Fresh Flower Ravioli (Vegetarian)

So. I adapted this from a recipe I found in an aphrodisiac cookbook that I bought at the Haight Street Goodwill in San Francisco. Man, does that sound smarmy!!! Honestly, I wasn’t trying to be creepy by buying a (used – ewww!) aphrodisiac cookbook, it just so happened to be focused on a number of my favorite ingredients: mushrooms, avocado, asparagus, artichokes, chili pepper, etc. Are all these foods aphrodisiacs? Color me skeptical. Meanwhile, if you’re wondering why I was at the Haight Street Goodwill, it’s because I had fled to San Francisco to visit my bestie while J was gone in an attempt to take my mind off his absence. And I just so happened to be in the Haight. And I love thrift stores. And if you’re wondering why I made this so-called aphrodisiac recipe while J was gone, it was because I wanted to see if it was any good before spending the time to make it for both of us. Not for aphrodisiac purposes, mind you, just for dinner. Come on people, my parents might be reading this! Anyway, don’t judge me. Eat some flower ravioli and give peace a chance.

Fresh Flower Ravioli

  • 24 wanton wraps (Note: Wanton wraps are not vegan.)
  • 8 c. vegetable broth
  • 8 oz edible flowers, chopped, stems removed (They sell these in the herb section at most organic markets and also often at farmer’s markets.)
  • 2 tbsp basil sliced width-wise (This is called a chiffonade, in case you’re interested.)
  • Water in a small prep bowl (You will use this to seal the ravioli with your fingertips.)
  • 1 tbsp melted butter or a bit of olive oil (if desired)
  • Additional herbs if desired
  • Grated Parmesan to taste

Have the bowl of water nearby. Take a wanton wrap and arrange a small amount of the herbs & blossoms in the center (about a teaspoon or a pinch or two). Fold the wrap over to form a triangle pouch around the flowers. Dip your fingers in water and press the wrap edges firmly together. Run your finger along the edges to seal them. Fold the outer corners inwards if necessary to create a good seal (it will look a bit like a wanton – hey, that’s why they call them wanton wraps). Repeat this until you have about 24 triangles (creates two servings).

Meanwhile, boil the vegetable broth in a large pot. When the broth is boiling, drop in 12 triangles and boil for about three minutes. Lift out quickly with a slotted spoon. Repeat with the remaining triangles. When the triangles are done, you may brush them with melted butter or olive oil using a basting brush, if desired. Season with sea salt and ground black pepper to taste. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan.

Mushroom Spinach Arrabiata (Vegan)

This is a very fast and easy pasta of the variety that I usually make if I haven’t been to the store for a while and/or I’m feeling lazy. That is because I pretty much always have all of the ingredients on hand,* and also because it’s really fast and easy to make. Oh wait, I already said that. Did I mention it’s fast and easy? But how about quick and simple? Anyway. As an aside, if I were dispensing unsolicited advice on general kitchen-keeping, I’d say try to usually have these ingredients on hand. With these basics, there are many different dishes which can easily be thrown together on a moment’s notice.


Mushroom Spinach Arrabiata

  • 1/2 lb mushrooms (I like button or baby bella, but any kind will do)
  • 4 tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 6 c. uncooked spinach
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 – 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes, chopped, with sauce
  • Oregano (or you could just use a generic Italian seasoning blend – Trader Joe’s has a pretty good version)
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste (I use a lot)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 package of pasta (follow cooking directions)

Saute mushrooms on medium heat for a couple minutes, then covered for a few minutes more until they juice. Remove cover and continue to cook until liquid is reabsorbed. Add garlic and onion and saute until onion is softened.** Add tomatoes and spinach and cook until spinach is fully wilted and tomatoes are mushy. Add stewed tomatoes and seasonings to taste. Continue to cook until the sauce is thick and pasta is done.

Serve immediately with pasta. MakesĀ  approximately 4 servings.

*You can omit any of the fresh vegetables if you don’t have them.

**J prefers this sauce to be pureed with the onions and fresh tomatoes for a smoother sauce. If that is your preference too, then simply start by sauteing the onions & garlic before the mushrooms, add the tomatoes and tomato sauce, then blend in a food processor until smooth. Saute the mushrooms separately per my directions above, add the spinach and saute until it wilts, then add the pureed sauce to the mixture and cook until it’s hot.

Mushroom Stroganoff (Vegan)

Mmmmm is for mushrooms

Oysters, shitaakes, chanterelles, baby bellas

 

Mmmmmmmm is for mushrooms. That’s right.

So, once upon a time before I became vegetarian, I happened to discover an outrageously amazing Beef Stroganoff (in a restaurant in Lawrence, KS that is no longer open). After I quit eating meat, I always lamented that Beef Stroganoff and thought to myself that if there was one thing I missed about a non-veggie lifestyle, it was that magically delicious Stroganoff. In fact, it was that Stroganoff that first kindled my love of mushrooms, a passion which has grown to implausible proportions since. Lo, you can imagine my delight when I finally perfected (in my opinion) my own vegan version of that Stroganoff. Which isn’t really my own version, rather it’s a slight variation on Cully’s recipe from Child of Atom. The main differences are that I prefer to cook the mushrooms in a slightly different way than he recommends, the sour cream is vegan, I eschew the mustard and add parsley.

I do believe that beef lovers themselves would look favorably upon this rendition. That said, I offer it freely to you in all its vegan glory. (Note: If you’re jonesing for some dairy, you can make it non-vegan with real sour cream.)

Mushroom stroganoff

  • 1 1/2 lbs mushrooms, sliced (a mix of different kinds is good, but baby bellas alone will do quite fine)
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • One large clove garlic, minced
  • Fresh ground sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups Tofutti non-dairy sour cream
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • A few splashes of dry white wine and white wine vinegar (ratio of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts wine)
  • Paprika to taste (though, as J points out, if you can taste it, you’ve probably put in too much)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Your favorite type of pasta (though I do recommend the short types of noodles, like rotelle or penne or the like)

Cook your pasta of choice per its standard instructions. Meanwhile …

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil and add the mushrooms. Toss until coated in oil and continue to stir regularly for a couple of minutes. After a couple of minutes, cover and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until they juice – usually 2 to 5 minutes. After the mushrooms have juiced, remove the cover and continue to cook until the juice is reduced. Remove from heat and set aside.

Next, saute the shallots and garlic until the onions soften. Add the wine – not too much, but maybe just enough to cover the bottom of the pan and a few splashes of vinegar, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the sour cream and return to a boil. Cook for a few minutes until liquid is reduced. Add veggie stock and return to a boil. Same drill – cook for a while until the liquid is reduced. Stir in the mushrooms and parsley, salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Crazy delicious

Stroganoff awaiting its pasta