Category: dinner

Wild Mushroom Tostadas with Lime Creme Fraiche

Wild Mushroom Tostadas

It’s mushroom season!

I recently went on a wild edible plant walk here in the Boston area, and our guide told us that the best time to find mushrooms is between Labor Day and Columbus Day. We didn’t find any mushrooms on our walk, but he did get me thinking about making a recipe to show them off. I’m really interested in learning more about local wild, edible plants, so hopefully I’l be rooting around in the woods for some fungus soon.

And if you made the black pepper and cumin pickled carrots from last week, here’s a recipe to try them with.

Oyster and Chanterelle Mushrooms

Any wild mushrooms will do for this recipe, but I picked out two of my favorites today: oyster mushrooms and chanterelles.

Oyster mushrooms can be cultivated, so you are likely to find them outside of peak mushroom season. This also helps make them a bit more affordable than wild harvested mushrooms, but they are still many, many rungs up the ladder from the budget workhorse that is white button mushroom. If you are interested, there are many resources online that describe how you can grow oyster mushrooms yourself, at home.

Chanterelles, however, do not cooperate with human cultivation. This means the mushrooms you see in the store were growing wild in a wood somewhere before they reached the shelves. The effort it takes to locate and collect them, their wonderfully complex flavor, and their perishable nature contribute to their price tag.

A note about using wild mushrooms: if you’re super squicky about eating a little dirt, this may not be the best food for you. Washing mushrooms makes them soggy and sad. I pick off anything that’s big enough to be picked off, and then chop it up and cook away without thinking too hard about what might be on them. As long as the mushrooms are not slimy, don’t have any overly soft spots, aren’t hiding bugs, and don’t smell off… they are declared clean in my kitchen. A little dirt from the middle of a forest won’t hurt you.

And if you found your own, just be careful! Make sure you know what you have before you eat it.

Wild Mushroom Tostadas with Lime Creme Fraiche
Makes Six Tostadas

Six Corn Tortillas
Wild Mushroom Filling (recipe below)
Lime Creme Fraiche (recipe below)
1 Jalapeno Pepper, sliced thinly
1 Small Bunch Fresh Cilantro Leaves, roughly chopped
12 Pickled Carrot Sticks (recipe here)
1 Cup Daiya Vegan Cheese Shreds

Wild Mushroom Filling
340g or 3/4lb Wild Mushrooms, weighed after trimming
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Ground Cumin
1/2 tsp Dried Oregano
1 tsp Earth Balance Spread or Oil
Black Pepper

Lime Creme Fraiche
4 Tbs Tofutti Cream Cheese
4 Tbs Vegenaise Mayo
1 Tbs Fresh Lime Juice

Chopped Mushrooms

Arrange the racks in your oven so one is in the middle and one is in the highest position. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Chop your mushrooms into a medium to small dice. Add them to a dry skillet over medium high heat. The mushrooms will begin to release moisture after a few minutes.

Wild Mushroom Filling

After 3-4 minutes of cooking, add the salt, cumin and oregano. Keep an eye on the mushrooms and stir them every 10-15 seconds. Once most of the moisture has cooked out and they begin sticking to the bottom of the pan, about 7 minutes of total cooking time, add the Earth Balance and mix well. Remove mushrooms to a bowl and set aside.

Corn Tortillas

Place six corn tortillas on a baking sheet. Brush both sides very lightly with olive oil. Put tortillas in the middle rack of the oven and bake for approximately 8 minutes. The edges of the tortilla should be beginning to curl and they should only barely have the slightest hint of color. Remove from oven.

While the tortillas are baking, mix together the ingredients for the creme fraiche and refrigerate until ready to use. It will take a lot of whisking to get the mixture smooth, but it will happen if you keep at it!

Mushroom, Jalapeno, Cilantro

Once your tortillas are out of the oven, change the oven to the broil setting. Get everything ready for assembly: sliced jalapenos, cilantro, carrot sticks, cheese, creme fraiche, mushrooms.

