Showing posts with label Mushrooms. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mushrooms. Show all posts

Friday, January 24, 2014

Vegetarian Pho with Shiitake Broth

Tonight I decided to skip going to the cinema with Michael and stay home alone instead, putting very old pictures into my photo album (Hello 2010 me, you look sooo young!), choosing more pictures to order so the new album does not end in 2011 (eventhough that is an improvement to 2009), making myself a cocktail (more on than later) and just generally doing what I really want today.
This living together thing is sometimes a balancing act, with being too close and simultaneously not spending enough real time together (compared to sitting next together but me checking out Instagram and Michael reading the news) and to be honest I (or we) don't naturally gravitate to a balance that makes us really content.
There is this expectations towards relationships that they should be easy or else you are with the wrong person, but over the last few months I came to realize for myself that easy when it comes to relationships means safe and a bit boring first, but can turn to just mostly weigh you down and make you silently unhappy. And I am not really speaking of my relationship with Michael, though we do not just have a wonderfully easy and always peaceful perfect relationship.
I have been quiet here the last few months after returning from our trip to South America and I think it has to do with the fact that everytime I start writing I seem to only want to write about the end of the relationship of my parents last summer, but have felt like it is inappropriate to write about here. My mom moved out of our home last July while I was away in Cuba and since then most of what I think about concerns the question where my home is now and what I can learn from their relationship that did not work out in the end. (My conclusion is basically that if you follow the principles outlined in this book you'll have a lot of work in front of you but things should turn out fine).
And it is in this spirit that I decided to have a lazy evening at home (not taking a bath because that only sounds relaxing but just bores me) cooking this soup (a soup I have been thinking of since Deb posted her Chicken Pho almost two weeks ago) and choosing photos to order so as to be a happier person tomorrow, and in consequence a better partner, too.

And the soup turned out as lovely as I imagined it to be those two weeks ago. I have made vegetarian broths before, with kitchen scraps as Tamar Adler suggests in An Everlasting Meal but was never too happy about it. It did not seem worth the trouble of steaming up our whole kitchen when it came to flavour. I guess I overdid it with the vegetables, the heat and the cooking time (Oops). This broth, though? It is really really good, so good that I drank a whole bowl full of just the plain broth right before doing my dishes, leaving me overly full but so satisfied. I used to not be a huge fan of Shiitake mushrooms, but here I came to love them - they are meaty and mushroomy and strong but addicting tasting and make a broth that has a clear simple flavour, like I always wanted vegetarian broth to taste but never actually have tried before.
The spices you use in the broth give it only a subtle flavour, so I can imagine using any leftover broth in ways not related to Vietnamese cooking, with which I am trying to say you should probably make more than just what you need for the Vegetarian Pho if you go through the troubles of making broth from scratch (especially if you have more space in the freezer than we do, with our ice supply and a fondue mix that together fill up 1/2 of our tiny freezer).

When it comes to the add ins for the pho, I went without mung bean sprouts because we already have our fridge full of veggies we seem to have no time to eat this weekend, but I think they would be lovely if you can get them. The cilantro and lime are essential, in my opinion, anything else is up to you.

Vegetarian Pho with Shiitake Broth
Adapted from the chicken pho that Deb Perelman posted earlier this January, which was barely adapted from Vietnamese Home Cooking by Charles Phan.
Note: You don't need to use more shiitake for the broth, but I really loved them in the soup, which makes me think that next time I am going to cook additional shiitake with just a little water so I would not have to share 7 mushrooms between 6 people. For more ideas for garnishes and a recipe for crispy shallots to top the soup with, go to Deb's post on Chicken Pho. (I did not want to deal with frying shallots just for myself though so I just went without and was absolutely happy with my soup)

for the broth:
2 onions, peeled, halved
3 slices of fresh ginger, smashed (about 1/2 inch thick)
7 dried shiitake mushrooms (that is what I used and I found the flavour of the broth to be just right, but one more or less wont make that much of a difference I guess)
2 star anise
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp szechuan pepper
1 tbsp salt
1/2 tbsp sugar
2 small pieces kombu seaweed (optional)
1/4 cup soy sauce 

for the pho:
300g dried rice noodles
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1 scallion, thinly slices
2 limes, cut into wedges
hoisin sauce

Either char the halfed onions and the ginger slices over the flame of your gas range or preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C, place onion halfes and ginger slices on slightly oiled baking sheet and roast until softened and slightly blackened for about 30 minutes.

