Stuffed Cremini Mushrooms w/ Cashew Cheese and Slivered Grape Tomatoes

roasted crimini with cashew cheese and grape tomatoes

I’m a huge fan of recipes that make me seem like an amazing gourmet chef, while actually requiring little to no skillz and even less time! The only special tool is a good serrated knife, for thinly slicing the grape tomatoes.

If you’ve never made cheese from nuts before, this recipe is very simple–throw all of the ingredients into a blender, and if you have time, let the result sit for a couple of days to age. Here’s the recipe, and clearly the inspiration for this appetizer: Portobello Mushroom Cashew Cheese Burgers. This recipe will make a lot of extra (probably 10x), but no worries; this cheese was approved by the harshest critics I know…my sister’s kids. Spread it on sandwiches or crackers, or enjoy with some crisp vegetables.

On to the recipe…

Serves: 2, easily doubled or quintupled
Time: 10 mins in advance (cashew cheese) + 20 mins day of

Ingredients
10 cremini mushrooms, larger if possible
cashew cheese (recipe linked above)
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
4 grape tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 chopped scallion, green part only for garnish (don’t throw out the white part, use for something else)

Instructions

1. Make the cashew cheese 2-3 days in advance if you can. It takes about 10 minutes to throw together. The recipe doesn’t specify the type of miso, but I used white miso.

2. Preheat oven/ toaster-oven to 350°F. Rinse the mushrooms and remove the stems, then toss with olive oil.

3. Roast the mushrooms for 10-12 minutes with the stem-side down.

4. Allow the mushrooms to cool for 5 minutes, until they’re cool enough to handle. Fill with cashew cheese, then top with a slice of grape tomato and a couple of scallions. Serve immediately or at room temperature.

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Baby Arugula Salad w/ Navy Beans and Pickled Red Onions

Baby arugula with Navy beans and pickled red onion

An appetizer that’s all about flashy presentation, great for dinner parties because you can make everything ahead of time and just assemble the day of. The bean mix is best made a day or two ahead, so that the flavors develop.

Serves: 4 as a hearty appetizer
Time: 20 mins actual work, but add on time for soaking & cooking beans

Ingredients
For the pickled red onions:
1/2 red onion
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup water at room temperature/ chilled
2 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp whole peppercorns
1/4 tsp salt

For the bean mix:
3/4 cup dry navy beans
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp fine sea salt

And of course…
4 handfuls of baby arugula

Instructions

Pickled Red Onions:
1. Slice the onion as thinly as possible. A good serrated knife is your best friend for this task. You can leave them thicker if you like, I just love the presentation when the onion is paper-thin.
2. Fill a tea kettle with water and bring to a boil.
3. Assemble the marinade: cider vinegar, water, brown sugar, salt, and peppercorns.
4. Put the onion in a colander over the sink, and pour the boiled water over it. Drain well and then place in the marinade.
5. Allow to marinate for at least a few hours. Store in the refrigerator; this can be made the day of or even weeks in advance, as it will last (almost) forever.

Bean Mix:
1. Soak the beans overnight. Technically these beans can be cooked without prior soaking, but the soaking process makes them easier to digest & reduces the gas factor. Rinse, then bring to a boil then bring to a simmer. Skim any foam off of the top. Cook until the beans are tender but not too soft.
2. Allow the beans to cool to room temperature/ chill in the fridge. If you want, you can do this after mixing the ingredients together; but I prefer chilling the beans first so that the garlic and parsley stay 100% fresh.
3. Leftovers will keep well for 5 days. If you tire of the salad combo, you can also mash the beans into a paste and put on a sandwich, or throw it into a food processor to make a dip (you might need to add a little bit more olive oil/ water for thinner consistency).

Assembly:
Place a handful of arugula on the plate, top with 2 spoonfuls of the bean mix and a couple forkfuls of pickled red onions (it’s okay to take a little bit of marinade with the onions).

Wheat Berry Salad w/ Roasted Cauliflower, Chickpea, and Red Onion

Wheat berry with Roasted Cauliflower Red Onion Chickpea

A hearty and simple salad with a delightful texture, born of last night’s half-asleep mistake–I soaked wheat berries instead of short grain rice.

Serves: 3-4 as a meal
Time: Overnight soak + 1 hour

Ingredients
1 1/4 cup uncooked wheat berries
3/4 cup uncooked chickpeas (or replace with 1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed)
2 cups chopped cauliflower
2/3 red onion
2 1/2 tbsp grapeseed oil
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 juicy lemon
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp salt + additional to taste

Instructions

1. Soak the wheat berries and chickpeas overnight in cold water, covering with 2-3 inches of water (don’t soak canned chickpeas).

2. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

3. Rinse the chickpeas, add water, bring to a boil and then skim the foam off of the top. Reduce to a simmer and cook until tender; depending on the soaking time, could be done as quickly as 5-7 minutes. Check periodically and add water if needed.

4. Chop cauliflower into bite-size pieces. Cut onion into wedges, and then cut each piece in half the other way to make triangle-shaped pieces.

5. When the chickpeas are done, throw onion, chick peas and cauliflower into a mixing bowl and add grapeseed oil and 1 tsp salt. Toss everything so it’s well coated in oil and salt, and then place in a baking dish and put in the oven. Check and mix every 10 minutes until browned, should take 35-40 minutes.

6. Rinse the wheatberries, add water, bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook until tender, should take 20-25 minutes. Check periodically and add water if needed.

7. When cauliflower and onion are browned, remove the dish from the oven. Toss with wheatberries, extra virgin olive oil, rice vinegar, parsley, lemon juice to taste, and additional salt to taste. Serve warm.

