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Our Daily Bread: Italian Panettone

PanettonePanttone is a sweet bread that originated from Milan, Italy. I remember that you could only find Panettone in an Italian specialty store around Christmas. Nowadays, you can get it year round at a regular supermarket. Since it contains eggs, butter, sugar and raisins it’s more like dessert than bread. I like to toast it and have it with a cup of coffee for breakfast or with a cup of tea in the afternoon.  Authentic Panettone is made during a long process that involves curing the dough, which is acidic, similar to sourdough. The proofing process alone takes several days, giving the cake its distinctive fluffy characteristics. Since I’m neither a seasoned bread maker nor a food scientist (and my parents didn’t name me Patience, I’ll forgo this “mystical” and time-consuming method of making Panettone in the traditional way. I had been making Panettone with butter and eggs for years in a bread machine, so I decided to try making a non-dairy version. It was quite simple; all I did was replace the eggs with aquafaba and use the Better Butter from The Non-Dairy Evolution cookbook. I also incorporated some almond extract and orange zest into the recipe. This recipe is meant for a bread machine, so I don’t know how it would work if you kneaded it by hand and raised it on the counter.  I used to have a Breadman, which has been replaced with a Panasonic bread machine. The recipe works well in both machines. The only difference is the order in which the ingredients go, so please refer to your owner’s manual. (If you don’t have a bread machine, it’s a worthwhile investment. Most store-bought bread has a lot of salt and other ingredients like corn syrup, etc. If you like pizza, bread machines can make perfect dough in under an hour.) The Panettone comes out slightly sweet with a hint of orange and almond flavors. It makes a nice breakfast right out of the toaster, but can also be used to make non-dairy French toast or bread pudding. Make some Panettone and you can have your slice of daily bread every day. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Panettone (Dairy-free for Bread Making Machine)

  • 3 cups bread flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Zest from one orange
  • 2/3 cup water
  • ¼ cup non-dairy butter
  • 5 tablespoons aquafaba (liquid drained from canned chickpeas)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • ¼ cup raisins

Follow the manufacturer’s directions for making raisin bread, using the three cups of flour as your guide for machine settings. I use the light setting for the crust.

Makes one loaf.


12 Feb 2016

On Your Mark. Get Set. Go. Banana Pancakes

Banana Pancakes

Banana Pancakes

I love tradition. It doesn’t matter if it’s rooted in family, culture, patriotism or religion. I just enjoy embracing it. In the US, the day before Ash Wednesday is known as Fat Tuesday. It is more commonly known as Mardi Gras, which is simply Fat Tuesday in French. It gets its name from the custom, in many Catholic countries, of marking the day with feasting before the fasting season of Lent begins. In the UK, this day is known as Pancake Day. According to Historic “Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday, is the traditional feast day before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday. Lent – the 40 days leading up to Easter – was traditionally a time of fasting and on Shrove Tuesday, Anglo-Saxon Christians went to confession and were “shriven” (absolved from their sins). A bell would be rung to call people to confession. This came to be called the “Pancake Bell” and is still rung today. Shrove Tuesday was the last opportunity to use up eggs and fats before embarking on the Lenten fast and pancakes are the perfect way of using up these ingredients.In the UK, pancake races form an important part of the Shrove Tuesday celebrations – an opportunity for large numbers of people, often in fancy dress, to race down streets tossing pancakes. The most famous pancake race takes place at Olney in Buckinghamshire. According to tradition, in 1445 a woman of Olney heard the shriving bell while she was making pancakes and ran to the church in her apron, still clutching her frying pan.”  Now, doesn’t this look like fun?

Author: Robin Myerscough. licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

I wanted to celebrate Shrove Tuesday by coming up with a sinfully-tasting pancake recipe that you could enjoy any day of the year. My favorite pancake recipe to date is for Pumpkin Pancakes, so I figured I could use banana puree in place of the pumpkin. I used a mixture of spelt and whole wheat pastry flours and eliminated the sugar since the bananas are naturally sweet on their own. With just a tablespoon of coconut oil in the entire recipe and the use of a non-stick electric griddle, these pancakes are VFF (virtually fat-free). Whether or not you observe a Lenten fast, these pancakes are so healthy and guilt-free that you won’t need any absolution and the only racing to be done will be that of your family coming down for breakfast. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Banana-Nutmeg Pancakes

Makes about 12 to 16 pancakes

  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tablespoons flax meal
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 cups non-dairy milk, warmed to room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (optional)
  • 1 cup banana puree (about 2 large bananas)
  • 1 tablespoons melted coconut oil, plus extra for the griddle

Whisk the flours, flax meal, baking soda, sugar, salt, and nutmeg together in a large mixing bowl.

