So, I have decided to become “vegetarianish.” What does that even mean? I really don’t know because I love meat. I love the way it sounds when it hits the sizzling pan like foreplay, the way it can meld and marry any flavors, the aromas that fill the house when it’s simmering, sautéing, blackening, browning, frying or stewing. It’s heaven sent. It’s beautiful. It’s love. Do people know about meat and its wonders?!
I guess “vegetarianish” for me means I eat mostly vegetarian meals with the occasional seafood thrown in every few weeks and when I want duck confit or Harold’s Chicken, dammit I eat it! Which only ends up being once or twice a month, thankfully. This is not a political or animal rights move. It started as a 30 day no meat challenge in April and I felt and looked good after the challenge so I said “Why go back?”
Since then, I’ve been trying really hard to find meatless meals that touch me in my soul right where my taste buds and heart mingle, the way a good burger or a piece of fried chicken does. Because, let’s be real. I live to eat. I do not eat to live.
Which brings me unveil my new obsession: MUSHROOMS.
I have grown to love mushrooms because they can make me think I’m eating some sort of meat, kind of. I’ve used them in lots of meals as a meat substitute and they work beautifully. I still am gonna eat a medium rare steak & a lamb burger soon-ish. But until them, mushrooms are Bae.
Below are two easy and quick meals I’ve cooked in under an hour on a weeknight that include my new boo-thang, mushrooms.
I recently tried a real cheesteak while in Philly for a friend’s wedding about a month ago (hence “vegetarianish”) and it was HEAVENLY. I have been craving steak since then (and dreaming about chasing cows, but I digress), so I made this veggie “cheesesteak” and it curbed the craving. This recipe is really simple, very cheap and cooks up in 30-45 minutes. Let me know what you think!
Ingredients: For the “Steak”: Olive oil and butter for sautéing 2 onions, sliced thin1 bell pepper, sliced thin 7-8 garlic cloves, pressed or sliced thin 2 8 oz containers of your favorite sliced mushrooms (I white, baby bellas & cremini) Worchester Sauce, Soy Sauce, Pink Salt, Cumin, Garlic Powder, Smoked Paprika, Cayenne Pepper & Black Pepper to taste
For the Cheese Sauce/Whiz: 1 T butter 1 T flour 2/3 ish C milk, room temperature 4-6 oz good quality cheese (I used a mix of Gruyere, Sharp Cheddar, White Cheddar and Fontina) 4 hoagie rolls Hot peppers, to taste Mayo, to taste
1. Caramelize bell peppers, garlic and onions in EVOO & butter until browned, remove from pan. 2. Add mushrooms to pan, cook until they sweat and create some liquid. 3. Add onion mixture, seasonings & sauces. Season to taste. 4. Toast hoagie rolls in a pan w/ a smidge of butter or oil. 5. In a sauce pan, make roux w/ melted butter and flour, whisking until smooth & combined. 6. Once smooth, add milk, whisking continuously to prevent lumps. 7. Once roux is desired consistency, add cheese and stir frequently until melted & smooth 8. Spread mayo on hoagie buns & fill with mushrooms & onions. Top with lots of whiz & hot peppers.
Balsamic Mushroom Reduction in Parmesan Cream Sauce Over Linguini
This recipe was inspired by about ten Pinterest posts. I was craving Shrimp Alfredo but had no shrimp and not enough heavy cream. So, I remixed it. This is another really quick, simple meal that is ready in 30 minutes. I paired it with whole grain linguini because that’s what I had, but you can use fettucine, linguini, spaghetti, box tie pasta, really whatever makes you happy.
Ingredients: 8 oz pasta Butter & Olive oil for sautéing 1 onion, diced very small 5-6 garlic cloves 8 oz your favorite mushrooms, sliced Good quality Balsamic Vinegar, maybe ¼ C Heavy cream, maybe ½ - 1 C Juice & zest of 1-2 lemons or limes Parmesan Cheese maybe ½ C Herbs de Provence, Pink Salt, Cumin, Black Pepper, Cayenne, Basil & Oregano to taste Cilantro for garnish
1. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water until al dente. 2. Sautee garlic and onions in EVOO & butter until soft. 3. Add mushrooms to pan, cook until they sweat and create some liquid, add butter if needed. 4. Add balsamic vinegar and let mushroom mixture cook down for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. 5. Turn off heat & add heavy cream, parmesan cheese & seasonings to taste. Add more heavy cream if the balsamic vinegar taste is overpowering. 6. Add pasta to mushroom sauce. Add some pasta water if the sauce is too thick. 7. Fold in lime/lemon juice & zest & cilantro. 8. Plate and garnish with extra cilantro, parmesan & zest.
Until Next Time- Hint of Love, Pinch of Sôl, Chooch