Tag Archives: mushrooms

Popcorn Mushrooms and Caprese Panini

4 Aug

One of the only things I’ve missed since becoming vegetarian is popcorn chicken. I think it’s the fried breaded coating that I miss rather than the chicken itself, so we decided to experiment with popcorn mushrooms. They turned out pretty well considering we completely winged it. :D

Of course, you can’t just have fried mushrooms for dinner. The basil in Bobby’s backyard has become rather prolific, so we decided to make caprese paninis. Fresh mozzarella is sooo gooooood…

Popcorn Mushrooms

Ingredients:
White mushrooms, halved
Flour
Egg(s)
Breadcrumbs
Oil
Salt and pepper to taste (I like white pepper)

Prepare your station by placing the flour, eggs (beaten), and breadcrumbs in three separate bowls.

Coat the individual pieces in flour, egg, and breadcrumbs, in that order.

Heat oil in a skillet and pan fry mushrooms until golden brown. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Length of procrastination: 20 minutes

Savory Crepes

2 Feb

Back in high school, I worked for a few months at a PMT (boba, to all you non-NorCal-ers) shop taking orders, making drinks, and, most deliciously, making crepes. There’s this big, flat, heated stone…thing that you’d ladle crepe batter onto and spread with a wooden T-shaped stick. All the Californians know what I’m talking about.

Sorry. I get re-infused with NorCal pride every time I go home.

Anyway, I was given a lovely can of Williams and Sonoma crepe mix this past Christmas, and couldn’t wait to try it out. In the absence of a conveniently flat and crepe-sized stone-oven-rock-thinger, I just used a frying pan.

Avocado and Portabello Crepe with Tomatos and Alfalfa Sprouts

1 cup crepe mix (plus water, eggs, oil, etc. as stated in the instructions)
1/2 avocado, sliced
1/4 tomato, sliced
1 portabello cap, sliced
alfalfa sprouts

Mix water and the crepe mix according to instructions. Over low heat, pour the batter thinly onto an oiled skillet. When the crepe solidifies, carefully flip the crepe to heat the other side. The second side cooks quickly, just as the second side of a pancake does, so watch it carefully!

In another skillet, lightly sautee the portabello slices. Place the slices onto a quarter of the crepe, then layer avocado slices and tomato over them. Fold in half and slide onto a plate for easier handling. Feel free to add any type of spread before folding the crepe. At my PMT shop, we used a secret sauce of mayo, sugar, and other stuff you probably don’t want to think about putting in your body. Hummus would make a wonderful substitution.

Fold again into a quarter piece, and stuff some sprouts in the empty pocket. Don’t worry about it being pretty…it’s all going to the same place anyway.

Length of procrastination: 20 minutes

Veggie Dumplings

8 Jul

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Let me be honest–I’ve never made dumplings in my life. In my twenty-one years, never have I sat down next to my mommy and helped her wrap the scrumptious, intricate crescents. Last weekend, after the Fourth of July madness, some of my ATS lovelies came over to help me wrap my very first dumplings. If you’re going to  make dumplings, I highly encourage you to do it with friends. It involves a lot of washing and shredding and dicing, which may drive the average person insane. The logical solution is to get someone else to do it.

Also, it takes five people one-fifth of the time to wrap nearly a 89 dumplings as it takes one person.

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Veggie Dumplings
From Angela, Stephie, Tiffy, Zach, and me.

Ingredients
1 pack silken tofu (two blocks)
1 small head napa cabbage
2 large eggs
5 dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated
2 blocks of dried vermicelli, rehydrated
2 packs dumpling wrappers
salt
white pepper

Smash the tofu with the flat side of your Asian butcher knife until it looks like cottage cheese. Set aside.

Wash and shred the napa cabbage. Avoid the small bitter leaves in the middle of the head. Toss the shreds with salt to remove the excess water and set aside to drain.

Beat the eggs and fry over a large skillet to create thin pancakes of egg. Shred into pieces about 2 inches long and set aside.

Remove the stems of the shiitake mushrooms and dice. Set aside.

Cut the vermicelli into short strands, at most 2 inches in length. Shorter strands will be easier to wrap, but if they’re too short, the strands will turn into mush. Not tasty.

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Take all of the shredded and diced ingredients that you set aside and dump them into the smushed tofu. Thoroughly combine. Don’t be a wuss–use your hands! At this point, you can add a little white pepper and salt to season the filling, but most people will be eating dumplings with soy sauce, which adds a significant amount of salty flavor.

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Now it’s time to wrap the dumplings. There are tons of different ways of wrapping them–you can just seal the edges together or pleat one edge. It takes some practice and a lot of patience to create a nice, pleated dumpling. When wrapping, keep in mind that any air in the middle of the wrapped dumplings will expand in the heat and give you a funny-looking bloated dumpling. No worries; you can just squeeze the air out with a spoon as you cook them, and the taste isn’t compromised. You may want to flour the plate or aluminum foil you’re placing the folded dumplings on so that they won’t stick to the surface.

