STUFFED SHITAKE MUSHROOMS

Remove stalks from Shitake. Smear a little vegan spread or butter on the bottom on each mushroom, and arrange them bottom bottom-side-down in a baking dish.

Heat the oil in a large skillet and add the Fenugreek seeds. Fry for a minute.

Add the onion, garlic and fennel. Fry over a medium heat, constantly stirring, until the onion and fennel is soft.

Add the tempeh and fry for a further 2-3 minutes. Stir in the Tamari

Add the pecans and break crumbs and fry for another minute. Season well.

Place a dot  vegan butter substitute into each mushroom. Spoon in the stuffing.

Cover with foil, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake for a further 10 mins.

Sprinkle with chopped flat leaf parsley before serving.

 

STUFFED SHITAKE MUSHROOMS

My favorite mushrooms to stuff are Shikake, and since I found a huge basket of them at the farmers market this weekend, I got to work. This simple, vegan dish makes for a lovely spring supper.

Serves 4

 

Pre-heat oven to 375 F

12-16 medium Shitake mushrooms

3 tbsp grapeseed or olive oil

1 tsp fenugreek seeds

1medium onion, minced

2 gloves garlic, minced

1 small fennel bulb, finely chopped

4 -ounces of tempeh, finely chopped

2 tbsp Tamari sauce

1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup breadcrumbs

Vegan butter substitute (I love Melt)

Salt and pepper to taste.

Remove stalks from Shitake. Smear a little vegan spread or butter on the bottom on each mushroom, and arrange them bottom bottom-side-down in a baking dish.

Heat the oil in a large skillet and add the Fenugreek seeds. Fry for a minute.

Add the onion, garlic and fennel. Fry over a medium heat, constantly stirring, until the onion and fennel is soft.

Add the tempeh and fry for a further 2-3 minutes. Stir in the Tamari

Add the pecans and break crumbs and fry for another minute. Season well.

Place a dot of  vegan butter substitute into each mushroom. Spoon in the stuffing.

Cover with foil, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake for a further 10 mins.

Sprinkle with chopped flat leaf parsley before serving.

 

Moroccan Beet Soup

4 tbsp olive oil

1/2 large yellow onion, sliced

2 garlic cloves, sliced

1 tsp cumin seeds

11/2 pounds beets (about 6 medium beets) peeled and cubed

1 large potato, peeled and cubed

4 1/2 cups veggie stock

3 tbsp red wine vingar

1 bunch small bunch parsley, roughly chopped

Sea Salt

1cup greek yogurt (thin with a little milk so that it’s runny)

Heat the oil in a large, heavy saucepan and add the onion. Turn down to low and fry forabout 10 minutes until the onion is slightly browned.

Add the cumin seeds and the garlic and fry for a further 2 minutes. Add the beets and potato, followed by the broth. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the cubes of potato are completely soft. Remove from heat and stir in half of the parsley and the vinegar, and 2 tsp sea salt. Transfer to a food processor and blend until smooth. Return to saucepan, and heat until very warm just prior to serving.

Moroccan Beet Soup

I love to cook with beets whenever I can because they are so incredibly nourishing. I grate them, juice them, roast them, but what I haven’t done for a while, is prepare a really good beet soup. This recipe is exquisite because of the subtle flavors and beautiful velvety texture. You will fall in love with it.

4 tbsp olive oil

1/2 large yellow onion, sliced

2 garlic cloves, sliced

1 tsp cumin seeds

11/2 pounds beets (about 6 medium beets) peeled and cubed

1 large potato, peeled and cubed

4 1/2 cups veggie stock

3 tbsp red wine vingar

1 bunch small bunch parsley, roughly chopped

Sea Salt

1cup greek yogurt (thin with a little milk so that it’s runny)

Heat the oil in a large, heavy saucepan and add the onion. Turn down to low and fry forabout 10 minutes until the onion is slightly browned.