Add 4 quarts of water, the onions, ginger, shiitake, the spices, salt, sugar and the kombu in a large stock pot and bring to a boil. Once the water boils, lower the heat and let gently simmer for at least an hour.

Before serving, strain the broth, setting aside the shiitake to add back in later. Add the soy sauce to the broth and adjust the seasoning to taste, adding more salt as you see fit.

Prepare the noodles: In a seperate pan, heat enough water to cover the noodles and prepare them according to the directions on the package. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.

Right before serving, reheat the broth, prepare all your garnishes, divide the noodles and scallion slices among 6 (large) bowls, ladle the broth over the noodles and top with your garnishes. (In fact, only use part of your garnishes in the beginning and add more as you eat so as to keep the herbs fragrant and any sprouts you might be using slightly crunchy)

Serves 6.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Enchiladas Verdes

As I am finally getting my acts together and actually write that short paper that I have been talking about for months, the one little thing left between me and my bachelor's degree, I thought it might be appropriate to tell you about my summer plans.
Between now and September, when I'll head back to university for another two years (for a Master's degree) Michael and I have planned a little adventure. Until now I have barely left the continent, Turkey almost still belongs to Europe in my opinion, but now, we have a plane ticket to Santa Cruz de la Sierra, in Bolivia that is going to take us from Frankfurt in Germany to Bolivia in 30 hours (crazy) with a stopover in Santo Domingo and a 6 hour stay in Panama.
From Santa Cruz we are going to make our way through Bolivia (and I think I am most excited to see the Salar de Uyuni, the salt lakes) and through Peru until we reach Lima sometime at the end of July.
And from there, we'll head to La Habana, to Travel Cuba for a few weeks (and unlike Beyonce and Jay-Z, we can easily enter Cuba. 42 Swiss Francs, a half an hour wait and a little paper that notes my name and passport number was all it took to get a tourist card that will allow us to enter Cuba and stay for a month)

I just one short month we'll already have rented out our apartment and be living at our parent's homes for a few days before we head out and start this adventure. And I am excited and super happy and super nervous about this all. (and I just bought crazy expensive merino leggings that I hope are going to warm my legs throughout Bolivia and Peru and cold busrides in Cuba).
Until I am off, I plan to continue blogging, but between June 6th and August 20th, I won't be around too much.
Right now, since we'll leave our apartment in the hands of a lovely lady who is going to live here while we are away, I am trying to clean out the kitchen a bit. I had this salsa verde around for a while now. I'd bought it on a whim, not quite knowing what I was going to do with it.
You see, Mexican food is not really something Swiss people know a lot about. One part of it is the Mexican restaurants we have here are quite bad, and once you don't eat meat, things get even worse. And then actually finding even Jalapenos is difficult, so it should not be a surprise to you that I have never ever seen a tomatillo in my life. And this salsa verde does not count, really, it being all mashed up in a sauce already. But for now, it has to suffice.

And with the store bought salsa verde, I made enchiladas verdes, something else I never had before. And you have to excuse me if I commited some cardinal sin with these, because I really don't know any better. But authentic or not, I really loved them. The lentils in the red velvet mole are one of the best things I made in quite a while. And since you use lentils instead of beans, they come together really quickly. I bet they would be great served over rice, too. (I actually feel I need to make them again, like tomorrow.)
Maybe our next long trip should be to Mexico, and maybe then I'll actually know my Mexican Food 101. And while I am at it, I probably should read up on Cinco de Mayo? Because other than seeing post all over the web for Cinco de Mayo themed recipes, I don't know a thing about it (And by now it is Nueve de Mayo which really does not has the same ring as Cinco de Mayo)

Enchiladas Verdes
Note: My salsa verde was relativly picante, so the filling itsself is mild, but if you do like it spicy or have a not so spicy salsa verde, feel free to add some heat to the lentils, or jalapeno slices in on top of the mushroom slices)

8 tortillas
1 1/2 cup salsa verde
lentils in red velvet mole (recipe below)
3 big mushrooms
salt and smoked paprika
1/2 cup cashew sour cream or real sour cream
1/4 cup grated cheese

