Vegan Stovetop Mac and Cheese (with veggie dogs)

Mmmmm mac and cheese and veggie dooogs. Where's the ketchup?

Mmmmm mac and cheese and veggie dooogs. Where’s the ketchup?

You may not know this, but here in Canada, we love our Kraft Dinner. More mac and cheese is consumed in Canada than anywhere else in the world- in fact, Kraft Dinner is the top selling grocery item in Canada. It’s part of our cultural identity, the result of a deliberate and calculated effort by combined political and corporate forces. As a result, it plays an important role in many Canadian’s fond childhood memories. The perfect combination of cheap ($1/box on sale), easy (7 minutes or less), and portable (hurrah powdered cheese!) means that if you ever went camping, you probably had Kraft Dinner at some point; boiled in a big pot on the Coleman stove, toxic orange powdered sauce whisked up with the noodles, raw hot dogs chopped in and ketchup strewn liberally over top. It sounds rather vile, actually, now that I think about it. But let me tell you, when you’ve been canoeing in the driving cold late -September rain for four hours since your last meal and you haven’t had anything warmer than lukewarm tea at breakfast and the GORP wedged in your back pocket in two days, Kraft Dinner is the BEST THING YOU HAVE EVER PUT IN YOUR MOUTH.

Since I’m Canadian and actually enjoyed KD once upon a time, it was an obvious choice to veganize this classic for my camping trip this year. There are a gazillion rocking, fancy shmancy, and delightfully unlikely vegan mac and cheese recipes out there. For my purposes, I wanted something 1) very close to KD in simplicity and texture, 2) totally easy to make, and 3) no blender required. So, I went with a pre-made vegan ricotta as my base. This time I used a macadamia-based one from a local vegan cheesemaker, but Tofutti makes a good one, and of course you can whiz up your own super quickly, such as this cashew-based one from The Simple Veganista. Then, it’s just a matter of tossing a few ingredients in the pasta pot after you drain the noodles and stirring it all together. Just about as easy as KD, except made with real food and, I daresay, far more delicious. Also, less embroiled in scary global food politics. Win-win!

Vegan Stovetop Mac And Cheese (with veggie dogs)

500 grams dry macaroni 
2 cups vegan ricotta
1/3 cup Earth Balance
2 cloves minced garlic
2/3 cup nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
3 tablespoons ketchup
cooking water, reserved from the pasta
Optional; sliced veggie dogs, more ketchup

1) Light up your Coleman stove or whatever you happen to be using to make pasta today. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 2 cups of cooking liquid

2) Add all remaining ingredients into the pot along with the drained pasta. Stir thoroughly, moistening with reserved cooking liquid until it reaches the desired consistency. We’re going for just a little sauce here, not enough to drip off the fork 

3) Cut in veggie dogs and serve her up with plenty of ketchup on top. Bon appetite!

Definitely try eating this in your black kitty pj's, to complete the effect

Definitely try eating this in your black kitty pj’s, to complete the effect




Amazing Vegan Gluten-Free Bread

This is what I make when I need a vegan, gluten-free bread. It’s healthy, delicious, and easy to make once you’ve done it a couple of times. It’s adapted from Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats From Around The World, which is a great book all around. I found her recipe was way too wet for me… This may be because wherever she is cooking, they don’t have as high humidity as we do here in Montreal. Therefore, if you are in a place like Edmonton where there is no humidity, you might need to add up to a half cup more liquid! Start with less, though. The bread should be firm, moist, with a consistent crumb throughout, no sagging in the middle, a nice brown, crisp crust and delicious flavour. I slice it when cooled and keep it in the freezer, toasting it as needed. But if you keep it on the counter, that should be fine too. Let me know how it goes!


Amazing Vegan Gluten-Free Bread

400g/ 2 1/2 cups brown rice flour
65g/ 1/2 cup corn or tapioca starch
18g/ 1 tbsp powdered or 4 tbsp whole psyllium husk (just make sure you get 18g total)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
20g/ 2 1/2 packs yeast
50g/ 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups warm unsweetened almond or soy milk, divided
1 to 1 1/2 cups warm water, divided (see note above)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
12g/ 1 tbsp ground chia seeds
sesame and poppyseeds for the top

1) In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, starch, baking powder and salt

2) In a large bowl, whisk the yeast, 1 cup of almond milk, 1/2 cup water, and sugar

