Monday, March 18, 2013

Back to the Whirlwind: A quick little supper

March Break = Finished. This year, I didn't make a list of to-dos ... I just did! Brunches, coffees, programming, writing, adventuring, baking. I usually love lists, but they felt a bit constricting this year, so I just played it by ear. And it was a truly relaxing and productive week. Score on all fronts!

Today, it's back to the whirlwind of the classroom, and that bowl of cereal is just to tempting to call supper, so I'm presenting you with a beautiful, quick and healthy supper dish that's satisfying and easy to prepare: Mushroomy veggie bowl. It's inspired by a veggie steamed bun that I bought for a snack one day at the dim sum stand at T&T.  It's a simple saute of shredded cabbage, carrots, spinach, ginger, tofu and Chinese mushrooms seasoned with splashes of soy and toasted sesame oil. Very classic and very simple. The first night, I had this mixture over brown rice veggie spirals, and I had leftovers over brown rice with an extra drizzle of dark soy. Delicious bowls both ways. Nix the tofu and replace with left over chicken breast if you're feeling carnivorous, or use chickpeas as your protein bump instead. Either way, keep it simple -- that's what we're going for here.

For this recipe, I used dried Chinese mushrooms that I re-hydrated in water about 30 minutes before I started cooking. They have a really intense mushroomy flavour that gives this dish a real body. I'm sure fresh mushrooms would work well too -- especially ones like shitakes or king oysters -- although if you go that route, the mushroomyness will be a lot tamer.

I have another bowl coming up later this month.  They never get tiring around these parts and are a welcome distraction from the cereal box.

Mushroomy Veggie Bowl
feeds two hungry people

2 servings of dried pasta or
1 cup of brown rice + 2 cups of water

4-5 dried Chinese mushrooms
2 cups of shredded savoy or napa cabbage (about 5-6 leaves worth)
1 large carrot, finely diced or shredded
1/ 2 package (about 3-4 ounces) of firm tofu, but into cubes
a handful of baby spinach or chopped spinach
an inch bit of ginger finely chopped
a big splash each of dark and light soya sauce
1/4-1/2 cup of water or vegetable stock
a big grind of black pepper
1 tiny drizzle of toasted sesame oil

1. Put your dried mushrooms in a bowl of water. Let them sit while your prep everything else.

2.  Cook your pasta according to the package directions. Drain and set aside. OR: Put 1 cup of brown rice and 2 cups of water in a small pot. Bring to boil, then lower the heat, cover, and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the rice is nice and tender.

3. While your rice or pasta is cooking and your mushrooms are soaking, prep your vegetables. Heat a bit of oil in a saucepan and saute the ginger for about 1 minute or so, or until it starts to get fragrant and a tiny bit brown.

4. Add the carrots and cabbage and stir well. Your mushrooms should be ready! Squeeze out the excess water, slice them up and toss them in with the carrots and cabbage. Add your tofu now too.  Add 1/4 cup of water or vegetable stock along with the soy and black pepper.

5. Mix well and cook for about 4 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Add in the spinach, and mix well. Cook for another minute or so, and then drizzle over the toasted sesame oil.

6. Serve over your pasta and rice.

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