Cooking for vegans or vegetarians used to send shivers down my spine. I really do respect vegetarian food although I am much more of a meat lover myself. So cooking vegetarian food use to be much more of a fear rather than anything else. I would feel tremendously guilty when having friends over for a Sunday roast and serving up a vegetarian meal of roasted veggies and green beans for one of my dear vegetarian friends. But recently I rediscovered the magnificent stack. And I have fallen head over heels with beautiful colourful veggie towers. Here are three simple examples. I say stack’em.
The Portobello Power Tower with blanched asparagus and parsley infused tofu cream.
What you need:
12 Portobello mushrooms
Baby Spinach leaves 500g
Red Onions 2 large, thinly sliced
Treacle brown sugar 1Table spoon
Garlic 1 clove finely chopped
Parsley a handful of sprigs, finely chopped
Red wine approximately 3 cups (I usually cook with wine and sometimes I even use it in the food)
What you do:
- Remove the stems and gills from the Portobello mushrooms. Place them in a baking tray and partially bake them in a preheated oven of 180 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool. 2. Place the red onions in a pot and add enough red wine to cover them. Bring to a boil and add treacle brown sugar. When the onions have discoloured to a dark purple and becomes glossy and almost sticky remove the onions from the pot and let it cool. 3. Saute the baby spinach leaves and the finely chopped garlic clove in a table spoon of olive oil. 4. Lightly saute coral mushrooms.
Stack’em: Use wax paper and line the inside of your stack ring. Place your rings on a baking tray. Place your first Portobello mushroom bottoms-up in the ring. Add your layer of spinach. Add your next Portobello, once again bottoms-up. Use the bottom of a champagne glass and slightly pressurise the layers in the ring to make sure they are tightly packed. Add the red wine onions and lastly the last Portobello. Use the champagne glass again. Top the tower with baby coral mushrooms or young enoki mushrooms, whichever is in season. Place the baking tray and towers in a preheated oven of 180 degrees and bake for 15 minutes until heated through.
For the Tofu cream: Use an electric hand blender and blend the tofu, finely chopped parsley and a table spoon of olive oil together until the mixture has a thick, creamy texture and can be spooned out.
Serve your towers with blanched asparagus and lemon zest.