Grease a non-stick griddle with coconut oil and over medium heat. Alternately, heat an electric griddle on high (I don’t grease mine).

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together vigorously the milk and apple cider vinegar until the mixture is a little frothy. Mix in the coconut oil, banana, and the vanilla.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix them until the batter is totally smooth.

Use a 1/4 cup dry measuring cup or a ladle to portion the batter onto your griddle. Once you see bubbles at the top of your pancakes and their edges begin to turn golden, they’re ready to flip. Flip the pancakes and allow them to cook for a few minutes on the other side.

Serve the pancakes with maple syrup.


07 Feb 2016

Fix This: Shells Stuffed with Tofu-Cashew Ricotta, Spinach & Shitakes

Shells with Tofu-Cashew Ricotta, Spinach & Shitakes

Shells with Tofu-Cashew Ricotta, Spinach & Shitakes

“There are no mistakes in the kitchen; only new recipes to be discovered.” These may not be words to live by, but they sure are words to cook by. I heard this saying several years ago and I don’t recall who said them. I’ve always kept them in the back of my mind and they’ve been a motivating message for me as I explore the world of plant-based cooking. Well I had to rely on these words today as I experimented with a tofu-based ricotta cheese recipe that I found in a vegan cookbook. As an Italian from Brooklyn I had access to some of the best cheese stores in the country so it’s hard to sell me on non-dairy cheese. I wanted to use the ricotta straight up on toast. Well, it was pretty awful. What was I going to do with a pound of tofu “something”? “Fix this, Rose” echoed in my head. Instead of tossing what I already had I relied on my tried and true Tofu-Cashew Ricotta recipe to save the day. Wishfully, I added some raw cashews (didn’t even soak them) to the food processor, but sadly the cheese was still not tasty enough to eat as is. I decided to save it to make Stuffed Shells with Spinach–Tofu-Cashew Ricotta and placed it in the fridge overnight.

Day Two: As luck would have it, I only had a half bag of frozen spinach. (Really, I saved a half bag of spinach. Who does that?) Then I remembered a bag of shitake mushrooms hiding at the back of the fridge and decided to add them to the filling. I sauteed them with garlic and added the thawed and squeezed spinach, minced it in a food processor until coarse and folded it into the ricotta. (My tip for squeezing the liquid from spinach is to defrost it in the bag, then poke holes in the bag and squeeze. A tip for filling the shells is to use a pastry bag fitted with a large decorating tip.) My secret ingredient for the filling was to season it with truffle salt (totally not necessary, but definitely adds another layer of flavor.) A generous amount of marinara poured under and over the shells will keep them from drying out. Oh, boy, these are so creamy and delicious there’s no mistaking that this recipe will become one of my favorite plant-based baked pasta dishes. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Shells Stuffed with Tofu Ricotta, Spinach & Shitake Mushrooms

  • 6 oz. jumbo shells, cooked according to package directions
  • 8 oz. frozen spinach, defrosted and excess water squeezed out
  • 8 oz. shitake mushrooms, stems removed
  • 2 cups of Tofu-Cashew Ricotta (below) (make ahead of time)
  • 1 clove of garlic, pressed
  • ½ teaspoon truffle salt (or regular salt)
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Marinara sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Saute mushrooms in non-stick skillet until brown and liquid has evaporated. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in spinach and cook to dry out any extra liquid. Let cool.

In bowl of food processor, process spinach/mushroom mixture until coarse. Remove and place in large bowl with ricotta, truffle salt and pepper. Stir well. Using a small spoon or a pastry bag fitted with a large tip, stuff shells with filling. Cover the bottom of a baking pan with sauce. Arrange shells on top of sauce, then spoon additional sauce over the shells. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until thoroughly heated. You can remove the foil toward the end of baking to brown the top a bit.

Makes about 18 to 20 stuffed shells.

