Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Gluten Free Dairy Free Forest Mushroom Soup

I had a friend call me this afternoon asking for my pico de gallo recipe, and we were talking about what to do for dinner.  She was making a butternut or pumpkin squash soup with a pico de gallo garnish on top.  I told her I had all these mushrooms and I wasn't in the mood to make a Chinese stir-fry with them.  She encouraged me to make Forest Mushroom Soup with what I had.  She gave me her recipe, and it was so simple.  Her recipe comes from Williams Sonoma and I adapted it for my needs.  In my opinion you need at least 4 kinds of mushrooms, and make it a combo of dried and fresh.  I used Button, Baby Bella, Shitake, and dried Morel mushrooms.  Soak your dried mushrooms by pouring boiling water over them and letting them steep for 30 minutes.  This is enough to hydrate them and make a rich mushroom broth that you can use in the soup.  Just be sure to line your strainer with several layers of cheese cloth, or use a coffee filter, to filter out any grit left from the mushrooms.  And the recipe called for dry sherry, but I used something in between a dry and a sweet, drinking sherry, and I was very pleased with the results.  This soup left me speechless.  Yah, it was that good. 

Forest Mushroom Soup

2 T. each Earth Balance Margarine and EVOO
3-4 kinds of mushrooms to equal 1 1/2 lbs.  sliced
1 onion small diced
2 cloves garlic minced
Salt & Pepper to your liking (I used 1/2 t. salt and 1/4 t. pepper)
3 T. flour  (I used 2T. rice flour, 1T. arrowroot)
4 c. vegetable stock -You can use some of that mushroom soaking liquid for this, and you can use a bouillon cube or two if you don't have pre-made stock.  (Example:  I used 1/4 cup dried Morels in 1 cup of boiling water.  Then I put 2 bouillon cubes in 3 cups of hot water to make my veg. broth.  I use Rapunzel brand GF, vegan bouillon cubes This equaled the 4 cups I needed.)
1/2 c. Coconut milk coffee creamer like So Delicious brand, no flavors, just plain
1/4 c. Sherry wine
chopped fresh parsley

In your soup pot, heat the oil & margarine, and add the onion and sautee for 2 minutes.  Then add the garlic and sautee for a minute more.  Add the mushrooms and continue sauteeing for roughly 5 minutes or until cooked through.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pour in the sherry wine and stir till most of it is absorbed, and alcohol is evaporated out.  Then I sprinkle on the flour & arrowroot.  At this point I stir in the flour with a whisk till mushrooms are nicely coated and flour is mostly cooked (we're making a roux here).  Whisk in the 4 cups of stock or broth.  Stir occasionally for 15 to 20 minutes, to thicken the soup and further cook the mushrooms.  Then I stir in the coconut milk cream till incorporated and turn off the heat.  Adjust seasonings.  You can add the chopped parsley now or add it on top of individual bowls for presentation. 

This soup was euphoric.  Have this with a chunk of baguette, or your favorite gluten free toast, or GF cracker.  And I had a nice glass of oakey Chardonnay to go with it.  I can't even describe how good this was. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Lentil, Oat, Walnut Burgers and Bubble & Squeak

It's been chilly and rainy/sleety/snowy here the past couple days which makes me think "Soup weather!" So I made my Lentil Stew yesterday.  The recipe for it is here.  Well today nobody was in the mood for leftovers, so I decided to turn the stew into something else.  And it ended up a veggie burger.  A perfect, classic burger style on whole grain toast with mustard, mayo, ketchup, lettuce, tomato, sliced red onion, and avocado.  They were awesome.  And I know that because my 4 kids didn't complain about them.  And they're usually pretty picky.  They scarfed them down like they were chicken nuggets! (Right now I'm sure you're asking why I feed my kids chicken nuggets! Well I don't...anymore.)  Here's the recipe:

Lentil Oat Walnut Burgers              This makes 8 burgers
2 cups strained lentil stew
2 cups thick, old fashioned style oats cooked thick & flaky, not goopy with too much water (they're available Gluten Free from Bob's Red Mill)
3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 T. flax seeds
1 T. chia seeds
1T. arrowroot powder
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. Herbs de Provence

When I put the lentil stew in the mixing bowl, I roughly chopped the potatoes, carrots, and other chunky vegetables into smaller chunks.  The pastry cutter works well with this.  Then I add everything else to the bowl and stir well to combine.  I spray my cast iron, double burner grill pan (the flat side) with non-stick olive oil spray and preheat.  This burger mixture will be loose and wet.  It won't be something you can form with your hands.  I use a 2 oz. ice cream type scoop.  It was actually labeled as a muffin batter scoop.  Just make sure it holds 2 oz.  I can plop 6 burgers on my griddle at once, slightly flattening them as I go.  I cook them on med.-high heat for roughly 4-5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.  My family loved these with a slice of Muenster melted on top.  I enjoyed mine minus the cheese, but with all the other veggie toppings.  I love experimenting with leftovers!

This reminds me of another veggie type burger I've made for years, Cheesy Bubble and Squeak.  It came from a Vegetarian Encyclopedia that was given to me as a gift.  It's made from mostly leftovers.  Apparently it's from the UK and the name Bubble & Squeak comes from the sound it makes when frying these little patties up.  They will be your children's favorite!  Here's the recipe:

Cheesy Bubble & Squeak                This makes 8 patties
3 cups leftover mashed potatoes, chunky style
8 oz. cooked, chopped cabbage or kale (roughly a cup, add more if you like)
1/2 cup grated Cheddar cheese (or Daiya shredded cheddar style if you're dairy free like me)
1 egg beaten
nutmeg for grating
Salt & Pepper
Flour for coating (all purpose or rice flour for gluten free)
oil for frying

Mix all of the above in a mixing bowl using a generous grating of nutmeg.  Form into 8 patties, and chill on a cookie sheet for an hour or so.  The firmness makes them easier to fry.  Coat the bottom of your fry pan with your favorite oil, I use EVOO for everything.  While the pan is heating up on med.-high heat, dredge the patties in flour, shaking off all the excess.  Fry on each side for 3 minutes or until golden and crisp.  Serve immediately.  I'd recommend a good salad with this, or sauteed mushrooms, or both!  And maybe a glass of Riesling paired with this lunch, or light dinner. :)


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The best Cheezy sauce!

I just made a loaded baked potato stuffed with sauteed veggies for lunch.  I decided to make one of those cheezy sauces made from Nutritonal yeast flakes to top it with.  I've never made it before and thought it was about time I venture out and try it. I was really pleased with the results!  This isn't just great as a potato topper, it's a great sauce for mac & cheese, maybe even a soy Philly cheeze steak!  I'm gonna run with this one.  :)
Here's the recipe:

1/4 cup Nutritional yeast flakes
2 Tbsp. GF flour blend (use what brand you like)
1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 cups water or nutmilk of choice for creamier consistency
1 T. Earth Balance margarine
1 t. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

Whisk the first four ingredients in a small saucepan till combined.  Add the water and turn on the heat to medium.  Continue whisking till very well combined and add the olive oil and margarine.  Stir occasionally till thick.  Stir in mustard and apple cider vinegar and turn off the heat.  Adjust flavors with lemon juice or extra salt to your liking.  Serve immediately.

I'm going to continue experimenting with this one.  I'm seeing a spicy nacho cheeze sauce in the near future for burros, nachos, bean dip, who knows?  I'll post it when I perfect it.  In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy the crisp November weather with a cup of Oolong tea.