Mushrooms

A deep oregano & chile sauce + roasted mushroom tacos

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You should turn me in for neglect. I'm guilty of blog abandonment. I apologize and I want to commit to once-a-week again with you but I don't want to be called out on broken promises and leave you with that empty feeling. For now tacos (as I always say - the perfect food) will fill this physical emptiness. Although, I am sad to say there is still a void to be mentioned. We lost Gabriel Garcia Marquez last month. I want to thank him for his contributions to magical realism with an excerpt from one of his famous novels One Hundred Years of Solitude and of course, with tacos.


When they woke up, with the sun already high in the sky, they were speechless with fascination. Before them, surrounded by ferns and palm trees, white and powdery in the silent morning light, was an enormous Spanish galleon. Tilted and slightly to the starboard, it had hanging from its intact masts the dirty rags of its sails in the midst of its rigging, which was adorned with orchids. The hull, covered with an armor or petrified barnacles and soft moss, was firmly fastened into a surface of stones. The whole structure seemed to occupy its own space, one of solitude and oblivion, protected from the vices of time and the habits of the birds. Inside, where the expeditionaries explored with careful intent, there was nothing but a thick forest of flowers. - Page 11 & 12 One Hundred Years of Solitude  by Gabriel García Márquez


Gabriel García Márquez in 1975. Photograph: Isabel Steva Hernandez/Colita/Corbis

Gabriel García Márquez in 1975. Photograph: Isabel Steva Hernandez/Colita/Corbis


José Arcadio Buendeía had not through that this wife's will was so firm. He tried to seduce her with the charm of his fantasy, with the promise of a prodigious world where all one has to do was sprinkle some magic liquid on the ground and the plants would bear fruit whenever a man wished, and where all manner of instruments against pain were sold at bargain prices. But Úrsula was insensible to his clairvoyance.

"Instead of going around thinking about your crazy inventions, you should be worrying about your sons," she replied. "Look at the state they're in, running wild just like donkeys."

José Arcadio Buendía too his wife's words quite literally. He looked out the window and saw the barefoot children in the sunny garden and he has the impression that only at that instant has they began to exsit, conceived by Úrsula's spell. Something occurred inside of him then, something mysterious and definitive that uprooted him from his own time and carried him adrift though an unexplored region of memory...

...But since the afternoon when he called the children in to help him unpack the things in the laboratory, he gave them his best hours. In the small separate room, where the walls were gradually being covered by strange maps and fabulous drawings, he taught them how to read and write and do sums, and he spoke to them about the wonders of the world, not only where his learning had extended, but forcing the limits of his imagination to extremes. It was in that way that the boys ended up learning  that the southern extremes of Africa there were men so intelligent and peaceful that their only pastime was to sit and think, and that it was possible to cross the Aegean sea on foot by jumping from island to island all the way to the port of Salonika. - Page 13 & 15, One Hundred Years of Solitude  by Gabriel García Márquez



Recipe : Makes a large batch of sauce good for eating with friends or for freezing.

Garlic - 6 cloves, chopped

Sweet onion - 1/2 medium, sliced

Mushroom broth - (or veggie) 2 Cups

Oregano - Dried (3TB)

Pasilla chilies - 3 (dried)

Chipotle chilies - 4 (dried)

Tomato paste - 3 ounces (1/2 a small can)

Diced tomatoes - 16 ounce can

Oregano - fresh (1TB) plus extra to top

Filling

Mushrooms - assortment. (shitakes, portobellos, oyster, cremini), quartered. At least 16ounes for 2-3 servings or more to share with friends!

Garlic - 2-3 cloves, minced

Olive oil - 4-6 TB (depending on how many mushrooms you make)

Salt - to taste

Cilantro - chopped

Avocado - sliced

Lime wedges - optional

Sour cream - optional

* Note: If making homemade tortillas (recipe link below), you might want to make them first to have them ready and reheat. Or make them at the very end to have them piping hot.

