Mushroom Risotto

Life has been really hectic lately. I’m working on a second Pantry Magic cookbook, expanding my line of fruit and vegetable powders on Etsy, and it feels like forever since I’ve posted anything. But honestly, I’m having one of those days when I just want something simple and warm and nourishing. Creamy mushroom risotto is the perfect answer. I know, you’re thinking that’s too much work, all that stirring. But there’s nothing complicated about risotto, and as a matter of fact, I find the stirring kind of soothing. Besides, it doesn’t really take that long, so let’s get started.

Here is what we’ll need:

  • 1 cup of arborio rice (you could also use a short grain brown rice)
  • 2 cups of mushrooms, any kind, sliced and quartered, plus 1 tablespoon of my Gourmet Mushroom Powder (you can find it for sale at ElaineintheKitchen on Etsy)
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 have onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 6 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped fine
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Pour the rice into a heavy bottom sauce pan with no oil or water.

Let the rice toast lightly, stirring to keep it from burning. When the rice becomes slightly fragrant, pour in the wine.  Let the wine cook down and then add 1 cup of vegetable broth.

Let the rice simmer on a medium low heat, stirring frequently. When the broth has been mostly absorbed, add another cup of broth. Continue slowly adding the broth until it has been absorbed.

In the meantime, in a preheated sauce pan, add the onions and garlic along with two tablespoons of broth.

Season with the thyme, salt and pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes and add the mushrooms. Sauté,stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are cooked (10-20 minutes). Remove from the heat and cover.

When the rice is cooked and has absorbed most of the broth, add in the mushrooms and onions, along with the parsley. Stir to blend completely.  Continue cooking for another 5 minutes. Cover, and let rest.

 

Served with a simple side dish of steamed carrots, tossed with maple syrup and dill.

A Plate of Creamy Goodness

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What to Do with Tofu

As a young fan of Star Trek, I was fascinated by the replicator.  Now, even then I knew you couldn’t make something from nothing (thanks to Mrs. Peterson’s Basic Science class).  So what did they put into the replicator that would make everything from a steak dinner to Earl Grey Tea.   Many years later, I had an epiphany. Tofu.  It’s good for you, it can taste like anything, and it’s the perfect food version of a blank canvas.  Now when I mentioned this to some friends who still think they hate tofu, they of course disagreed, quoting some obscure science fiction explanation.  Still, I think my theory is sound and here are a couple of ways you can start with tofu and make something else entirely that is absolutely delicious even if you hate tofu.

Tofu Taco Fingers

Ingredients

What You Need

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • 1 14 oz pkg of extra firm tofu
  • 1 pkg of taco seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • Tortilla shells
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Chopped green onions
  • Shredded cheese
  • Taco Sauce

Preparation

Combine the cornstarch with the taco seasoning.  Dredge the tofu slices in the cornstarch/seasoning mix, then dip in beaten egg, and finally coat with the panko bread crumbs.

Dipped in Egg and Rolled in Crushed Corn Chips

 

 

Heat a skillet with about 2 tablespoons of oil.  Fry the tofu fingers until crispy and brown on all sides.  Remove from the skillet and drain on a paper towel.

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Assemble tacos.

Tofu Tacos

 

Nom nom nom.

 

 

 

 

Now it’s time for dessert.  Yes, you can make dessert from tofu, and it’s so easy you may never make regular pudding again.

Tofu Chocolate Pudding

Ingredients

  • 1 12 oz pkg of firm Silken tofu
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon chopped nuts

Silken Tofu 2

Cocoa-Maple Syrup-Vanilla

Preparation

In a food processor combine the tofu, cocoa powder and maple syrup.  Blend until smooth and completely combined.

Silken Chocolate Tofu Pudding

Pour into a dish and sprinkle with nuts.  Chill for 1-2 hours and serve.  Trust me.  No one will know it’s tofu.

Savory Tofu Quiche

Tofu Quiche

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg of firm or extra firm tofu
  • 1 teaspoon herb de provence or other herb blend
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (or grated parmesan cheese)
  • 3 tablespoons hummus
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 large shallot thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 red sweet pepper, diced
  • 3 stalks fresh asparagus, cut into pieces
  • 6 to 8 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • (use any combination of vegetables you like or have in the fridge)

Crust

  • 2-3 cups thawed frozen hash brown potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Preparation

Firmly press the potatoes into the tart shell, forming a crust and making sure to push up the sides of the pan.  Bake in a 450 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.  Set aside to cool.

Combine the tofu, herbs, nutritional yeast, hummus, salt and pepper in a food processor.  Pulse until thoroughly mixed.  Transfer to a large bowl and fold in the vegetables.  Pour the mixture into the tart pan.  Lower the oven to 375 degrees and bake for 30-45 minutes. Ovens vary so test for doneness at 30 minutes.  Return to oven and bake until golden brown.

