What Life Dishes Out A Gluten Free and (almost) Vegetarian Cooking Blog

November 29, 2010

Magical Mushrooms & “Meaty” Vegetarian Chili

Filed under: Recipes,Soups,Vegan,Vegetarian,Veggies — Tags: , , , , , , , , — admin @ 7:27 pm

Mushrooms are magical.  No, not those kind of mushrooms.  I’m talking about the regular ones.

Minced and cooked, these gems can stand in for meat, bringing an earthy, almost meaty flavor and texture that is way more authentic tasting than any processed soy granules.  Healthier, too!

When I set out to make Chili last weekend, I searched the web and found numerous Vegetarian Chili recipes, and a few called for mushrooms.  It was one of those “Aha Moments”.  I knew that instead of the bag of TVP in my cupboard that I’d had in mind, I’d be using the giant package of fresh mushrooms in my refrigerator. 

Another component of many of the vegetarian chilis were vegetables not traditionally used for chili, like zuchinni and corn.  But I wanted a chili that looked and tasted like real chili.   So, I did what I do best…I adapted.

This recipe is loosely based on an Emeril Lagasse recipe for Vegetarian Chili, which can be found here.

You’ll need:

2 Tbsp Canola Oil

1 large Onion

2 medium Bell Peppers – Red or Green

4-5 cloves Garlic

2 Serrano or Jalapeno Peppers

20 ounces fresh Mushrooms

2 Tbsp Chili Powder

2 tsp Cumin

1 1/2 tsp Salt

1/4 tsp Cayenne

1/4 tsp Pepper

3 large Tomatoes

2 – 15 oz cans beans – I used Red Kidney and Black

1 – 15 oz can Tomato Sauce

1 cup Water

What to do:

Prepare vegetables.  First, chop onion.

Chop Bell Peppers.

Mince Serrano Pepper (remove seeds if you don’t like it very spicy) and Garlic.  I used a food processor to get them very fine.

Chop Mushrooms into very small pieces (think burger meat size).  Again, I used my food processor to make this job easy. 

Chop Tomato.

(Oops!  No photo – sorry!)

Rinse and drain beans.

In a large stockpot, heat Canola Oil.  Add Onions, Peppers, Serrano and Garlic and cook until onions start to become translucent.

Add Mushrooms to pot. 

Cook for a few minutes, then add spices and stir for 30 seconds before adding tomato, beans, tomato sauce, and water.

Cook chili over medium heat, stirring often for about 20  30 minutes before serving.

Serve garnished with shredded cheese and sour cream (if desired), beside a hunk of Cornbread or Tortilla Chips. 

This was so Yummy!  The mushrooms really did a great job standing in for the burger meat.  I never would have known the difference, except maybe for the lack of grease!

While were on the subject of mushrooms, have you ever seen a Fairy Ring?  I had always been told that when you found a ring of mushrooms in the grass, you knew the fairies has been dancing there the night before.  

 See?  Mushrooms really are magical.

We were out playing tennis at a nearby park one day last summer and as happens frequently with unskilled players like us, the ball kept going over the fence (never mind that the fence reaches practically to the sky, we somehow managed to still hit it out of bounds over and over again).   During one ball retrieval trip, I spotted this ring of mushrooms and called everyone over to take a look.  My friend snapped this photo, which I just love.

To learn more about fairy rings and their true cause, check it out here.  I, however, am going to hang onto my belief that it really is a mark of the fairies’ recent visit.

July 26, 2010

Rosemary & Roasted Garlic Cream Pasta with Mushrooms and Sundried Tomatoes

Filed under: Pasta,Recipes,Sides — Tags: , , , , , , , — admin @ 12:27 pm

I’m drooling just typing that title.  This stuff is seriously good.  I developed the recipe after dining out one night and eating the most delicious creamy pasta dish I had ever encountered.  It was served beside bread with rosemary baked right in and I came home determined to replicate the taste combo.  I think I may have done better than the original, if I do say so myself!  This recipe would make The Pioneer Woman proud too, since I use a ton of heavy cream and a full stick of butter in the sauce!

You’ll need:

12-13 Garlic Cloves (about 2 heads)

1 quart Heavy Cream

1 stick Butter

12 – 24 ounces Mushrooms

1 Cup Sun Dried tomatoes – sliced or chopped

3/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese

Dried Rosemary

Salt & Pepper

Your choice of Pasta – Gluten Free (or Regular), prepared according to directions

Optional: 1 Tbsp Cornstarch, 1/3 Cup Milk (see Note below in directions),

What to do:

First, place garlic cloves (unpeeled) on a baking sheet lined with parchment.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes until soft and golden.

While Garlic roasts, slice mushrooms.

When Garlic is ready, remove from oven.  Let them cool at bit, and then peel the cloves.

Fold over the parchment and use your hands to mash the cloves all together.  Scrape into a mound and finish up chopping them a bit with a knife, making sure there are no large pieces.

Add mashed roasted Garlic to a large sauce pan with the Cream.

Cook while stirring over medium heat, until liquid is reduced to about 2/3 and the sauce is thickened*. 

*Note: Here’s my little cheat on this part:  I take about 1 Tbsp of Cornstarch mixed with about 1/3 cup Milk and add it to the pan to thicken up the sauce more quickly.  This also serves to stretch the recipe a bit since you will have more sauce by not allowing it to cook off so much liquid.

Add salt and pepper (about 1/2 tsp each), then set aside.

Grab another large saucepan (or pour the roasted garlic sauce into a large bowl or glass measuring cup and use the same pan – you don’t even have to wash it). 

Melt 1 stick butter over medium heat. 

 

Add Sundried Tomatoes to pan.

Then add sliced Mushrooms.

Saute for just about a minute, then return Garlic Cream Sauce to pan and stir.

Is your mouth watering yet?

Oh, it gets even better.

Add Parmesan Cheese.

Now, add a couple handfuls of dried Rosemary, which you’ll want to crumble between your hands as you add to the pan to release all the goodness in each leaf. 

I love Rosemary. 

This is my “stash”. :-)

Add salt and pepper as needed, to taste.

Mmmmmmmm…..

You can toss the sauce right in with your pasta, or just place atop individual servings. 

This recipe makes a LOT of sauce, so I like to keep the pasta and sauce separate as it works better for leftovers that way.  

If you are feeding a crowd, this quantity of sauce would  probably cover about two 16 oz. boxes of pasta.

If you like, you can slice up a grilled Chicken Breast and toss with the pasta and sauce.  Be sure to top with additional Parmesan Cheese, too!

Maybe some Bruschetta and crusty bread on the side?

We ate this last night, and we are having leftovers again tonight.  I can hardly stand the wait!

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