Wednesday, May 28, 2014

No Illusion, Its a Fusian!...Vegan Italian Style Shepard's Pie

Well the 80's came aaaannnnnddd they left.  It's a somewhat chilly day compared to the high 80's we had over the past few days.  I thought I would go with something a little bit more comforting.  Heck, there aren't going to be too many more cool days left this summer to cook dishes like this (crap, I hope I didn't jinx us!)

Anyway, I was having a "cookers" block.  And then I thought what can I do with Shepard's Pie to make it a fusion with a different cuisine.  Italian seemed to make the most sense for some reason.  Ryan has it doubts, so clearly...challenge excepted.  I had a feeling it would be pretty damn good. 

Tvp mixed with your favorite marinara, topped with wonderfully sauteed zucchini and eggplant, then topped with mountainous pillows of garlic scape mashed potatoes????  Um yeah, pretty confident that this will be a winner. 

If you are not familiar with garlic scapes or cannot find them, simply just replace them with minced garlic cloves.

Vegan Italian Style Shepard's Pie

Ingredients: (yields 2 personal "pies"
1/2 c tvp
1/2 c vegan beefless broth
1/4 c yellow onion chopped
3/4 c of our favorite marinara sauce
Italian seasoning
1 tbsp evoo
1/2 c  zucchini cut and quartered
1/2 c  eggplant, cut into small cubes
1 potato, skin removed and quartered
2 tbsp chopped garlic scapes
1 tbsp vegan butter
1/4 unsweetened almond milk, or vegan milk of choice

Preheat oven 350.  In a small sauce pan, bring vegan beefless broth to a boil, add in tvp, stir and remove from heat.  Let sit for 10-15 minutes.  Once soft, add in marinara and combine thoroughly.  Add in Italian seasonings and s+p to taste.

In the meantime, heat evoo over medium heat in a saute pan and saute zucchini and eggplant for about 5 minutes or until just soft enough.  Do not overcook.  Season with s+p.  Set aside.

Now, time for the mashed potatoes.  Add water to a pot and boil potatoes and garlic scapes until potatoes are soft.  Remove from heat and drain.  Transfer to blender, add in vegan butter and almond milk.  Blend until smooth.  Add in seasoning and more "milk/butter" if needed.  Transfer your mashed potatoes to a pastry bag or a plastic baggie (this is only if you want to make the "peaks", if you do not care, no need).

Now start to prepare your "pie".  Start with your tvp "meat" mixture, then spoon over the vegetables, and then top with the garlic scape mash.  Transfer to oven and cook for roughly 30 minutes or until the mashed potatoes are slightly golden.  

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Vegan Grilled and Stuffed Avocado!

Finally we have been granted with sunny skies and warm weather!  A perfect Memorial Day Weekend here in Chicago!

When it comes to cooking and in the warm spring/summer months, everyone thinks grill time!  Now when it comes to being vegan, I bet many people think that we are limited.  But slow your roll....there are many more things to just throw on some skewers!  Remember last year we made grilled pizza and grilled seitan bulgogi sandwiches,

This spring/summer, we are going to start off our vegan grilling with grilled stuffed avocados!  I love this because it is so flipping easy and a perfect, light meal on a hot day!  I filled it with a vegan creamy "texas caviar", but feel free to be creative if you wish!

Vegan Grilled and Stuffed Avocado

Ingredients (yields 3-4 servings)
3 avocados 
2 limes, cut in half

for the Creamy-Chipotle Texas Caviar:
1 c black beans, drained and rinsed
1 c corn, drained and rinced
1 large tomatoes, diced
1 handful cilantro, chopped
1/4 c red onion chopped 
1/2 jalapeno seeded and chopped
1 tbsp vegan sour cream
2 tsp chilis in adobo sauce

Heat grill (or your Breville/George Foreman).  Cut avocados lengthwise in half and carefully remove seed with spoon.  Set aside until grill is heated.

In a meantime, combine all the texas caviar ingredients, aside from the vegan sour cream and chilis in adobo.  In a separate bowl, combine the sour cream and chili sauce.  Mix until combined.  Add in seasonings if desired.  If you need more dressing, I actually added in a splash of apple cider vinegar and a splash of original almond milk.  Toss over the salad and place in refrigerator until avocados are completed.

