The pea shoots return for pizza

I may not know a lot about gardening, but one thing is certain – I’m dreading the maturation of summer peas and their farewell to shootdom. Come back, babies!

Something like that.

Pre-baked

Cue intro: Spring’s shoots joins forces with a renewed enthusiasm for bread-making, thanks to an incredibly long-awaited purchase of a new dough hook for the old family Kitchen Aid. Much thanks to my sister for shipping it from New York.

Pea Shoot Pizza

Toppings:

  • cherry tomatoes
  • miso tofu ricotta (recipe from: Vegan with a Vengeance, plus an additional tablespoon of nutritional yeast and two tablespoons of mellow white miso]
  • sautéed pea shoots
  • minced garlic [optional]
  • par-roasted garlic cloves
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • dough ball
  • coarse sea salt & Alder smoked salt

Sliced

Details:
Preheat oven to 475F. Briefly roast a head garlic, as desired, and remove before 20 minutes are up. Stick it in the fridge until you’re ready to use it again. Roll out your dough, thinly, and brush with olive oil. Toss the whole cherry tomatoes with a drizzle of olive oil and set aside. Dollop large spoonfuls of tofu ricotta on the pie. In a separate pan, and you can do this much earlier, heat the minced garlic, if using, in a teaspoon of olive oil, and saute the pea shoots until quickly wilted. Carefully dish the pea shoots until the pizza. Add the cherry tomatoes, whole cloves of roasted garlic (save any extra for another day, or smash and serve on the side), yet another drizzle of olive oil, and salt. Bake for 15-20 minutes until slight golden browning on the edges is achieved.

Baked

Finale

How this was served without Cabernet is beyond me.

The night the pea shoots came to dinner

The night the pea shoots came to dinner was a very good night, indeed.

Pea shoots are wonderful. The flavor is just so damn…fresh. I picked up a bunch from my weekly trip the farmers market last weekend, and while my first thought was to serve them fresh with lemon juice on top of beet burgers, I ended up sauteing them, yet again, and the result was lovely.

It was one of those casual, homemade meals, that I swear, can make your evening. It had been some times since I had made pasta – let alone, traditional (and beloved) white pasta – and on top of that, it was a clean-out-the-fridge meal that utilized two farmers market purchases: the sun-dried tomatoes I picked up in Eugene last month, and the aforementioned pea shoots. Inspiration, am I right?

Here’s the gist:

Saute four cloves of minced garlic in olive oil for 2-3 minutes, add 3 ounces of sun-dried (truly dried) tomatoes, a pinch of sea salt and a dash of pepper – I used freshly ground white. Add enough white wine to cover and bring to a boil. Stir in a teaspoon of white miso, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, half a tablespoon of Earth Balance, and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced. Had it been two months ahead, I would have thrown in some cherry tomatoes.

Boil water for pasta – I used capellini, which cooks in under 3 minutes. Immediately after you put the pasta in to cook, saute 3 cloves of thinly sliced garlic in a little bit of olive oil in a separate pan, and stir in washed pea shoots. I find the long pieces classier, for whatever reason, and enjoy that delusion, but feel free to cut them.  Add a splash of water or white wine or broth, stir, and cover until wilted. At this point, your pasta is likely done, so drain it, toss it with the sauce as desired, and plate over wilted pea shoots, making sure to include the garlic. I served this dish with nooch on the side, but didn’t find it calling for any.  What I did enjoy was a chilled glass of white, of course.

Let’s do this.

The final plate was garnished with nothing more than fresh, flat-leaf parsley.

organic pea shoots from Portland, organic sun-dried tomatoes from Eugene.

It’s true. Get Sconed! <3 extra virgin olive oil.

Pasta at Heart

White pasta fans, you’re in luck.

I’ve spent much of the past 2 days on the phone with my sister, who just returned from a 3 week vacation in Italy. She spent her days working on small farms and her evenings sipping red wine. I’m so proud, and my kitchen has been thinking of her as I recall the brief Sicilian wanderings of my early 20s.

Cashew miso alfredo over fusillata casarecci with sauteed morels and fresh parsley.

This isn’t the first nut-based alfredo that’s come my way, and barring any further, emerging allergies, won’t the be the last. And I just can’t put into words how stellar and succulent the Earth Balance sautéed morels were with this. Wait.