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Bring a pot of water to a boil and add a drop of sesame oil so that the dumplings don’t stick to each other. Add the dumplings and wait for the water to boil again. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for another 5 minutes or so, until the skin becomes soft and not too chewy.

Any leftover dumplings can be frozen in a ziploc bag for about a week.

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Length of Procrastination: About 3 hours
Ways to Prolong Procrastination: Make a delicious frozen treat for dessert while waiting for dinnertime. (Foreshadowing! DUN DUN DUNNN.)

Cooking Without Bobby

21 May

I know. It’s incredibly sad. Agonizingly sad, really.

Somehow, I got over it pretty quickly.

While Bobby was busy creating the year-end slideshow for the TKD Spring Banquet, Mark (who was my partner in crime for the TKD Winter Banquet as well) and I concocted a delicious dish of mushrooms, spinach, artichoke hearts, tortellini, and cheese. Oh, the cheese.

tortellini-bake

Mushroom, Spinach, and Artichoke Tortellini Bake
Modified from Taste and Tell

This recipe was a little vague on measurements. For example, how much flour do I add into the roux? What the monkey is a “broiler”? After finding out what a broiler is, what do I do if my kitchen lacks one? I’ve rewritten the recipe the way I made the dish. The ingredients list looks daunting, but it really contains a lot of things you would find in a well-stocked pantry. And anyway, it’s nothing a ten-minute trip to the grocery store couldn’t sort out.

Ingredients
2 packs of tortellini (about 20 oz., I believe)
4 tablespoons butter
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 handfuls of flour (probably about 1 cup)
4 cups milk
4 shakes of nutmeg from the container
2 10-ounce boxes frozen chopped spinach, defrosted (microwaved) and excess water squeezed out
2 cans artichoke hearts
5-8 button mushrooms, sliced
shredded “Italian Blend” cheese (includes Asiago, Mozzarella, and Parmesan, among others)
shredded Mozzarella
salt
ground black pepper
grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place a large pot of water over high heat to boil. Once boiling, salt the water and drop the pasta in. Cook to al dente according to package directions. Drain cooked pasta and transfer to cold water to stop them from overcooking.

While the pasta is working, place a large skillet over medium-high heat with the butter. Cook the garlic in the butter until aromatic, about 1 minute, then sprinkle the flour over the butter and cook for another minute. Whisk the milk into the roux and bring up to a bubble to thicken. This took me 10-15 minutes on medium heat with constant stirring. If necessary, split into two pans. Add nutmeg, spinach, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, salt and pepper, and cook until the veggies are heated through. Eat a slice of mushroom. Go on. It won’t kill you (hopefully).

Add the reserved tortellini to the skillet and toss to coat. Transfer everything to a large baking pan and sprinkle with the cheeses. Sprinkle liberally. Like, until you can’t see any of the tortellini anymore. Place on the top level of the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, until the cheese starts to brown. Take out of the oven and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Serves a good number of hungry taekwondoists.

Length of Procrastination: 40 minutes

Ways to Prolong Procrastination: Try to study immunology while cooking…

asian lettuce wraps

23 Apr

in preparation for the Columbia taekwondo tournament, many people are probably cutting weight and eating very little. here’s a way to kick the boredom of your old salad and put some spice into that leftover head of lettuce. or, you could just make these lettuce wraps because they’re so damn tasty. p.f. chang’s got nothing on us!

lettuce-wraps

lettuce wraps with furikake and rice cake crumble

ingredients
1 head of lettuce
3 mushrooms
1 medium carrot
1 celery stem
1 white onion
1 clove garlic
1 chicken breast (optional)
olive oil
sesame oil
mushroom flavored soy sauce
1 unflavored rice cake
furikake topping

Dice the carrot, celery, mushrooms and onion. The pieces should be small but can still be chunky for texture. Crush and dice the garlic. In a sautee pan, heat olive oil and brown the garlic, then add the carrot and celery Sautee until the ingredients are starting to soften, and add the mushroom and onion. Add soy sauce and sesame oil to coat all the ingredients. Cook until onion is caramelized.

lettuce-wrap-ingredients

If making chicken lettuce wraps, cut the chicken breast into chunks, and cook in olive oil. Add sesame oil, soy sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. After chicken is thoroughly cooked, remove from heat, and on a chopping board, further cut the chicken into small chunks. Mix in with the vegetable ingredients.

Crush the rice cake using a spoon in a bowl, or just using your hands.

Arrange the lettuce wraps. For each wrap, spoon out some filling into the middle of a large (contiguous) piece of lettuce. Sprinkle rice cake crumble and furikake on top, wrap, and enjoy.

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Length of procrastination: 20-30 minutes
Ways to prolong procrastination: Hold a charity fundraiser and serve lettuce wraps as finger food, along with pineapple skewers (recipe to come) and mushroom crescents

veggie lasagna

23 Apr

ok it’s been a while. all this time we’ve been eating nothing but salad so it’s time to catch up with a delicious lasagna. this is the same one i made for christine in order to return her apple pie container. an added bonus: this lasagna is also pretty low fat and high in nutrients. just don’t eat too much if you are lactose intolerant.