Place the mushroom broth in a medium pot over medium heat with the dried oregano and dried chiles ( cut the dried stalks off the chiles). Cover the pot and bring it to a simmer. Then stir the mixture to get everything hydrated and let it sit to infuse, covered, ideally for an hour.

Meanwhile preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Chop up the rest of your veggies for the sauce & filling (garlic, onion, and mushrooms). Toss all the mushrooms in a bowl with the olive oil, 2 -3 cloves of garlic, and some salt. After the mushrooms are coated, spread it on a sheet pan and place into the preheated oven. Roast for 15 minutes and then check on the mushrooms. If there is a ton of liquid in the pan, pour it out, and then return it to the oven for another 15 minutes. Check your mushrooms again. I only needed to roast mine for a total of 30 minutes but, depending on your mushrooms - they might need a little longer.

Now back to the sauce. Once the broth is infused, pour it out into a bowl and set aside. Put the pot back over medium low heat and add in the garlic, onion, and 2TB olive oil. Let them soften, stirring occasionally, for about 10-15 minutes. Add in the tomato paste and do your best to stir/incorporate it with a spoon for a minute. Add in the diced tomatoes and bring it to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Then add in the mushroom broth/chile mixture, stirring, until it reaches a simmer. Once it simmers for a few minutes, pour the mixture into a blender and blend several minutes until smooth. Pour the mixture back into a pot and bring to a simmer and let it cook down into a nice thick sauce for about 10 -15 minutes, scraping the pot frequently. Season with salt.

Place your roasted mushrooms in a corn tortilla (recipe here) and then top, liberally, with sauce. Now you embellish: spoon over some sour cream (if desired), top with avocado slices, sprinkle with cilantro, and squeeze over lime juice. Enjoy with loved ones over magical realism.

Vermicelli + coriander carrots, edamame, & a lime-tamari sauce.

This and that. 

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I started a new book of short stories while on our last camping trip by Rebecca Lee called bobcat and other stories. There is a certain part of the story where the narrator gets a new perspective of the words 'this' and 'that' while enjoying a cup of coffee. She points across the room and asks if "[she] could have some of this cream." Most people would ask if they could have some of 'that' cream when referring to something across the room. Turns out, it is a philosophy when using the word this or that. It depends on your personal perspective on what you consider close to you or not. This little moment resonated with me quite strongly. One of those moments where you stop and re-read the sentences a few times over.

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Reflecting back I probably only use the word 'this' when I can physically touch an object, obviously, this is my comfort space. I do tend to be somewhat of an introvert, even if it is not immediately evident, but am I really that closed off? I suppose I have been more aloof than usual because I have no idea where my life is headed come August. It is exciting but scary, I am almost paralyzed by the freedom of it. I can dream for hours about what doing 'that' job or moving to 'that' place would be like but nothing has reached the status of 'this.' Nothing feels at home to me. For now my 'this' place has to be the life of a transient voyager and my 'this' place is in food.

I can transcribe this same feeling and personal choice of using the word 'this' or 'that' to choices in food. There are some dished when you see a picture of it or you read the description, this is it. This dish just gets you. I definitely order foods at restaurants this way... and sometimes I miss out because 'that' dish is not close to me. Vermicelli is one of those dishes I typically ignore. Most of the time it is because it is drenched with fish sauce and even if I order it vegetarian I usually end up with a midnight stomach ache and fish poots. Never fear, this fish-free vermicelli is here. 

*You want to prepare the carrots/cucumbers in this recipe several hours beforehand at least, so they can marinate. Preferably overnight.

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Recipe (serves 4) 

Rice noodles - 1 box

Carrots - 3 whole, large carrots, peeled and then cut into thing strips with a peeler.

Cucumber - 1/2 small cucumber, peeled and cut into large matchsticks.

Red cabbage - 1/2 cup, cut into slivers

Mushrooms - 1/2 a small container, cut into slivers (I used baby portabellas) 

Daikon radish - 1/2 small radish, cut into thin half-moons

Edamame - 1/2 frozen bag (just the bean, no pods).