3) In a 2-cup liquid measuring cup, whisk together with a fork 1/2 cup of almond milk, 1/2 cup water, vinegar, oil, chia, and psyllium

4) Add the dry ingredients and the contents of the liquid measuring cup into the yeast mixture. Stir together about 5 minutes by hand, or 1-2 with a handheld mixer. Cover the bowl with saran wrap

5) Have a glass of wine and read a book for an hour

6) Punch down the dough, then transfer to an oiled, parchment-lined standard-sized loaf pan. Top with plenty of seeds and pierce all the way through the center

7) Bake in a pre-heated 400 degree oven for 45 minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit in the hot oven for 30 minutes. Test with a knife through the center- moisture is ok, smears of dough are not.Let cool on the counter another 20 minutes before removing from the pan and allowing to cool completely before cutting into it. Enjoy with some more of that wine you opened. If you don’t eat it all, you can store the rest in an airtight container in the freezer. 

Sultry Sweet Potato and Chipotle Chili

My lady over at IGVD shared her famous bean burger recipe recently… She says it’s my burger recipe, but in fact I am just the person who came up with the chili recipe that makes an approximate fuckton of leftovers that she got stuck with, and so needed to come up with ingenious ways to use it all up. To make matters worse, she added too much chipotle (despite my strongly worded warning) and so concocted this burger recipe to dilute that somewhat. Since her recipe goes along with my chili so nicely, here it is- my favorite chili! I have no pictures of it, so here’s something cute instead.



This is a pretty cheap, healthy, warming chili that uses the classic flavour combination of chipotles and sweet potatoes and then adds a healthy dose of seductive depth from cocoa and cinnamon. This is a true pantry dish, you can keep the ingredients on hand and whip it up when you have a crowd coming over or when you need a special meal. You’ll only need up to a quarter cup of chipotles in adobo altogether, depending on your heat tolerance. The remainder freezes well squished flat in a baggie, then you can break off however much you need the next time you want to spice up your rice or beans. If the chipotles are too hot, but you want some more smoky goodness, add some smoked paprika or natural smoke flavour. Be sure to use fair trade cocoa, preferably dutch-processed (darker in colour and flavour). You can substitute a couple of cups of cooked quinoa or even brown rice for the veggie ground round, just add some more veggie stock to balance the flavours. If you happen to live with someone who is afraid of vegetables (like I do), you can puree all ingredients up to the addition of bay leaves after cooking them, then return them to the pot and continue with the recipe.


1 large can diced tomatoes (28 oz. preferably no salt added)

1 small can Mexican stewed tomatoes (19 oz.,or 1 small can regular tomatoes plus 1 tbsp chili powder)

2 small cans pinto beans (14 oz.)

2 small cans black beans (14 oz.)

1 small can green chilies (7.6 oz., look in the Mexican section of your grocer)

1 tbsp from small can chipotles (7.6 oz. Start with a tablespoon, and slowly go up from there, checking for heat as you go. Chop carefully with gloved hands.)

1 can corn (or about a cup and a third of frozen corn- add the juice from the can if you’re a big fan of corn)

oil for cooking


1 large peeled sweet potato, cubed into bites, about three cups

2 large peeled carrots, diced, about two cups

1 large yellow onion, diced, about two cups

1/2 a head of garlic, minced

1 or 2 bell peppers, whichever kind you like, diced, about a cup

stems from 1 bunch of cilantro, about 1/3-1/2 cup, washed well and minced

Flavour flavour:

1 veggie bullion cube (I use fake beef kind, more if substituting grains for soy, or to taste)

1 tbsp Ancho chili powder (or some other dark chili powder, not chili flakes)

2 bay leaves

1/4-1/2 cup fair-trade cocoa

2 tsp cinnamon


2 packages veggie ground round, beef style (or substitute 2 cups of a cooked whole grain)

Garnish (optional, but awesome):

chopped cilantro leaves, chopped green onion, lime wedges, soy plain yogurt or sour cream, soy cheese