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Spinach Lasagna with Summer Vegetables

Ingredients
6-9 strips of lasagna pasta
2 small zucchini
2 small yellow squash
5 white mushrooms or 1 portabello cap
1 red onion
1 bag of baby spinach leaves
2-4 cloves garlic
1 jar of tomato sauce
1 medium container (8 oz) fat free ricotta cheese
1 bag of shredded low fat mozarella
olive oil
oregano
thyme
salt
pepper

Bring a pot of water to a boil, and cook the lasagna strips. Place the strips in at different angles so they don’t stick together. When the lasagna is soft, drain and put the strips into a container of ice water.

Slice the zucchini, squash and mushroom into thin layers. Dice the onion and garlic. In a sautee pan, heat a small amount of olive oil. Add in garlic, and before the garlic browns, add the onion and mushroom. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sautee until the onion is starting to caramelize, then remove from heat.

In a sautee pan, add a thin layer of olive oil, and spread the slices of zucchini and squash around the pan. When the slices start to cook through and turn transparent, flip them and cook the other side. Add some salt and pepper to taste, as well as a sprinkling of oregano and thyme if desired. Remove from heat when the vegetables are tender.

Preheat the oven for 375. I used a thin pan that is usually used to bake bread, because i find the lasagna more interesting as a loaf. Using your fingers or a paper towel, thinly coat the bottom of the pan with a little olive oil. Cover the bottom of the pan with 2 strips of lasagna. If you are using a regular cake/casserole tray, cover with three strips.

With a spoon, spread ricotta cheese over the pasta. For our fat free ricotta, it was more like dropping spoonfuls until the bottom was covered. Above that, spread the mushroom and onion, then layer squash and zucchini. Cover that with a layer of baby spinach. Finally, pour a layer of tomato sauce over all the ingredients.

Repeat with another set of pasta, ricotta, mushroom and onion, squash and zucchini, spinach, and tomato sauce.

For the top, put a third layer of pasta and a layer of ricotta cheese. On top of that, cover with tomato sauce, then sprinkle mozarella thickly over the very top. At this point, you may have to compress everything so it fits into the baking tray, so compress using a second baking tray when you put the final layer of pasta but before the ricotta cheese is put on.

Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes.

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Total procrastination: about 1.5 hrs

A Lesson in Patience

12 Mar

This recipe has been a long time coming. I first saw it the week before the West Point taekwondo tournament, when I had to drop five pounds and couldn’t eat anything besides the occasional salad. The week after that was hell week followed by hell weekend, during which I was too busy trying to learn two months work of immunology in a weekend to cook. Last night, finally, there was a smidgen of breathing (read: eating) room before Bobby starts cutting for nationals.

For all intents and purposes, these are dumplings with mushroom filling. But these little dumplings have a gorgeous, flaky, golden crust that is to die for. And with the amount of butter and cream cheese in it, you may just die from heart disease. But let’s not think about that. They are savory and just crisp enough to give you a satisfying crunch and absolutely magical little morsels.

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Mushroom Crescents
Modified from Eat Me Delicious

Pastry

  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg, beaten

Filling

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 3/4 tsp oregano
  • 3/4 tsp dill
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped portobello mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped button mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth

For the pastry…

In large microwaveable bowl, combine cream cheese and butter and microwave to melt. Beat together until fluffy. Stir in flour 1/4 cup at a time until dough begins to form. Knead in until smooth. Divide dough in half and flatten into 2 discs. Cover with saran wrap (Important! Else your dough will end up too dry like ours did…), then refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.

On lightly floured surface, roll out each disc into until they’re about 1/8 inch thick. They should be thicker than your average potsticker wrapper, but still thin enough to wrap. With a 2 1/2 inch round cookie cutter (we just used a cup), cut out circles, rerolling scraps.

rolling-pin

Our rolling pin is pretty kickass, no?

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For the filling…

In large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Fry the onion, garlic, thyme, oregano, dill, pepper and salt, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 3 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high. Add the mushrooms and fry, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in the vegetable broth and cook until liquid is evaporated. Let cool to room temperature.

mushrooms

spices

Putting it all together

Brush the edges of the circles lightly with egg. Place about 1 tsp of the filling in center of each, then fold dough over filling, pinching edges to seal. Try not to get the filling juices to touch the edges, because the liquid keeps them from sealing properly. Place the crescents 1 inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Brush tops with remaining egg.

Bake in the center of 400F oven until light golden, 15 to 17 minutes. Makes about 40 crescents (so says the recipe, but we only got 22 out of it…).

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We had quite a bit of filling and egg left over, so Bobby decided to omlettize it. Epic fail, because there was more filling than egg, but we wrapped it up in fresh spinach leaves and ate them while waiting for the crescents to bake. Dee-licious, and pretty damn cute, too. I thought they resembled little animals floating down a river on little leaf boats (a la this), but I had to push that thought away quickly else I couldn’t eat it.

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pastry

Length of procrastination: 1 hour 35 minutes

Ways to prolong procrastination: Fight over which crescents to take pictures of and which crescents I’m allowed to eat.

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