Tofu-Cashew Ricotta

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
  • 1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon lactic acid powder (or and extra teaspoons cider vinegar)
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • ¼ tsp. salt (if using for a filling that usually calls for eggs, you can use black salt instead of table salt)
  • 8 oz. firm tofu
  • 1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast (optional)

Place soaked cashews, cider vinegar lemon juice, sugar and salt in food processor. Process until smooth but slightly grainy.  Add tofu and nutritional yeast and process until incorporated with cashews. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Note: If you don’t want to bake the stuffed shells, simply place them on a baking sheet and freeze overnight then place in a zip-lock bag for future use.

30 Jan 2016

Get Your Soup On: Chinese Vegetable Soup

Chinese Vegetable Soup

Chinese Vegetable Soup

In a previous post I promised to share an Asian adaptation of vegetable soup. Learning to cook without using a recipe is all about building on past experience and knowing what ingredients are interchangeable. For this soup I used my vegetable soup recipe as a starting point and used leeks instead of onions; bok choy instead of celery; Chinese cabbage instead of kale; added some soy sauce and sesame oil. Rather than chopping the vegetables in big chunks, I sliced the bok choy thinly and shredded the carrots and cabbage. For ease of preparation I used a rotary grater that my cousin, Angela, recommended to me a few months ago. (Savvy cooks run in my family.) I ladled the soup over Chinese chow mein noodles and floated a soy puff on top. If you get the chance to shop at an Asian market you might be delighted to see all of the different types of noodles that are available — noodles made from rice flour, wheat flour, potato flour and bean flour that come in all thicknesses and lengths. (I cut the noodles in half before cooking and we still had to use a spoon and a fork to twirl the noodles from our bowls.) You can make the same soup and change it up every week just by using a different noodle. And then you can always use rice instead of noodles. Better yet you can simmer some vegetable dumplings in the soup. This soup, with its finely prepped vegetables and lightly-flavored broth, is a delicate yet satisfying version of vegetable soup. Get your soup on and make it a Vegi-curious day!

Carrots, Leeks, Bok Choy, Garlic








Chinese Vegetable Soup

 Makes about 5 quarts

  • 1 large leek, thinly sliced and rinsed
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 extra large carrot, shredded
  • 6 to 8 oz. baby bok choy, thinly sliced (use stems and leaves)
  • 8 oz. Chinese cabbage, thickly shredded
  • 16 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil (omit for fat free)
  • Optional: 4 teaspoons Better Than Bouillon soup base to taste
  • Grain of choice (brown/white rice, orzo, noodles, quinoa etc.)

In a large sauce pot saute leeks, garlic, carrots and bok choy until lightly browned. Add water or broth and bouillon if using. Bring to boil, add cabbage and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Place noodles or grain of choice in soup bowl and ladle the soup into the bowl.


28 Jan 2016

Sunday Dinner Eggplant Parmigiana

Eggplant Parm

Eggplant Parmigiana

Sunday dinner was a religion in my family. In their heyday, my grandmother and mother made the best eggplant parmigiana, hands down. If you don’t believe me, ask any one of my cousins. I was lucky to be able to learn from two of the best home cooks that ever walked this earth and this recipe was left in my hands. I’ve been reluctant to make eggplant parmigiana for a few reasons:


One. We would dip the eggplant slices in egg, then coat them with bread crumbs.

Two. The coated slices were then fried in oil.

Three. The slices were layered with tomato sauce (which is okay), and mozzarella (which is not okay).

How could I leave out the eggs, oil and mozzarella yet still stay true to the family recipe and that awesome eggplant parmigiana taste? It wasn’t until I discovered two things: Aquafaba and The Non-Dairy Evolution Cookbook.

Aquafaba is the liquid that results from cooking chickpeas and beans. There’s a facebook group dedicated to Aquafaba recipes. The members of the group experiment and share recipes (mostly baked goods) using aquafaba. The recipes on this site look amazing. For this recipe, I used the aquafaba instead of egg to coat the eggplant slices and it worked beautifully.

