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Aaaaaaand . . . I’m back.  I had to put some other priorities before blogging for quite awhile.  Hopefully any readers will forgive me.  At least, they should once they’ve eaten some delicious, mushroomy goodness that I made up for New Years munchies.  I’ve also got a pic of the delicious vegan baklava that I managed to make (with a little help… right J?), but no recipe, as I don’t really deem this a creation of my own, just a slight variation on the recipe found in the Essential Mediterranean Cookbook.  It’s pretty simple to sub out the honey for any other liquid sweetener of your choice, and the butter for Earth Balance.

(note- I was doing some research, and apparently you should check if your phyllo contains a substance called L-cysteine, which can be derived from duck feathers, or human hair.  Or it can be made chemically, but you have to do some research to find out.  There’s also plenty of phyllo out there without L-cysteine.)

So…baklava (just to taunt you)!

Delicious Baklava

And a recipe for these guys.

Mushroom Tapas plus Mushroom 2

Mushroomy Goodness

Spicy Mushroom Phyllo Hors D’oeuvres

Sauce:

1/4 cup tamari or regular soy sauce

1-2 cloves garlic, minced or put through press

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp sesame oil

1/4 tsp corn starch

Filling:

3 cups finely chopped portabella mushrooms

2 cups finely chopped shitake mushrooms

Assembling and Baking:

Cooking oil

4 sheets phyllo pastry

Non-stick cooking spray

Combine the first six ingredients for the sauce, mixing very well, and set aside.  Heat a little cooking oil in a pan and cook mushrooms on medium until they have released all of their water, and that water mostly cooks off.  You may need to drain off some of the water from the pan.  Add the sauce, mixing with the mushrooms, and cook until it thickens slightly.  Cool the filling.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Cut four phyllo sheets into four strips  lengthwise, and then cut each strip into five squares.  Keep phyllo under a damp towel when not working with it.  Place two squares on top of each other, brush with oil.  Layer on two more squares, with the corners of squares overlapping the straight edges of the first squares.   Brush with oil again.  Place a large teaspoon of filling on center, and fold up the sides around it to make a crimped bundle.  Place on a baking tray coated with non-stick cooking spray, and repeat with the remaining filling and phyllo.

Bake 10-15 minutes, or until golden.  If tops brown too fast, place foil loosely over hors d’oeuvres partway through cooking.

More mushrooms, and mushroom pics.  Because I kinda went photo-crazy.

Stuffed Mushroom Caps

Vegan Stuffed Mushroom Caps

24 button mushrooms

3 ryvita flat breads

2 green onions

1 tbsp fresh rosemary

olive oil

100 g cashews

1/4 cup water

2 tsp whole-grain Dijon mustard

3 tsp nutritional yeast

nonstick cooking spray

Wash and de-stem mushrooms.  Chop up stems fine, and mix with finely crushed ryvita breads, finely chopped green onion, and finely chopped fresh rosemary.  Cook in a pan with a little oil until the mushroom stems have released water, and it evaporates.

In food processor, blend cashews, water, Dijon, and nutritional yeast until you’ve made a fairly smooth paste.  If it’s not entirely smooth, it will still work just fine.  Mix the paste and the mushroom stem blend together.

Uncooked Stuffed Mushrooms

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place mushrooms on a greased baking tray, and fill with filling.  I baked for about 45 minutes, I believe, but just make sure you bake until the mushrooms are cooked through.

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Holy lengthy title, Batman!  Bear with me, this post is going to be somewhat longer too, but for convenience’s sake, I’m not going to divide it up.  I’ll try not to go on long-winded rants, and just show off lots of pictures of food.

Oh, and just in case I’m showing this site off tonight to a class at the university, I thought I’d say hi, ECMP 355!!

First on the long list: sushi.  I went to the grocery store, and lo and behold, there were fresh shiitake mushrooms!!!  I have worked with dry before, and while they taste fine, the smell of them makes me nauseous.  However, the smell of the fresh ones was entirely different, and so beautiful!  I opened the bag, and this warm, earthy, rich smell floated up to meet me as I sniffed hesitantly.  The whole time I chopped these, I was drooling.