Serve warm or room temperature.  It’s even better the next day.

Let me know what you think.  Enjoy!

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Exciting News

Carrot

Carrot Powder

I haven’t posted for a couple of months but I have been really busy with a new project.  Today I opened my Etsy Shop featuring a new line of Vegetable Powders for the kitchen.  I’ve been making and using vegetable powders for some time now.  At first it was just a good way to use and store an over abundant garden, but I really love what the flavor of concentrated vegetable powders do for my cooking.  It really brightens up soups and stews and you can add my Gourmet Mushroom Powder to rubs and marinades, or just use it like a sprinkle on seasoning.  So far, I’m offering Carrot Powder, Tomato Powder, Gourmet Mushroom Powder, Super Greens Blend and a jalapeno powder that I call Green Thunder.  I almost have to wear hazmat gear when I make this one.

I’ll also have a book for sale sometime this summer called Pantry Magic: Powders and Potions.  I started the book before I got the idea for the store.  The hardest part of doing both has turned out to be learning to take decent pictures.  So, I’m excited and I’m looking forward to bringing you some great summer recipes.

The Etsy Shop is called ElaineintheKitchen.  I’d encourage all of you to check it out and let me know what you think.  I’ll be back with recipes next week.

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Rainy Day Mushroom Soup and Vegan Welsh Rarebit

It’s the first week in April and it’s snowing outside, not a lot, just enough to let you know you shouldn’t put your heavy coat away.  So, I’m going to make some warm, silky, autumn tasting cream of mushroom soup.  Mushroom anything is delicious, and a big pot of soup is just the beginning.  After today, I’ll make some of the leftover soup into a sauce for pasta, and the day after that I’ll smother a baked potato with it, and if anything is left just throw it in the freezer for your next casserole.  I guarantee that once you make this at home, you’ll never buy that disgusting canned stuff again.

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Creamy Mushroom Soup

  • 3 cups fresh button mushrooms, brushed clean and quartered
  • 1 cup reconstituted shitake mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 medium large onion (about 1 1/2 cups) chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups of stock, vegetable (mushroom is best)
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika
  • 1 teaspoon mushroom powder*
  • Add salt and pepper later to taste
  • 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce, or Braggs aminos (Worchestershire works too)
  • 3/4 cup cashew or coconut cream (use any milk or cream you prefer).
  • 1 tablespoon plain yogurt or sour cream

You’ll need:

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Directions:

In a soup pot, gently sauté the onions, garlic and mushrooms until they are soft.  Add the parsley, thyme and paprika. *I also add a blend of dried mushroom powder that I make.  It just adds some extra depth and yumminess but it’s not necessary.

Now add the stock and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.

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Add the salt and pepper to taste.  Pour in the cream or milk and stir until thoroughly combined.  Heat through.  Turn off the heat and let it rest for about 5 minutes.  Ladle into bowls and top with a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt.

Quick Vegan Coconut Cheese

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I’ve tried a fair number of vegan cheeses with varying success.  Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures of the process.  This isn’t exactly cheese as I think of it and I wouldn’t recommend it for a sandwich, but it’s delicious and definitely meltable.  It’s the perfect topping for vegan Welsh rarebit to accompany my big bowl of Creamy Mushroom Soup.

  • 3 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • pinch cayenne
  • juice of ½ lime or 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 can coconut cream (I think Savoy is best, no added ingredients)
  • 1 ½ tsp agar agar powder
  • 2 Tablespoons tapioca starch mixed in ¼ cup water to form slurry

Pour coconut cream into a saucepan and stir in agar agar.  Add salt, turmeric, paprika and cayenne.  Stir to combine.  Add lime juice or vinegar and bring to a boil, stirring constantly until smooth and slightly thickened.  Stir in the tapioca starch slurry and stir vigorously until silky smooth and thickened.  Pour into molds (I’ve found plastic works really well).  Chill in refrigerator for 8 hours until firm.

*Fermented Coconut Cheese:  Follow the directions above.  Let cook slightly and stir in the contents of 1-2 probiotic capsules.  Pour into molds and let ferment on the counter top for about 6 hours.  Chill in refrigerator for 8 hours until firm.

Vegan Welsh Rarebit

I’ve eaten this for breakfast, lunch, and late night snacks.  It’s a great accompaniment for soup or salad.

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Take one slice of Ezekiel bread (or some other hearty grain bread).  Spread some coconut oil on one side.  Put in a cast iron fry pan with the oil side down.  Put two 1/2 inch thick slices of vegan coconut cheese on the top and put under the broiler for about 5-7 minutes or until the cheese turns a nice dark brown on top.

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This made my gloomy day all better.  Try it and enjoy.