Friday, April 10, 2009

Stuffed Baby Artichokes, Lion's Mane Mushrooms, Eggplant Roll-ups, Chorizo Seitan Sausages, Savory Mini-Cheesecakes

Dinner 4/10

Stuffed Baby Artichokes

Lion's Mane Mushrooms

Eggplant Roll-ups

Chorizo-styled Seitan Sausages

Savory Mini-Cheesecakes over Salad

Kind-of, sort-of, tapas. Little bites for sure...

To start with, take 2 on the savory mini-cheesecakes (adapted from Jacques Pepin), with a wee bit of baking powder added to puff up the souffle -- they didn't sink much at all this time around. The taste was even better on the second try (parsley, nooch, shallots, soft tofu), with more microplaned Gouda-style Sheese inside.

They were placed on top of a simple arugula salad, with the vinaigrette, helping to cut through the richness of the cheesecake.

The chorizo seitan sausage are a riff on Julie's sausages, with roasted red bell pepper, smoked paprika, cumin, cannellini beans and vital wheat gluten. The important change was to puree all of the ingredients and then add in the vital wheat gluten. We also spent some time developing the gluten (i.e. slapping the hell out of it) and it made a big difference on the texture, which was very consistent -- no lumps or chunks -- and it had a great mouth feel -- not spongy or rubbery.

After steaming for 40 minutes, they were unwrapped, and cooled in the fridge for a couple of hours to firm up. When it was time to cook them, we first smoked them in mesquite wood for 20 minutes, then they were sliced on the bias and pan-fried with olive oil. The end result was a very complex flavor profile, that we'll be repeating in the future.

The baby artichokes were steamed and stuffed with mixture of light sauteed minced parsley, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.

The eggplant roll-ups consisted of Japanese eggplant cut into 1/4" thick slices, which were smoked for 20 minutes along with the sausages, then grilled. The filling was soyrizo, pan-fried in olive oil with a little shallot, which was spread on the eggplant slices, and rolled-up.

...and finally, the Lion's Mane mushrooms (a.k.a. Pom Pom Mushrooms). Sauteed with a little olive oil, pepper and a tiny splash of tamari for maximum umami.

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