Saute the onions and carrots in a bit of oil with a pinch of salt over medium heat in your largest pot. When the vegetables are translucent, add the cilantro stems and the garlic, cooking for about a minute. Toss in the tomatoes, chipotles, bullion, chili powder, bay leaves and all the beans. Bring to a boil and add the sweet potatoes. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the sweet potatoes are cooked through and the liquid has reduced a bit, about 20 mins. Add the cocoa, cinnamon, ground round, bell pepper, corn, green chilies and adjust for flavour. This is where you may decide it needs more heat (chipotles or Ancho chili powder), smokiness (chipotles or smoked paprika, salt (bullion), or depth (bullion, cocoa, blackstrap molasses might do it). By starting with a conservative amount of spices, you can build it up slowly and hopefully avoid the risk of going overboard. Be careful not to add too much cinnamon–as tasty as it is, it’s supposed to play a supporting role in this dish, and can easily overpower the subtle flavours of the chilies and cocoa. Simmer for about 30 minutes, then serve it up and allow people to garnish their own bowl. We served this with plain, steamed collards, cut into ribbons, and Jackie’s tasty corn bread with margarine and agave nectar for dessert. Heavenly.

Pumpkin and Chard Risotto

If you’ve been reading this blog, you get by now that I work an awful lot, producing food for gazillions of people every week. You might think this leaves me totally sick of cooking and eating chickpeas out of the can for dinner most nights. But in fact, I only eat beans out of the can some nights! Weekends are usually reserved for cooking with/for my delightful friends. First, because otherwise I’d never see them, and second, because they have functioning kitchens that I can usurp.

On Saturday we had a Pumpkin All The Things! day with a few folks (who have a great kitchen). Originally we had planned on doing savoury pumpkin ravioli, but couldn’t find vegan wonton wrappers on a Saturday (they only sell them at the Kosher market). So, we improvised and came up with this great risotto.

Believe me when I tell you, this tastes waaaayyy better than it looks.

Believe me when I tell you, this tastes waaaayyy better than it looks.

The tangy, crunchy chard contrasts so nicely with the creamy, rich pumpkin. Mushrooms were added for some texture, along with my favorite ever Smoked Apple Sage Field Roast sausages. The end result was so delicious we all sat numb from overeating watching NFB videos until we could roll out the door.

Pumpkin and Chard Risotto

For the basic risotto:

Olive oil and/or Earth Balance, for cooking
A bottle of buttery, oaky Chardonnay
Vegetable broth
2 cups arborio rice
2 yellow onions, minced
5 cloves garlic, minced

To stir in near the end of cooking the rice:

2 cups pureed unsweetened pumpkin
3 tbsp chopped fresh marjoram, or 2 tsp dried
1.5 tsp dried thyme
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 tbsp dijon
Salt and Pepper

To stir in just before serving:

1 large bunch of chard, any colour, thoroughly washed and chopped- Stems into 1/2 inch slices, leaves into 1-inch cubes
4 Apple Sage Field Roast Sausages, broken with your fingers into small, rough bites
1 pint mushrooms, halved and sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp tamari
Juice from half a lemon
A splash of wine
Olive oil, for cooking.

Start by preparing your basic risotto. Fry the onions in plenty of oil til they are golden, then add the rice and garlic, stirring constantly until just toasted. Stir in a cup of wine, pour yourself a glass while you’re at it. Once the wine is absorbed, add stock a ladleful at a time, allowing it to be fully absorbed between each addition.

Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables and sausages to be stirred in at the very end of cooking. Sautee the mushrooms over medium high heat in the olive oil until almost all golden, then deglaze with a splash of wine. Once that wine is cooked down, add the chard stems to the mushrooms for a few minutes, and finally the chard leaves and the garlic along with the tamari and lemon. Set the vegetables aside, and in the same pan brown the sausages until mostly golden. Deglaze with a little more wine if things have been sticking. Set aside wit the vegetables.

When the rice is just barely soft enough to eat, but still slightly firm, stir in the pumpkin, marjoram, thyme, dijon, and nutritional yeast. Add another 1/2 cup of wine. Stir in the veggies and sausages that you have set aside, and adjust seasoning if required.

We ate this with delicious roasted red pepper and onion fougasse, but if were up for it we would have made a nice salad to go with.

Pho/Air-boat street food/etc.

Big bowl for pho for big Bear, little bowl of pho for little kitten.

Big bowl for pho for big Bear, little bowl of pho for little kitten.

When I was in my undergrad, I took a bunch of courses in the evening. There were two reasons for this, mainly that I refused to take morning classes, but also because the part-time studies department’s Philosophy classes tended to be more interesting. In those cool in-between months after the term started but before Winter came, I often failed to dress appropriately for the weather and would find myself shivering alone in the corridors waiting for evening classes to begin while sometimes falling asleep over my readings. It was at this time that I would get one of two things: a coffee and a chocolate chip oatmeal muffin from the only cafe that remained open for the night students, or a steaming-hot Styrofoam bowl of Pho from the little Asian vendor in the cafeteria.