Cashew Miso Alfredo

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup soaked raw cashews
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2-3 cloves worth of sliced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin, cold pressed olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • pinch fresh thyme
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon white miso (less can be more – same goes for the garlic)
  • salt & pepper (preferably white), to taste
  • fresh parsley
Directions:
  1. Saute the sliced garlic in the olive oil for 3-4 minutes over medium heat.
  2. Remove from heat, and carefully add to blender, along with the rest of the ingredients, with the exception of the parsley.
  3. Gently reheat in a small saucepan, and whisk in more water if needed.
  4. Serve over pasta or other entrée, and sprinkle with fresh parsley and additional pepper, if desired.
_____________________________________________________________
Next up, a vibrant edition in the never-ending, clean-out-the-fridge series. It’s a take on this recipe, which was inspired by the smokey mac at Bang Bang Cafe in Seattle. I left out the (pointless – I was simply out of oil?!) bit of packaged vegan cheese this time around, and skipping the cashews, incorporated both roasted red peppers and coconut milk into the pureed sauce.

Smokey Roasted Red Pepper and Coconut Mac & Cheeze

_____________________________________________________________

Tomatoes are having a slow start this summer. Sadness. I finally spotted some at the Montavilla Farmers Market  a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve grabbed a pint at every market since then. Fast forward a couple of more weeks, and I’m impatiently expecting true sweetness!

Orrechiete with sautéed red and sungold cherry tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, purple and roasted garlic, olive oil, fresh basil, crushed red pepper and fresh black pepper. Served with balsamic roasted green beans, with a pinch of brown sugar. The pasta dish was inspired by a similar meal from a downtown food cart last week.

Pesto-stuffed Chickpea Cutlet Balls & Television

So, I’m a television fanatic. It hails back to my days of sharing a bedroom with my younger siblings and quietly watching The X-Files while sitting a foot away from the  television screen (seeing both films on opening day), and evolved into obsession via the same small television set with the first episode of Buffy during my freshman year of high school. I may have just as many memories of Xander and Willow as I do my real life friends, woops. There aren’t many shows I watch on a dedicated, weekly basis now (or that I’d admit so quickly). I still resist Hulu for the most part and can instantaneously open my out-dated rant about how the real LOST fans are those who were watching during Season 1 and went insane the rest of the week for six onwards years – and even worse, during summer hiatus – and then, the writer’s block. The suspense! The attempt at patience! The gift of a new episode!

This is pretty normal Jess-in-person ranting and it would be out-of-place on this here post if it wasn’t for the following connection – my new found-love for Bob’s Burgers. I adore Home Movies – it’s one of the few dvd sets I actually own, so I gave it this new series a chance, and I’ve been hooked since week one. It’s pretty damn nostalgic to find myself looking forward to Sunday evenings again! I’m a sucker for the parents’ sweet antics and accents, and these may be the most entertaining kids I’ve seen on television since Brendon, Melissa and Jason, of course. Back to the point – on the latest episode, a spaghetti and meatball dinner was featured, and 24 hours later, I was sitting down to this vegan version.

Bob's Burgers inspired dinner: baked pesto-stuffed chickpea cutlet balls, homemade marinara, multi-grain spaghetti, steamed kale

The chickpea cutlet recipe is from Veganomicon, no surprise. I’ve baked the dough as balls many times in the past, and I usually add marjoram and basil into the mix. This time, I flattened circles of the dough and added a small dollop of homemade raab pesto, carefully formed it back into a ball, and baked them at 400F for 20 minutes, flipped the balls, and baked an additional 15 minutes at 425F. I would declare “Bon Appetit!”, but Gene’s not here to usher us out with a dramatic keyboard solo.

P.S. Admittedly, I have gone and blogged many LOST-obsessed meals. Speaking of, Jorge Garcia making almond milk = be still, my freaking heart.

I’ll likely find myself making some Bob’s inspired veggie burgers soon!

Orecchiette con broccolini

Orecchiette con broccolini; smoked and seared tofu

I picked up a bag of Italian orecchiette last week at Barbur World Foods as part of my dramatic & ongoing hidden gem investigation with one intention – making this traditional recipe once again from The Urban Vegan. It’s a classy weeknight meal with plenty of thinly sliced garlic sauteed in olive oil (you better go high quality!), a hint of salty miso, a sprinkle of nooch, and in this case, broccolini subbing for the signature vegetable…but I don’t think my distant family in Sicily would mine that one. The nooch on the other hand, maybe.

