Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Love-Hate Relationships

I'm not a picky eater, per se. I love most all types of food and cuisine. I am however picky about how like my food. For example, I love stone fruit - peaches, nectarines, plums - but they have to be soft and juicy, if they are too hard or mealy I just can't eat them. I'm like that with most produce (you will notice that I frequently write my recipes so as to avoid mushy vegetables).

I have made progress since I was a kid. I now like, or at least don't hate a few foods I used to refuse to eat (I still hate mayonnaise however. Also, I still don't like tabbouleh or succotash.) Two foods that I have worked on liking as an adult are mushrooms and olives. I still have a bit of a love-hate relationship with both, but I usually like them more often as not. The first rule of my pickyness still applies however, and I still can't stand raw mushrooms. It's a texture thing - they squeak against your teeth - it makes my skin crawl. But put those babies over high heat with a little oil and I'm the first one in line.

B and I went down to have lunch with my mom last Friday and we went to this awesome Japanese market that had several different lunch counters inside. I, of course, could not pass up the chance to check out the grocery section because I love love love ethnic markets which actually cater to that nationality's local population. Their prices are always fantastic and I can find spices and ingredients that even a well stocked mega-mart and my natural foods stores just don't carry. Predictably, I had to make efforts to restrain myself :o) I loaded up on a variety of sea vegetables (frankly, I can't guarantee that I didn't buy 3 of the exact same thing in slightly different packaging, since not everything had English translations!). I also picked up four packages of gorgeous mushrooms: buna shimeji, eringii shimiji, enoki (a 3 pack) and oyster. I didn't know what I wanted to do with them, but I knew it had to be something that would let them really shine. I finally decided to try the vegan alfredo sauce I saw on several blogs awhile back and thought the mushrooms, sauteed of course, would pair nicely.

Vegan Alfredo Linguine with Sauteed Mushrooms

First, for the pasta sauce. I was, unsurprisingly, unable to leave well enough alone and made some modifications to the recipe. Except for cutting the margarine in half (I could not bring myself to put in a half cup) I pretty much left everything else the same and simply added to the original. You can find the original at any of the above links. Another tip: I decided to try to do the whole thing in my BlendTec to avoid an additional dish (if you leave stuff in there long enough it will get hot, the blades spin that fast). Next time I will only blend it in there and not try to actually cook it, it ended up working way to much air into the sauce. I liked it a lot, and B really liked it, but it was a tad too oniony for me (although that was a lot more pronounced before I added the nooch and miso). It does taste even better the next day, and the texture is spot on. I'd like to try a roasted garlic version at some point. Additionally, this definitely makes enough for at least a pound of pasta, maybe more, depending on how saucy you like it.

- 1/4 cup margarine
- 2 cups plain soymilk
- 1 pkg extra firm silken tofu (Mori-Nu)
- 2 tbsp white wine
- 2 tbsp onion powder
- 2 tsp garlic powder

- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tbsp light miso paste (provides the "aged" flavor of parmesan)
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- pinch nutmeg
- 2 1/2 tbsp arrowroot powder dissolved in 2 tbsp cold soymilk

Combine everything but the arrowroot in a blender and wiz until completely smooth, add in arrowroot slurry and wiz just to combine. Pour into a saucepan and heat over low, stirring occasionally, while you cook the pasta. If it hasn't come to a slow bubble and thickened by they time the pasta is almost done cooking, crank up the heat just until bubbles come up and it thickens a bit. Serve over your favorite noodles.

These mushrooms were so delicious! And for cooked mushrooms, I thought they were awfully pretty to boot.

- 1 lb(ish) mixed mushrooms, chopped rough if very large (hold back any very small ones until the larger ones have cooked down some so they don't over cook)
- 1 tbsp earth balance
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- olive oil spray
- 1/4 - 1/3 c dry white wine
- 1 tsp finely minced fresh thyme
- salt and pepper to taste

Preheat a 3qt saute pan over medium-high until good and hot. Add the oil and margarine then the mushrooms as soon as the margarine melts. Toss to coat and then let cook undisturbed 1-2 minutes until the bottom layer gets some nice color. Toss, spraying with olive oil spray to lightly coat the rest of the mushrooms, sprinkle with salt, then stir only occasionally to allow mushrooms to develop some color and release their water. When the pan starts to dry out and the mushrooms are getting golden add the white wine to deglaze the pan and scrape up any brown bits. Remove from heat and stir in thyme.

Serve immediately!


Anonymous said...

Mushrooms and pasta were made to be!! YUM!!

Unknown said...