Tag Archives: Vegan

A Netflix episode of Chef’s Table inspires this dish

Like many of the foodies in the universe, I love watching food shows, listening to food podcasts, buying and getting cookbooks from the library….you get the gist.

A few nights ago, I started watching Episode 1 from Season 3 of Chef’s Table on Netflix.  In this episode, Jeong Kwan, a Buddhist monk from South Korea, espouses the virtues of cooking as a soulful process and how vegan food made with the simplest of ingredients can transport you to a state of bliss.  I don’t know if it was her energy, the beauty of the temple grounds, her artistic way of transcending simple ingredients or her penchant for storytelling that had me glued.  But when she narrated how her father transformed from feeling sorry for her because she gave up eating meat into a content man after tasting her shiitake mushrooms cooked with sesame oil and soy sauce, I could not rush out fast enough to grab ingredients to create this in my kitchen.

While Jeong Kwan did not necessarily share a recipe, it was simple enough to try.  I took the shiitake mushrooms and cut little indentations into the caps like she did.  I proceeded to saute the mushrooms in sesame oil and soy sauce with just one modification, the addition of thinly sliced ginger.

The result was a melt in your mouth amalgamation of flavors, one that took minutes to create but whose taste made me want to savor every bite 🙂

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Ingredients:

2 four oz packets of shiitake mushrooms

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp dark sesame oil

One inch square of fresh ginger, thinly sliced

Salt – only if needed

How To:

Remove the stems from the mushrooms and cut two slits crosswise across the caps (see picture).  Gently wash and dry the mushrooms.  Heat the sesame oil and when it is warm, add the ginger and fry for a minute.  Add the mushrooms and toss gently in the oil taking care that the mushrooms don’t break.  Add the soy sauce and toss the mushrooms gently again, coating with the soy sauce and sesame oil.  Add salt only if needed.  Cook for two-three minutes and turn off the stove.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

If you’ve created a dish from an episode of Chef’s Table, we’d love to hear about your version!

PS.  I’d like to give a shout out to chef Eric Ripert, a follower of Buddhist principles, for bringing us the talent and wisdom of Jeong Kwan.

 

 

“Keto” plays havoc in my life before some semblance of order is restored

Just as we approached the holiday season, my husband made a unilateral decision (he did not check in with me) to go on the keto diet to shed a few pounds.  I was horrified! Me…. the food lover whose life was filled with a kaleidoscope of textures and flavors was suddenly listening 24×7 to keto speak – high fat, low carb, not this vegetable, not that flour…..in other words enough to drive me mad!  Our Costco runs ended with huge blocks of cheese and more eggs than I had ever seen in my grocery basket and our Amazon deliveries now included almond flour, coconut flour, psyllium husk and shiratake noodles.  Oh and I was getting regular texts on how these ingredients could be magically converted into yummy meals in the keto universe.  My world was getting torpedoed and I needed to bring back some sanity.

After being the supportive spouse for a bit, trying out new keto recipes, I came to a decision (a unilateral one).  I would cook main stream meals and have a subset that was keto friendly rather than creating separate meals for all of us and taking away a source of constant joy in my life.   A new normal is settling in, a stage where if coconut noodles or rice is made for dinner, my husband’s portion gets made with shiratake noodles/rice.  Our favorite pesto pasta nights continue with one difference – his pasta is made with shiratake noodles.  Our Indian food with rotis and veggies continues, his rotis now get made with almond flour and the vegetables are more keto friendly.

Over the next few posts, I’ll share the recipes for some of these dishes, but for now I wanted to put up a few pictures of some of these “keto” approved dishes that have enabled us to live a new level of family normal!

I’d love to hear your stories and recipes on how you might have integrated special diets into your mainstream family meals.  And if you were able to do it with zero frustration, then I am even more in awe of you!

PS.  If you are curious, yes the diet has worked beautifully for my husband!

Oh dear carrots – you’ve warmed my heart on a cold winter day!

glThey sat there in the fridge looking expectantly at me on a cold winter day.  The little bag of baby carrots, waiting to be let out and begging me to unleash some creativity.

Hunger and not necessity is sometimes the mother of invention.  So, I took the carrots and blanched the entire contents of the little bag.  And then very simply tossed these warm carrots with tahini, olive oil, berbere, green chillies, fresh coriander, mint and lemon juice to create a salad that was the perfect, healthy lunch.  It really is as simple as mixing these ingredients, but if you need a more precise how-to, here it is.

Ingredients:

One small bag of baby carrots (One pound bag)

Two tbsps tahini

One tbsp olive oil

Two tbsps chopped coriander leaves

Two tbsps chopped mint leaves

Two tsps berbere (or paprika or one tsp chilly powder)

One hot green chilly finely chopped

Juice of half a lemon

How to:

Mix all the ingredients and serve hot or cold as a salad or side dish.  If you have a few pomegranate seeds, you can use these for a colorful garnish.