I always asked for the vegetarian Pho, even before I was vegan, because it seemed like a much better deal- you got so many veggies! Tender-crisp bok choy, slivers of nappa cabbage, whole petals of oyster mushrooms, sprouts, carrots, peppers, and tofu, all in a fragrant broth with warming anise, clove, and black pepper. The whole thing was topped with a mountain of Thai basil and cilantro, and finally a wedge of lime. It was more expensive than the coffee and muffin, and while it had no chocolate in it, it was still the superior choice.

There is some controversy over whether Pho is related to pot-au-feu, the dish common to the French invaders of Vietnam. Westerners like to think of Pho as a fusion food. I think it’s more likely that the French simply assumed that their culture was the epitome of Culture, and thus interpreted the native Vietnamese dish in the only way their fragile egos could manage- as an approximation of the more familiar pot-au-feu. There is something decidedly un-French about traditional Pho as well, namely the way it was vended. No white linen table cloths, wine, or candles. Just hot street food, prepared with taste, nourishment, and efficiency in mind.

Pho was originally sold at dawn and dusk by roaming street vendors, who shouldered mobile kitchens on carrying poles (gánh phở). From the pole hung two wooden cabinets, one housing a cauldron over a wood fire, the other storing noodles, spices, cookware, and space to prepare a bowl of pho. Pho vendors kept their heads warm with distinctive, disheveled felt hats called mũ phở. (thank you Wikipedia)

I wonder if the Chinese food boat scene from The Fifth Element is at all related to the history of Pho? Some days, especially when it’s cold, I wish for certain conveniences out of sci fi like travelling Pho air-boats or teleportation.

It may be too early for you folks south of the border to be thinking of hot soups as an ideal comfort food, but here in the Great White North the nights have been getting quite chilly, and ominously gray skies have brought portents of Autumn and frost. Unless you have a magical Pho Boat coming your way, this recipe is the best thing to keep the chill out.

Come here, boat of tasty! I want all your deliciousness! But you can leave the terrible ethnic stereotypes behind...

Come here, boat of tasty! I want all your deliciousness! But you can leave the terrible ethnic stereotypes behind…

It took me a while to figure out how to make a good vegan Pho, and the trick is to take your time to treat the veggies right, and not worry too much about being traditional. This is your Pho, make it how you like it.

  1. Take a couple big yellow onions, peel the outer layer and halve them lengthwise. Cut a 5-inch stem of ginger root lengthwise. Blacken the outer layer both over a flame (broiler/element/blowtorch). Rinse away any flakes of char and set aside.
  2. Roughly chop five large, peeled carrots, and a couple cups of mushroom stems (any kind, preferably belonging to the caps you’ll use in the soup) and roast them in a pot with coconut oil until beginning to brown. This will take a bit of time, but keep an eye on it and have a beer to keep you occupied.
  3. Add to the carrots and mushrooms a couple of star anise, a couple of whole cloves, a 4-inch stick of cinnamon, a tablespoon of coriander seeds, a three-inch strip of kombu and several black peppercorns. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until fragrant, stirring constantly. Add the onion and ginger, then about 5-6 cups of low- or no-salt mushroom or vegetable broth- enough to cover with an inch or two to spare.
  4. Simmer until reduced by 1/3, then add a tablespoon or two of good tamari and/or vegan fish sauce. Strain well through a fine sieve. This broth can be kept in the fridge or frozen until ready to use.
  5. Cook medium flat rice noodles til tender. Add to big bowls of freshly-boiled broth.
  6. Prepare vegetables. Firm tofu, mixed fresh or dried/re-hydrated mushroom caps, tender greens, snow peas and peppers can be sauteed ever so lightly, then divided among individual bowls.
  7. Toppings should be served on the side, to be added with chopsticks to the bowls by diners. Scallions and red chilies finely sliced on the bias, whole cilantro and Thai basil leaves, wedges of lime and bean sprouts. Vegetarian hoisin, chili-garlic paste/sriracha, and seasoned rice vinegar should be offered as well.

