Wednesday, April 28, 2010


OMG is my favorite base for the vast majority of my recipes. No, it doesn’t stand for “Oh My God” (nor does it stand for “Oh My Goodness” as we Atheists prefer.) OMG stands for Onions, Mushrooms and Garlic. The OMG base is so simple and yet so flavorful. Once you start cooking with my OMG base, you’ll be using it everywhere. It’s simple and only takes about 5-7 minutes to make. Honestly, if it takes longer, you’re doing something wrong or overcooking it.

1 medium or larger onion (sweet onions or yellow, your preference) diced
2-3 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
~1 cup of sliced, fresh mushrooms. (I use organic Baby Bello, White, and Shitake)
1/4 tspn salt
1/4 tspn black pepper
1/3 cup of vegetable stock

Heat 1-2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil in a large non-stick pan over medium heat.
Add the onions and season with the salt and pepper. Sauté with a wooden spoon/spatula until the onions begin to brown and caramelize. Then, add the garlic, continuing to sauté for another minute or two. Make sure that the onions and garlic don’t burn or stick to the pan. Add the mushrooms. You’ll be tempted to add some liquid at this point but DON’T. You need to let the mushrooms sweat down and release their moisture. Once released, the liquid will pick up the natural sugars and flavors from the onions and garlic and the mushrooms will begin to caramelize. Continue to sauté the mixture for another 2-3 minutes or so until everything is a nice, brown, caramelized consistency. Then, add the vegetable stock, mix, and allow the mixture to reduce down for another minute or so.

And that’s it. That’s my OMG mixture. You can use this as a stand-alone side dish or you can use this as a topping for vegan “Chick’N” cutlets, Seitan, or even Tofu. I will now show you how this can figure as the starting point of a bunch of my favorite recipes.

OMG! Best “Meatless” Sauce. Ever.

So one you have the OMG mixture going and you’ve just added the veggie stock, I then add 1/3 cup of Lightlife’s Smart Grounds. This is a non-GMO, mostly organic, vegan meat-substitute made from textutized soy protein. It cooks, feels and tastes like ground beef. Make sure to break up the crumbles as they tend to clump from the packaging. Add them to the OMG mixture and let them cook for about 2 minutes, allowing them to soak up the veggie stock and cook in it, absorbing the flavors of the OMG mixture. Then I throw in about 1/3 of a Cup of red wine and let the mixture absorb the flavors of the wine while it all reduces down for another 2-3 minutes.

At this point, I add 1 cup of Red Sauce/Marinara Sauce. You can buy your favorite brand, or use fresh. (My husband, Michael, makes THE BEST red sauce I’ve ever tasted anywhere and I use that. Once of these days, he’ll bottle and sell it commercially and then I can have you use that! Sorry- Michael is not sharing that “top secret” recipe.) Allow the sauce to cook in for another minute or two. Then lower the heat and simmer.

Sometimes I will prepare long pastas like linguine, cappelini or spaghetti I tend to plate the pasta first and then serve the OMG meatless sauce over the pasta. When using penne, penne rigatte, fussilli or smaller-shaped pastas, I like to add the pasta to the sauté pan and let them all simmer together for a few extra minutes. I feel like that allows the sauce and its layers of flavors to penetrate the pasta in all of it’s tiny cracks, tubes and crevices. Really, it’s your call.

Beouf-less Burgundy/ Vegan Beef Bourguignon

This is really quite similar to the above "meatless sauce" recipe. Just a slight variation: I add 2 large carrots, thinly sliced in cross-sections, and actually add those right after the onions and garlic but before adding the mushrooms in the OMG mixture. For the "Beef" I'm a big fan of the GARDEIN Beefless Tips and I use the whole package, added frozen. They release their moisture and heat up a bit slower but I find that gives the flavors of the OMG, carrots, wine, and stock to all meld together and infuse each other more deeply. Also, unlike the above recipe, there is no adding of any red sauce. Once you've added the stock, you let it all cook down for a few minutes until the desired consistency and serve over/next to rice, pasta, whatever you like.

OMG! Best Quinoa Ever!

This recipe couldn’t be any more simple. It’s low-carb, low fat and high protein. Great hearty dish.

Bring 2 cups of Veggie Stock to a boil in a medium saucepan.
Add 1 cup of dry, pre-washed/rinsed Quinoa. Give it a quick stir and then cover the pan and lower heat to a med-low simmer. Cook for 15 minutes. Do NOT lift the lid or stir. Just allow the Quinoa to absorb the stock and fluff up on it’s own.
Turn off the heat, add your OMG mixture and serve.

OMG! Vegan Pizza Primavera

I’m a major pizza lover. Always have bee. Making the commitment to be vegan really wasn’t that hard for me with the singular exception of pizza. Giving up the cheese was really hard to do. So when Daiya “Cheese” came out (available at all Whole Foods Markets) Pizza again became an option for me.

We use the pre-packaged dough from Whole Foods. They have a regular type, a whole wheat dough and also a multigrain pizza dough. I prefer the multigrain, but they all taste fantastic.

You want to take the dough and roll it out on a floured surface until it’s the desired shape and thickness. You’re going to bake the pizza on a stone or on a baking sheet but be sure to add some cornmeal to the stone/pan so that it keeps the underside of the dough from sticking.

Then, build your pizza. We use Michael’s famous red sauce, then sprinkle the OMG mixture over that, and finish with the Daiya Italian “Cheese”. We bake it at 425˚F for 12-14 minutes. This will really depend on your oven, so keep an eye out for this. You want the edges of the dough to puff and crisp up. Daiya “Cheese” tends to brown just for a moment before it burns. So, really, the moment you see the “cheese” start to brown, it’s time to come out of the oven.


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