Breaded Eggplant

Breaded Eggplant








And the next amazing discovery is The Non-Dairy Evolution cookbook. I bought this book a few months ago. I made a few cheeses, but made the mistake of using virgin coconut oil instead of refined coconut oil giving the cheese a strong coconut taste. I put the book away until this morning. I made a batch of non-dairy mozzarella using the refined coconut oil this time. It took about 15 minutes to make and six hours to set up in the fridge. I couldn’t believe my eyes or mouth! It looks, feels, shreds, slices, and tastes like mozzarella. Look, I’m from Brooklyn, so I know good mozzarella. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a Brooklyn cheese store mozzarella, but it’s the best non-dairy mozzarella I’ve had in three years.

Non-Dairy Evolution Mozzarella

Non-Dairy Evolution Mozzarella








The secret to great eggplant parmigiana is in the layering: sauce, eggplant, sauce, mozzarella and repeat. It’s no secret that my family loves to cook and loves to eat. And we never kept our recipes secret either. So I’m happy to share my family’s recipe for Eggplant Parmigiana; still made with love, but not with eggs or dairy. Dinner’s at 2:00 on Sunday in my house. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Eggplant Parmagiana

Aquafaba is the liquid that chickpeas and beans are cooked in. This recipe uses the liquid from canned chickpeas.

2 small eggplants (about 2 lbs. total), thinly sliced
¼ cup Aquafaba (see notes)
¼ tsp. black salt
1/8 tsp. turmeric
Breadcrumbs (see notes)
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 tablespoon parsley

2 quarts of marinara sauce
2 Tablespoons dried oregano

8 oz. plant-based mozzarella, thinly sliced
(I use the mozzarella recipe from The Non-Dairy Evolution)

Notes: The amount of aquafaba and breadcrumbs can vary depending on how many slices of eggplant you get and how thickly you coat them. Start with 1/4 cup aquafaba and ½ cup of breadcrumbs and add more as you go along.

Line large rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Stir together aquafaba, black salt and turmeric. Season breadcrumbs with garlic powder, pepper and parsley. Drip eggplant slices in aquafaba “egg”, then coat both sides with breadcrumbs. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake on lowest rack for about 10 minutes per side. Depending on your oven, you might have to adjust the baking time and temperature, so keep an eye of them. Remove from oven and let cool.

To assemble:

Mix marinara with oregano. Cover the bottom of an 8” square baking dish with sauce, then a layer of eggplants, more sauce, then about one-half of the cheese. Repeat for two more layers, ending with a layer of sauce. Place in 350 degree oven until sauce “cooks” in to the eggplant, about 45 minutes. Add a thin layer of shredded mozzarella on top and place in oven for another five minutes. Remove and cool slightly before serving.




09 Aug 2015

Vegicurious Home-Grown Weed(s) and Arugula

Noodle Salad, Pesto, Garden 015 Garden Purslane I’ve always tried my hand at gardening. When I had my town home in New Jersey, I had a container garden for herbs. I still prefer to grow herbs in containers because I can move them in and out of the shade and can use organic potting soil and plant food. A few years ago, I planted Garden Purslane in containers. You may have seen purslane growing in your lawn or garden and thought it was a pesky weed. Yes, it’s a weed; but it’s a healthy weed that is the only plant source of Omega 3 fatty acids. I don’t recommend that you eat the weeds from your lawn, especially since it might have been chemically treated over the years. What I am suggesting is that you buy some seeds and sow them in containers of organic soil. You can order the seeds from Territorial Seed Company. Like most weeds, purslane is extremely heat tolerant and it grows like a weed. In fact, it keeps coming up in my basil and oregano containers. So what can you do with purslane? The easiest thing is to add some into a salad.

Lambs QuartersSpeaking of weeds, I was introduced to Lambs Quarters by the Kranz Hill CSA. This a weed that is similar to spinach. You’ve probably seen this in your garden as well. It can grown pretty tall, so it’s easy to spot. I’ve made it sauteed, but you can probably add it to your salads if you like it uncooked.



ArugulaAnd speaking of salad, why not try growing some arugula? I’ve had a lot of success growing arugula. It is typically grown in the spring and fall but if you have a partially shaded area, you can grow it throughout the summer. The seeds germinate in a few days and when the plants are picked over, you can plant some more. I gave a bunch to my cousin and she mentioned that it’s good for the liver. I’m not surprised about that. Home-grown arugula is really spicy, so you might want to mix it with some other greens and toss it with a honey-balsamic dressing. (I wasn’t working on a recipe today, but I’ll give you a quick dressing anyway.) I encourage you to start your own garden. Start small, even if it’s just a few containers of herbs or weeds. Get your family involved. Hopefully your garden will grow into something really big. Plant some weeds, grow some arugula and make it a Vegi-curious day!