Place the avocados and limes face down on grill and grill until there are nice char marks on them.  Once grilled, drizzle the charred lime on the avocado and fill each avocado with your tex mex caviar.  Enjoy!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Vegan and Gluten Free Choco-Chia Raspberry Pudding

Oh man....remember all those annoying Jell-O commercials with Bill Cosby and pudding.  Ah the '80's and 90's.  Man, why did I have to think of that?  That voice of his makes me want to take the darn pudding and spoon it into my ears so I won't hear him.
 But yeah, uh....please don't try that home.  I'm thinking that that isn't the best idea.  Much better in your mouth.  This recipe is super easy.  Chia seeds are pretty fascinating.  I mean, yeah, they sprout, but they also are high in protein and can be used as a thickening agent.  This dessert is another protein packed and guilt free indulgent.  Keep in mind that when mixed with liquid, the chia seeds become a bit gelatinous.  So if you are not a fan of of the jelly-like texture, add in an extra step and throw your mixture in the blender until it is smooth.

I love the addition of the raspberries.  They are beautiful and fresh right now, so why not include them???

They also remind me of my childhood.  I used to love running down the hill and finding our raspberry bushes and just sitting there on a hot summer day snacking away!  I mean come on, every kid needs to experience that!
Vegan and Gluten Free Choco-Chia Raspberry Pudding

1 c almond milk (or your choice of non dairy milk)
1/4 c chia seeds
3-4 tbsp cocoa powder
dash sea salt
1 tbsp agave nectar
half a handful of raspberries

In a mason jar, or a jar with a lid, add in all ingredients except for the raspberries.  Shake the jar like a mad man, then place in refrigerator for about 4 hours.  This will become thick!  When time to eat, add in raspberries and stir.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Vegan Doenjang Jjigae (Vegan Korean Soybean Paste Soup)

If you never have heard of this soup or are curious as to what it tastes like, think along the lines of miso soup, though this soup is made with fermented soybean paste.  Like miso paste, soybean paste is quite salty.   Keep this in mind while preparing.  Taste often to achieve your desired sodium level.

If you are wondering where to purchase this paste, I would think it would be where you traditionally find miso paste in your local market.  I personally bought it in a specific Asian Mart.

Traditionally, this korean soup has anchovies or clams.  Clearly I eliminated them, though otherwise stuck with authentic ingredients, including kelp, enoki mushrooms, zucchini and tofu.  Don't be afraid of this soup!  The name may be tricky to say, but the cooking process is easy as can be.

Plus, this is super super healthy!  Out of all fermented foods, soybean paste has shown to be the most effective in treating cancer.  Now that's pretty cool!  It also aids in digestion, lowers blood pressure, prevents osteoporsis and heart disease, and strengthens the liver.  Now those are just some of the benefits!

So what are you waiting for?  Good tasting and good for you!

Vegan Doenjang Jjigae (Korean Soybean Paste Soup)

4 c vegetable broth
3-4 tbsp soybean paste
1 garlic clove minced
1 tbsp korean chili paste (gochujang)
1 potato peeled and cut into cubes
1 zucchini washed and sliced
1/2 enoki muchrooms or mushroom of choice
1/2 package tofu drained and cut into cubes
1 jalapeno seeds removed and sliced (optional)
2 tbsp chopped scallions
 1/4 c wakame or dried kelp
1 tsp sesame oil

Pour sesame oil into pot and add in minced garlic.  Saute for about 3 minutes, then add in vegetable broth and spoon in chili paste and soybean paste.  Add in potatoes and bring the broth to a boil.  Stir and continue to boil the potatoes for about 6-7 minutes.  Add in enoki mushrooms, cubed tofu, wakame and jalapeno.  Cover and turn to lower and let simmer for about 5 minutes.  Garnish with scallions.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Bye bye Reese's .....Hello Vegan Peanut Butter Cup Pie

Holy heck batman, we aren't playing around with this mouth watering pie.  Grab a cold glass of almond milk, sit back and close your eyes as you take your first bite.  You may have to pinch yourself because it is so dreamy, creamy and delicious.

 There are 2 different parts to this pie, but don't fret!  This whole process is really quite simple.  Probably the easiest pie I have ever made!  From start to end, I spent about 25 minutes at the most.  If you chose not to use the optional chopped peanuts and sea salt, this recipe is under 9 ingredients!  Come on, you gotta love that!

