Friday, 20 June 2014

Easy-cheesy stuffed mushrooms with garlic scapes (vegan)

I can't remember a time that I ever said "no" to mushrooms. That's how much I love them. (Unless they're raw, because that's just wrong.)

I've recently been on a dehydrating kick when it comes to mushrooms. For my vegan friends out there: dehydrating mushrooms amplifies their flavour. So it gives things that "meaty" flavour when you use dehydrated mushrooms, and that's a heck of a lot lower in MSG than Marmite (which--don't get me wrong--is still delicious as hell in gravy and full of vitamin B-12).

So the other day, when I went to the grocery and saw that they had these beauties on the produce clearance rack (which, by the way, is usually made up of moldy cucumbers or way overripe bananas), I knew I had to buy them. I assumed that I'd get them home, and I'd turn one over just to find out that there was something funky happening on the bottoms. Not the case. I still don't know why they were so painfully cheap, but hey--I'm not complaining. More mushroom for me to love.

These babies were purchased three days prior and still looked this awesome! I still haven't figured out why they were on the clearance rack.

Big mushrooms like this need a special use. Dehydrating them was somehow just not right, because they had those beautiful, luscious caps that were just meant for stuffing. And so I had to come up with something easy to stuff them with, based on what was sitting in my fridge at the time. Easy task? Not so much. But wow. Just wow. These were delicious in a way I can't even describe.

And it was simple. Five ingredients required, including the mushrooms. One of the ingredients is an optional drizzle of olive oil (which I'll eat my hat if you don't already have some in your kitchen). Then you add a little onion and garlic and hold it together with a little vegan cheese and that's it. For real.

Aside from the (optional) olive oil, this is all that's in this recipe!

Now, I used green onions and garlic scapes for my filling. If you use full-strength onion and garlic, it will be a stronger flavour, but it will probably still be super delicious. If you're not sure what garlic scapes are, they're the most delicious thing ever. They're kind of like a green from the garlic plant that has the flower attached, and they snip it off early in the season so that the garlic grows better (less energy going into the making of flower and seeds means more energy put into growing that little bulb!). And not surprisingly, it tastes like a milder version of garlic. Check out the scapes at your farmers' market next time you get a chance, yeah? It's about the right time for them (I got mine on Sunday).

These are garlic scapes. They're beautiful green coils with long, pointed flower ends.

So you basically chop everything up, and mix it with the cheese. Difficult, eh?

All we've got in here is the chopped green onion, garlic scapes and a bit of vegan cheese so it'll stick together.

Take the stems out of your mushroom caps. To do this, just gently reach a finger into the space between the stem and the edge of the cap, and loosen around the whole stem. When you pull it out, you'll have the give a pretty decent tug, but if you find you're breaking the caps, just be sure to loosen the stem a bit more by prying gently with your finger.

The progression of your mushrooms, before-and-after style.

And then you stuff the filling into the mushrooms. Put them in a roasting pan. For 6 large mushroom caps, I found that a 7"x11" baking pan worked really well. I also put foil under the mushrooms to cut down on the mess and the chance of sticking.

I had the perfect amount of filling to fill 6 large mushroom caps. Fill them until the filling is even with the top of the mushroom. If you over-fill them, I'm not sure what will happen. I suspect they'll overflow with juices, but you can always take a spoon and take one for the team, if necessary...

I then decided to drizzle them with olive oil. This is optional, but I do love Zatoun's olive oil on pretty much anything savoury. (And I actually hate olives. What does that tell you about how good their olive oil is?)

I've drizzled a little olive oil over them, because I'm having a love affair with my olive oil.

When your mushrooms are ready to be baked, stick them in a 350°F oven for about 25-30 minutes. This will definitely depend on your mushroom size and shape, so check them often. You'll know they're done when the cavity where the filling is begins to have the brown mushroom juices in it, and it's about to overflow with that awesomeness.

The beauty of mushrooms is that you know they're done when they're all juicy!

Then the fun part: devour them.

Oh, trust me. They're as delicious as they look.

You'll have mushroom stems left, which are less nice to eat straight-up because they're quite fibrous, but which are good for dehydrating and adding to stocks and stuff... I'll make sure it's in the cookbook. Never fear!

These babies are going in my dehydrator so I can make mushroom powder for my soups!

Easy-cheesy stuffed mushrooms with garlic scapes (vegan)
Makes 6 large mushrooms

6 large stuffing mushrooms (portobello would probably work)
3 spring (green) onions
3 garlic scapes
1/4 cup Daiya vegan cheese shreds
Olive oil for drizzling (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Make sure your mushrooms are clean and wash and pat them dry if they aren't. Remove the stems and set aside for another use.

Chop up your onions and garlic scapes and mix with the cheese. Stuff the caps till the filling is flush with the top of the mushroom cap. Place your mushrooms, filling side up (obviously) in a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the brown mushroom juices start to fill the cavity of the cap. Serve hot.


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