Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Stuffed Mushrooms

I had a few mushrooms left from my visit to the Farmer's Market on Sunday.  I had spied a recipe for Stuffed Mushrooms on the Seitanic Vegan Heathen blog.  I thought it looked pretty good and pretty simple.  I decided that tonight, I'd be making these mushrooms.
I removed the stems and chopped them up and added them to the TVP mixture.  I added more spice than was in the recipe on Seitanic Vegan Heathen's blog, so I'm going to list what I did.  Mine have a bit of ZIP from the spices.
Here's what I put in mine:

3/4 cup TVP
3/4 cup boiling water
2 teaspoons or so of Pasta Sprinkle (Penzey's - just a blend of oregano, basil, thyme, and garlic)
1 teaspoon or so of Penzey's dried garlic cubes
1 tablespoon minced dry onion
2 2/3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
minced stems from mushrooms
couple of shakes of Liquid smoke
couple of shakes of smoked paprika
couple of shakes of pepper
1 shake of salt

I let the stuffing mixture sit for 10 or 15 minutes so the TVP was fully re-hydrated before I stuffed the mushrooms.  I put them in a ceramic baking dish and covered it with foil.  They baked for 20 minutes.  Then I removed them from the oven and put some vegan nozzarella on it.  I like Follow Your Heart, but many people like Daiya.  I don't care for Daiya at all, so really, use what you like best.

Overall, these were good.  I think the mushrooms dried out too much.  I'm not sure why that was.  I did end up putting about 1/4 cup of veggie broth in the dish and cooking them a bit longer to see if that helped.  It did.  If I make any kind of stuffed mushrooms again, I'll roast the mushrooms first before adding the stuffing, which really just needs to be heated through.  Personally, stuffed mushrooms aren't my favorite way to eat mushrooms, but it is good for a change.
Kobe Bean
Here's my girl, Kobe Bean.  She's playing it cool, trying to look disinterested even though she's laying smack in the middle of the floor right in my way.  I suspect she's waiting for a tasty morsel to drop.  No such luck tonight!

Monday, July 4, 2011

BBQ Seitan Ribz and Mushroom Chicken Burgers

Today, I made two more BBQ items.  I made Susan Voisin's Barbecued Seitan Ribz from her FatFree Vegan Kitchen blog.  I also made another burger from Joni Marie Newman's cookbook, The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet.  Today, I made Mushroom Chicken Burgers on page 96.
The ribz were definitely the easier of the two to make.  Basically, I mixed the ingredients together, kneaded it for a minute and a half to two minutes, and then baked it.  After that, it was smothered in BBQ sauce and put on the grill.  You can see one of the Mushroom Chicken Burgers next to the "ribz" wrapped in foil.
The Mushroom Chicken Burgers were a multi-phase item.  I only had whole flax seeds, so the first order of business was to grind them in my food processor attachment that came with my immersion blender.  I don't know why, but I hate grinding flax seeds.  It's really unreasonable as it's so incredibly easy to grind them.  I ended up grinding all of the rest of the flax seeds I have and put the majority of them into the freezer.

I had to reconstitute the TVP in veggie broth, chop mushrooms (baby bella mushrooms that I got at the Farmer's Marker yesterday) and garlic, and then saute the mixture.  I crumbled the tempeh (which I had to use before next week sometime) and added it to the mushroom mix and sauted it for an additional 5 minutes, then added all of the ingredients together.  I will say, I did NOT like the way these came together.  I will also say that my cooking method is probably to blame in part.

I didn't want to add a bunch of oil to the mushrooms, garlic, and then tempeh when it was added.  I initially started with maybe 1 tablespoon to 1½ tablespoons of olive oil to saute the mushrooms.  But when I added the garlic, I didn't want to use more oil, so I added a splash of veggie broth.  Once I added the tempeh, I added more broth.  I don't think I let it cook long enough to cook off all of the broth.  I should have sauteed it a couple of minutes longer to dry it out.

When adding all of the ingredients together, it wouldn't come together.  The dough was too moist.  I kneaded it for a few minutes (good grief, it was like glue on my fingers), but it still didn't want to come together.  I ended up adding 1/4 cup of wheat gluten.  I tried 1/8 cup first, but that did nothing.  So, I added another 1/8 cup.  It still didn't seem like it did much, but I figured if I added more, it would change the integrity of the burgers.  SO, I used a paper towel to coat my trusty tupperware hamburger press with olive oil, grabbed a spoon, and began making burgers.
Surprisingly, the burgers held together OK (with minimal handling) once I put them in the press and formed the burger.  I wrapped each burger loosely in foil so I could steam them on the Weber grill.  The burgers really didn't stick to the hamburger press, which I thought was a good sign.