Honey Mustard Balsamic Vinegar

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon honey or agave

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Whisk all ingredients together and toss with your choice of greens.


09 Jun 2015

Jamaican’ Me Crazy Burgers

Jamaican' Me Crazy BurgerOoops! I did it again — I overcooked a batch of red beans in the pressure cooker. Not one to throw imperfectly good food away, I set out to find a use for these beans. As the song goes, “Don’t worry, be happy.” When something goes awry in the kitchen, try to make the best of it. The beans were going to be used in my Jamaican Red Bean Stew, so I used that recipe as my inspiration. The burgers are made with red beans, sweet potatoes, cashews, coconut, ground oatmeal, scallions, garlic, Jamaican curry, allspice and thyme. I couldn’t decide on a sauce to complement the burgers, so I came up with two recipes. Both are made with Jamaican Jerk Seasoning; one with avocado and the other with raw cashews. Depending on how much of a kick you can handle, the Jerk Seasoning can be found either mild or hot. Try to get the Jamaican curry powder as it is quite different than Indian curry powders. Now, I’ve tried a few bean and veggie burgers, both in restaurants and at home. These are by far our favorite burgers. And, as an added bonus, they do not smush out of the bun while enjoying them. (Okay, call me a little O.C.D., but I do like a neat burger.) Serve on a toasted (or not toasted) bun with lettuce, tomato and one of the Jerk dressings. Ya mon, dis is tasty. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Jamaican Red Bean Burgers

1-1/2 cups grated sweet potato
6 scallions, sliced
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup roasted, unsalted cashews, finely chopped
½ cup unsweetened coconut
3/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats, processed into a coarse flour
1-1/2 cups cooked red beans (or 15 ounce can, drained & rinsed)
2 tablespoons ground flax + 3 tbsp water, mixed in bowl
2 teaspoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon Jamaican curry powder
¼ – ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 teaspoons dried thyme
¼ teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, or to taste

Preheat the oven to 350F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, stir together the grated sweet potato, scallions, garlic, coconut and cashews.

In a food processor, add the oats and process until the texture is like a coarse flour. Stir the oat flour into the bowl with the vegetables.

Add the red beans into the processor and process until finely chopped. Add to the sweet potatoes and ground oatmeal.

In a small bowl, whisk together the ground flax and water. Let it sit for only 20 second, then add to mixing bowl. Stir in the coconut oil, tamari, lime juice, curry powder, red pepper, thyme, allspice and salt.

Shape the mixture into 6-8 patties. Place each patty onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake – until the burgers are light brown on the bottom (about 10 – 15 minutes) then gently flip the patties bake for another 10 – 15 minutes.

Serve on toasted buns with tomato, lettuce, onions and one of the Jamaican Jerk Dressings, below.

Avocado Jerk Dressing

1 Haas avocado
3 teaspoons mild or hot Jamaican Jerk Sauce

Place avocado flesh and Jerk sauce in small bowl and mash well. You can process in a mini chop for a smoother sauce.

Cashew Jerk Dressing

1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
3 teaspoons mild or hot Jamaican Jerk Sauce
Juice of 1 lime
8 tablespoons coconut water

In high speed blender, process all ingredients until smooth and creamy, adding more coconut water if necessary.

22 Apr 2015

Vanilla Pudding & Cashew Milk

Vanilla Pudding

Cashew Milk. This is my new favorite thing. I’ve been getting coupons for cashew milk every time I buy almond milk at Shop Rite. I’ve been putting it off. After all, I’ve got almond milk and that’s good enough for me. Well, I was thinking about making my grandmothers Ice Box Cake which requires chocolate and vanilla pudding (and graham crackers). I’ve got the Chocolate Chia Pudding recipe down pretty good, but I haven’t found a vanilla pudding recipe that I like, until today. Cashew milk is creamier than almond milk, so I thought it would work nicely for pudding; and it did! I simply modified a recipe for vanilla pudding made with milk, sugar and corn starch. The pudding came out smooth, creamy and not too sweet. I recommend using unsweetened cashew milk in desserts that have other sweeteners in the recipe. I plan on trying sweetened cashew milk to use for smoothies that need a little sugar. Anyway, here’s the recipe for vanilla pudding. Look for the Ice Box Cake in a future post. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

 Vegi-curious Vanilla Pudding

2-1/2 cups unsweetened cashew milk

3 tablespoons corn starch

1 vanilla bean, split in half

1/2 cup sugar

Measure out 1/2 cup of cashew milk; add corn starch and whisk until lumps disappear. In small saucepan, heat milk, vanilla bean and sugar over low heat. Just before it comes to a boil, add corn starch and whisk together. Continue boiling until thick, about 5 minutes. Pour into container, cover surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cooled completely.