Kale, Red Onions and Almonds in Coconut Oil

Kale Red Onion Coconut Oil

There is nothing quite like the smell of cooking red onions in coconut oil. This side dish is super nutritious and satisfying…though I was expecting to have leftovers for another snack or two, I just sat there and ate the entire thing.

Serves: 3
Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/3 red onion
4-6 leaves of kale
slivered almonds to taste
salt to taste

Instructions

1. Heat the coconut oil in a skillet over low-medium heat.

2. Julienne the red onion, and when the oil is heated add it to the pan. Cook until it begins to get translucent, about 5 minutes.

3. Remove the thick stems from the kale and cut into bite-size pieces. Add to the pan, mix in so that the kale is coated in coconut oil and then cover the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes.

4. When the kale has cooked down a bit and is bright green, remove from heat and add salt and almonds. Mix and serve.

Spicy Red Lentil, Kale and Cashew Soup

Red Lentil Kale Soup

The perfect escape from polar vortex conditions! Easy and quick to make, with a delicate complexity.

Serves: 4 as appetizer
Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup red lentils
3 cups vegetable broth (I used Whole Foods’ broth)
1 leaf kale
1 wedge of lemon (about 1/8 of a juicy lemon)
1/4 cup whole cashews
Salt to taste
Crushed red pepper to taste

Instructions

1. Heat the olive oil in a pot over low-medium heat. Once heated, add the onions and cook until translucent. If they begin to brown, lower the heat.

2. Once the onion is translucent, add the garlic and cook for another 4-5 minutes.

3. Add the red lentils and broth. Bring it to a boil then reduce to a simmer.

4. While the red lentils are cooking, cut the kale into strips and remove the thick stem. Place in a bowl and squeeze the lemon over the kale. Massage the lemon juice into the kale and then let it sit.

5. Grind the cashews in a food processor, you can leave chunks if you like texture. Set this aside for now.

6. When the lentils are cooked (should take 20-25 minutes, I like to stop cooking before they completely break down), add the kale in. You’ll probably need to press it down into the pot, but it will quickly begin to wilt and will release water, so no need to add more broth. Remove it from the heat.

7. Add the ground cashews and salt to taste, ladle into bowls and top with crushed red pepper.

Kale, Radicchio, and Fuji Apple Salad

A very refreshing and clean salad, with a bitter/sweet combo that will awaken your taste buds! This salad is loaded with dietary fiber, anti-inflammatory power (thanks to the kale), anti-oxidants, minerals such as iron and calcium, and a range of vitamins.

kale radicchio salad

Serves: 3-4 as an appetizer
Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice (about half of a lemon)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp white miso (if you use a darker miso, use a little bit less)
6 leaves dino kale, or another type of kale
1/3 small radicchio
1/3 fuji apple
3 tbsp chopped raw almonds
sea salt to taste

Instructions

1. Assemble the dressing: olive oil, lemon, miso (mash it in), and sea salt (you won’t need much, because of the miso).

2. Remove the thick stems from the kale and cut into bite-size pieces. Throw half of the dressing over the kale, massage the dressing into the kale and let it soak for 15 minutes. The acid helps to break down the kale and make it more digestible.

3. Cut the radicchio into strips, and sliver the apple. Add them into the salad once the kale is done soaking, and add part of the remaining dressing; depending on your taste there may be a little bit of extra dressing.

4. Top with almonds and serve! Be sure to chew– especially with fibrous greens your poor stomach will have to pick up the slack, which it’s really not meant to do. Take a bite, close off the back of your mouth so you don’t swallow while chewing, and go for it.

Ginger Miso Soup

Time for a proper post-holiday cleanse.  This soup is packed full of so many nutritiously delicious items, I’ll have to choose only two to focus on–miso and burdock root.

Miso: protection against radiation and cancer, protein, probiotics for healthy digestion, calcium, iron, the list is just too long.  The key is that you never want to put miso into boiling water and cook it, that will kill all of those wonderful microbes that do the body so much good.  Read more here: The Health Benefits of Miso

Burdock root: long used in Chinese herbal medicine, burdock is a blood detoxifier, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and a great source of fiber and potassium. Further reading: Natural Herbs Guide: Burdock

This recipe is partially inspired by Sandor Katz’s miso soup recipe in Wild Fermentation, an incredibly inspiring and well-written book about home fermentation.

image (2)

Serves: 2-3 as a one-dish meal
Total time: 20-25 minutes

Ingredients
5 cups water
2 inches of a burdock root
4 baby portobellos
7 oz. soft tofu
2 baby bok choy
1 clove garlic, finely grated
2 tsp ginger, finely grated
6 tbsp mellow white miso
6-8 scallions, chopped for garnish

Instructions

1. Peel and slice burdock into thin disks; I quartered the disks because the burdock was pretty wide. Slice the baby portobellos into thin disks, and chop in half if they’re too large to fit in a spoon. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Throw it all in and cook for 3-4 minutes.

2. Cube the tofu and add.

3. Slice off the bottom of the bok choy then continue slicing up the leaves so you’re left with disks of the white part and shredded leaves. Add to the pot.

4. Check that the burdock is softened, and if yes then remove 1 cup of broth. Turn off the flame, add the garlic and ginger, and cover the pot.

5. Mash the miso into the cup of broth that you removed, and once it’s well mixed return it to the pot and taste. If you like a stronger miso flavor, you can replace some or all of the miso with a darker miso; add it in parts and check the flavor of the soup in between. You’ll probably need 3 tbsp. for red miso, and 4 for yellow if you’re entirely replacing.

6. Garnish with green onions and enjoy rejuvenation with each bite. If heating leftovers, be careful not to boil.