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Posts Tagged ‘mushrooms’

Hey, have you ever stopped by The Whole Kitchen? No? Well, get on over there and take a look! I’ll wait…

So didn’t you just love what you saw? Imagine if you gave some of her recipes a shot… Well, I did this past month for the monthly Adopt a Gluten Free Blogger event started, and hosted this month, by Sea over at Book of Yum. This is my very first adoption and I enjoyed it thoroughly. The only problem was choosing which of Jenn’s delicious recipes to try! So I tried a few….more like four. Oops. Oh well, we needed to eat, right?

But first, more about Jenn and The Whole Kitchen. Jenn is a dynamite, creative and intuitive cook as well as a wonderful photographer. She is married, lives in Chicago and works for the American Cancer Society. She is also a runner, like serious running, marathons and stuff. Stuff I don’t do.

Jenn cooks gluten free, of course, but not vegetarian, although she still has some great ideas that can be easily adapted. Jenn was not formally diagnosed with celiac disease but she still knows that gluten is her enemy. Be sure to read about her amazing journey and successes over the past eight years here.

We have enjoyed getting to know one another and have connected over a couple of things; first, she lives in Chicago, from where I moved; second, she grew up in Ohio and with a family that foraged for wild foods like mushrooms and nuts, also like me; third, she loves ice cream (like me) and encouraged me to buy my ice cream maker(!), and lastly she loves great food!

And so without further ado…

First off, we had a good crop of butternut squashes from our garden this year. This was the first year I have grown them but they grew well here in our heat and although they were a tad bit smaller than the ones you find at the grocery, they are great.

The pie pumpkins, butternut squash and last of the Anasazi beans from our garden.

Since I had a couple of these buggers lying around, I figured I should make soup. I chose Jenn’s Roasted Butternut Squash Soup. It was lovely, although I think I used too many carrots since I was using up the baby carrots in the frig and it was a bit carroty. But still wonderful. And just as good was the squash, freshly roasted with rosemary, cooling on the stove. Yum. I couldn’t keep my fingers out of it.

I also made some Bisquick biscuits (first time) to go along with it and they were pretty good too, although a bit crumbly.

Next up, I had been eyeing the Pumpkin Spice Bars she had made recently.

Wow! These were wonderful. And we loved the added bits of ginger. I had to take half the pan to a friend because I knew how dangerous they would be sitting on my counter. And I agree with Jenn too that I only like a smear of frosting. Even though she halved the recipe on her page, it was still a lot of frosting, although delicious, and so my husband is telling me that I will have to make some more bars to go with the frosting! And also because he ate the last one today and I was thinking of it on my drive home from work only to find the pan washed up and the last one missing… The bars would also be delightful without any frosting at all.

Recently, I had asked if anyone had any good recipes for Anasazi beans. We grew some this year as you can see in the picture with the squash, and I picked up a bag at the Farmer’s Market this fall. Beautiful beans. Unfortunately their beautiful colors don’t stick around during cooking. But as I was browsing through The Whole Kitchen’s recipe index, I spotted a recipe that sounded good and used a similar bean, Good Mother Stallard beans. A Potful of Beans. Indeed. The Anasazi beans were a great substitute.

We omitted the bacon and I added a bit more olive oil since there wasn’t any bacon fat to saute the onions in. I also didn’t have Mexican oregano, so I just used regular old oregano. I also added a couple drops of Liquid Smoke to impart some of the bacon-y flavor and smell. It worked. And the smoked paprika added depth as well. These were a tasty treat this week, now that it is starting to get a bit chilly in the evenings. We ate the beans as a meal with some pumpkin corn muffins. We will be making this again.

And although it is getting chilly, we still like our ice cream. And since Jenn convinced me that I ‘needed’ an ice cream maker, I knew I had to make one of her ice creams. Although strawberries aren’t in season, frozen strawberries work almost as well, so we made Jenn’s Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream.

Dy-na-mite!  The flavor was wonderful; just enough goat cheese tang with the sweet strawberries. I actually ended up using only three ounces of goat cheese and one ounce of light cream cheese because I apparently gobbled too much of the goat cheese some other day. I probably could have left out the ounce of cream cheese and the goat cheese still would have shone through. As well, I like how she used coconut milk and half-and-half for the recipe instead of all coconut milk. I haven’t found myself loving the overpowering taste of coconut milk in some dairy-free ice creams. And since I don’t have to be dairy free, I liked this compromise. As I sit here eating a bowl of it…

I have also made some of Jenn’s other recipes, although not as part of this event. Mushroom and Leek Pasta and Thai Curry Coconut Butternut Squash Soup. Of course, these were also delicious.

Mushroom and Leek Pasta made earlier this year.

 

So I hope you’ll go on over and check out The Whole Kitchen and try some of her delicious creations. Enjoy!

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We just made this last night and I HAD to post about them today! As you may have noticed, I normally lag a bit from when I make something and when I post about it. Not today. These got two enthusiastic thumbs up from the official taste-tester.

