. Add garlic and more oil or water and lightly brown. Remove to same bowl. Add mushrooms and saute until softened and browned, about 5 minutes. Remove to same bowl. Add asparagus and saute until browned. Remove to bowl. Add a small amount of oil to skillet, add potatoes and cook over high heat until browned. Add ingredients from bowl to skillet and cook until vegetables soften, about 3 minutes. Add herbs, salt and pepper to taste. Serve with cheesy cashew cream.

Cheesy Cashew Cream

½ cup cashews, soaked
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. tahini
1 large garlic clove (raw or roasted)
¼ tsp fine grain sea salt (truffle salt)
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
¼ cup nutritional yeast
6 Tbsp. water, or as needed to thin out

Place all ingredients in high powered blender and process until smooth. Pour into a squeeze bottle for serving.

09 Jun 2016

All Wrapped Up: Moo Shu Brussel Sprouts Burrito

Mu Shu Burrito

Mu Shu Burrito

Sometimes I get myself all wrapped up in coming up with a recipe, and today was a perfect example. I don’t even know where to begin with this one, so I’ll just re-trace my steps. It all started with a bag of Brussel sprouts left over from last week’s CSA box. Brussel sprouts are a member of the Brassica family of vegetables, which includes cabbages. So I tried to think about some of my favorite cabbage recipes and there really aren’t a whole lot of them. However, I do love Chinese Moo Shu, a stir-fried cabbage filling (usually containing pork and eggs) that gets wrapped up in a thin pancake.  Mom and I went to our favorite ethnic market to pick up the remaining ingredients, the most important one being the Moo Shu wrappers. Moo Shoot! They didn’t have the wrappers. No big deal though, as Wang’s Oriental Market in town would surely have the wrappers. Moo Shoot, again! By now I’m resigning myself to Plan B — Moo Shu without the wrapper. And then I remembered those huge flour tortillas left over from a burrito bender I was on a few weeks ago. How bad could they be? Aren’t all wrappers made with flour and water any way? Back to Plan A. The filling came together quite nicely. I sauted the aromatics (scallions, ginger, garlic); stir-fried the vegetables (mushrooms, red peppers, Brussel sprouts, cabbage); added in the liquid condiments (sherry, mirin, soy sauce). I warmed the tortilla, smeared on some plum sauce, piled on the Moo Shu and wrapped it up. I couldn’t come up with a number of servings for this recipe as it depends on what size wrapper you use and how generous you are with the filling. All I can say is that it makes about 2 quarts of scrumptious Moo Shu filling. What I like about using the tortilla is that it’s way bigger and actually neater than the usual Moo Shu pancake that’s served in a Chinese restaurant. So go with the Moo Shu Burrito — one and done! I’d say that’s a wrap. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Moo Shu Vegetable with Cabbage and Brussel Sprouts

Notes: You can leave out the Brussel sprouts and use all cabbage. If you can’t find the black fungus mushrooms, simply add a few more shitakes.

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil (optional)
  • 8 scallions, thinly sliced (1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger root
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 or 2 dried black fungus mushrooms, re-hydrated with hot water and thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 large red bell pepper, sliced into matchsticks
  • 4 oz. shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 8 oz. Napa or Savoy cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 10 oz. Brussel sprouts, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons dry Sherry
  • 2 tablespoons Mirin
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon liquid smoke
  • Mu Shu wrappers or flour burritos
  • Plum sauce

.Heat oil in large non-stick skillet or wok (you can omit the oil and use a few tablespoons of water). Add scallions, ginger root and garlic and saute until lightly browned.

Add shitakes, bell pepper and black mushrooms to wok and saute until vegetables start to soften. Add water, 2 tablespoons at a time, if necessary to prevent sticking.

Add Brussel sprouts and cabbage and continue to stir fry until softened. Add Sherry, mirin, soy sauce and liquid smoke and cook for another minute or two.


Spread a small amount of plum sauce on moo shu wrapper or burrito. Add moo shu filling and wrap or roll up.

16 Apr 2016

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