Making Wild Mushroom Tostadas

Evenly divide the mushroom mixture across the tortillas. Top with a little vegan cheese. Place in the oven, this time on the very top rack, to broil. DO NOT WALK AWAY! Watch them as they cook until the cheese is melted and the tortillas are golden brown. Remove immediately.

Top each tostada with a dollop of the lime creme fraiche, some cilantro, a slice or two of jalapeno, and two picked carrot sticks. Serve immediately.

Wild Mushroom Tostadas

Avocado Wasabi Salad

Avocado Wasabi Salad

Yes, I know. It’s a salad.

Who wants to go to a vegan website and see a recipe for salad? I keep salads to an absolute minimum around here. So when one does show up, it’s a freakin’ delicious salad.

And this one is definitely freakin’ delicious.

I’ve had the idea of an avocado based salad dressing kicking around in my head for the last few days, and an avocado kicking around my kitchen counter. This salad is easy to throw together, and is a great entree salad, or a side salad for a dinner party or some such get-together.

The dressing is rich, and despite the title, is pretty damn tasty even without the added wasabi. You have my permission to leave the wasabi powder out altogether if you don’t like it or can’t find it.

I don’t know if my wasabi powder is old and has lost its kick, or if you need a massive amount of it to make things spicy (anyone with experience want to weigh in?), but this dressing was as mild as the day is long. It added a great flavor, but no heat. You may wish to add in your own wasabi powder slowly, tasting as you go, just in case yours is spicy.

The other ingredients are simple but flavorful as well. Pan-fried wasabi-soy chickpeas, sauteed broccoli, toasted almonds, and shredded carrots. I find this mixture goes particularly well together, adding crunch, sweetness, protein, and color. And they all pair wonderfully with the dressing.

Avocado Wasabi Salad

Speaking of the dressing, it’s pretty ugly stuff. This isn’t something you’re going to want to serve on the side for your guests. Toss it with the lettuce and then serve it. Just trust me on this one. You’ll see when you make it.

Avocado Wasabi Salad
Serves 4-6

Greens of your choice for 4-6 people
1 Carrot, shredded
2 tsp Vegetable Oil, divided
1/2 to 3/4 Cup Broccoli, chopped small
1/3 Cup Toasted Slivered Almonds
1 Recipe Wasabi Chickpeas, below
1 Recipe Avocado Wasabi dressing, below
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper

Wasabi-Tamari Chickpeas
1 tsp Oil
1 Cup Chickpeas
1 tsp Wasabi Powder
1/2 tsp Sugar
1 Tbs Low Sodium Tamari/Soy Sauce

Avocado Wasabi Dressing
1 Ripe Avocado, diced
2 tsp White Wine Vinegar
3 Tbs Hummus, plain or garlic
1 tsp Stoneground Mustard
1/2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Wasabi Powder
1/4 to 1/3 Cup Vegetable oil

Begin by whisking the dressing ingredients together, except for the oil. Whisk until smooth. If your avocado isn’t super ripe, you may wish to blend the dressing in a food processor. Slowly add oil until emulsified and the dressing is smooth, refrigerate until ready to use.

Toast your almonds in a dry pan over medium heat if they are not already toasted. Set aside.

In the same pan, add 1 tsp of oil and add broccoli. Sautee over high heat until the broccoli is beginning to color in spots and is bright green, but still tender-crisp. Sprinkle lightly with salt and set aside.

Add the second teaspoon of oil to the same pan and add the chickpeas. Reduce heat to medium-high. Cook the chickpeas until they are golden on all sides, using a spatula to loosen them as necessary, but don’t worry if they stick a little. Add the wasabi powder, sugar, and tamari and stir well. Remove from pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, add your salad greens. Add the broccoli, 3/4 of the chickpeas, 3/4 of the almonds, and 3/4 of the carrots. Toss with enough dressing to coat. Plate the salad, and garnish the top with the remaining chickpeas, almonds and carrots. Crack fresh black pepper over the top. Serve immediately.

If you are serving the salad later, do not add the dressing until the last minute.

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Avocado Wasabi Salad