I LOVE being a whole food, plant based steward for optimal life, health and well-being. It’s been an insightful and fun journey. In previous blogs, I have shared I’ve been totally plant based for almost 20 years. I began on this path in year 2000. I was completing my graduate studies at the time and learning about alternative plant based food menus. I was also exploring a more holistic (mind, heart and body) and conscious way of living. Eliminating non-plant based foods and incorporating more plant based foods began this new life sojourn.
As children and adults my family and I enjoyed a variety of foods from different cultures. Nonetheless, my mom was quite conscious about our meals, so lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds were always part of them. We did, however, eat non-plant based foods, dairy, meats and fleshy seafood. When I initially started to incorporate more plant based foods in my diet, I was still using dairy, poultry and fleshy seafoods too. Then I leaned about veganism and raw food, plant based culinary. I was intrigued by both, so I experimented with different whole food, plant based nourishments and ingredients to come up with meals my family and I would enjoy. I was Sous Chef for my family holiday dinners and other special occasions; accordingly, whatever I came up with had to be completely delightful.
I kept a journal of recipes I truly enjoyed beginning in early 2000. My recipe book was almost all experiments of both non-plant based and full plant based entries. As time continued forward my journal began to contain more heated and raw plant based selections and not much dairy, meat and fleshly seafood. Once I became more familiar with preparing raw, whole food, plant based meals I kept my diet primarily raw for about two years. When I was back on the road and living in other states I was again enjoying heated, plant based foods such as legumes. My mom made lots of her meals using different kinds of beans and peas. I loved her warm bean and split pea soups. While eating a raw foods diet, I was eating my beans and peas sprouted in salads, etc., but a delicious heated bean and/or pea soup still appealed to my palate. Albeit, I started making heated bean and/or pea soups and other bean dishes while living away from Connecticut, my overall diet was mostly raw whole food and plant based.
More than twenty years after first starting on a vegetarian menu, I have grown to sincerely love being whole food, plant based. Presently, my dishes consist of both heated and raw plant based foods, yet I greatly appreciate experimenting with different raw (uncooked), plant based recipes, especially my favorites, fruit and veggie smoothies and a hearty, gourmet salad. Smoothies and salads are simple to make, but totally satisfying and fulfilling. What makes my whole food, plant based journey even more satisfying and fulfilling is being part of an international foodie community that adores absolutely delicious foods. We share recipes with one another, learn alternative ways to prepare foods we enjoy, have fun contests to see what kinds of recipes we can come up with and most importantly we LOVE to experiment and explore.
Experimenting and exploring… There’s lots to share about this, but since this post is about doing Sea Food differently and deliciously, with a summary intro regarding what led me to my Maine thought, I will talk about and show some of the honestly inviting Sea Food dishes my foodie friends and I have come up with to make your palates smile and possibly laugh with joy. Firstly, my family and I have been pleased by our road trips to and time in Maine. Maine is truly a beautiful place, especially for those of us who love its friendliness and its natural and pristine scenic lands and waters. When in Maine it is pleasant to experience the organic smells and sights of the sands and shores and hear the soft, undulating movements of the waves. And so, I decided I would compliment such an experience by adding whole food, plant based sea foods to my Natural Food Art Cafe menu. A menu my family, friends and I get to enjoy while away or at home.
To begin my current Natural Food Art Cafe Whole Food, Plant Based Sea Food selections, I shared an image (at the top of post) of my whole food, plant based scallops and calamari platter made using King oyster mushrooms. King oyster mushrooms both smell and taste like the sea, so they were perfect for my tender and savory garlic, butter, lemon and herb flavored scallops and my flavorfully seasoned crispy golden calamari.
This next whole food, plant based selection is as well my flavorfully seasoned fried crispy golden calamari made using King oyster mushrooms dipped in vegan buttermilk batter, a flour mixture and then panko bread crumbs…
This next selection is my whole food, plant based and delectable sautéed garlic, butter, lemon and herb scallops with minced thyme.
This next selection is my whole food, plant based fried crispy golden clams. These vegan clams made with Oyster mushrooms (different from King oyster mushrooms) were truly delicious. I think these might have been one of my family’s favorite sea food dishes.
This next selection is my whole food, plant based sea food bisque. The base is made using coconut milk. To give it a yummy sea food flavor I used chopped King oyster mushrooms and various sea vegetable seasonings. The flavor was both savory and mildly sweet. I loved this bisque so much I made it again soon after the first pot was finished.
This next selection is another variation of my whole food, plant based sea food bisque. Mom loves corn chowder, so we decided to give my bisque a similar flavor by adding sweet corn right off of the cob. This creamy corn sea food bisque was so so yummy.
