Category Archives: Blogs

MUSHROOM SPINACH YAKISOBA

Mushrooms, spinach, red peppers and noodles in soy/mirin sauce with ginger and garlic
Delicious noodles, mushroom, spinach and red pepper bathed in sauce.

This mushroom and spinach yakisoba was inspired by a gift from my two oldest and dearest friends:  Isa Does It: Amazingly Easy, Wildly Delicious Vegan Recipes for Every Day of The Week by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.  As soon as I saw it I thought of all the bowls of yakisoba that I had scarfed down in San Francisco over the years. For this version I used two of my favorite vegetables, cremini mushrooms and fresh spinach. I added sweet red pepper to give it a little pop of color and flavor. The sauce is shoyu (soy and wheat) and mirin (rice cooking wine) and a little chili sauce. Mixed together with noodles, ginger, garlic and scallions it is a delicious and satisfying dish. I could eat this every day. Once the vegetables are prepped, this goes together pretty quickly.

CLICK HERE FOR RECIPE

HUNGARIAN MUSHROOM SOUP

A couple of months ago, while in the deli section of The Good Food Store at lunch time, I saw a pot of mushroom soup. It looked rich and strong and creamy and delicious so I helped myself to a bowl. At the checkout, the clerk smacked her lips and said that it was one of her favorites. She told me that the cooks based the mushroom soup on a recipe from an old Moosewood Cookbook.  I sat down at one of the tables in the store and started spooning up the soup. I’d never tasted anything like it. The flavors of the paprika and dill were strong and surprising and when underlain by the silky and earthy mushrooms and onions the whole experience was outstanding. I couldn’t believe that I had never heard of it much less never eaten it before. As soon as I got home I googled the recipe. The Moosewood Cookbook was written by Mollie Katzen when she was a member of the Moosewood Collective and self-published in 1974.  Now, some 50 years later, there are upwards of 30 versions of the soup online. So, after making it a few times, here is my take on this celebrated soup.

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FLAGOLET BEANS WITH TOMATOES

Flagolet Beans with Tomatoes

These beans and tomatoes dressed with vinaigrette are a simple and satisfying light meal or side dish. Great as it is with some crusty bread, it can be served on a bed of dressed greens or accompanied by some sautéed asparagus. The beans can be cooked ahead of time and brought to room temperature before mixing with the tomatoes. As they cook these beans get creamy but stay together. If you can’t find flagolet beans locally, you can order them from https://www.ranchogordo.com/ my favorite bean purveyor. In this dish the whole and quartered vegetables are used to amp up the flavor and are discarded after cooking.  CLICK HERE FOR ENTIRE RECIPE

 

RESOURCES

A long time ago I moved into my first apartment and started cooking. I’ve been cooking and learning and collecting cookbooks for many years now. I started with The Joy of Cooking and still use the revised edition. When I want to check on typical proportions of ingredients or check baking temperatures, I start with The Joy.  Most of the books listed here are some of the ones that I have been reading during the past ten years or so. Not all of these books and websites are exclusively vegan or even vegetarian. Inspiration comes from many different sources. Especially interesting to me are recipes from great cooks that emphasize the preparation of vegetables, fruits, grains, beans and nuts and that are informed by their preferences, cultural knowledge and experience.

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STRATEGIES

Preparing most or all the food we eat from scratch takes a lot of time.  While it has huge payoffs, it does require time and effort. No one is doing you any favors by pretending otherwise. But there are things you can do to make it easier.

  • First, take advantage of prepared food as much as you can.
  • Second, cook food in batches and freeze some of it for future use.
Always make enough to freeze extra portions.
  • Third, keep a few sauces, appetizers and spreads on hand (and in the freezer). They add variety, flavor and interest to foods.

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LASAGNA WITH TWO SAUCES, SPINACH AND MUSHROOMS

Lasagna with cauliflower cream sauce and romesco sauce as well as spinach and mushrooms.
Lasagna with two sauces, spinach and mushrooms

Forget the heavy, greasy lasagna you had when you were young. This lasagna is light, with strong flavors and a creamy smoothness that melts in your mouth. Use these two sauces:

Make them ahead of time so the dish goes together easily.

I use spinach in this dish but almost any greens can be used, such as tender kale or Swiss chard. I have tried this dish with traditional lasagna noodles and with the “no-cook” noodles which are thinner than the traditional ones. Either works but the no-cook noodles make an even lighter lasagna. This recipe makes 6 to 8 servings. If you don’t use all of it, the remainder can be frozen for up to 30 days.

This is great served with a green salad and some crusty bread with Fig and Olive Tapenade  http://sustenance-cuisine.com/fig-and-olive-tapenade/.  A zinfandel or cabernet sauvignon would be a nice addition.  CLICK HERE FOR THE ENTIRE RECIPE