Recipe: Stuffed Mushroom Eyeballs

I come alive in Q4, especially October. I’ve celebrated Halloween all month by doing one spooky activity per day, and today I made creepy eyeball hors d’oeuvres. Halloween is on a Wednesday this year, which is a good opportunity to have some loved ones over for a spooky movie and an All Hallows’ Eve themed spread with these EYEBALLS.

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Ingredients

16 oz button mushrooms*
1 block extra firm tofu, drained**
1 garlic clove, minced
1 t lemon juice
3/4 t sea salt
1/2 t Italian seasoning
1/2 t onion powder
1/2 t black pepper
2 T balsamic vinegar
2 T sun-dried tomatoes (from bag, not packed in oil), julienned
1 small can of sliced black olives

*This recipe yields a lot of tofu ricotta, so feel free to double your mushrooms for more eyeballs or keep the ricotta for another recipe.
**If you prefer to avoid tofu, this recipe would be great with a store-bought or homemade cashew cheese.

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Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. Rinse mushrooms, pull out stems, and set aside on a baking sheet.
  3. Puree tofu, garlic, lemon juice, sea salt, Italian seasoning, onion powder and pepper together in a food processor until completely smooth. Set aside.
  4. Using a teaspoon, drip a few drops of balsamic vinegar into each mushroom cap.
  5. Make a piping bag by scooping tofu ricotta mixture into a Ziploc and trimming off a corner. Pipe mixture into each cap so that it creates a small mound.
  6. Place sun-dried tomato pieces on stuffed mushrooms, and top each one with one slice of olive. Press down gently.
  7. Bake the mushrooms for 15 minutes, until the caps begin to wrinkle slightly.

Serve warm or room temperature.

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Rick Aldrich: Spooky Mushroom Eyeball Model and General Good Sport

Serves eight.

Adapted from Stuffed Mushroom Eyeballs.

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Recipe: Corn Risotto

Nothin’ says fall like throwing some corn into a comforting dish.

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bonus: eating leeks makes you look like you have your life together

Ingredients

2 T organic Earth Balance
1 leek, white and light green parts only, finely chopped
1 t sea salt
1/4 t black pepper
1 c arborio rice
1/4 c white wine vinegar
1/4 c water
6 c vegetable stock
2 corn ears, kernels cut off (about 1 1/2 c corn)
1 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 c rice milk

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If you’re gonna eat dairy, eat organic. This way you know the animals and food have been treated as ethically as possible.

  1. Melt Earth Balance in a high-sided sauté pan over medium-low. Add leek and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about six minutes. Season with sea salt and pepper.
  2. Add rice and cook, stirring, until grains look slightly translucent.
  3. Pour in vinegar and water and cook, stirring, until it has all been absorbed, about two minutes.
  4. Add a cup of stock to the rice mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until rice has absorbed all of the stock. Continue cooking, adding one cup of stock at a time when rice mixture looks dry. Stir continuously.
  5. When half the stock has been added, stir in corn.
  6. Continue cooking until all stock is mixed in, corn is tender, and rice is creamy, about 40 minutes total.
  7. Remove risotto from heat and stir in Parmesan and remaining tablespoon of Earth Balance. Cover and let stand for five minutes.
  8. Uncover risotto, stir in milk, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  9. Serve topped with shaved Parmesan, if desired.

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Serves eight.

Adapted from Corn Risotto.

Recipe: Sweet Potato Gnocchi

Sweet potatoes are fabulous for you, and gnocchi is delicious and can easily be made vegan. If you’re intimidated by the idea of making your own gnocchi, well, so was I. Fear not! I was delighted by the ease of this recipe. Also, orange food makes for a good October dish. #spooky

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Ingredients

2 medium sweet potatoes
1 T ground flax
3 T water
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 t sea salt plus a pinch
1/2 t nutmeg
2 c flour

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  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Pierce each sweet potato several times with a fork and bake for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  3. Combine ground flax and water and allow a few minutes to congeal. Mix well and set aside.
  4. Once cool enough to work with, remove potato peels and mash potatoes in a large bowl.
  5. Mix garlic, sea salt, nutmeg, and flax egg into the potatoes. Finally, mix in the flour a little at a time until you have soft dough. I recommend the dough blade in a food processor for this part.
  6. Bring a large pot of  water and pinch of sea salt to boil.
  7. Roll dough out on a floured surface and cut into pieces, roughly 1″ (see photos).
  8. Drop pieces into boiling water, allowing them to cook until they float to the surface. Remove floating pieces with a slotted spoon.
  9. Serve with organic Earth Balance or a vegan cream sauce.