The Mushroom Chicken Burgers are a moister burger.  They did well in the foil method on the grill.  These burgers would not hold up being put directly on the grill, in my opinion.  I enjoyed the flavor, which is definitely on the "chicken" side, but not really like chicken.  I had mine with mustard.
Overall, my grilling experiences with vegan burgers and ribz was a good one.  I will make both of the burgers from this weekend again.  I'll definitely make the ribz again.  It was nice to cook my food on the grill along with my sons' food so we could all have BBQ for the holiday weekend.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Bacon Cheeseburgers and Roasted Potatoes

It's the 4th of July weekend.  I cooked out on the grill yesterday.  I made some food for my sons (courtesy of my youngest leaving the door ajar to my deep freezer), some food only for me, and potatoes for both of us.  I've been searching my vegan cookbooks for two weeks looking at all of the burger recipes. I wanted to make a new type of burgers. I finally chose Bacon Cheeseburgers on page 89 of The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet, and BOY-OH-BOY, I'm glad I did.  Thanks to Joni for putting the recipe on her blog, so I can share the link to it with all of you. :)
The first step I took was to make Imitation Bacon Bits on page 185.  I've not made imitation bacon bits before, and the recipe for this was very easy.  I just boiled some water and Liquid Smoke (I used half hickory flavor and have mesquite flavor), marinated TVP in it for 10 minutes, and then cooked the TVP until it dried out.  The recipe called for red food coloring, which I didn't have, but I didn't miss that.  I was a little apprehensive on how the finished product would taste, but it was good.  It doesn't taste quite like bacon, but it does have a "smoky" flavor that is vaguely reminiscent of bacon.  I think it is a decent substitute.
I compiled all of the ingredients for the burgers.  If it looks like a lot, it is.  I made a double batch of burgers.  My intention was to freeze a good number of burgers so I can take some to my brother and sis-in-law later this month when I see them at a family gathering.  (I will be making another type of burger in the next week so I can take them a couple of different types of burgers.)
I have to say, I didn't know how well the burger dough would come together with the peanut butter, maple syrup, and BBQ sauce in it, given that I had to use my hands to mix it up.  The recipe said to knead it for 5 minutes.  I can't stand that part and I'm ALWAYS watching the clock for the time to be over, and that's when I only have to knead for 3 minutes.  When I made these, I figured since I had to knead a couple of extra minutes, I'd set the timer when I began and not look at the clock.  The time went by quicker than I thought it would.  However, one of these times, I'm going to get my stand mixer out and the dough hooks and see if that works as well as hand mixing.
I always use my trusty Tupperware hamburger press to make my burgers.  They come out so uniformly shaped.  Note the bottom right burger looks thicker than some of the other burgers.  That's because the recipe states that it makes only 4 burgers, so I thought I'd get 8 burgers.  I divided the dough in half and then divided one of the halves in fourths.  I quickly realized that the burgers were going to be GINORMOUS.  So, I cut some of the burger away from the original three that I made and made smaller burgers.  The recipe will easily make 6 burgers (about the size of a quarter pounder).  I ended up making 10 burgers, but easily, I could have made a dozen with the double batch.

As for the taste, you ask?  These burgers have a BBQ flavor that is mellowed a bit by the nutritional yeast.  I absolutely love these burgers.  They held up exceptionally well on the Weber grill.  I wasn't sure they would because they weren't steamed or cooked in any manner before I slapped them on the grill.  I coated the burgers with BBQ sauce and let them sit on the grill for another couple of minutes before removing them.  I made 3 burgers and froze the remaining 7 burgers.  I will DEFINITELY be making these again!  They ROCKED!
As the side, I cut up four Yukon gold potatoes in 1" chunks.  I drizzled 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the potatoes and added 1 teaspoon of Northwoods seasoning (Penzey's) and 1 teaspoon of garlic powder.  I also minced 1 sprig of fresh rosemary and 3 sprigs of fresh thyme (cut a minute beforehand from the plants on my deck) and added that to the potatoes.  I sealed the potatoes, herbs, and spices in tinfoil, and put it on the grill to cook for about 45 minutes.  It made a very tasty side dish.