Last weekend we were on the search for vegetarian, gluten free oyster sauce for the Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps I posted about yesterday and so we made a trip to the big international market in town. I had a couple of key things on my list and the bean curd sheets for this recipe were one of them. Unfortunately they didn’t have them refrigerated or frozen; we asked and looked, multiple times. They only had them dried and they were already crumbled up pretty good. Those would be good for adding to other dishes but I knew I needed big clean sheets to make this dish. So we went to another Asian market down the road. We looked and looked and I was about to give up when we finally found them, next to the frozen ant eggs and thousand-year old eggs. (There were an awful lot of boxes of thousand-year old eggs – they were quite good at predicting how many to prepare, anticipating our future, ancient egg needs!)

So I grabbed two packages, not knowing the condition of the wrappers nor how many I needed exactly or how many were inside the package. When we got home I placed them back in the freezer and then read – and reread – Susan’s recipe over at Fat Free Vegan. (You should also read the original source of the recipe at use real butter.) Then yesterday, I took the wrappers out of the freezer and put them in the refrigerator. And I reread the recipe again.

I was a little intimidated by these simple bean curd sheets. My husband had come in from the garage as I was beginning to pull out the ingredients and asked me if I needed any help. I think he could tell by the look on my face that I wasn’t too sure about what I was beginning. And once I said I was fine, he happily escaped back to the garage and his refinishing project to let me figure this out on my own. He knows it is usually better that way. But it is always nice of him to ask.

So I told myself, how different is it from making spring rolls? Not very different, really. Same basic methods, just slightly different materials. And I can handle spring roll wrappers just fine. So, I opened the package of bean curd sheets. To my surprise, they unfolded into large circles, almost two feet in diameter. Wow. I needed to clear off some more counter space to work with these babies. I had anticipated that they would look more like Susan’s – large rectangles. But they weren’t. So I cut the circles in half, planning to use a full circle for each roll. The package had five and a half circles of tofu in it. So I had plenty. too much, in fact, and not enough filling to fill them all, so I made a small roll that consisted entirely of the bean curd sheets, no filling. (It was good too.)

The sheets are a bit awkward to work with but I was successful. No big mishaps. The hardest part was rolling and trying to keep them tight while not tearing the sheets. Using two sheets per roll helped with that issue as any errors with the first roll were covered up by the second sheet. If you read Susan’s post, she mentions that there are two types of sheets, one being thicker than the other. I think I had the thinner variety.

As is typical for me, I pretty much followed the original recipe to the letter (for the first time at least) and they came out wonderful! They weren’t the prettiest, not as pretty and tight as Susan’s but they tasted SO GOOD! And practice makes perfect, right? Luckily I have another package of sheets in the freezer!

The only change I made was to use fresh shiitake mushrooms instead of dried. But that isn’t much of a change. We made Susan’s five spice sauce to go along with them and I served them up with some stir-fried bok-choy.

My husband, the vegetarian of 14 years, said they reminded him of chicken. I had some chicken last week and I can’t say that the taste reminds me of chicken, but more that the texture does. Maybe it was the umami flavor of the shititake that he was tasting. A lot of people think shiitake taste ‘meaty’ anyway. Regardless, they were great, chicken flavor or not. It’s funny though now, as I look back at the photo above, they almost look like they have a fried chicken-like skin in the picture.

We liked the sauce but I actually preferred them without the five spice sauce. I liked the sweet soy sauce flavor already included in the rolls and the filling and I felt like the two were competing when I dipped it in the added sauce. I think next time I might add some other ingredients to the filling. Cabbage? Green onions?

Have you ever used bean curd sheets before? If you’ve made sushi rolls or spring rolls, you can make these.

Thanks to Fat Free Vegan Kitchen and use real butter for the inspiration and instructions!

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On the weekends, when I have some extra time, I will often tackle a new, time-consuming or difficult dish. Last weekend I tackled P.F. Chang’s Lettuce Wraps. Heidi of Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom found a copycat recipe and recently made them for her family. So I decided to try my hand at making them vegetarian. They turned out great!

Be sure to check out the original recipe over at Heidi’s blog. I only made a few modifications.

I used fresh shiitake instead of the dried as they are so easy to find at our local Trader Joe’s. And I used a one pound container of extra-firm tofu in place of the chicken. I sliced the tofu into 8 slabs and pressed them between clean dish towels to remove the excess water. Then I cut the slabs into cubes about 1/4 – 1/2″ in size.

I did omit the oyster sauce as I have not been able to find a vegetarian oyster sauce that is also gluten free. Yes, they make vegetarian ‘oyster’ sauce – it is typically made from mushrooms – but we were unable to find one that was safe for both of us after looking at the international market, an Asian grocery and Whole Foods. If anyone knows of one that is gluten free AND vegetarian, please let me know. I am not sure there is one to be found.