To Eat: Pile on the herbs, sauces, etc. and barely stir them into the piping-hot broth. It will wilt the leaves, while maintaining some of their texture and providing lovely contrast between the spicy/sour/cool/herbal notes of the garnish and the warm/earthy/sweet/savoury notes of the soup.

Bon appetit!

Easiest Pasta Salad

Simple, colourful, and utterly satisfying. Probably prettier in a wooden bowl, but you know, beggars can't be choosers.

Simple, colourful, and utterly satisfying. Probably prettier in a wooden bowl, but you know, beggars can’t be choosers.

Last summer, I lived for a while with some wonderful folks with an amazing patio. You know, the kind that is level with the widest branches of the trees and suspends you above the rest of the city, filtered through the greenery? This location magically inspired food with lots of fresh vegetables. I ate a LOT of salad. Something about being outdoors inspires further freshness. But because raw veggies can only take you so far, I started finding ways to mix grains into my creations. The pasta salad of my youth was an egg-ridden, totally gross swamp of cholesterol, dodgy food standards and sodium. This variation couldn’t be further removed from that science experiment of a side dish.

This little pasta salad is easy-peasy, varied, and filling enough to be a meal in itself. It follows a simple formula, and the secret is in the sauce. No gross eggy-stuff required.

  1. Pick a cute little pasta. I like bowties. Things like shells tend to stick to each other too much. Macaroni is good, if you’re down with the retro-feel of the uniform elbows.
  2. Pick fresh, flavourful vegetables in four different colours. Colour is important to the appreciation of this dish. It symbolizes the variety and abundance of harvest times. I like crunchy veggies and ones that suck up sauces thirstily, like broccoli.
  3. Use good herbs. I use dried marjoram, thyme, and tarragon. And then fresh parsley and/or cilantro. The fresh parsley really contributes to the flavour of this dish, so try not to ditch it. Use the flat-leaf kind, it’s tastier and has a nicer texture.
  4. Infuse your olive oil. Take a good olive oil, and brown a whole lot of minced garlic in it. It will infuse the oil with garlic flavour, which will then distribute evenly through the pasta. If you want some kick, use dried chilis in your olive oil infusion. Go ahead and add some capers, sundried tomatoes, or marinated artichoke hearts for tang and depth. Stir in some nooch, dijon and almond flour enough to make a cream. Add lemon juice and cider or wine vinegar (yes, both) until it is thinned enough to just coat the back of a spoon. Toss liberally with your salad.
  5. I like fresh greens, such as rough chopped arugula, spinach or chard stirred in at the last minute. It makes it all feel fresher and brighter.
  6. Go ahead and add some beans. Chickpeas, small white beans and green lentils are nice.

This recipe makes me long for summer days and crisp, cool Rieslings sipped on the porch. Also, it pulls together in maybe 20 minutes. Can’t go wrong.

Mushroom Risotto, love, and wine

Today I got to cook my favorite meal. I mean, my favorite meal to cook. I am not entirely sure if it’s my favorite meal to eat, but it’s probably in the top five. As far as cooking goes, though, it’s an experience unto itself.

There are a few reasons why I love making mushroom risotto. It is the very epitome of comfort food. Warm, soft, and fragrant with a toothsome bite. Deep, woody earthiness offset by perfectly balanced salt, caramel alliums, and the sweet tang of oaky white wine. The flavours are extraordinarily complex, and at the same time perfectly mundane. Rice, mushrooms, garlic, thyme. Peasant food. Cooking risotto is an art. You have to understand your ingredients, and understand the flavour you are trying to achieve, and understand how to get that flavour out of those ingredients. And you have to take your time, hover over the pot attentively, obsessively, nudging your tiny grains of rice into compliance and tasting often, making small adjustments to the flavour of your stock as you go. If you’ve ever had someone tell you that you have a problem after watching you spend 30 minutes adding dollops of crabapple butter and splashes of tomato juice to a can of baked beans until you get the exact results you were looking for, risotto is your vindication. It is precisely that ability to imagine an effect, imagine possible ways of creating it, and the willingness to putter and play with things until you get exactly what you were looking for that is required to make this dish.