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Prepare a baking dish that fits the tortillas you are using. Spread a cup of the salsa verde in the bottom of the baking dish.
Cut the mushrooms into thick slices, heat a little oil in a skillet and sear the mushroom slices for a minute or two on both sides. Sprinkle with a little salt and smoked paprika while in the skillet, then set aside.
On each tortilla, spread a little sour cream (off center, so you can roll them up better). Spoon some of the lentils over the sour cream, then lay two or three mushroom slices on top. Roll the tortillas up, nestle them close together on the salsa verde, then spread the rest of the salsa over the top, sprinkle with the cheese and bake for 15-20 minutes until heated through and the cheese is slightly browned and bubbling.

Lentils in Red Velvet Mole
adapted from the Black Beans in Red Velvet Mole from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskovitz

1 onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, slivered
1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp marjoram
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp ground cumin
3 tbsp tomato paste
1,5 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup lentils
1/4 cup raisins

In a large skillet, heat the oil. Saute the onion until translucent, a few minutes. Turn down the heat and stir in the spices, herbs and the garlic. Saute for another minute or two. Then add the lentils, the tomato paste and a cup of water (You probably need to add more water later, but the amount of water the lentils need until cooked through can vary greatly). Turn the heat up to medium, stir in the cocoa powder, the salt and the raisins and cook until the lentils are soft, about 20 minutes.
Serve the Lentils in the enchiladas above, or over rice.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Soba with Mushrooms and Spinach

As a child, my diet consisted mostly of Swiss and Italian dishes. Pasta, potatoes, gratin and such. We were fed the occasional Thai curry or sweet and sour pork, but not much else from the exotic department. And it is only in these two cuisines, those I know best, that I stay true to the original recipes and ingredient combinations.
I am not that familiar with Japanese food, my experience of it is limited to 2 or 3 restaurant visits in Switzerland or Germany. I also make sushi from time to time, but I would not consider myself a sushi expert. So when I tell you this dish is Japanese, I am probably wrong.
I cook soba and other Asian noodles like I cook Italian pasta, in salted water, on a rolling boil. I learnt to rinse them in cold water after cooking, but I usually reheat them with the sauce I want to serve them with. And it turns out fine, even great with this dish.

Buckwheat and mushrooms are to be considered close friends in the kitchen, at least in mine. Whenever I cook with buckwheat, I want to add mushrooms, these two earthy flavours complement each other so well. This dish was inspired by a recipe by Heidi Swanson, her Black Sesame Otsu, a recipe from her second book that you can also find on her blog. I made it as she wrote it, too, and I love it, but I also like to change things up. And I have to say, the mushrooms do more for the dish than the tofu in the original recipe. I actually quite like tofu, but it is does not add much flavor to a dish.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Vegetarian Paella

Lately I felt that I don't share enough of me here on my blog. I am rather shy and a people pleaser in real life, and I guess that is the way I wrote here, too. I am always reluctant to be open and to share my feelings and let people into my life because it makes me vulnerable.
This is life, I know it. Being vulnerable is a good thing. Only when we are open to hurt can we really feel joy, experience deep connections with the important people in our life, and express ourselves freely.
Today I want to share 10 things about me that you (probably) did not know about me.

1. I have said it above: I am a people pleaser, and I don't really like that about myself. Writing it out makes me cringe, I don't want this to be my truth. But I am, and I guess to some degree I'll always be, but I want to not care so much about what other people think of me.

2. I started this blog almost 1 1/2 years ago, but for the first year I only told my boyfriend about it. I told my parents this winter/spring, and shared it on facebook. But the girl I lived with, and shared a kitchen with, never got to know about it. I just did not tell her. I guess that relates to Nr. 1 above.

3. In my free time I enjoy learning about neuropsychology. This stuff is so fascinating, I get books from our university library and read them in the train, I listen to Berkeley podcasts while I work. I read a lot when I was a kid, but at the moment I prefer reading science books to novels.

4.  I lived abroad, in Barcelona, for 5 months when I was 16 years old. Then after school I lived in Galway, Ireland for 3 months, improving my English and just generally having fun. But never in my life have I left Europe. I love to travel, but somehow I always end up in Europe. This summer we are going to Turkey, which is technically between Europe and Asia, so this is going to change soon.