So, instead of the oyster sauce, I increased both the Hoisin and soy sauce to 2 tablespoons.

Initially when I read the recipe I was concerned about the amount of oil used (5+ Tbsp) and so I started out using a lot less but found I needed to add more as I went along. I am not sure in the end whether I used less than called for or not. So, use your judgment and start with less if you want, but I think you will need to add more, just like I did.

The rice noodles were a lot of fun, like Heidi says. The key is keeping your oil the correct temperature, and Heidi’s suggested temperature is right on. Initially my oil started getting too hot and the noodles were burning before I could get them out of the pan. When I brought the temperature back down, they were perfect and even if I couldn’t get all of the little guys out of the pan on the first scoop, they didn’t burn as quickly and I had a little leeway to chase loose noodles around the oil without them burning. Also, you don’t have to make very many noodles. I broke up a bunch of noodles in preparation for frying them and I ended up with a huge plate full, of which some were burnt, but I still had way too many. So our chickens got to enjoy the extras and the overly crispy, burnt ones.

Just a note, if you are cooking for someone who requires a gluten free diet, be sure your ingredients are gluten free; in particular, the hoisin sauce, soy sauce and oyster sauce.

So, if you are gluten free and vegetarian, you can now try some Lettuce Wraps! Check out P.F.Chang’s gluten free menu – they only offer the chicken wraps gluten free, so they aren’t an option for everyone. Perhaps they don’t make them vegetarian because, like me, they can’t find a vegetarian and gluten free ‘oyster’ sauce? Hmm…

Enjoy!

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Tofu Stir Fry

When stir-frying, be sure to have all your ingredients prepared, chopped and ready to go before you turn on the stove. Start the rice cooker as you begin your preparations and your rice will be ready when dinner is ready.

Many people do not like cooking rice on the stove and so resort to using Minute Rice. I grew up on Minute Rice and have never actually cooked rice on the stove. When I met my husband, he had a rice cooker already and so I learned to use it. Rice cookers do not require any skills to make rice. This is our favorite style of rice cooker. There are other ways to cook rice but I like using a rice cooker because it is one less thing for me to worry about when making dinner; you can turn it on and forget about it. Some of my family members like to use this to cook rice (full disclosure: my mom sells Pampered Chef products). You can also buy frozen pre-cooked rice and microwavable pre-cooked rice bowls at places like Trader Joe’s now too.

If you aren’t a fan of tofu yet, you could use a pound of sliced chicken, or even shrimp, instead.

Tofu Stir Fry

Adapted from Martha Stewart EveryDay Food

1 pound extra-firm tofu *
2 tablespoons soy sauce, gluten free *
1 tablespoon rice vinegar *
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil *
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 small onions, cut into wedges
9 ounces mushrooms *
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 1/4 pounds bok choy, chopped, stem and green pieces separated
1/4 pound snow peas, trimmed
1 inch knob of ginger, minced
1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 teaspoons cold water

Slice the tofu into 16 slices (or more) and lay in a single layer on a clean dish towel. Fold the dish towel over top of tofu and then lay something heavy on top like a cast iron skillet or cutting board. This helps remove the extra water from the tofu so that it browns quicker and easier. Leave it for about 10 minutes.

Mix together the soy sauce, vinegar and sesame oil and pour into shallow baking dish. Place the tofu in a single layer in the baking dish. Let marinate for about 5 minutes, then flip the slices and let it sit for another 5 minutes.

When all your ingredients are chopped and ready to go, heat the oil in your wok or large skillet. Carefully lay in the tofu in a single layer. The oil will splatter because of the water remaining in the tofu. Reserve the marinade from the tofu. Let the tofu cook for about 5 minutes and then flip it over and cook for 5 minutes more, or until it is slightly browned. Remove tofu to a plate.

Add the onions to the hot oil in your pan. Stir until they begin to get brown, 5-6 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook for about 2 minutes. Add bell pepper and bok choy stems, cook for 3 minutes.  Add snow peas and ginger and cook for 2 minutes. Add the bok choy leaves and the reserved marinade. Stir up the cornstarch and water mixture again and stir in. Add tofu and heat through. Serve with rice.

Notes:

* For stir-frying, extra firm tofu is best. It comes water-packed in a plastic tray. You will find it in the refrigerated section of large grocery stores.

* If you are cooking gluten free, be sure the soy sauce is gluten free. San-J Gluten Free Tamari and LaChoy brands are both safe. Be sure to watch the labels on the San-J sauces as not everything they make is gluten free.

* Rice vinegar can be found in the Asian food section of most large grocery stores. Be sure to read the ingredients and make sure it is gluten free.

* Toasted sesame oil, yum! This can be found at most large grocery stores with the specialty oils. This is one of my favorite ingredients. The smell is divine. Whenever I use this, my husband always comments that whatever I am making smells wonderful.

* We used shiitake mushrooms for this dish as it is our preferred mushroom.

* I doubled the amount of marinade for this recipe and thought it was just right.

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