I kind of winged my own crust, so if you have a favorite crust you make, go for it!  I played around with medjool dates and animal crackers.  The dates acted as a binding agent, but also kept the crust nice and moist.  So, expect a firm, and moist crust.  It will not be flaky and/or crispy.  This is the only baking that is involved in the recipe.  Thank goodness because it was 90 degrees today and don't want to overheat  the apartment!  Oh, trust me, I am not complaining, I have been craving some damn sun and heat for what it seems like, an eternity

The pie may sound heavy, but it is actually quite airy.  Simply combine the peanut with tofu in a food processor and blend  until smooth. It is beautifully smooth and sensually creamy. 

Yeah yeah, I know what you are thinking..."tofu in a dessert?  Have you been smoking something?"

 But trust me, it is delicious!  Plus, it makes sense.  There is soy ice cream, soy whipped cream, etc.  And, here is the best part, aside from the obvious flavor explosion in your mouth;  it is packed full of protein!  Such a great bonus for a dessert! 

Vegan Peanut Butter Cup Pie
for the crust:
2 c animal crackers
1 tbsp vegan butter
2 large medjool dates

for the peanut butter filling:
1 c peanut butter
1 block tofu, drained and pat dry
2 tbsp agave nectar (or maple syrup)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

for the chocolate top:
1 bar dark chocolate
1/4 c almond milk + a few extra tbsp
crushed peanuts/sea salt (optional)

Preheat oven to 350.  In a food processor, blend the crust ingredients.  Press the mixture into a 10-inch pie plate and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool.

In the meantime, rinse out your food processor and add in the ingredients for the peanut butter filling.  Blend until smooth.  It should look somewhat like a smooth pudding.  Spoon and smooth over cooled pie crust.  Set aside.

For the chocolate top, melt the dark chocolate over med-low heat, slowly adding in the almond milk.  Stir constantly.  You want to be able to pour this over the pie, but should not be too wet.  Also keep in mind, you want to pour it over so it can also not be too dry.  Evenly pour and smooth out the chocolate sauce over the peanut butter filling.  Top with crushed peanuts and sea salt, if you like

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

It's a Pizzaaaaa Pie-yaaaa.....Vegan Ramp Pesto Pizza!!!!

Woo-hoo!  You know it is springtime when you begin to see fun and new fresh produce!  That time has arrived despite the lower than average temperature.

So.... Drumroll please.....ramps are stampeding through the market I frequent.    If you are fond of the fresh onion/garlic flavor and have yet to play around with these beautiful green spring onions, they are a must!   Ask your local grocer if they have them in stock.  You will not be dissapointed!

Hint:  these suckers are quite potent and may keep the vampires away.  So...having a first, second or third, or heck....just not so comfy in having some extreme garlic/onion breath, maybe stay away until no one gives a bleep about how your breath smells.  I honestly avoided eating my leftovers the next day, for I had a few clients to work on. 

In order to give this pizza a nice balance, I added in sun dried tomatoes, tofu "ricotta", red onion and mushrooms.  The sweetness of the tomatoes and the subtle flavor of the vegan "ricotta" is a great counterpart to the ramp pesto!

 Vegan Ramp Pesto Pizza


your favorite pizza crust recipe

for the pesto:
1 bunch ramps (the green part) roughly chopped
1/2 c raw kale, stems removed
1/2 c chopped walnuts
1/3 c evoo
1/4 c nutritional yeast
1/2 lemon juiced

for the toppings:
tofu ricotta
1/4 red onion sliced
4 sun dried tomatoes sliced
1/2 c sliced button mushrooms

In a blender or food processor, add in ramps, kale, walnuts, evoo, nutritional yeast and lemon juice.  Blend until everything has combined.  Note, if the pesto is too dry, add a tbsp of water at a time to achieve your desired consistency.  Add in salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven according to your dough recipe directions.  Roll out your pizza dough into desired shape.  Spoon your vegan ramp pesto over the dough and smooth out.  Top with dollops of your tofu "ricotta", sliced onions, sun dried tomatoes and button mushrooms.  Bake according and let cool for about 5 minutes. 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Vegan Wheat berry and Kohlrabi-Apple Salad

This is a perfect example of why you should never judge a book by its cover.  This thing looks like it came from outer space or something from WWII.  If you are not familiar with this veggie, google it, I ain't lying over here!  Granted, yes, it is not the prettiest thing while whole.  Though once you cut the outer part, you have a beautiful crunchy and mild vegetable.  Technically it is a German turnip.  If I were to explain this, I would compare the texture to jicama and a very mild/sweet radish or a bland apple.  You can steam it, roast it, make it into a fritter, etc.  Though, for this recipe we are keeping it as is and using it raw.

