Celebrating Mushrooms

I'm not sure that a week goes by without eating mushrooms in some form or other. One of my favourite mushroomy dishes is this Forestiere Sauce from Quick-Fix Vegan - it is so full of rich flavour. It's supposed to be served with seitan, but I'm not keen on the way seitan softens when you simmer it with a sauce, so I served my Forestiere Sauce with baked tofu instead. It would also be lovely spooned over a seitan cutlet just before serving.

I didn't follow the recipe to the letter, but my mushroom pies were inspired by these by the author of one of my favourite cookbooks, Caribbean Vegan. I served my little mushroom pies with grilled asparagus and an Italian lentil stew recipe from one of my other favourite cookbooks The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen.

Mushroom pierogies served with dill sour cream. The pierogi dough recipe is from World Vegan Feast. I've also served these pierogies in a puddle of roasted beetroot soup topped with fried onions and sour cream.

Mushroom tart topped with grated Cheezly. Look how nicely my tart shell worked out!

Mushroom Pate on grainy toast topped with homemade tartar sauce. The pate recipe is from 1000 Vegan Recipes.

This omelette is my own recipe I've been experimenting with. I might post it on my blog soon. Here I've filled it with lovely fresh mushrooms that I've seared in a really hot cast iron pan. Topped with a blob of homemade aioli.

What's for Dinner?

Some photos of dinners past, starting with one of my favourites that I've made a few times now, Soft Tacos with Cauliflower. Cauliflower is amazingly versatile and roasts beautifully. For the taco on the right I used this recipe to make a spicy cauliflower "mince". For the taco on the left I roasted cauliflower with sliced onion, cumin, cayenne pepper, lemon juice and olive oil, pouring in a little vegetable stock too. Both tacos are topped with salsa and homemade chipotle mayo.  I made the tortillas myself too!

There's a great recipe in 1000 Vegan Recipes for quick and easy seitan that you don't need to steam or poach before pan-frying. They're called Soy-tan cutlets (they contain tofu) and I love to crumb them and serve them with homemade Tonkatsu sauce and salad.

Spicy Peanut Noodle Salad. Recipe from Serious Eats.

I made my own egg roll wrappers - kind of like thin crepes - and filled them with lots of vegetables, tofu, split mung beans and rice noodles. I brushed them with oil and baked instead of fried them. They worked out nice and crispy!

This is a very quick and easy dinner option - Orange and Soy Glazed Tofu with Salad.

You steep some firm tofu slices in salted boiling water, pat dry, then crisp them up in a lightly oiled pan. Add orange juice and light soy sauce as well as a generous shake of nutritional yeast and some ground black pepper, then let it reduce for a bit, turning the tofu regularly. The orange juice thickens into a lovely sticky glaze. Set the tofu slices aside, then deglaze the pan with a little water and use the remaining sauce as dressing for the salad (it's also nice if you add a little drizzle of maple syrup). The salad is avocado, red onion, blood orange segments, cucumber and baby spinach.

Pizza...Who Needs Cheese?

Browsing my folders of food photos I found a few of the many pizzas of my past, and a bonus shot of some focaccias. I don't buy a lot of vegan cheese, mainly because it's expensive, but also because there aren't many varieties I really like (I must dedicate a blog post to commercial vegan cheese soon!), but there are lots of other ways to make your pizza tasty and delicious that don't involve copious amounts of grated cheese...

For example, topping your pizza with creamy homemade aioli once it's out of the oven, as I have with this mushroom pizza with a cornmeal crust. My aioli recipe is here.

I topped this potato and roasted fennel pizza with generous spoonfuls of homemade pesto.

Another roasted fennel pizza that I topped with a cheesy cashew cream sauce before baking.

Here's another topped with cheesy sauce. I use a squeezy bottle for exceptional cheesy coverage!

Sometimes I replace the traditional tomato sauce with a base of roasted, pureed eggplant enriched with roasted garlic, olive oil and ground almonds - just as rich as cheese, and twice as delicious. A base of cheesy white sauce is particularly yummy topped with potato and artichoke. With this pizza below, I used homemade pesto as a base, and topped with a small amount of homemade melty cheese (cheese recipe here).

I have to say though, putting aside all of these cheese alternatives, one of my favourite pizzas is from a local cafe which is simplicity itself. Just beautifully cooked and seasoned vegetables on a thin, crispy base, and lashings of good quality olive oil. I never miss the cheese.

As promised, a bonus focaccia shot (pizza's delicious cousin!). I use a recipe from The Bread Bible which always works out a treat.