Mandalay Mushroom and Tomato Curry

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I’m still eagerly exploring Naomi Duguid’s Burma: Rivers of Flavor, and you know that I’ll jump on anything that includes mushrooms. The recipe for “Mushroom and Tomato Curry” calls for toyster, portable or king mushrooms, I went for toothsome trumpet mushrooms, which I purchase organic at my local H Mart.

The ingredients are simple: peanut oil, turmeric, shallots, garlic, mushrooms, tomatoes, chili powder, shallot oil, salt. For the recommended fish sauce, I used a vegan oyster mushroom flavored soy sauce, to bring some umami to the dish and a little of that seawater flavor. When the recipe suggested making a Mandalay version with the addition of a few green chilis, you know I couldn’t refuse. Served with multi-grain rice, this warming dish is perfect for the blustery, blizzardy weather we’re getting on the East Coast.


Steamed Eggplant with Miso-Tomato Sauce

steamed eggplant with miso-tomato sauce

I bought some adorable little asian eggplants, and there they lay, lingering in my fridge, waiting for me to make myself a dinner. I love asian varieties of eggplant, as they tend to be more tender, and less bitter than their larger, Italian cousins. With not much time or desire to put together a large meal for just myself, and even less desire to spend time over the stove on a sweltering 98 degree Philadelphia day, I pulled a recipe from Joe Yohan’s very fun cookbook, “Eat Your Vegetables: Bold Recipes for the Single Cook.” All recipes in this cookbook are vegetable-based, and intended for solo meals.  Not too many ingredients, not to much time, but a whole lot of flavor.

I altered the recipe a bit to use what I had available – some homemade Coconut Vinegar that my friend Joel gave me (and warned me to open quickly, as the yeast was still alive!) and some roasted almonds instead of peanuts. I also used the same pan and boiling water which I used to steam the eggplant for boiling the udon noodles. Less time – less mess! Altogether, about 6 minutes of total hands-on cooking, and a great, quick dinner.

A brief recipe summary, with my alterations:


Steamed Eggplant with Miso-Tomato Sauce 

One small eggplant, or a few tiny asian eggplants. Slice into rounds, salt, and steam until soft (about 20 minutes)

A nice hunk of ginger, diced, and cooked in 2 teaspoons of sesame oil until soft

2 Tbs. of miso, whisked with 1 Tbs. of vinegar (I used homemade coconut vinegar). Add the miso sauce to the ginger, stir.

A big diced tomato, or 3/4 cup organic crushed tomatoes, or tomato sauce. Added to the sauce.

1 serving of cooked udon noodles (or soba). Top the noodles with the eggplants and the sauce, and then garnish with chopped almonds (or peanuts, or roasted sesame seeds) and diced scallion.

Welcome Spring! Wheat Berries with Roasted Radishes



After a long Winter, everyone is eager for Spring. It’s so wonderful to go into farmers’ martkets and co-op, or maybe you visit a local farm or are participate in Community Supported Agriculture, and see these first Spring vegetables arriving. Though I have planted my spring garden, all I currently see are little, encouraging green shoots and leaves, and so I was excited to find some beautiful radishes at the farmer’s market last weekend. I was tempted to slice them up immediately and spread them on whole wheat bread with a nice slab of butter sprinkled with Maldon salt (on of my favorite ways to eat new spring radishes), but I held off in order to make a version of the “Thyme Farrotto with Roasted Radishes and Radish Greens,” from the wonderful cookbook “Whole Grains for a New Generation.” image

I didn’t have any farro in the house, so I substituted wheat berries, which are similar (though do take quite a long time to cook). I cooked the wheat berries in vegetable stock and thyme , and when it was soft but toothsome, finished it with a tablespoon of butter and a bit more yogurt (instead of the creme fraiche in the original recipe. Meanwhile, I roasted the radishes and greens (after tossing in olive oil, salt and pepper) until the radishes browned and started to shrivel, and the greens crisped. While they look beautiful here (and in the cookbook) the greens will be easter to eat if you chop them a bit first!  This simple recipe really let the radishes shine.