And to channel the wonderful, birthday gal Dynise: Pair this with a tall glass of lemon water or red wine, and pretend it costs $12 at your local trattoria (even if you have a vegan trattoria down the block, like this spoiled lady).

Portobello Pizza & The Vegan Pizza Day Countdown

In preparation for Vegan Pizza Day on Saturday (fellow vegans, I behoove you – can we please declare a vegan danish say next?), I found myself once again contemplating the cute Pizza Cups from Slice and channeling my inner little old Italian lady relatives. Somehow, this led to the veganization of Portobello Mushroom Crust Pizzas from the same site, while remembering I had just received some Teese from a friend to play with.

The following portobello pizzas differ from Tonecapo’s pictorial on Slice because a) there’s vegan mozzarella involved, b) the gills are scraped, and c) a mixture of pureed mushroom stem, spinach, garlic and black olives is used in place of the sausage crumbles.

Of course, please forgive that I should iron my tablecloth or whatever grown ups do in the following photo pictorial. The recipe follows.

Step 1) The De-Gilling

Step 2) The Saucing

Step 3) The Stuffing

Step 4)

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s our special guest, Teese!

The Topping

Step 5) The Finale

The Recipe:

Portobello Mushroom Pizzas with Spinach & Black Olive Filling

These mini “pizzas” are ridiculously week-night friendly, and any leftovers are just waiting to top pasta or fill a sandwich.

Serves: 1-2, double and use larger caps for bigger portions

Ingredients:

  • 2 Portobello mushroom caps, stems removed and set aside, and gills carefully scraped out with a spoon
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce (use more if needed)
  • 1/4 cup of shredded vegan mozzarella cheese
  • handful of baby spinach
  • 1 clove of garlic – see below
  • good pinch of salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 black olives
  • olive oil, preferably in spray/misting form
  • optional: dried oregano and crushed red pepper

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 450F and lightly grease a baking pan large enough to fit the caps.
  2. Spoon the sauce even onto the caps.
  3. Finely mince or pulse together the removed mushroom stems, baby spinach, garlic and black olives in a food processor.
  4. Saute, stirring frequent, in a lightly oiled pan over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, being careful not to burn. Remove from heat.
  5. Spread half of the spinach mixture onto each cap.
  6. Top each cap with half of the shredded vegan cheese, sprinkled with desired dried herbs, lightly spray with oil, and bake for 18-20 minutes. Broil for an additional 1-2 minutes, if desired.
  7. Remove from the oven, and serve.

The local garlic love:

Do you have any plans for this Vegan Pizza Day? I’m considering breakfast at Sizzle Pie, myself. If you’re in the Portland area, there’s always local vegetable topped slice sat Hot Lips, cornmeal crust at Dove Vivi, wood-fired pizza from carts Pyro Pizza and Wy’yeast ( gah! why have I not been yet?!?), Hopworks, Portobello (Daiya and cashew sauce), Rudy’s (recently added Daiya), Eat Pizza, Oasis (now has soy cheese!), and more.

The MoFo Farewell, alla Vodka

Happy last day of MoFo! I haven’t quite been keeping to my proposed theme and daily posting as much as I intended, but I like to think that posting elsewhere (and co- planning a vegan bloggers conference, zomg!!!) has helped make up for it a tiny bit. That, and getting wrapped up on the MoFo reader for hours at a time on a regular basis – but, who hasn’t? It’s the weather for lengthy simmering on the stove, and I’ve done so recently with mulled pear apple cider, French Moroccan lentil soup, and creamy tomato vodka sauce.

The recipe for Penne alla Vodka comes from Veganomicon, and I served it over spaghetti one night with beanballs, and with the traditional penne, and balsamic braised greens on another. I’m newly allergic to almonds, so I subbed raw cashews and the result seemed even creamier than I remembered.

For the love of appropriately early Sunday night Italian dinners: Whole Wheat Spaghetti alla Vodka with baked Roasted Garlic & White Bean Balls (modified from the chickpea cutlet recipe).

