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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sprouts and Shrooms

I'm back from traveling. Again. This time, I hope to be able to actually unpack my suitcase and leave it stowed in my closet for at least 2 weeks, but we shall see. Boston was great and I had a few great vegan meals (and a few not so great, but that's ok...). I adore Chicago, but I would have to say that Boston is moving into a pretty solid second place to Chi-town. Loved it.

Anyways, before I left, I tried to make a crapload of food since I wouldn't be around (Matt needed sustenance beyond pork chop sandwiches from the 24-7 diner down the road) and I wouldn't have a chance to cook before heading off to the East Coast. In case you didn't know, cooking is a stress reliever for me (i.e. I started this blog 6 months before my wedding, and I'm pretty sure it's the only thing getting me through these final weeks), and in case you also didn't know, I'm TERRIFIED of flying. Like, when it was at its worst, I would have to cover my face with some form of cloth to keep myself from hyperventilating. Now I just pop a few "happy pills" that the lovely docs have given to me and things are almost manageable. That is, unless there's turbulence, or I see a bolt on the wing of the plane coming off...

True story. And it was Southwest.

But I digress.

I wanted to do some cooking to calm my nerves prior to flying, so I decided to do an actual meal, not just a one-pot dish like I'm apt to do. So I picked two veggies that I love and decided to make them BOTH. I picked Brussel Sprouts and Portabello Mushrooms and used the recipes from Veganomicon.

Let's start with the sprouts.

I love brussel sprouts and think I've gotten close to perfecting my own recipe, but I'm never against trying new methods of elaborating upon perfection (I think sprouts are perfection in and of themselves). So, I tried this recipe called "Cornmeal Masala Roasted Brussel Sprouts."

These were...not good. And I say that with a heavy heart. I have loved almost everything I've made from Veganomicon and also love sprouts, so it was a sad day in the kitchen. To be fair, I did mess up a little.

Here's what I did wrong:
-I didn't have chickpea flour, and I thought "hey, I have some dried chickpeas, why not just put those in my food processor and make my own flour like I did with the oats?" Well, friends, not a good idea. I think I stopped grinding before doing any serious damage to my food processor, but we'll have to see when I need to use the sharp blade again. I ended up using normal flour.
-I didn't use any lemon juice.

The flavor was just, not good. It smelled like Thanksgiving in my house as I was cooking, which was unexpected, and the chunks of seasoning were bland and grainy. I really expected much better from this recipe. Oh well. Also, WAY too much oil used on these most delicate buds of nature (I wax poetic when I think of sprouts...).

At least they looked pretty.

Here's the recipe:

Cornmeal Masala Roasted Brussels Sprouts from Veganomicon

8 tbsp. peanut oil
1 1/2 lbs. brussels sprouts
2/3 c. cornmeal
3 tbsp. chickpea flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garam masala
1/2 tsp. coriander
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
Pinch cayenne
Fresh lemon


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread 2 tbsp. of the oil on a baking dish.

Trim and wash sprouts, then lightly dry. Place in a medium bowl and sprinkle with 1 tbsp. of the chickpea flour and some salt. Mix with your hands, making sure that all of the sprouts are thoroughly covered.

In a large bowl, mix cornmeal, remaining 2 tbsp. chickpea flour, salt, garam masala, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne if desired. Add the remaining 6 tbsp. of peanut oil and mix. Add the sprouts and mix with your hands until all are coated.

Place sprouts the oiled dish. Scrape out any extra of the cornmeal mixture in the bowl onto the pan.

Place dish in oven and bake sprouts 25 minutes, or until golden brown and tender, removing briefly to turn approximately every 10 minutes. Remove from oven and place in bowl, topping with crunchy bits. Squeeze fresh lemon over the sprouts and serve.

Thankfully, the mushrooms were AWEsome. And pretty easy.

I did a few things wrong with these bad boys as well, however.

Here's what happened:
-I didn't have enough wine to cook with, so I substituted some red wine vinegar and mixed it in with the leftover wine driblets I had. This didn't seem to mess with the flavor, in fact, it made the flavor more pronounced in my opinion, which I loved.
-I had to go to yoga, so I let these shrooms marinate for about an hour and 20 minuted rather than just 20 minutes. This also did not seem to ruin anything, in fact, I believe it helped the flavors POP more.
-Didn't have any tin foil (I hate it when that happens), so I used parchment paper. Not sure what that did.

These were yum. And pretty.

Here they are, marinating their little hearts out.

Here's the recipe, also from Veganomicon.

Roasted Portabello Mushrooms


2 big or 4 smaller Portobello/flat mushrooms.
1 tbsp olive oil.
2 tbsp soy sauce.
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar.
1/2 cup (125ml) wine
2 cloves crushed garlic


Mix all the marinade ingredients together. Stab the topside of each mushroom a few times with a fork, then turn them gill side up in a baking dish or casserole, and pour some marinade into the top of each mushroom so it pools. Pour the rest all over them mushrooms and into the dish. Let it sit for about 20 minutes while you heat the oven at 400F.

Cover the dish in foil and bake for half an hour, then flip the mushrooms over and cook uncovered for another ten minutes.

On an unrelated note, were these shrooms marinaTing or marinaDing??

Here's the finished product/meal!


  1. Glad you're back safe and sound, even though that bolt on the plane was causing some serious trouble!!!

    Yeah...reading that sprouts recipe, I would have thought they'd taste good? Maybe real chickpea flour is AMAZING and makes all the difference?! yeah...

    I struggle with altering recipes and it really hinders my cooking. I admire your ability to say "Screw it, I'm going to yoga these can marinate for an hour and a half." I'd be way too nervous that would mess up the recipe and then I'd end up not cooking. Sadness.

    And it's marinaTing. :-)

  2. Love Brussels! I wanted to get some at Whole Foods yesterday and they DIDN'T HAVE THEM.


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