Cauliflower Soup with Cashew Cream and Spinach Garlic Pesto

I just received Heidi Swanson’s new cookbook “Super Natural Everyday,” in the mail. I pre-ordered this cookbook months ago, and was so excited when it arrived! Look for many upcoming posts about “Everyday.”

Meanwhile, I’ve still been making my way through her first cookbook, “Super Natural Cooking.” The above soup has three simple steps – the basic cauliflower soup, with onions and vegetable stock, the cashew cream (really a cinch to make with a food processor) and the pesto (the same – a cinch!). All together, this soup is AMAZING. Really. And chock-full of vitamin C. I had both leftover cashew cream and pesto, which I ate later in the week on some whole-wheat pasta. Delicious.

Giant Crusty and Creamy White Beans with Greens

I’ve been enjoying recipes in Heidi Swanson’s “Simply Natural Cooking.” While I don’t usually follow recipes to a T, a new cookbook always offers new inspiration, and Heidi’s recipes aren’t so complicated that they can’t be made for a weekday evening dinner. I also love her focus on vegetarian superfoods, grains, and vegetables! Above is the salad. I soaked the beans overnight and made the salad quickly the next day. Giant Crusty and Creamy White Beans with Greens delivered on their promise to be crispy fried on the outside and creamy inside. I used kale in the recipe because I had it, but you could substitute any dark leafy green and the recipe would work just as well.

Broccoli Polenta from Veganomicon, with Spring vegetables

broccoli polenta

I’ve admitted before that I find broccoli a bit of a chore. I know that it’s good for me, and arrives beautiful and fresh in my CSA, but there just aren’t that many ways that I like it. Whenever I find a recipe I like, I’m thrilled. With a giant head of broccoli on my hands, I finally decided to try the broccoli polenta from Veganomicon. And I just can’t rave about it enough. It was so delicious (even without cream, butter and cheese) that I couldn’t stop eating it, even cold out of the refrigerator in the middle of the night. I served it up with fried summer squash, portobello mushrooms, green garlic scapes (all from my CSA), sundried tomatoes and then a sprinkle of pecorino. Served with a side of garden peas in just a touch of butter with lemon, and I had one of the most pleasant meals in recent memory.

A few of my favorite Christmas things

La Crueset Dutch Oven
La Crueset Dutch Oven

I received some wonderful Christmas presents, most of them food-related. Here are some of my favorites, which I’m sure you’ll hear more about in the future. Above, the cherry red La Crueset 7 1/4 Qt. dutch oven (with matching spatuala set) that Señor Lanky got me.  I’ve already made two meals in it, and am in love.

Ball Canning Jars
Ball Canning Jars

A selection of canning jars from my mom. I’ll be all set to hit the Italian Market for produce this summer – when I get started canning I just can’t stop. And I’ll have those jars of tomato sauce, homemade by mom and dad straight out of the garden, empty by the summer, too.

Yogurt Maker
Yogurt Maker

I’ve been trying to make yogurt in my gas oven for over a year. Somehow the recipe that works for my mother just won’t work for me. This Euro Cuisine yogurt maker from my brother and his fiance has me back on track and feeding my breakfast yogurt/berries/flax seed habit.

<em>How to Cook Everything Vegetarian </em>
How to Cook Everything Vegetarian

I can hardly put this cookbook down – its just genius. The recipes aren’t overly complex, but also offer variations. There are plenty of new south-east asian and chili-inspired recipes to keep my trying new and exciting flavors. The drawings, when included,  are much more useful (do you know how to trim an artichoke) than written instructions could be. And it’s HUGE.

Amish/Mennonite Cookbooks
Amish/Mennonite Cookbooks

And more Amish/Mennonite cookbooks (thanks grandmas!) for my collection. I skip the beef and noodles and go straight to the pickles and jams.