Sunflower sprouts - 1 handful (feel free to use any sprouts) 

Ginger - 1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled and minced (or finely grated).

Coriander seeds - 1TB

Fennel seeds - 1tsp

Rice vinegar - about 1 1/2 cups

Cilantro - 1TB fresh, minced

Thai Basil - 1-2TB fresh, minced

Honey - 1TB (or agave if vegan)

Tamari - 4TB

Limes - 2, juice only

Sesame oil - 2-3TB

Red chile flakes or sriracha  - to taste

 *Peel and cut the carrots and cucumbers. Place them in a 2 cup mason jar and add in the coriander and fennel seeds. Then cover with rice vinegar mixed with a little water. Let it sit out for several hours at least, overnight it best. The marinating liquid can be kept in the fridge and re-used. 

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Cook the rice noodles according to the package. During the last 3 minutes of the rice noodles cooking add in the frozen edamame so they de-thaw. Once cooked, drain the noodle/edamame mixture in a colander and rinse with cool water until room temperature. 

Slice up all your veggies and have them ready, including the ginger. Add in 1TB of sesame oil into a small skillet on medium low heat. Then add in your ginger and let cook for 1 minute. Add in the mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes until soft and slightly brown. Turn off heat and shake in a scant TB of tamari. Set aside.

Mix together the honey, 3TB tamari, 1TB sesame oil, lime juice, fresh herbs, splash of rice vinegar, and a good squeeze of sriracha or large pinch of chile flakes. Place the dressing in a large bowl with the noodles/edamame and toss together until coated. Distribute the noodle mixture into four bowls and top each bowl with a small handful of each vegetable (the carrot/cucumber mixture, fresh red cabbage, fresh daikon radish, gingered mushrooms, and sprouts. Top with some more fresh cilantro, thai basil, and sriracha if desired.   

Enjoy this meal. 

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Vegetarian ramen with homemade noodles

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I never really did the whole college ramen cuisine thing. Not because I didn't eat easy, packaged food, I did. I was just way too weight concerned (with incorrect nutritional knowledge) that I wouldn't make a habit of a whole meal out of carbs (still a good habit not to do). I missed the boat on the ramen train, admittedly, I'm a little sad about it. Recently, we took a weekend trip into DC. We went to the United States Botanical Gardens, The National Museum of the American Indian, did a lot of walking around, visiting memorials, flea market, Sigur rós show, ate at a great Indian restaurant, crêperie, and an El Salvadorian pupusaria. Although I have this image stuck in my head from a magazine about DC's 100 best restaurants. One of them being a restaurant that sold traditional Japanese ramen. Oh my stars it looked good. Ty glanced at it and responded, "I want that." Yes Ty, so do we all. 

This is my version of traditional Japanese ramen that is not so traditional. Traditional ramen varies in the type of broth, a fish broth, pork broth, soy sauce broth, or miso broth. There are some borrowed flavors from pho broth here, but also I combined the soy sauce and miso style broths into one. I also took my hand at making homemade noodles. They were very good and easy to make even though I do not have a pasta machine. Feel free to buy regular ramen noodles too!

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Recipe (Makes 4 bowls)

Veggie broth - Great time to use your own if you have, you want it tasty.

Lemon grass - two stalks, sliced

Star Anise - 3

Tofu - 1/2 brick sliced into squares

Kale - 1 bunch torn off the stem into pieces

Crimini mushrooms - 5 or 6 sliced mushrooms

Radish - 3 radishes slivered

Green onions - 2 or 3 slivered

Garlic - 3 cloves

Eggs - 2 soft boiled (5 minuets)