Shiitake

So, one of the rolls was a combination of crumbled extra firm tofu, sesame seeds, and diced-up fresh shiitake mushrooms, which I cooked together until the mushrooms shrunk, and then added a sauce made of tamari soy, freshly grated ginger, and sesame oil.  I cooked off the sauce, and then used this as a filling.  My other rolls were carrot, lettuce, and bean sprout; and avocado and cucumber.  Served with a side of edamame beans.

Sushi Rolls

Now for the cookies.  Actually no picture, here.  Just an alteration of another Kid’s Company’s Coming recipe into something friendlier/less sugar-laden.  I feel comfortable posting this recipe even though it started from a cookbook because I’ve changed it so much.  Seriously, I did this with half the sugar they called for, and a little bit of dates, and could have probably still have removed more of the sugar, as they were very sweet.  Actually, please go ahead and mess around with the sugar-to-dates ratio, and share how they turn out.  While you’re at it, why not experiment with taking out some of the oil in this recipe too (I left it in this time for a treat), especially if you’re using lots of dates.  I made these to brought these to class (and yes, we still bring cookies to class in university), because if you keep the cookies small, this batch makes lots.

Fiddle Diddles, or Haystacks, Minus the Sugar-Induced Coma

– 1/2 cup Earth Balance Butter Substitute

– 1 cup or less Natural cane sugar (check out this site, this brand is both affordable and vegan, except for the honey products!)

– approx. 1/3 cup chopped dates

– 1/2 cup soy milk or some sorta nut milk (use unsweetened, there’s already enough sugar here)

– 6 tbsp cocoa powder

– 3 cups quick cooking rolled oats (not the instant ones)

– 1 cup medium shredded, unsweetened coconut

– pinch o’ salt

– 1tsp vanilla extract

Combine first four ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat to melt butter, and to soften the dates so that they can be stirred in.  Mash dates into mixture well.  The book says to bring it to a boil, but I don’t think it’s overly important, here, as long as everything’s melted and blended.

Add everything else, mix well, and drop small rounded spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper.  Cool, possibly in the fridge or freezer.  Should make around 40 cookies (I think I had thrity-something, wich isn’t too far off).

Also working out an awesome bread recipe, but that’s gonna have to wait.  It needs a little work.

Finally, we’ve come to my lunch today.  I had no school, so I had time to raid the fridge.  This isn’t the fanciest recipe in the world (like most of my fridge-raid hashes), but it sure did turn out good.  I don’t know what to call it, though.  It’s got some Thai influences, but isn’t really, truly Thai, or even necessarily Asian for that matter.  And if I call it a quesadilla, I’m afraid every person in Mexico may spontaneously shudder (what with the lack of cheese, or cheese substitute).  Anyway, whatever it is, it was mighty tasty, and filled with more coconut!  If you’re feeling special, toast the coconut first, along with some sesame seeds.

Sesame-Coconut Quesadilla-like Thingy

Nikki’s Lunch Thing that’s Kinda Like a Coconut-Sesame Thai Quesadilla

Sorry, I’m going to make you use your best judgement for the quantities, here.

– a tortilla

– sauce ( large spoonful of tahini, some soy sauce, spritz of lime juice, a little rice wine vinegar, and freshly grated ginger, mixed together well.)

– about 1/5 block of extra firm tofu, crumbled

– soy sauce

– handful chopped fresh garlic chives

– grated carrot

– bean sprouts

– a little shredded, unsweetened coconut

(an epic view of the ingredients)

Epic Lunch

Spread sauce on tortilla (use extra for dipping later, if you like, but don’t overdo the sauce inside the tortilla, or you’ll have a mess).  Fry tofu crumbles in nonstick pan (or regular pan with a little oil) until they begin to turn golden, then add a little soy sauce to flavour and add colour.  Cook off soy sauce (should only take a few seconds), and add to one half of the tortilla shell.  Pile on top of that the rest of the ingredients.  Fold over other half of shell, and place on a tray in toaster oven, heating until just warmed and lightly crispy (about five min, I think).  Don’t over-cook, or the sprouts will be iffy, and you’ll burn the shell.  This can be done in a microwave, but results will be sub-par.  In fact, if you have no toaster oven, I recommend wrapping this up and cooking it in a frying pan briefly.  Otherwise, if you’ve folded it in half and toasted it, cut it into quarters before eating.