Balsamic Braised Greens:

Whole Wheat Penne alla Vodka:

Cheers! With a Citrus & Jalapeño-infused vodka cocktail:

mini pizzas & teese & holiday confessions

I was recently afflicted with the pizza bug. It’s been the coldest and driest November I’ve ever witnessed in Portland, and it usually seems much more rational to use the oven over the heater. You get a warm dinner and a warmer abode. Win Win.

Whole wheat crust (Trader Joe’s), homemade marinara, mozzarella teese, sun-dried tomatoes, cremini mushrooms, jalapeño peppers.

I’m always impressed at how well teese holds up upon re-heating.

Variety time!

Whole wheat crust, roasted orange pepper and white bean spread, steamed greens, strips of more roasted orange pepper, and halved  kalamata olives.

As for my holiday time, pizza making confession, it’s totally not the store-bought dough – it’s the music. The first evening of pizza baking marked the first day of the season I welcomed the easy listening christmas music station back into my life. Every night. I can’t help it. I can be pretty damn humbug, but hear Linda Ronstadt wishing me a Merry Little Christmas and go weak with nostalgia. I start cutting out snowflakes and wishing for the marshmallow winter song and Band Aid to come on next and then start picturing my grandfather singing along with Bing Crosby. I may have even put up a fucking holiday tree under the guise that it’s for a shindig. And quite frankly, if I had wine, and mulled wine went with pizza, it would have been on my stove.

A New Tradition in the Life: Marsala, Sun-dried Tomato & Mozzarella Stuffed Mushrooms

The Story:

Stuffed mushrooms were one of the first dishes I learned to pull off and share with guests as a vegan. Italian background, Italian food, check. I can still remember my mom pulverizering the filling in the food processor, and that flavor, which was nothing like the other foods I ate (admittedly, it was full of parmesan and likely, crab, and I was such a picky eater). My late mother actually developed a severe, yet comical,  allergic reaction to mushrooms at some point, yet still kept making these due to popular demand. Nowadays, I usually make them for potlucks, and there’s nearly always wine (because mushrooms should nearly always be drunk), nuts, and breadcrumbs involved. Very recently, my mushrooms-have-the-consistency-of-eyeballs paranoia returned, as it is does now and then, so there I was, with creminis, yet, not wanting to slice them. Stuffed mushrooms are the least of my squishy mushroom fears, and there I went. You could easily sub red wine, or add roasted garlic, steamed greens, vegan crab, etc.  Stuffed mushrooms = versatile.

The Recipe:

Marsala, Sun-dried Tomato & Mozzarella Stuffed Mushrooms

Ingredients:

  • 20-25 cremini mushrooms, stems separated, and gills scraped (optional)
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup dry Marsala wine
  • 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup shredded vegan mozzarella (I used Chicago Soy Dairy Teese)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of chopped sun-dried tomatoes (re-hydrated or oil packed)
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I used Dave Killer’s Good Seed)
    • Note: I used 3/4 cup initially, and had too much filling leftover, hence the cut. Not the end of the world if you run a little short or extra!
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch hot paprika
  • pinch nutritional  yeast
  • additional olive oil for spritzing
  • additional wine

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F and lightly grease a casserole dish large enough to fit the mushrooms, such as an 8×8 or 8×4.
  2. Thoroughly mince the mushroom stems, either with a knife or in a food processor.
  3. Sauté the garlic and mushroom steams over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the wine, stir for 1 minute, and simmer for an additional 5, or  until most of the liquid evaporates.
  4. Add the herbs (excluding the salt & pepper!) and stir for 1 more minute. Remove from heat.
  5. Mix the breadcrumbs, sun-dried tomatoes, salt, pepper and nutritional well in a bowl. Carefully mix in the sautéed mushrooms mixture and vegan mozzarella shreds, and incorporate well.
  6. Using a 1/2 tablespoon, fill each mushroom cap with the mixture, packing tightly. Place the caps into your lightly greased baking pan, spray with olive oil and a couple good dashes of additional wine, and cook for 20 minutes. If you have extra mushroom caps, just save them to slice into a tofu scramble or something.
  7. Increase the heat to 425F, and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes, as needed. Check for browning.
  8. Remove from oven, briefly yet cool, pour some more wine, and serve.

The Photos:

Filling:

Mixed:

Pre-baked:

Roasted:

The End.