Sesame oil - 3TB 

Mirin - 1TB

Yellow miso - 1TB

Soy sauce - 2TB

Rice vinegar - 1TB + 1tsp

Sriracha - to top

For the Noodles

All Purpose Flour - 1 Cup

Egg yolk - 1

Baking soda - 1tsp

Salt - 1/2tsp

Water - 1/4 cup + a few TB

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Make the noodles. Mix together the flour, salt, & baking soda in a bowl. Make a well in the center and egg in the egg yolk. Pour in 1/4cup of water in the well. Using your fingers mash up the egg yolk with the water and stir into a slurry, slowly incorporating the flour. Adding in another tablespoon at a time until all the dough sticks together but before it sticks on your hands. Knead the dough with your hands for several minutes. If it gets too sticky, sprinkle in a little extra flour. Let the dough rest in the bowl for 30 minutes at least but an hour would be better. Go on with the rest of the meal. When the dough is done roll out the dough into a long rectangle as thin as you can get it. Lightly flour the rectangle and fold it in half, hotdog style. Take a very sharp knife and slice into very thin noodles, mine were about 1/8" thick. Unfold the thin noodles and lay out flat to dry for a bit. 

Heat up the veggie broth with the lemongrass and star anise and let it simmer/ low-boil for 30 minutes at least. While the broth is simmering, prepare the rest. Heat up 2TB of sesame oil in a large skillet on high heat and then toss in the tofu. Toss and flip for 5 minutes or so until they turn golden. Add in 1TB of tofu and stir until combined. Dump out the tofu into a bowl and add in the last TB of oil. Add in the garlic and sliced mushrooms, cook for about five minutes until it colors a bit. Add kale (in two batches) cooking for a few minutes until wilted and all the kale can fit into the pan. Add in 1TB of mirin and stir until combined. Pour out into a bowl. Strain out the broth and place back into the pot and keep on low heat, do not let it boil at this point. Add in 1TB of soy sauce, rice vinegar, and miso. Whisk until combined. Heat up a medium salted pot of water to a low boil. Add in the noodles and the whole eggs and cook for 5 minutes after they get back up to a low boil until done. Run the eggs under cool water.

Distribute the noodles into four bowls and ladle over some broth. Top with some of the kale/mushroom mixture on one side, sliced radishes on the other, tofu cubes in the center, and then sprinkle over some scallions. Peel the hard boiled eggs and slice in half carefully, the yolk will still be runny. Place an egg half in each bowl and squeeze over some sriracha.

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Spring rolls with radish & ginger mushrooms + a cashew dipping sauce

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I made these spring rolls the day before the equinox for a potluck at my last herbalism class. I made them without tofu at first but we had a hankering for ones that we didn't have to share, so with my left-over rice wrappers, I made them again but this time with tofu. I thought spring rolls were the perfect thing for that potluck, calling in the new season with their bright ingredients and fresh crunch. Although, it seems spring hasn't quite made it here yet, we've had several snows since, a particularly good one Sunday night. I am really ready for spring, not just ready, I crave it to help me get my act together. The warmth to thaw everything out and provoke motivation and clarity. I think this weather is actually following in line with what I am feeling. Just as spring peeks out, my hopes get up and then the temperature drops and down flutters the snow. I feel like I am just on the edge of something and I keep dangling over the cliff, testing the plunge but then stumble back again. I know there is suppose to be balance and it is coming, I have to believe that it is coming. Something to scoop me up from the uncertainty I've been a prisoner too these past 3 months. It has made me feel worthless, the type of worthless we all feel sometimes. 

My heart is just yearning for the fun that awaits us this summer. We are going to Denver, a place I think will feel much more like home than Charlottesville has, but also all the things we will get to experience because of it. I haven't had the opportunity to explore on that side of the country. I am really yearning for the possibilites of what we will see, even if we don't get to see everything. The list is endless; salt lake city with a long soak in the great salt lake, the desert in Utah, the Grand Canyon in Arizona, the redwoods, the tetons, skiing, California, the Rockies, elk, Yellowstone, mesa verde, hot springs, red rocks, sand dunes, hiking, hiking, and more hiking. I know that soon I will feel invigorated again but I just need to get over this personal wound I have right now and accept that balance will come soon. Spring will come soon, I'll take the plunge and with it comes clarity. Clarity to balance these past months and lead me on to something. Something that will begin with Denver. 

