Tag Archives: mushrooms

Marinated Baby Bellas

Marinated Mushrooms

Mushrooms always seem to make their way into our shopping cart. The way we see it, a dish is not complete without the addition of criminis, shitakes, chanterelles or good ‘ol white button mushrooms. If you share the same love for mushrooms as our family, you will love this simple appetizer.

Our first experience with Marinated Mushrooms was several years ago at The Green Door Restaurant, one of Ottawa’s oldest and best know vegetarian restaurants. It was this restaurant’s cookbook that first introduced me to the ingredients of umeboshi plum vinegar and umeboshi plum paste – two seasonings or condiments that are now staples in our pantry.

Umeboshi plum vinegar, also known as Ume Su, is popular in Japanese and macrobiotic cooking. It has a very unique flavour giving vegetables, fungi, pasta and rice a salty, sour and fruity taste. If you are vegan and love dishes that traditionally use fish sauce, umeboshi works as a great substitute.

As well, this vinegar is known for its medicinal properties. Made from pickled umeboshi plums, it has an alkalizing effect on the body which helps combat illnesses and disease. Just be sure to look for a bottle that doesn’t contain any nasty ingredients. The brand I purchase has three ingredients: ume (Japanese plum), sea salt and shiso. Check out the site Allergies and Your Gut for more information on the making of umeboshi vinegar and its many health benefits.

Have you tried the Garlic Beets? I use umeboshi vinegar in that recipe, too.

With the summer over (said with tears rolling down my cheeks), why not add edible fungi to your diet. Mushrooms are immune-boosters and most are nutrient-dense.

Crimini mushrooms, otherwise known as “baby bellas” – did you know that crimini mushrooms are a younger version of the portobellas? – are the ones I find most in our local stores. They usually sit next to the white button mushrooms in the produce section. I tend to choose the crimini mushrooms for their medium-brown colour and earthier taste.

MARINATED BABY BELLAS

  • 300 grams crimini mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons umeboshi vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil or thyme
  • chopped parsley to garnish

Clean and trim mushrooms. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add clean mushrooms and cook for no more than one minute. Drain and let cool.

Add all other ingredients to a bowl and combine well. Do not add salt. The umeboshi vinegar is salty in taste. When mushrooms are cool, add them to the bowl with dressing and toss. Garnish dish with fresh parsley.

Grilled Teriyaki Veggie Kebobs

We just returned home from another fabulous few days at the family cottage.  The weather was beautiful, but a little on the cool side for swimming.  At least it was for me.  A good northerly wind certainly didn’t stop the kids.  Do they ever get cold?

It was a great weekend! My mother-in-law and father-in-law from Toronto joined us for some delicious gluten-free and vegan meals.  I am absolutely thrilled that they enjoy my cooking and are so willing to try new dishes.  This recipe received many compliments from the young to the old.  So, I just have to share it!

Around mid-morning on Saturday,  Bailey, our little chef in the making, carefully threaded an assortment of cut vegetables (organic tofu, sweet peppers, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and cremini mushrooms) on some pre-soaked skewers.  She did make a special one with only tofu, as a treat for all her hard work. 😉

The uncooked kebobs were placed in a glass container with a lid.  The lid allowed for a “shake and twirl” during the marinating process.

The veggie kebobs were marinated in a delicious Teriyaki Sauce adapted from Lindsay Nixon’s cookbook Everyday Happy Herbivore.  Like all of Nixon’s recipes, this sauce contains no added oil, which you tend to find in so many sauces and marinades.  I went with a Teriyaki flavour because it was requested by “Kay”, my 14 year-old.   A super choice, if I do say so myself!  I left the kebobs to marinate in the fridge for a good portion of the day while we enjoyed the beauty of the lake.

That evening, under my husband’s supervision, Bailey grilled the kebobs while Oma made a mixed green salad and I prepared some brown rice.  The kebobs were grilled on a relatively low heat for about 15 – 20 minutes.  They were turned often to avoid  charring.  (We are not a fan of charred veggies).  Using a cook’s brush, Bailey applied a bit of marinade to each kebob as they were cooking.  Since there was no oil in the marinade,  there were no flare-ups. 🙂

I really wish I had a photo of the finished product on a bed of brown rice.  I just wasn’t thinking.  We were three-quarters of the way through our meal when I realized that I had forgotten a plated photo.  Unfortunately, this is typical for me.  I’ll blame it on my impatient stomach.

Here is the recipe.  Enjoy!

TERIYAKI MARINADE

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos*  (or gluten-free and organic soy sauce)
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot starch (cornstarch would work, too)
  • about 1 tsp of grated ginger
  • about 1 tsp of minced garlic
  • a little lemon juice
  • 3 tsp coconut sugar (or light brown sugar)
  • dash of red pepper flakes

Whisk well all the above ingredients in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Once at a boil, remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk for a couple more minutes.  Let cool.

Once cooled, pour marinade over container of uncooked veggie kebobs.  You may want to reserve a little marinade in a bowl to be used during the grilling.  Place container of kebobs and marinade in the refrigerator.

Occasionally turn the kebobs  to allow sauce to coat each and every vegetable.

* I used coconut aminos to replace the soy sauce in this recipe.  Many individuals have an intolerance to soy and my husband is one.  Using coconut aminos allowed him to enjoy the Teriyaki flavour of our grilled vegetables without any digestive upsets.  As for the kebobs, he removed the tofu and shared it with other family members. 