 Wheat berries are a great grain for vegans.  I think they give quinoa a run for it's money.  They are unprocessed wheat kernals that are hearty with tons of protein and dietary fiber.  If you have not cooked with them, note that you should soak them for at least 4 hours because they are quite tough in texture.  If you are questioning if you have cooked them correctly, they should be soft yet pretty chewy.  I would think this is due to the large amount of fiber.

To make a delicious and complete meal, I stuffed a gorgeous roasted sweet potato with this salad.  Everything compliments each other perfectly!

Vegan Wheat berries and Kohlrabi-Apple Salad

Ingredients (serves 3-4)
1 c dried wheat berries
1 kohlrabi, outer skin sliced off
1 large apple
1 c red kale (or regular kale) roughly chopped
3 green onions chopped (I used both the green and white parts)
2 tbsp evoo
1/2 tbsp rice wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp agave nectar
s+p to taste

Soak wheat berries in water for at least 4 hours.  Drain and rinse.  Take your soaked wheat berries and put in a pot with about 3 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes.
In the meantime, with a mandolin slicer, slice into thin matchstick strips.  Clean and chop your apple into small pieces.  In a bowl, add in the sliced kohlrabi, apple, green onion and kale.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining wet ingredients and salt and pepper.  Once the wheat berries are done, strain and rinse with cold water.  Add in to the bowl with the vegetables and apple and pour in your dressing.  If you prefer more dressing, add in additional vinegar and evoo.  Season to taste.  Either serve at room temp or refrigerate.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Vegan Saag "Paneer".....Indian Spinach and Tofu

 I often wonder why more people do not cook Indian food.  Maybe the cuisine is perceived to be difficult to cook?  Or maybe people have the misconception that it is mostly fried or full of oil?  Or could it be because they are scared to try something new or simply just don't know the what name of the dish actually is?

Well, this recipe is far from difficult to make, contains insanely little oil and is packed with flippin spinach for petey sakes!  A traditional saag paneer contains paneer, which is a fresh cheese.  It is very mild and has similar texture to firm tofu.  So using tofu to replace paneer is perfect!

This is perfect to serve with fresh, homemade naan or rice.  I prefer naan because, well, I enjoy eating with my hands.  And yes, I am a messy little one.  It would be an accomplishment to get through a meal without some sort of evidence on my face or clothing.

Vegan Saag "Paneer"

Ingredients: (yield

6 cups tightly packed fresh spinach
fenugreek (if you can find, if not- no worries!)
1 tomato chopped
1/2 yellow onion diced
1 turmeric root grated (or powdered turmeric)
1 tbsp ginger minced
2 garlic cloves minced
2-3 tsp garam masala (or curry powder)
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp evoo
2/3 c almond milk (or preferred vegan milk)
1-2 tbsp vegan plain yogurt or vegan sour cream
salt to taste

Boil a pot of water and cook spinach/fenugreek for about 3 minutes.  Strain and press to release excess water.  Transfer to blender and puree.   Set aside.  
In the meantime, heat evoo in a large saute pan and saute garlic, ginger, turmeric root, and onion for roughly 3 minutes.  Add in tomatoes, pureed greens, almond milk, vegan yogurt or sour cream, and seasoning.  Mix thoroughly and add salt to taste.  Turn to low and cover for about 15 minutes.  Serve with naan or rice. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Best Vegan Curry! Vegan Turmeric Root - Coconut Currry with Calabash

Now this is a must have.  No joke here!  It is rich, creamy, spiked with turmeric root juice and just enough heat to get you excited.

So, in my opinion, calabash tastes almost exactly like Thai eggplant.  They are around the same shape and size, have that earthy, subtle flavor and can easily absorb any sort of liquid or oil.  The only real difference, as far as I can tell, is that the calabash is green, whereas the eggplant is purple.  They both also have the tiger stripe like characteristics in appearance.

 Unlike some of my recipes, this one is fairly easy.  Though, having a juicer is key here.  If you do not have one, do not fret!  Simply crush and grind our turmeric root with a mortar and pestle or blend it along with your coconut milk. The goal here is to extract as much of the turmeric root juice out to really pull out that flavor and to also give your curry that beautiful orange color.

Feel free to add more vegetables if you wish.  I decided to focus on the calabash as my main veggie because the texture and flavor is simply delicious. 