There’s a secret to good risotto, though, and that is the wine. This is the first rule of making things tasty, incidentally- add booze. Fermented things have a depth of flavour that is hard to find elsewhere. Also, drinking alcohol, especially while you cook, is good for your disposition. Trust me on that one. My Vegan Soulmate and I discovered this quite accidentally back in grad school. We drank because, well, that’s what philosophers do (blame it on the existential angst). And we cooked because we were poor vegans in Edmonton and we needed to eat. That, and we liked to procrastinate marking mountains of first-year ethics papers in the most delicious way possible. Naturally, these two needs would correspond and we found ourselves adding cheap booze to everything we cooked together. It was like magic. Boring potato soup sang with a splash of cider in the leeks, plain chocolate cakes came alive with spiced rum and bourbon cherries, Tofurkies sucked back bottles of Cabernet with enthusiasm matched only by our own. We started bringing two bottles of wine to our cooking dates (that’s how Vegan Soulmates date, rather than going to the movies, we go to the kitchen). One for us, one for the pot.

Deliciousness in the making.

Deliciousness in the making.

Here are some things that make risotto perfect. This is not so much a recipe as a guideline for cooking.

  • Add more alliums, in more variety, than the recipe calls for. Different alliums bring out different aspects of oniony goodness better than others. You are going for a complex flavour profile here, so complicate things by using yellow onions, leeks, garlic, and shallots.
  • Close your eyes when you add the earth balance. It will make it easier to concentrate on how the food tastes, rather than what it will do to your waistline. And on that note, only use delicious fats in your risotto- very good olive oil mixed with earth balance is what I use.
  • Use a good, oaky white wine. You want lots of woody flavour, and some sweetness won’t hurt too much (but err on the side of dry). I like Chardonnay for risotto. But choose something that you want to drink as well. This is imperative, since risotto requires that the cook split the bottle with the pot. It’s only fair.
  • Use at least two kinds of mushrooms. I like shiitake or oyster mushrooms in addition to criminis. For the love of god don’t use white mushrooms. Just don’t. Chantrelles are glorious if you can afford them. Cook your mushrooms in a very hot pan in as much earth balance as they need to move around til they are browning nicely, drying out a bit, and smelling more sharply like earth. At this point, add a bit more earth balance to the center of the pot, some minced garlic and shallots, and a pinch or two of cumin, thyme, pepper and marjoram. Yes, cumin. No, you can’t use oregano instead of marjoram. Marjoram has a sweetness that is irreplaceable. Stir these in for a minute, until the garlic and shallots are starting to brown, and then add a enough wine to coat the bottom of the pot and loosen anything that has stuck, while also carrying the flavours that had previously been suspended only in fat into the spongy mushrooms. At the same time, add a teaspoon or two of good tamari. No, not salt. Tamari.
  • Once you’ve set aside your mushrooms, use the same pot to cook the risotto. Never waste flavour. Add some good olive oil and earth balance to the pot along with the finely minced onions, then the leeks, then the rice, then the garlic. Your onions should be almost caramelized, your leeks translucent, your rice just toasted, and your garlic barely golden. Add more fat if needed to keep things moving. Season the onions just a little bit with salt and pepper- you’ll add more as you go, and it’s better to add sodium in more flavourful ways than table salt. Then add enough wine to coat the bottom of the pot when stirred. Yes, a whole cup. Add a half teaspoon or so thyme and marjoram with it. Things are getting real now, so make sure your glass is full, too.
  • Use a very good vegetable stock. Make your own, or use Better Than Bouillon if that’s what you have. I haven’t found good cubes of vegetable stock for risotto purposes- they are always too salty and two dimensional. Use the traditional risotto making method- add a cup of stock at a time, stir each til absorbed completely, repeat.
  • At the last couple of cupfuls of stock, taste for seasoning carefully. Before adjusting the seasoning, stir in the mushroom mixture. Then proceed to your add your final flavour notes. In a cup, mix a half cup of wine with one good tablespoon of dijon, a teaspoon or two of tahini, a couple tablespoons of fresh squeezed lemon juiceand a couple tablespoonfuls of nutritional yeast. Add this, then taste again. Add more concentrated stock if more sodium is required, or the other last-minute stir-ins to adjust the flavour as necessary. It should be earthy, smooth, salty, and winey. The salty and rich dijon should balance with the herbal and sweet thyme and marjoram. No one flavour, except perhaps the wine (which will dissipate quickly) should stand out before all the others. It should be uniformly complex.
  • Add fresh chopped thyme right at the end, on top of everything. Thyme carries a certain fragrance when fresh that denatures with heat. Let this carry the first bite of risotto to your guests.

I hope you enjoy cooking mushroom risotto as much as I do. If you don’t, you probably haven’t added enough wine.