Makes about 6 servings.






12 Apr 2015

Much Ado About Pasta

Quinoa PastaPeople sure do make a fuss about eating regular pasta that’s made with semolina and flour. Unless you’re allergic to gluten, it’s really not a big deal . . .  especially if you’re a plant eater. Nutrition “gurus” are always pushing the fiber issue because they know that the Standard American Diet is high in animal protein and refined foods (translates into “low fiber”). Let’s face it, if you eat a lot of other vegetables, beans, grains and fruit you’re getting plenty of fiber so there’s no need to feel guilty about eating a dish of pasta made with semolina flour. But if you insist on optimizing your fiber intake and still want to enjoy a tasty dish of pasta, there are a few options out there. Last night we had Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Quinoa Spaghetti. If you don’t live near a Trader Joe’s, you can probably find something similar at a Whole Foods Market or any other health food store. Another one of our favorites is Tru Roots pasta, which is made with quinoa, brown rice, amaranth and corn flours. I picked this up at Costco, but you can order it online.  If I had to pick a favorite, it would be Tru Roots. The sauce pictured above is a mushroom marinara. Simply saute some mushrooms along with the onions and garlic in my Marinara Sauce recipe before adding in the crushed tomatoes. Serve with a big salad and, of course, some crusty Italian bread to sop up all that sauce. Simple, delicious, high in fiber . . .  and gluten free! Buon appetito and thanks for being Vegi-curious!

Quinoa Pasta

11 Feb 2015

Mushroom Stuffing

Mushroom Stuffing“You say tomay-to, I say tomah-to”. I make stuffing, you make dressing. What’s the difference? Some believe that if it’s cooked inside the bird, then it’s “stuffing”. If it’s cooked outside of the bird, then it’s “dressing”. Some believe that it’s a regional thing; if you’re from the northeast, you call it “stuffing” even if you cook it outside of the bird; if you’re from the south, you call it “dressing”. Now that we have that all cleared up, let me get to the recipe.

Ever since I can remember, my family’s stuffing recipe has been pretty consistent: sauteed onions and celery, toasted bread, eggs, water and seasonings. Every once in a while we’d throw in some mushrooms or breakfast sausage. When you cook a stuffed turkey, the flavor of the turkey gets infused into the bread and that’s something you can’t do in a casserole.  My remedy is to use Better Than Bouillon No Chicken base in place of water. Since I eliminated the eggs from the family recipe, I added a small amount of black salt. Black salt is kind of interesting in that it’s pink in color, smells like hard cooked eggs and actually adds an egg taste to the stuffing. You can find it online or in an Indian grocery store. I also added some ground fennel to the mix. You’ll need to double or triple the recipe for a large crowd. We enjoyed the stuffing with a baked sweet potato and the leftover Brussel sprouts from my previous post. Looks like this is turning into a month-long Thanksgiving celebration. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Bread Stuffing

8 oz. bread, cubed
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup Better Than Boullion “No Chicken” broth
Garlic powder
Ground fennel seeds (optional)
1/8 tsp. black salt (optional)
Preheat oven to 350F. Place bread cubes on rimmed baking sheet and toast until dry. Transfer to large mixing bowl. You can opt to toast the bread in a toaster.

Coat non-stick skillet with a few drops of olive oil or non-stick spary. Saute mushrooms until brown and softened. Add to mixing bowl. Add onions and celery to skillet and saute until soft, adding stock as needed. Add to mixing bowl. Add stock and seasonings, mix well. Coat baking dish with non-stick spray and fill with stuffing. Cover with foil and bake about ½ hour. Remove cover and bake until top is lightly browned.

Makes about 2 to 4 servings.



17 Nov 2014

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