This next selection is my whole food, plant based smoked salmon using thinly sliced carrots soaked either overnight or for a few days in a sea food seasoned and flavored marinade. You can marinate your carrots for a shorter or longer time depending on how mild or bold you want your sea food flavor to be within the carrots and how tender you like your mock salmon. My family and I enjoyed our smoked salmon (carrots) with capers, homemade vegan cream cheese, fig jam and homemade flax crackers.
This next selection is my whole food, plant based crab(less) cakes made using artichokes and additional ingredients to season and bind the cake. I loved the sea food flavor of these crab(less) cakes, especially with my homemade aioli dressing. And the texture of these baked crab(less) cakes were perfect.
This next selection is my whole food, plant based faux fish patties. I made these patties using a variety of mushrooms that included oyster and shiitake. I processed the mushrooms then added a binder and sea food flavorings and seasonings. Sea vegetables like nori and dulce are perfect for giving foods a seafood flavor. Once I had my patties I coated them in flour before baking them.
This next whole food, plant based selection is my mock lobster salad made using hearts of palm. Hearts of palm are the perfect texture for making mock lobster dishes. I wanted this lobster salad to taste similar to what a lobster roll would taste like, so I sautéed my shredded hearts of palm in butter, lemon and garlic and added salt and pepper to taste. My family I enjoyed our lobster salad with vegan macaroni and cheese.
This next selection is my whole food, plant based mock tuna salad made using mashed tenderized chickpeas. I added to my mashed chickpeas most of the same ingredients I used when I prepared tuna out of the tin. The additional ingredients include nori, a sea vegetable that gives food a sea food flavor along with a little Old bay.
This next selection is my whole food, plant based fried faux fish. I made my fried faux fish using plantain peels. The best plantain peel to use is the unripened green peel. Once the plantain is out of its peel cut the peel in half, clean the inside of the peels with a fork or knife then marinate peels in a homemade brine seasoned with sea food flavorings such as sea vegetables (nori and/or dulce) overnight or for one or more days. Once peels are marinated dip into plant based milk then coat with seasoned corn meal/flour. Keep some of your brine to add to your plant based milk for extra sea food flavor.
This next whole food, plant based selection is my watermelon faux fish. Initially, I wasn’t sure about this one. Using watermelon as a meat or fish alternative was quite a surprise, but I gave it a try and truly loved it. My family enjoyed this faux fish dish as well. I marinated my watermelon slices for a few days or more in a sea food flavored marinade, including nori seaweed, then seasoned and coated the tops of my slices with panko before baking. Because the watermelon was slightly sweet, I complimented the sweet taste with my homemade hot and spicy aioli dressing. The balance of sweet, savory and spicy gave this watermelon faux fish a perfect bite. My family and I will definitely enjoy this faux fish again.
Whole Food, Plant Based Watermelon Faux Fish
Doing Sea Food Differently and Deliciously has been such an exciting and yummy experience. I love the myriad recipes my foodie friends and I have come up with, have tried and have shared with others, including our families and friends. Perhaps, you’ll consider doing sea food differently and, of course, deliciously too, if you haven’t already. Whether you have or haven’t here’s my recipe for whole food, plant based, fried crispy golden calamari…
Fried Crispy Golden Mushroom Calamari
- Medium to large size king oyster (trumpet) mushrooms
- Plant based milk
- Apple cider vinegar
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Old bay seasoning
- Black pepper
- Cayenne powder
- Panko bread crumbs
- All purpose flour or plant based flour
- Olive oil
Slice tops off of king oyster mushrooms. I save the tops for my sea food bisque. Cut the stems into meaty medium size (1 to 1 1/2 inches in thickness) rounds from top to bottom. Once all stems have been cut into rounds cut out circular middles using a small round cookie cutter or your knife. When your king oyster mushroom rounds have their middles cut out separate them from the smaller full mushroom rounds. The smaller full king oyster mushroom rounds can be used to make your seared scallops sautéed in butter, garlic and herbs.
After your mushroom calamari rounds and mushroom scallop rounds are separated make your liquid buttermilk batter using 1 cup of plant based milk and approximately 1 or. 2 cap fulls of apple cider vinegar. Stir mixture until well blended. In another bowl add all purpose flour or another plant based flour, cornstarch and seasonings, including Old bay. In a third bowl add lightly oiled panko bread crumbs. Dip each piece of mushroom calamari into liquid batter, flour mixture then panko bread crumbs. When each mushroom calamari round is well coated place into pan with hot oil and fry on both sides until completely crispy and golden brown (see images above). Yummy Yummy Yum…
Enjoy your whole food, plant based fried crispy golden mushroom calamari with family and friends. And make sure to try my other recipes too. They can be found in my food blogs on my Home page or on my Instagram and Pinterest social media pages under danarondel. Of course, you’ll find lots more in my forthcoming whole food, plant based recipe book. Stay tuned… BIG SMILE…
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