Try this spicy sweet number on: mushrooms, yes, and some tofu - but minced chilis, sweet peas, curry leaves, and good, toasty Garam Masala kill the Fall Flavor Set and make room for Spring. In the middle of February. Yes plz.
I LOOOOVE the parchment paper trick when making vegetable loaves - the lovely browned crust the oven's worked so hard to make comes out in one piece, every time. Just cool for 20 minutes, invert over a platter, and there it is, ready for slicing.
Its the perfect opportunity to play with inclusions, but remember - greenery roasts to brown, so use vegetation with color. Small red pepper flowers work well. Green peas, carrots, and beets work too. Enoki mushrooms keep a light brown shade, so you can laminate your own little 70's Forest Scene on top of your next loaf, if you'd like, as long as you lightly coat your parchment with oil - otherwise, your lovely lamination might stick. And we can't have that!
Masala Mushroom Loaf
1 tablespoon olive oil
12 small or 8 medium crimini mushrooms, minced
1/2 small red onion, minced
1/2 red pepper, minced
1 bird's eye chili, minced
1.5 tablespoons garam masala
7 ozs extra firm tofu, well drained, crumbled
8 dried curry leaves, crushed
2 tsp brown sugar
2/3 cup raw cashew pieces
2 tablespoons melted EB
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon flax meal
1 medium white potato, baked until soft, mashed (or 2/3 cup mashed potato)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp asofoetida
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 sheet parchment paper
Canola oil, to coat
Preheat the oven to 350f. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the loaf pan, sides included. Cut slits in the corner so it will fold flat to the pan's form. Spray a little oil on the bare metal before fitting the parchment inside - it'll help it stay in place.
Reserve a few pieces of red pepper for garnish. In a dry skillet or saute pan, toast the garam masala for 2-3 minutes, until very fragrant. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in the same skillet and add pepper and onion. Cook 5 minutes, until pepper softens and onion is translucent. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring often, for 6-8 minutes, until mushrooms have released their liquid and almost all of it, but not quite, has steamed off.
Remove sauteed veggies to a heatproof bowl.
In a food processor, pulse cashews until they're the texture of large polenta - not powdery, with some chunks still there. Add to warm vegetables. Mix in remaining ingredients and taste for salt - add a teeny bit if need be. The mixture should be relatively dry, but not crumbly - add a little more Earth Balance or even a titch of water if it needs it.
Cut small triangles out of two or three sides of a piece of red pepper with a paring knife. Repeat for as many "flowers" as you'd like.
Arrange red peppers and a stem or two of cilantro on the bottom of the loaf pan, and press 1/2 a cup of the mushroom masala mixture over top, pressing down to keep things stuck in place. Add remaining loaf mixture, pressing down firmly, and flattening top with wet hands once the mix is used up.
Bake for 50 minutes covered, then another 15-20 uncovered, until loaf is browned on top and firm-ish to the touch. Let rest 20 minutes, invert onto a platter, and serve. I'll share the apple-lentil gravy we noshed ours with next week - it was pretty killer.