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Rainy Day Food

October 6, 2009

One of the characteristics of folklore is that everyone knows it, but no one knows where they first heard it, or where it came from.

In this way, it has much in common with the mythical vegan cheese.  The myth goes like this: Once upon a time, a friend of a friend bought a vegan cheese that tasted good, shredded easily, and melted.  The friend’s friend even went so far as to make pizza with this cheese, whereupon he was so overcome by joy at his discovery that he promptly died.  As a result, his cheese brand was lost forever to posterity, though it might’ve come from Belgium or something.

In other words, everyone everywhere secretly believes that if they just wait long enough, the vegan cheese fairy will come and bestow upon them the gift of a food that behaves like its namesake.

I might even believe this myself.  A little.  In private.

In the meantime, there is no holy trifecta cheese–a perfect combination of taste, shreddability, and gooey meltiness.

There is, however, Teese.  And in its mozzarella form, it almost makes it.

Stuffed Portabella Mushroom with Slacker Risotto

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serves 1

For Mushroom:
1 large portabella mushroom
1/2 cup baby spinach
3 Tbsp pesto (I make my own, but store-bought is fine as long as it’s not too lemony)
about 1 Tbsp olive oil (for brushing cap and sauteeing stem)
small handful shredded mozzarella Teese

For “Risotto”:
3/4 cup vegetable stock, unsalted
1/4 cup cream of rice hot cereal
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup sprouted lentils
salt, pepper, and dried basil, to taste

Note: The cream of rice I buy is manufactured by a company called Bob’s Red Mill.  They have lots of fun flours and beans (including a fantastic stone-ground cornmeal), and this cheerful old-man face smiling at you on the label.  Any would do, however; the key is a coarse-ground, whole-grain, brown rice cereal.

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Put water on to boil for cream of rice.  Clean mushroom before removing mushroom cap from the stem.  Brush the cap lightly with oil on both sides, and dice the stem.

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2. Set the mushroom, cap side up, in the oven, with a piece of foil or a pan on the rack below it to catch drippings.  Meanwhile, saute the stem in a little olive oil over medium heat for two minutes, or until the liquid is mostly evaporated.  Add spinach and pesto and stir until the spinach has wilted and the liquid is totally evaporated, then remove from heat.

3. When the water boils, reduce the heat to very low and add cream of rice cereal, garlic, and a pinch of salt.  You’ll need to keep an eye on this to ensure that the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan, so stir occasionally.

4. After the mushroom cap has cooked for about four minutes (the amount of time it should have taken you to saute the fillings) remove it from the oven, flip it cap-side-down, and top it with filling and Teese.  Put it back in the oven.

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5. When the rice has finished cooking, remove it from the heat and fold in sprouted lentils.  Remove the mushroom from the oven and eat immediately.

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