5. Sometimes I am too lazy to shave my legs. I just am. Until I want to go swimming or wear a dress.

6. During school, we were supposed to run lapses every year. I actually don't know how many because I managed to skip every single year. I was the master of skipping sport exams.

7. During all my teenage years I only wore long shorts. And not bikini or bathing suit. I just did not go swimming. I was hot all summer long. But I did not care as long as I could cover up my body.

8. I cut my hair myself. I have curly hair, and I always had troubles getting the cut I wanted. Why do hairdressers always think they need to give me 6oies hair?

9. When I listen to music I mostly just listen to one song on repeat, or the whole album on repeat. It drives my boyfriend half-crazy I think. But I usually just want to listen to something in particular, and if it suits my mood, over and over again.

10.  When I was a kid, I wanted to be a boy. Girls were so complicated, with all that discussion about who can be who's friend - I never understood it. I was always a boyish girl, and still today I am not really a girly woman.

And now I want to share a recipe for paella with you. I mentioned above that I lived in Barcelona, Spain for half a year. But while I lived there I did not once have paella. My guest mother did not know how to cook, the only thing she did was fry up some meat and open a bag of pre-washed salad. We cooked paella at school with our Spanish teacher, though, and later when I returned to Spain I did go out to eat paella.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Black Bean Burgers

For these burgers, I made the buns myself, the burgers, and even he pickled radishes you can see in this picture. The radishes and the salad came from a local farmer, who brings his organic produce to my door every Tuesday.
And I feels really good to know that I made this. The whole thing.
And I guess it made the hamburgers taste a lot better, knowing the connection I have with the food I am about to eat.
I know that what I eat matters on a global level, but I also came to realize that putting more thought and time into what I eat, makes me appreciate the food a lot more. In a time when lots of people want and do spend less time preparing and eating real food, I feel connected and complete when I stand in the kitchen, preparing food. It almost feels like a rebellious act. 
So I shared my hamburger buns in the last post, and these are the burgers that went into the buns that night. I had never made buns before, mostly because we don't eat to many burgers around here. Considering that they were rather easy to make, I don't think I'd ever buy the packaged stuff again.

Then there were the burgers. They were only the second vegetarian burger I ever made from scratch. (If I remember correctly). They were rather quick to throw together, baked quickly in the oven and made for a really tasty burger.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Buckwheat Pasta with Mushrooms and Watercress

I'm away on holidays when this post is published. My boyfriend and I, we're off to Andalusia, Spain for almost two weeks. I'll take my laptop with me, but I'm not sure whether I'll be able to post anything new while were away.
I made this dish with the homemade pasta I posted earlier this week. We loved it, the buckwheat goes really well with the mushrooms. Oh, and I'm just slightly obsessed with buckwheat flour lately.
For this pasta dish you saute onions, lots of mushrooms, flavor it with some wine and a few herbs. Then you throw the mushroom sauce with the cooked pasta and a handful of watercress. Love it, really simple but so fancy. (Not so simple if you make the pasta, too, though.)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Pasta with Wild Mushrooms

Since I can remember, I went on a mushroom foray with my grandmother almost every summer. I remember getting up really early, we left when the grass was still wet. We packed something for lunch, and she carried the basket. I remember running around in the wood, bringing the mushrooms to my grandmother to ask if they were edible, and more important, delicious. We walked around for hours, with our eyes scanning the ground. We then went back to the camper, cleaned all the mushrooms and she made mushroom toast for us. She used to toast the bread in a pan with some butter, then we spooned a mushroom ragout, made with more butter, onion and white wine, on top. I loved it, and I still do.

My grandmother is older now. We still do this once a year, although I'm sure I missed some summers I now don't remember. We start not until about 10 in the morning, and we are back after about 2 hours. But I still love these moments with my grandmother.

This year I met her a week ago, we spent 3 hours in the wood and came back with about 6 mushrooms. The weather was too dry for the mushrooms. I plan on going again in a week or so, but until then I had to rely on my supermarket to provide my wild mushrooms.

I picked up all varieties of wild mushrooms they had in my supermarket, I'm sure not all of them are available all over the world. You can use a mixture of probably most mushrooms you can find in a supermarket. There are edible mushrooms that have to be blanched before you can prepare them the way you want, but I don't think they are sold in supermarkets. If you are not sure, check it out on Google, I'm in no way a mushroom expert.