Add the cumin seeds and the garlic and fry for a further 2 minutes. Add the beets and potato, followed by the broth. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the cubes of potato are completely soft. Remove from heat and stir in half of the parsley and the vinegar, and 2 tsp sea salt. Transfer to a food processor and blend until smooth. Return to saucepan, and heat until very warm just prior to serving.

 

Serve in warmed bowls, and top with a generous drizzle of yogurt, a sprinkle of parsley and a few drops of good quality olive oil.

Athena Panini

I had to think of a fancy name for my absolute favorite sandwich of the moment. It’s essentially a Medittaranean sandwich, made with creamy goat cheese and marinated veggies.

I recently invested in a great little panini griddle, and I use it all the time because my daughter is obsessed with grilled sandwiches. But, I wanted to create a healthy vegetarian panini, which isn’t always easy because you obviously don’t want to fill a warm sandwich with lettuce or cucumber. However, marinated veggies are perfect in a panini.

I used a really creamy goat cheese (I only eat goat and sheep cheeses because they are easier to digest,) and I used marinated red bell peppers and marinated artichokes. I sometimes add pitted and halved black olives, too.

They key is really good bread. For this sandwich, I used an amazing Olive Sourdough loaf. I also slather the outside of the bread (the side that comes into contact with the griddle,) with olive oil.

I served my sandwich with a lightly dressed spinach salad.

 

BLACKBERRY & APPLE SCONES WITH CREAM

So, as you can see, I’m on a roll with my cashew cream (obsessed), and my gluten-free baking mixes. I promise I’ve got some savory dishes up my sleeve, but couldn’t resist trying this today.

Coming from England, I have a penchant for scones and cream, so this is my gluten-free, dairy-free version, (Mom would be appalled!)

The Scones

2 1/4 cups gluten-free baking mix

1tsp baking powder

8 tbsp butter or vegan butter substitute such as Earth Balance coconut spread.

1/3 cup date sugar (or you can use regular brown sugar, but date is a bit healthier).

2/3 cup rice or almond milk

1 egg, beaten

1 cup frozen blackberries

1 large apple, peeled, cored and cut into tiny cubes

1/2 cup walnut pieces

Cashew Cream

2 cups raw whole cashews

About 3/4 cup water

4 dates, pitted

 

To make the scones:

 

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F

I used a stand mixer:

Place the dry ingredients in the mixer. “cut” the butter into the flour. Get the mixer going on low and add the sugar, milk and egg. Careful not to over blend it. Add the fruit and nuts.

Bake for 15-17 minutes and cool on a wire rack

To make the cream. Rinse off the cashews, and place in high-speed blender (Vitamix is ideal.) Cover with water until the water line comes half way up the cashews. Add the dates and blend until you have smooth, thick whipped cream consistency. Scoop into a container with lid and chill until you are ready to use it.

Serve the scones with a generous dollop of this insanely delish cream.

 

 

 

 

GLUTEN-FREE FLAX PANCAKES WITH BLACKBERRY CASHEW CREAM

I’m a bit pancake-crazy. I just love whipping up different kinds of batters, and experimenting with toppings. Having tried almost every kind of gluten-free mix on the market, it’s a toss up between Pamela’s and The Pure Pantry. The latter does a wonderful buckwheat pancake mix, which is nutty and brown. My family, however, prefer Pamela’s because it gives them more of a traditional “yellow” pancake. I always customize my mixes with healthy little additions.

So, for this week’s recipe, I used good old Pamela’s.

I’m also obsessed with cashew cream. It’s the perfect vegan alternative to cheese and cream. So, you’ll be seeing me using it in a lot of recipes.

Blackberry Cashew Cream:

2 cups of whole raw cashews (they must be raw)

Filtered water

1/2 cup frozen blackberries

1tbsp agave nectar or Xylitol

Cover the nuts with the filtered water and soak overnight. In the morning, rinse them well and place them in a high-speed blender (a Vitamix is ideal). Now, the amount of water you add will depend on how thick you want your cream to be. I think it’s best to experiment. So, first try adding about 3/4 cup water and blend really well (until thick and creamy). If it’s too thick, add a little water. You really want your cream to be the consistency of regular whipped cream. When it has reached the desired consistency, add the berries and the agave/xylitol. Blend for a further 30 seconds, or until the cream has turned purple.