Please note that there is absolutely no need to go on a frantic search for a “meat alternative”, like tofu for these kebobs.  A varied, whole foods, plant-based diet is perfectly healthy and contains all the protein your body needs.  Tofu is certainly not necessary to make these kebobs a complete meal!

Interested in learning more about tofu and soy?  Check out my thoughts here

Here are a couple of beautiful photos my daughter took this weekend of the lake. 🙂 She so wanted a loon or osprey shot!  Maybe next time.

Shanghai-Style Noodle Soup

As many of you are aware, I absolutely LOVE to travel.  This is one reason why I have chosen to eat so well.  There are just too many spectacular places on this earth to encounter in one lifetime.  I do not have the time to get sick.  I want to remain healthy and energetic for as long as I can so that I can experience all the wonders of this beautiful world.

Last Thursday I had the opportunity to accompany my husband to Shanghai for the weekend.  Yes, the weekend.  I know it’s a long flight (14 hours) and my time there not as long as I would like, but I gladly accepted the offer.  Seeing the world in short spurts will suffice for now.

During my short stay, I fell in love with Chinese Noodle Soup.  Actually, I became addicted to this meal and had it for breakfast and dinner on all 3 days.  When I returned home, I was to sure to stop by the grocery store for its ingredients.  I wanted to share this simple, warming, and aromatic dish with my children.  Their reaction – “Mom you should make this more often!!”.  I think I might just do that.

menoodles

SHANGHAI-STYLE NOODLE SOUP

  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 4 cups gluten-free, organic vegetable broth
  • 300 g dried mixed mushrooms*, soaked in 2 cups of broth for 5 minutes
  • 454 g organic tofu, cubed and stir-fried in sesame oil until lightly browned
  • 198 g stir-fry rice noodles, soaked in boiling water for approximately 4 minutes then drained
  • 2 cups baby bok choy, chopped
  • 250 g fresh bean sprouts
  • gluten-free soya sauce (I used Bragg’s liquid soy seasoning), if desired

Heat sesame oil over medium heat.  Stirring constantly, cook garlic and ginger for about 2 minutes.  Add vegetable broth, mushrooms, tofu, and bok choy.  Heat to boiling, then let simmer for 5 minutes.

In a large soup bowl, add cooked rice noodles.  Ladle broth and vegetables into bowl over noodles.  Add a handful of bean sprouts to bowl and stir soup.

Add a dash or two of soya sauce if desired.

* China is the world’s largest edible mushroom producer.  A bowl of noodle soup in Shanghai contains such a vast array of mixed mushrooms (shitake, tree oyster, chanterelle, and black trumpets, just to name a few – some of which I had never had the pleasure of tasting until this visit.  Try not to settle for white button mushrooms.  I found a wonderful bag of locally grown assorted dried mushrooms in a nearby natural food store.  What a wonderful flavour it brought to this soup!

Mushrooms are high in fiber, high in protein and contain B vitamins. They are considered the “meat” of the vegetable world.  I think I may become a mycophagist! 😉

shanghainoodlesoup

shanghai

A Festive Fall Meal

When you make this one, you may want to play a little Adele and pour yourself a good glass of Shiraz.  It takes a little time, but is so worth it!  I made this dish last Sunday evening for some carnivorous family members.  They left my house with a smile and a very full belly!

STUFFED PORTOBELLOS WITH MASHED POTATO AND MUSHROOM GRAVY

  • 5 large portobello mushroom caps
  • 4 medium sized potatoes*, quartered and cooked
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • dairy-free butter (I used Earth Balance)
  • 1/3 cup milk  (I used an unsweetened, organic almond milk)
  • grated cheese (I used cheddar flavoured daiya cheese)
  • sea salt and pepper
  • red wine for drizzling
  • parsley for garnish

Saute onion in coconut oil and set aside.  Mash cooked potatoes with butter, milk, salt and garlic in a mixing bowl.  Set aside.  Wipe mushrooms clean with a paper towel and place on a baking sheet.  Lightly drizzle some wine on the baking sheet and over the mushrooms.  Top mushrooms with cheese, mashed potato and sauteed onions.  Bake at 400 degrees Faranheit for about 10 minutes.  Garnish with parsley and fresh pepper.  Serve with mushroom gravy, a mixed green salad or squash soup.

*Instead of potatoes, try mashed squash!

MUSHROOM GRAVY

  • 4 cups fresh mushrooms (any kind)
  • 1/3 cup arrowroot flour
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes*
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce (I used Bragg liquid soy seasoning)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon and a bit more thyme
  • chopped parsley

Steam fry mushrooms until brown and tender.  Set aside.  In a sauce pan over high heat, stir arrowroot flour and nutritional yeast flakes until it smells toasty. (At this point, do not get distracted and pour yourself another glass of Shiraz!).  Whisk in water, wine, soy sauce, salt and thyme.  Stir gravy constantly until it thickens and begins to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 2-5 minutes.  Pour over cooked mushroom caps and add chopped parsley or thyme leaves for garnish.

*Nutritional yeast is a yellow inactive yeast with a nutty cheesy flavour.  It is a good source of protein and B complex vitamins.  Try sprinkling some nutritional yeast over hot popcorn or pasta for that cheesy flavour.