Vegan Turmeric Root - Coconut Currry with Calabash

Ingredients: (serves 2-3)
6-8 calabash, washed and cut into quarters
juice from a handful of turmeric root (to equal about 2 tbsp of juice)
2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3-4 dried Thai chilis
1 can light coconut milk
1 tbsp evoo

Heat evoo on medium in saute pan and saute ginger and cloves for roughly 3 minutes.  Add in calabash pieces and saute for another 3 minutes (add in more evoo if need be- calabash absorbs liquid quickly).  Calabash should be slightly soft.  Add in coconut milk,  turmeric root juice and seasoning to taste and dried chilis.  Cover and let sit on low for about 20 minutes.  
Serve with rice.  Yummy!!!!!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Breadfruit??? Yup! Caribbean style Vegan Stuffed Breadfruit topped with Mofongo!

Can't afford that trip to the Caribbean?  Well unfortunately I cannot change this dreadful "spring" weather, but I can bring the taste of the Caribbean to your home!  Breadfruit,  tvp ground meat doused in Jamaican style jerk sauce and that sounds pretty island inspired to me!

If you are not familiar with any of these fruits, veggies or dishes, I will clarify.  Trust me, I definitely have never cooked with breadfruit before!  So what the heck is breadfruit?  It comes from the mulberry family that is somewhat starchy and similar to that of a potato once cooked.  You can also make this into a form of the popular Hawaiian dish "poi" or into a Puerto Rican version of mofongo.

Mofongo is basically mashed plantains with evoo and garlic and cooked in a pan.  I blended both plantains and the breadfruit to make my mofongo.  It's flipping delicious!

Now where can you find all these fun ingredients?  Plantains are easy to spot in any store that has a large Hispanic or Caribbean population.  As far as breadfruit, usually any sort of international market should carry them.  Though, I have also read that you can find it frozen...not so sure how that would work for this recipe...???

While cooking this dish and tasting all the different flavors, I really felt that it needed something to brighten in up.  It just seemed a bit heavy.  So I added some beautiful, juicy, vine ripe tomatoes and multicolored carrots.  Otherwise, I would consider this "ground meat" and "potatoes"...well sort of but not really at all.  :)

1 c tvp crumbles
1 c vegan "beef" stock
1 plantain peeled and cut into pieces
2 carrots peeled and cut into small pieces
1 vine ripe tomato chopped
1/4 yellow onion diced
3/4 c jamaican jerk sauce
1 garlic clove minced

Boil breadfruit for about 30-45 minutes or until it is tender enough to cut and scoop out the insides.  Once boiled, preheat oven to 375.
Cut off about 1/4 of the breadfruit and discard.  Scoop out the inside flesh, at least as much as you are able to and set aside.  Heat evoo in a pan, add in garlic, sliced plantains and the breadfruit flesh.  Saute until brownish, remove and mash.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Set the mofongo aside.
Now, start the "beef" crumble mixture.  In a small pot, bring the broth to a boil and add in the tvp crumbles.  Remove from heat and let stand for about 15 minutes.
In the meantime, heat evoo in saute pan and saute onions and carrots for about 5 minutes or until soft, add in tomatoes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Combine the rehydrated tvp to the vegetables and stir in about 1/4-1/2 c of the jamaican jerk sauce. 
Lightly oil the breadfruit shell, spoon in the tvp mixture and top with the mofongo.
Bake in oven for 20-30 minutes.   Serve with more jamaican jerk sauce.  Yum!!!!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Vegan Banana Flower Salad (Goi Bap Chuoi Chay)

Slow week at work means busy time in the plantry for this little lady.  After all, my energy has to be exerted in one way or another.  And, I thought that I should stop at two workouts today.  So that means I have been cooking/fermenting for hmmmm, lets see......about 7 hours.  Of course there was a bit of downtown, which I actually spent researching some of the odd items I picked up at the International market.

I picked up a banana flower a few days ago and was really looking forward to working with this little guy.  Usually if I have never worked with something before I will get a pretty small quantity, just in case it is not my cup of tea.  I hate for things to go to waste!  But, next time I will definitely grab more than one banana flower!

So, yes, banana flowers are really the flowers of the banana and used in South Asian and Southeast Asian cuisine.  I wouldn't recommend eating them raw due to the bitter taste and strange chalky texture.  But, after lightly boiling them, they become soft and have a subtle flavor somewhere in between an artichoke and boiled shitake mushroom.  Keep in mind you do NOT eat or cook with the leaves, you peel them and that is where you find the "flower" (as shown in the picture).  Although, the leaves are a nice vessel to serve the salad in!!