Scoop the cream out into a glass container. Cover and chill for about 1 hour or longer.

Fruit Topping: 

I like to add warm fruit to winter pancakes, so in this case I added warm apples and raisins.

2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cubed.

1tbsp water

1/2 cup raisins.

Place all the ingredients in a heavy saucepan over a low heat. Continue to stir and the apples simmer. You want them to be tender, so don’t overcook them into a mush.

The Pancakes: 

To serve 4 – 6

Pamela’s Gluten-free mix

Additions: I added 3 tbsp ground flax seed, 2 tbsp melted coconut oil, 1tbsp almond milk.

To Fry:

I always fry pancakes in raw coconut oil because it gives them a wonderful taste, and is super-healthy.

I heat about 2 tbsp of the oil in my cast iron frying pan, and when it’s bubbling away, I add the batter.

To Serve:

Make sure your pancakes are piping hot before serving. It helps to warm the plates. Serve with a good dollop of cashew cream and and spoon of the warm fruit.

BTW: The cream will stay good for 2 days in a sealed container in your fridge.

 

Risotto Cakes

Whenever I make risotto, which is almost weekly in the winter, I make a little too much so that I can make a batch of these delicious Risotto cakes the next day. You can make them with any kind of risotto. I made a butternut squash and mushroom risotto. The tempeh gives these cakes a wonderful flavor.

Serves 2

You will need:

About 1 1/2 cups cold risotto

3/4 cup grated tempeh

1 cup breadcrumbs (I made my own from gluten-free bread)

4tbsp of either canola expeller-pressed oil or virgin coconut oil

Pour the breadcrumbs onto a large plate and season with salt and pepper.

Shape the cold risotto into about 6 small patties.

Press the cakes into the crumbs, making sure they are well-coated on both sides.

Place them in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Heat the oil over a high heat until it sizzling. Carefully drop in the cakes and fry on each side for about 3 minutes, or until well-browned and crispy.

Set them on a recycled paper towel, and keep warm in the oven until you plan to eat them.

They are delicious served with steamed green beans and/or a crunchy green salad.

 

 

Vegan Gluten-free Lasagna

I love lasagna, but I do better eating gluten-free, and I try to cook vegan dishes whenever possible. So, my challenge was to cook a really tasty lasagna that my whole family would enjoy. This worked out a treat and everyone agreed that it was as good, if not better-tasting, than a traditional lasagna. I didn’t make every part of the lasagna from scratch because I only had an hour to get it on the table, so a jar of organic tomato Marinara sauce had to suffice. The vegan “Ricotta” is a version of Kris Carr’s Cashew-Pine Nut Ricotta from her marvelous new book, Crazy Sexy Kitchen.

Serves 4

“Ricotta”

1 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked for a few hours to soften

2tbsp lemon juice

2tbsp nutritional yeast

1/2tsp salt

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup water

4 tbsp minced herbs (parsley, chives and basil are best

Simply blend all the ingredients until smooth.

Lasagna:

3 large Portobello mushrooms, sliced

About half a packet of gluten-free lasagna sheets (the best fresh gluten-free pasta ever is R.P’s Pasta Company - their lasagna sheets are insanely good, and you don’t need to pre-cook them.

1 large jar of organic Marinara sauce

2 cups baby spinach.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet and saute the mushrooms until they are lightly browned. Set aside.

Grease a medium baking dish. Start with a layer of mushrooms. Cover with a thin layer of spinach and then a layer of tomato sauce, then a layer of lasagna, and then a layer of the ricotta. Repeat.

Sprinkle Vegan Parmesan over the top and place in the oven for30-40 minutes, or until it’s bubbling and the edges are browned.