Saturday, August 07, 2010

You've Come A Long Way, Mushroom Hater!

Once upon a time, I really really didn't like mushrooms. The thing is, some people are really nuts about them, so I thought maybe I should give them another try. Plus, it feels a little weird to be a vegan and be hatin' on such a popular item. How many times I've been to some restaurant where the sole vegetarian item on the menu is All About Mushrooms?! I decided it was time to broaden my horizons, and a couple of years ago, I quietly embarked on M.A.P. : Mushroom Appreciation Project. I started small, with a little bit of mushroom here and a little bit there.

Well, you can tell I've made good progress, because recently I got inspired to make two very mushroom-dependent dishes. First up, I made a mushroom pizza. I had some leftover tofu ricotta that needed a good home, so that was the original inspiration. First there's a layer of homemade pizza sauce, with a generous layer of tofu ricotta on top of that. Then I caramelized some red onions for a long time and added them. Finally, I added the mushrooms - which had been slowly pan-fried with a dash of liquid smoke, soy sauce, and maple syrup. Mmmm. It was a most excellent pizza and we both totally loved it.

So, it has come to pass, with the gradual success of M.A.P. that I really enjoy the earthy depth of mushroom flavor in soups and broths and stews... and I really enjoyed this 'shroomy pizza too. But ... sadly, M.A.P. has not been a 100% success.

Not too long ago, when we opened the front door, we discovered a big produce bag stuffed full of huge mushrooms. No note, no nothing! Huh!? How mysterious.* What to do with this big bag of mystery mushrooms? I picked out the recipe for stuffed mushrooms from the Vegan Fusion cookbook. I was feeling quite optimistic about this recipe while I was cooking it up, and Mr. Vegan Eats & Treats was very excited indeed, because he loves loves loves stuffed mushrooms. Which turns out to be a good thing, because in the end I could only eat a couple of these babies.

I actually really loved the filling, which had plenty of chopped up and cooked down mushrooms in it, but I just can't handle the whole mushroom. I think it's pretty much a texture thing, because it does seem that I have truly come around to enjoying the flavor. Please, just chop 'em up or cook 'em down! I'm pretty sure that I'll come back to that filling recipe again someday though, because it really was amazing... I'll just have to find another use for it.

* Later, we found out our friendly neighbors had left them for us. Thanks!

But, don't worry, while Mr. VE&T was happily chowing down on stuffed mushrooms, I didn't go hungry. I had also made a side of the Roasted Rosemary Tofu Cubes from Vegan Soul Kitchen to go with dinner...

... and a big bowl of sauteed zucchini with fresh herbs too.

While we're on the topic of zucchini, we had quite a bit of it from our garden for a while there. Historically, I haven't been too much of a zuke appreciator either... not a hater, but not a lover either. So, usually I default to zucchini bread. Nothing wrong with that! I made 4 loaves this year: 2 from Swell Zine, and two from my mom's hand-me-down recipe. Inspired by the almost-fat-free approach in the Swell recipe, I drastically reduced the oil in my old standard recipe and it was SO wonderful and absolutely as good as ever. Wonderful!

ps. There's also a happy, if un-documented, ending to my Z.A.P. (zucchini Appreciation Project), when I discovered the recipe for Zucchini with Vinegar, Mint & Garlic from Arabesque by Claudia Roden - which I had checked out of the library. By far my most favorite zucchini recipe ever, and so good that I actually feel like buying more zukes at the farmers market to make it again and again! Simple, quick, and very harmonious.

11 comments:

  1. OOOH! I'm going to make more zucchini bread tonight, maybe I'll try the Swell recipe! I usually use the one in Joy of Vegan Baking but I usually have to cut down on the oil and sugar.

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  2. I know lots of people who don't like mushrooms. I think it's the texture that gets to most people. I love anything with mushrooms in it and if my boyfriend liked mushrooms more I'd probably put them in EVERYTHING. Those stuffed mushrooms sure sound yummy. Maybe you could use the stuffing to make some other kind of stuffed veggie? Like peppers or zucchini.

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  3. Yeah I would say you got over your hate for mushrooms by looking at that pizza haha I personally love mushrooms, my boyfriend hated them but is slowly starting to be okay with them. Ever try a portabello burger? Those things are to die for.

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  4. I also used to dislike mushrooms, but not anymore! For me it's definitely true that being a vegetarian/vegan has opened up my tastebuds to trying, and most of the time eventually liking, all kinds of veg-friendly foods. Plus, since we're already cutting back on one or more food groups, I think it's important not to be too picky with what we *can* eat.

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  5. You are so funny! Actually my husband hated mushrooms,his sister as well, when I met him. Now he loves mushrooms.

    The pizza and stuffed mushrooms look really tasty.
    Our favorite stuffed mushroom recipe comes from The Candle Cafe cookbook, spinach, walnuts, garlic, onion, mushrooms...it's so yummy I can e-mail the recipe to you if you'd like.

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  6. amey, i can't believe you'd eat a bag of mystery mushrooms of unknown origin, how daring!

    i love looking at mushrooms but i really don't like eating them, and i too have tried...

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  7. That pizza looks great! I've been looking for some inspiration for my first Daiya cheese pizza and you've just given it to me. Thanks!

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  8. I'm not a huge mushroom fan either (it's all about the texture) but your liquid smoke/soy sauce/maple syrup sauce sounds really good--will definitely be trying this!

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  9. You can pass any uneaten mushrooms over this way! The pizza looks fantastic.

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  10. Those Roasted Rosemary Tofu Cubes look amazing!

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  11. Anonymous4:45 PM

    So with you on this one, Amey - I can only stand mushrooms cooked in certain ways, and I have tried stuffed mushrooms several times without success - I just can't stand the texture.
    And I also feel kinda meh about zucchini as well. I like pan-cooked zucchini recipe in Peter Berley's Modern Veg Kitchen, and the olive/tomato/millet zucchini recipe in VwaV looks promising, but otherwise I do zucchini bread like you.
    :-) jen e.

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