The Food Column

 I wasn’t sure what to write about for this month’s column as my vegan husband Jeff is still working out of town and, because of that, we aren’t (more specifically, I’m not) eating out much or trying new places. I was feeling kind of stuck for subjects until the other evening when talking to my aunt about our dinner plans for Christmas, she requested my ever popular and famous (within our family) veggie-stuffed mushrooms. 

Now, I used to make them every Thanksgiving and/or Christmas, but haven’t in a while because I like to mix things up. Sometimes, I’ll make a green bean casserole or rice stuffing or sometimes a couple different types of cranberry relish. But, as it had been a while, I agreed to make them and, lo and behold, I now have something to write about. 

I’ve used this recipe in the paper before, but it was so long ago I figure everyone’s forgotten, so why not share it again? I tried to make the recipe easy to follow, since my cooking style is similar to that of Jacques Pepin and Lidia Bastianich: Use what you have on hand; if you don’t like an ingredient, use something else; and don’t worry about it. So, that’s the recommendation on the recipe below. Mix and match ingredients to suit your taste.  

I play it pretty fast and loose with the measurements, too. Don’t want a half-cup of onions? Use a quarter-cup (and so on). The stuffed mushrooms can easily be made vegan by substituting regular cream and parmesan cheese for your favorite vegan brands. I find Tofutti cream cheese works really well, Go Veggie Vegan, Rawmesan and Follow Your Heart parmesans work well and taste good, too.

My ever popular and family-famous stuffed mushrooms

Ingredients:

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24 medium sized mushrooms(w/stems attached) I use cremini mushrooms

1 8oz package of cream cheese

1 cup grated parmesan cheese(plus extra for sprinkling)

Veggies of your choice—I like to use:

•1/2 cup diced onion

•1 cup diced carrot

•1 cup diced zucchini

1/2 cup bell pepper tapenade, a favorite garlic spread or something else you like. Or don’t add anything.

Olive oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400º

Remove stems from mushrooms and dice

Heat pan, add drizzle of olive oil and all diced veggies, and quickly sauté everything together until just soft

Set aside to cool

While veggies are cooling, combine cream cheese with parmesan cheese and tapenade, stir until well blended and arrange mushroom caps on a greased baking dish. 

Stir cooled veggies into cheese mixture, spoon mixture into mushroom caps, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, bake for approx. 12-15 minutes or until done. Can be eaten warm or cold—either way, they are scrumptious. 

So, there you have it: an easy-peasy appetizer everyone will love. Plus, if you have any leftover cheesy stuffing mixture, it’s really good on toast, or thinned out a little it’s a delicious dip. However you make or serve it, I’m sure it’ll be good!

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The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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