Tag Archives: Portabellos

Pollock Potluck

Inspired by this photo of me at the Chicago Art Institute:

…my awesome neighbor across the hall suggested a POLLOCK POTLUCK.  We decided to skip the cigarettes and beer.   And went with veggies instead.  I know.  I know.  A vegan tribute to Action Jackson.  The man is rolling in his grave.  We spent more time talking about Peggy Guggenheim, Gertrude Stein, Frida Kahlo, Emily Dickinson, and Hatshepsut than Pollock.  But we ate some really good spaghetti squash that kind of looked like his famous paint splatters.  It was pretty much amazing.

Jenny made a delicious salad of cold steamed green beans, apples, oranges and walnuts over a bed of lettuce with citrusy vinaigrette.

I made Spaghetti Squash with Vegetable Ragout from a cookbook called The Gluten-Free Vegan Cookbook by Susan O’Brien.

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and place 1 spaghetti squash (about 2-3 pounds) directly on the oven rack and bake until soft, about 1 hour.  Remove and set aside until cool enough to handle.
  • While squash is cooking, place a large skillet over medium heat and pour in 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Add 1 large onion, medium zucchini, and 3 cups chard, all finely chopped, and saute for 8 to 10 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup roasted red pepper, 4 ounces cremini mushrooms, and 4 cloves garlic, chopped.  Cook for 5 more minutes.  Add 1 (14.5-ounce) can chopped tomatoes, 1 tablespoon capers, and cook for another minute or 2.  Add some fresh or dried basil and 1/8 cup red wine (or red wine vinegar) and cook for a couple more minutes.
  • Cut the squash in half.  Scoop out the seeds and discard.  Then scoop out the noodly flesh and place it in a large bowl.  *Note: I will probably drain the squash halves upside-down on some paper towels before scooping next time.  Mine came out a bit soupy.*  Toss with the vegetable mixture.

  • 1 spaghetti squash: $3.98
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil: $0.05
  • 1 large onion: $0.33
  • medium zucchini: $0.70
  • 3 cups chard: $0.89
  • 1/2 cup roasted red pepper: $0.76
  • 4 ounces cremini mushrooms: $0.99
  • 4 cloves garlic: $0.20
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can chopped tomatoes: $0.89
  • 1 tablespoon capers: $0.50
  • dried basil: $0.05
  • 1/8 cup red wine vinegar: $0.10

=$9.44/6 servings = $1.57/serving!

I also made some vegan parmesan to sprinkle on top.  This was inspired by my friend Kristin’s recipe.  She had told me the ingredients but not the amounts, so I winged it.  I just put the following in my food processor:

  • 3/4 cup raw cashew pieces: $1.13
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast: $0.60
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder: $0.05
  • a pinch of dried crushed red pepper: $0.01
  • 1 tablespoon lemon pepper (add some salt too if your lemon pepper is the salt-free kind): $0.15

Then pulsed it until it resembled the texture of parmesan.  EASY!

=$1.94 for about 1 cup of faux parmesan

I would say that this meal qualified as a masterpiece.



Golden Mushroom, Pea, and Asparagus Risotto

My good friends Brandon and Chai were visiting from New York last weekend, and I had the honor of making dinner for them!  I put a lot of thought into what to make.  I wanted to avoid Asian cuisines, since they already get a lot of that in New York (and in their own kitchen).  I wanted to make something hearty and comforting but also something more special than pasta, so I eventually settled on my favorite risotto recipe:


I used a little bit of white wine vinegar mixed with some broth in place of the white wine and omitted the fresh dill.

Also, here’s an old picture of the same recipe from when I first made it, a couple of years ago.

  • 3 ½-4 cups vegetable stock: free (homemade)
  • 1 lb asparagus: $1.99 (on sale at Whole Foods)
  • 1 cup onion: $0.25
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil: $0.10
  • 1 ½ cups cremini mushrooms (I used 1/2 pound): $1.99
  • 2 tablespoons garlic: $0.10
  • 1 cup arborio rice: $0.66
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar: $0.10
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron thread: $0.33 (on clearance at Target a while back)
  • 1 cup frozen peas: $0.43 (edamame would be good too)
  • 13 cup nutritional yeast flakes: $0.80
  • ¼ cup freshly chopped parsley: $0.59


…so I fed 4 people and had leftovers for less than the cost of one meal in a restaurant.

$7.34/6 servings


I served this with a side of Lemon-Pepper Baked Tofu:


…but, alas, I failed to snap a photo before we gobbled it all up!

  • 1 lb extra firm tofu: $1.79
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil: $0.03
  • 1 teaspoon Braggs liquid aminos (or soy sauce): $0.02
  • 2 garlic cloves: $0.10
  • 2 tablespoons lemon pepper (with salt): $0.10

=$2.04/4 servings


…so the meal as a whole came to $1.73/serving.

Erin brought wine and lovely desserts from Eden Alley!  Thank you, Erin!  It was a lovely evening.  I can’t wait to see B & C again!

Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie

This might be one of the heartiest recipes I’ve ever made.  Yum!

I got the idea to make this:


…when it was on the front page of Food.com the other day as part of a feature on vegetarian meals.

