Very Veggie Valentine’s for VeGina

18 Feb

Happy Valentine’s Day to all you lovers and misfits! Ok, ok I get it the day has past – your flowers are a limp as Bob Dole before Viagra,  your conversation hearts taste more like Tums then candy and your chocolate boxes well who are we kidding they’ve been empty since the first 5 minutes you had alone with them. Really, really – I did intended to write this post just after V-day when hormones were running high and passion was on the to do list. However, things like the full-time job and other general life annoyances got in the way. So, I decided better late than never, right.

This lovers day my husband:

  • skipped the flowers (and I quote-“$39.99 for roses at a gas station, you’ve got to be kidding me they were $9.99 last week –  they should call this St. Rip-Offs Day” – pointing out to him that he should never ever even consider buying flowers at a gas station period ladies, would be futile at this point),
  • past on the chocolates (“I’m looking out for your health” – thanks baby can you look the other way while your diabetic wife gets the thin mints she hid in the freezer and stuffs 2 in her mouth, damn Girl Scouts),
  • missed the class at husband school where you learn every kiss begins with Kay (“how much jewelry does one woman need” – any of you ladies want to answer that for him??)

Now before you go calling him a schmuck he did something much much better for me –he cooked me a veggie recipe!!! Vegicating Paul was the best  Valentine’s Day gift/adventure a VeGina could ask for!

Since Paul is a consummate Howard Stern fan everything, somehow, gets connected to Howie–yes, even Valentine’s Day dinner, sigh. Robin Quivers, Stern’s sidekick, launched a Veggie Blog with the help of famous chef, Gavan Murphy (copying my successful VeggieNation of course). Paul selected her/his recipe for Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms to wow me with.

Please note: Vegicating Robin puts this rag of a blog to shame but I will share it with you anyway and you will still keep coming here to read my BS because you:

a)   love me,

b)   are related to me,

c)    work for me,

d)   fear me(yeah right) or

e)   my mother still sends you pity payments to be my friend.

Stuffed Portabella Mushroom Caps

RECIPE courtesy of with our modifications noted:
Serves 2-4

You Need:

4 x portobello mushrooms
2-4 rosemary sprigs (one sprig per mushroom)
1 cup cooked quinoa – see box for instructions
1 tbsp fresh oregano – chopped
1 tbsp fresh sage – chopped
1 small red onion – fine dice (about 1/2 cup)
2 cloves garlic – minced and made into paste
2 tbsp olive oil (We went a bit lighter on the oil, you decide)
1/2 lemon – zest only
S&P to taste
red pepper vinaigrette (recipe below)

Cook the quinoa as per the instructions on the box. Drain, set aside.

You can make the quinoa ahead of time or while the quinoa is cooking, preheat a medium size sauté pan or skillet on medium heat. Add olive oil and sauté onions for 30 seconds. Add garlic and continue cooking for another 3-4 minutes or until softened. Do not burn. If the onions begin to brown turn the heat down. Once softened, turn off heat and put a lid on to keep warm until needed.

Next prepare the mushrooms. Remove the stem by simply pulling it out then season inside each mushroom with S&P and a nice drizzle of olive oil. Place a few rosemary sprigs inside each mushroom. The rosemary will infuse into the mushroom while cooking to add an extra layer of flavor.
Preheat a large skillet or grill pan on medium heat for 1 minute (We used our BBQ grill cause it was easy!).

NOTE: These mushrooms are quite meaty and absorbent so they will need some extra liquid (in this case olive oil) when cooking.

Once the grill pan (or gas grill) is hot lay the mushrooms with the inside facing down. Cook for 10-15 minutes on that side then turn over and grill for another 5-10 minutes. Remove from pan to a plate until needed. Discard the rosemary sprig.

In a bowl add the quinoa, softened onions, chopped herbs, and lemon zest. Mix well. Taste and season with S&P.

To assemble: Place a tbsp of the vinaigrette in each mushroom. Spoon some quinoa filling on top to fill the mushroom cavity. Drizzle a few teaspoons of the sauce over. Voila!

Red pepper Vinaigrette:

1 roasted red pepper (we used the jarred stuff)
1/2 shallot – rough chop
1 tbsp whole grain mustard
2 tbsp white Balsamic vinegar or champagne vinegar (We used regular brown balsamic vinegar cause we had it in the house)
1 cup olive oil (This totally freaked us out so we used just a ¼ cup of oil and a few more drops of vinegar)
1/2 tsp Agave (We used maple syrup cause agave was hard to find)
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

Place everything except the oil in a food processor or blender and pulse. Then with the machine running drizzle the oil to emulsify the vinaigrette. Taste.
This vinaigrette makes a great condiment and substitution for mayo or ketchup as well as a delicious salad dressing. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.


Paul did AWESOME, right!!!  Remember take part in vegicating with someone your love today before they vegicate themselves.


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