 So, this is my vegan version of what is known as "Goi Bap Chuoi Chay", which literally translates to banana flower salad.  Traditionally it contains prawns, fish sauce, thai bird chili, amongst a few other ingredients.  Either I did not have them, or clearly cannot eat them.  So this is my wonderful version of this bright and tasty Vietnamese salad.

Vegan Banana Flower Salad
Ingredients/Directions: (serves 2)

for the salad:
 1 banana flower, flower removed
1/2 c sliced shitake mushrooms
1 lime juiced
1/4 c mixed red & green bell pepper, thinly sliced (i used mandolin)
1/4 c peanuts, lightly smashed
1 tbsp thai basil chopped (sub regular basil if cannot find)
1 cloved pickled garlic minced
1/2 tbsp ginger minced 
1 tbsp cilantro chopped
1 sliced shallot (optional)
oil for pan frying (optional)

While removing the banana flowers from each pulled back leave, toss into cold water immediately.  This prevents them from browning.  Once all the flowers are removed, boil a pot of water with lime juice and salt.  Toss in drained banana flowers and your sliced shitake mushrooms.  Cover and turn on low and cook for roughtly 20 minutes.  After the 20 minutes, strain and rinse with cool water.

 In meantime, prepare the rest of the salad.  In a bowl, mix together sliced peppers, thai bail, pickled garlic, ginger, cilantro and half the peanuts. Do NOT add in shallots yet (you will pan fry shallots at the end...note this is optional)  Add in mushrooms and banana flower once boiled and rinsed.
Now work on your dressing...

for the dressing:
1 tbsp sambal (or something similar to chili sauce)
2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp coconut milk
1/2 tbsp agave nectar
1-2 tsp sesame oil (optional)

Simply whisk all ingredients together and toss over salad. 
If you choose to do crispy shallots, heat about 1/2 inch of oil in a small frying pan and fry.  Top your salad with the remainder of crushed peanuts and crispy shallots.  Enjoy!

Vegan Risotto Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

I don't know why, but I love all things kitschy, corny, clever, or just all of the above.  Seeing a corny storefront sign always brings a little joy to my day.  Whether it be clever or corny, it really doesn't matter.  I think it all comes down to being light and playful and not taking life all too seriously.

With all that said, I suppose using the whole portobello mushroom as the vessel of the mushroom risotto is somewhat clever/kitschy.  I just thought it is such a great idea, especially if you want to serve individual people at a dinner party.  It elevates the presentation of a mushroom risotto and looks pretty sexy if I may say so myself!

Remember....risotto's are quite needy.  They need a lot of love, attention and patience!  But when all said and done, it is sure worth it!  You have that wonderful, melt in your mouth "creamy" goodness, but with no cream at all!  And of course, adding truffle never killed anyone (unless of course if you are allergic.  And, if that is the case, I am truly sorry).

Vegan Risotto Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

for the whole portobellos:
2-3 whole portobellos whole
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp evoo

for the risotto:
6 to 8 cups vegetable stock
1 c chopped mushrooms (either button or portobello)
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 shallots, minced
2 garlic cloves minced
2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 c nutritional yeast (optional)
1/2 tbsp truffle oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven 400.  Scrub the portobello mushrooms and remove the insides carefully with a spoon and discard.  Pat dry the mushrooms with a paper towel and marinate with the balsamic, evoo and salt and paper.  Place in baking dish and bake for roughly 15-20 minutes.  Once done, set aside.

For the risotto:
In a small saute pan, heat evoo and saute sliced mushrooms until soft.  Season with s+p and set aside.
Heat the vegetable stock in a large pot and keep heated with flame on low-medium. 
 In the meantime, heat evoo in a large saute pan and add shallots and garlic and saute until translucent.  Add in rice, and again, saute until translucent (about 3-5 minutes).  Add in white wine and continue to stir until absorbed.  Remember you will be continuously stirring throughout this whole process!  Add in one cup of broth at a time.  Do not add in the next cup until the cup prior is absorbed completely!!  At the end of the process, your rice should have a beautiful creamy texture but not mushy.  Fold in your sauteed mushrooms,  and seasonings (including nutritional yeast if you choose to use).

Spoon in a nice serving of the risotto into your baked mushrooms. Sprinkle truffle oil on top.  And now you have a sexy serving of mushroom risotto!