Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Vegetarian Baby Shower - Part I - Mushroom Tartlets, Tofu Skewers, and Pineapple Cake

Is December really almost half over? I find it hard to believe that it is already almost the new year, and yet here we are.

While some may say debate that it's the most wonderful time of the year, I think everyone can agree that it's the most BUSY time of the year. Your own personal anti-chef has been busy, too. There's the job and the kids, as well as planning my next adventure in food. What may that be?

Starting January 1st, I'm going to embark on a mostly raw diet. My friend, Amber (of Almost Vegan), has been attending raw culinary school, which has pushed me from just pondering it to making the commitment in my head to do this. So I've been deep in the planning stages of this experiment of sorts. I bought a few new kitchen toys and signed up for a local co-op home delivery service for organic fruit and veggies (oh, the sacrifices I must make!). I've already given my first raw recipe a trial run, which I'll post about at a later date.

And now for the main event du jour: Recipes from my sister's baby shower! My sister is a
vegetarian, so the food naturally followed suit. I am splitting them into two posts for the sake of keeping my blog readable. On the menu were mushroom tartlets (recipe below), quinoa-stuffed sweet peppers, hummus (recipe HERE) and crudités, avocado sandwiches, tofu skewers (recipe below), a variety of flavored nuts, fruit bowl, and--of course--a virgin rum-runner punch.

First I want to show off the cake I made. My
sister's theme was pirates, so I created this rather messy-looking skull with sparkly blue eyes and the cutest pacifier ever. Can you read what it says? The cake was pineapple cake with coconut-
cream cheese frosting (recipe below--spoiler, I used cake mix). This recipe is totally a cheat, but after all I'm not the anti-pastry chef!

Now on to the recipes!

Mushroom Shallot Tartlets

3 tbs peanut oil
2 c fresh mushrooms of choice, diced (I used shiitake, oyster, and baby portabellas)
4 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
1 tbs fresh sage, minced
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbs vegetable stock
2 15-count packages of frozen mini fillo shells
1/4 c goat cheese of choice (I used Humboldt Fog)
3 oz enoki-dake mushrooms (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Sauté the mushrooms and shallots for about 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms start to soften. Add the herbs, pepper, salt, and stock; stirring frequently, cook another 10 minutes or until most the liquid is cooked off.

Arrange the fillo shells on two baking sheets. Divide the goat cheese evenly among the shells. Do the same with the cooked mushrooms and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. If desired, garnish with enoki-dake mushrooms (as you can see in the photo, I ran out of time....the poor enokis were left in the fridge!). Serve immediately. Makes 30 tartlets.

Crispy Tofu Skewers

1/4 c peanut oil
18 oz extra firm tofu, drained and cut into 1 1/4" cubes
1 tsp salt
1/4 c tamari
12 pearl onions
12 cherry tomatoes
1/2 zucchini, cut lengthwise into quarters and then cut into thirds to make 1" wedges
12 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 10 minutes

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Salt the tofu cubes, then add in a single layer to the hot oil. Allow to fry for about 5 minutes, or until the bottom of the tofu is a golden-brown. Gently flip each cube and fry the opposite side for 5 more minutes. Depending on the height of the oil in the pan, the sides of the tofu may also need to receive contact with the cooking surface. The goal is the have all six sides golden-brown. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels. When ready to assemble skewers, toss the tofu cubes with the tamari.

On each bamboo skewer place one pearl onion, one tomato, one cube of tofu, and one zucchini wedge. Arrange on a baking sheet and heat in oven 15 minutes. Make 12 tofu skewers.

Pineapple Cake and Coconut Cream Cheese Icing--for the lazy!

3 eggs
1 box pineapple cake mix
2 15oz cans crushed pineapple, undrained
1 canister of cream cheese icing
1 tbs coconut flavoring

Heat oven to 350°.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs. Add the cake mix and the pineapple and beat on low speed until just combined. Pour into the greased baking p an of choice and bake in the preheated oven according to the recommendations on the box for the cake pan you chose. Obviously I went with a skull-shaped pan....

For the icing, simply heat the icing in the microwave for 15 seconds at a time until it's easy to stir. Mix in the coconut flavoring, and it's ready!

I was pretty pressed for time when cake-decorating came around, but that didn't affect the flavor negatively. For posterity, I also made chocolate cupcakes for those who weren't feeling the pineapple vibe.


  1. What produce delivery service did you sign up for? I've been thinking of doing something like that.

    LOVE that cake!! Adorable! I can't read what the pac says, though...

  2. The pacifier says "bad to the bone"....hehe....I thought it fit!

    I signed up for Door to Door Organics:

  3. Nice!

    Ok, that is one company I've seen...I shall have to look into them further!

  4. I got my first box today: Baby turnips, kale, apples, grapefruit, avocados, carrots, potatoes, pears, cucumber, red onion, and baby bella mushrooms. Oh, and a grapefruit.

    And that was the SMALL box....!