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Serves 4-6.

Adapted from Sweet Potato Gnocchi.

Recipe: Falafel

This falafel is baked and hits the spot. Serve it with cilantro hummus for added flavor.

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Ingredients

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 onion, chopped
2 T bread crumbs
2 T chickpea flour*
2 T fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t coriander
1/4 t black pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced and divided
3/4 t sea salt, divided
2 T coconut oil
1 lemon
6 T tahini
1/4 c water
3 T olive oil
1/4 t paprika
pita bread
1 romaine heart, chopped
1 tomato, diced
1/2 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
dill pickles, chopped

*Whole wheat flour can be substituted.

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  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine chickpeas, onion, bread crumbs, flour, parsley, cumin, coriander, pepper, two garlic cloves, and sea salt in food processor. Pulse until the mixture becomes paste-like.
  3. Using a spoon, cookie dough scoop, or melon baller, scoop mixture into balls and place on a cookie sheet. Flatten balls with the back of the spatula until they’re about 3/4″ thick.
  4. Brush both sides of each falafel disc with coconut oil. Bake for 45 minutes, turning them over halfway through. Set aside when done.
  5. Whisk together juice from the lemon, tahini, water, olive oil, paprika, remaining 1/4 t sea salt, and remaining two minced garlic cloves and set aside.
  6. Add rice, stirring often until some grains start to brown. In quick succession, add the cooked lentils, water, and remaining sea salt and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to a simmer, cover, and cook 30 minutes.
  7. To assemble, cut about 1″ off the top of the pita to open the pocket. Add falafel, romaine, tomato, cucumber, and pickles and then top with tahini sauce.

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Serves four.

Adapted from Skinny Bitch in the Kitch.

Recipe: Mujaddara

Mujaddara is a Lebanese dish, but I’ve also seen it associated with Jordan and Iran. I believe the origins are regional and predate today’s borders, but if you have more info please let me know in the comments below.

This recipe is simple,  savory, and an unsuspecting crowd pleaser. The caramelized onions are heaven and the vibrant spices bring the dish to life. Rick houses it.

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Ingredients

1 c lentils
1/2 c olive oil
1 t cumin seeds
1/2 t black peppercorns, cracked or whole
3-5 red onions
2 t sea salt
3/4 c brown basmati rice
1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 t cayenne
1″ cinnamon stick
3 c water
1-2 lemons
2 T pine nuts, toasted (optional)

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  1. Put lentils into a medium saucepan and cover them with about an inch of cold water. Bring it to a boil over medium-high heat, then turn down to a simmer and cook about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. While the lentils cook, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat for a minute. Add cumin seeds and peppercorns, occasionally shaking the pan until the cumin seeds darken, about one minute.
  3. Sauté onions and 1/2 t sea salt, stirring often. The onions are done when they’re dark brown in color with slightly crispy edges. This will take about ten minutes.
  4. With a slotted spoon, move about half of the onions to a tea towel or paper towel-lined plate. These are for garnish.
  5. Add ground cumin, cayenne, and cinnamon stick and sauté about one minute.
  6. Add rice, stirring often until some grains start to brown. In quick succession, add the cooked lentils, water, and remaining sea salt and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to a simmer, cover, and cook 30 minutes.
  7. Keeping the lid on, turn off the heat and allow the rice mixture to steam for about five minutes.
  8. If using, toast pine nuts in a small skillet over medium-low heat about five minutes.
  9. Serve rice mixture with the reserved onions, a squeeze of lemon juice, and pine nuts, if using.

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Unlike the photo above, make a polished table presentation by filling a mold or small bowl with the dish and flipping it onto a plate.

Enjoy this mujaddara for lunch or dinner, as a side, or as a main course.

Serves four.

Adapted from Lebanese Lentils, Rice and Caramelized Onions.