That said, I had to convert the recipe from metric measurements, plus I scaled it down a bit and changed a few things (cut everything small instead of putting it in the food processor; added margarine, soy milk, soy sauce, etc.), so here is my version of gourmandelle’s lovely vegetarian shepherd pie:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Boil for about 20 minutes:

  • 4 medium Russet potatoes (peeled and quartered)

Mash with:

  • 2 tablespoons margarine
  • 1/4 cup plain soymilk
  • salt and pepper to taste

While potatoes are boiling, sautee:

  • 1 onion, diced finely
  • 1 carrot, diced finely
  • 1 red pepper, diced finely
  • 1 pound cremini or portabello mushrooms, diced finely
  • 1/4 cup Textured Vegetable Protein (aka TVP.  This is dehydrated soy.  It has a meaty texture, soaks up any flavor, and is super cheap.  It’s available in the bulk section of most health-food stores or with Bob’s Red Mill products)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (also available in bulk section)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (use the good stuff)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

After about 10 minutes, stir in:

  • 1/2 bunch fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/2 bunch fresh parsley, chopped

Spray a baking pan with cooking oil or line it with parchment (I used a loaf pan, and it ended up being a good size).  Spread half the mashed potatoes in the pan.  Top with the veggie mixture.  Spread the remaining potatoes on top.  Bake for about 30 minutes.  Let sit for at least 10 minutes.  The recipe said 30 minutes, but I couldn’t wait that long, and it was fine.  Slice and serve.

I looked at gourmandelle’s profile on Food.com, which led me to her blog:


I love her blog!  Her tastebuds seem remarkably similar to my own.  I can’t wait to try her “Stuffed Button Mushrooms with Garlicky Rice Noodles” or “Stuffed Aubergines with Garlic Sauce.”  Who doesn’t love a good stuffed vegetable?  And garlic? Her pictures are lovely too.  Check it out.

  • 4 medium Russet potatoes: $0.95
  • 2 tablespoons margarine: $0.26
  • 1/4 cup plain soymilk: $0.05
  • 1 onion: $0.25
  • 1 carroty: $0.16
  • 1 red pepper: $1.26
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms: $3.98
  • 1/4 cup Textured Vegetable Protein: $0.27
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce: $0.18
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast: $0.30
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika: $0.05
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme: $0.01
  • 1/2 bunch fresh dill, chopped: $0.99
  • 1/2 bunch fresh parsley, chopped: $0.85

=$9.83/6 servings


for a vegan “meat-and-potatoes” dinner!

Corn, Mushroom, and Potato Chowder

Winter comfort food, based on a recipe from Alex Jamieson’s The Great American Detox Diet.  After making this many times, I have modified it to add a little bit of spice, a lot more mushrooms, and some soy milk.

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves , chopped
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 cups potatoes , peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes ( I recommend Yukon Gold)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn (I recommend the roasted kind for extra flavor)
  • 3 cups unsweetened soy milk (in this instance it is important to use the unsweetened kind)
  • 1 (16 ounce) package fresh mushrooms , thinly sliced (baby portabella or button)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
  1. Saute the onions, garlic, and crushed red pepper in 2 tablespoons of oil a large stock pot.
  2. Add veggie broth, potatoes, salt and pepper. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
  3. Meanwhile, heat remaining tablespoon of oil in a skillet. Saute mushrooms.
  4. Add the corn and soy milk to the pot with the potatoes. Do not boil after adding the soy milk, or it will separate.  Cook for another 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and parsley.
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil: $0.15
  • 1 large yellow onion: $0.25
  • 2 garlic cloves: $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes: $0.02
  • 3 cups potatoes: $0.98
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn: $0.89
  • 3 cups unsweetened soy milk: $1.05
  • 1 (16 ounce) package fresh mushrooms: $2.49
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley: $.50

=$6.43/6 servings


Highlights from Noor’s Visit

Have I mentioned that my BF is an amazing chef?  He cooked a ton of delicious food for me and my friends over the past 10 days.  He’s back in San Francisco now, and I miss him terribly, but at least I have a full fridge.  I drowned my sorrows in a big bowl of leftover curry this evening.

One evening I came home from class to a delicious meal of wild rice pilaf, Brussels sprouts with chestnuts, and grilled portabellos.  Yum.  This photo was taken at night, so it really doesn’t do the meal justice.

On another evening, he cooked an elaborate Asian meal for my BFF, my Dad and myself.

Clockwise from bottom: deep-fried, tempura-battered walnuts (!) with sweet-and-sour dipping sauce, deep-fried emping (pounded nut chips) with Major Grey’s chutney, shrimp chips (not vegan but that’s okay), salad (iceberg lettuce, cucumbers and bean sprouts), peanut sauce for the salad, and veggie curry (with bamboo shoots, okra, sugar-snap peas, and baby corn, served with jasmine rice).  Yum.

  Here’s a much better picture of the curry and salad, taken the next day.  Confession time: a LOT of the photos on this blog are photos of leftovers at lunchtime the next day, because food photographs MUCH more beautifully in daylight.

Last night we met up with our friends Troy and Sarah, who suggested dinner at The Farmhouse:


This is an absolutely lovely little restaurant that focuses on fresh, local ingredients and sustainable practices.  The vibe isn’t too hippie, though.  It apparently appeals just as much to omnivorous gourmands as to vegans.  I ordered the Vegetable Wellington, which was a light, flaky pastry, filled with zucchini, mushrooms, fresh black-eyed peas and other goodies.  It was served with flavorful balsamic glazed onions and a smooth carrot coulis.

We sat on the patio and enjoyed a perfect fall evening, enhanced by comfort foods and good live jazz.  It’s funny how sometimes I don’t discover the gems in my own city until I have an out-of-town guest.