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Spring Rolls (Makes 8)

Rice wrapping papers - 8

Avocado - 1 cut into matchsticks

Fresh basil - 20-25 fresh leaves

Carrot - 2 large carrots cut into matchstick size

Radish - 4 radish cut into matchstick size

Royal trumpet mushrooms - (1 container) cut into matchsticks

(optional) Tofu - 1/2 a container - sliced into thin, long strips.

Coconut Oil - 2TB (Or olive oil)

Soy sauce - 1TB

Fresh spinach leaves

Red onion slivers

Ginger - a good nub minced. 

Cashew dipping sauce.

Cashew butter - 4TB

Sesame oil - 1TB

Soy sauce - 1.5TB

Rice vinegar - 2tsp

Lime - Juice of 1 lime

Sriracha sauce - a good squirt / to your taste

Heat up a kettle of water to boiling, at least 4 cups. Turn off the boiling water an set aside until you are ready to assemble the spring rolls.

Slice up all your veggies into match sticks save the spinach/basil and mince up your ginger. Heat up the 2TB of oil in a skillet on medium high heat. Add in the minced ginger and slivered mushrooms and tofu. Let cook about 5-10 minutes until starting to brown. Pour in the 1TB of soy sauce and stir to coat. Turn off the heat and pour into a bowl.

Pour the hot water into a bowl and add in a few ice cubes to lower the temperature until it is just cool enough for you hands to handle touching it. But you want it to be as hot as you can handle. Arrange all your sliced veggies into piles along with a bowl of the tofu/mushrooms, the basil and spinach, and the stack of the rice wrappers. 

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Take one of your rice wrappers and dip into the bowl of hot water until it softens and turns clear. Take it out and lay out the wrapper on a cutting board, handeling carefully, it tears easy. Lay down three leaves of basil in the center of the wrapper and top with a few pieces of spinach. Top with some slivers of radishes on one side, red onion and carrot on the other, top the center with the gingered mushroom/tofu and slivers of avocado. Folding is tricky, do it the best way you find but here is how I did it. I folded the bottom half over the center filling while pressing and tucking under the filling with the bottom end of the wrapper. I then folded in the sides of the wrapper and grabbed the roll and rolled upwards until the top end of the wrapper is all rolled in. Repeat with the other 7. 

Make the dipping sauce. Add in the cashew butter, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and soy sauce in a bowl. Take the back of a fork and mash against the sides of the bowl until it all becomes incorporated. Squirt in the sriracha and juice of the lime and stir. Check the consistency and add in more sesame oil, soy sauce, or water to adjust the flavor or to thin out the sauce.

Dip and enjoy. Welcome spring. Welcome clarity.

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Tofu, mushroom, mole tacos

Tacos. 

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We LOVE tacos. Let me go ahead and promise you, there will be a plenty more of taco recipes to come. You just can't beat them. You can make endless varieties and tacos are fit for a million different seasonal creations. Cumin squash and chickpea cilantro, grated zucchini with lime spiked black beans, tofu al pastor, mushroom tacos, and so many more. Plus, they are great for having people over, everybody can assemble their own - great for picky eaters. A good friend of mine told me once that pie is the perfect food (I mean you can make a big one, a small one, a sweet one, a savory one!) and I would agree if it weren't for tacos. These tacos take a bit longer to make than the usual tacos I prefer but they are worth it! The following recipe was adapted from this recipe, which I made once a long time ago. I added mushrooms in this one, which was so good that next time I will make it with just mushrooms. 

Tortillas, they never last a long time in our house. Used up in wraps, with hummus, or our favorite - huevos rancheros. Here I made corn tortillas which are tasty and easy, but flour are fine as well. (I won't lie, I love the standard international section flour tortillas.) Also, I should mention this is pretty spicy but I gave tips to make it less spicy if you need.

Please make these sometime - you'll thank me.  

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Recipe (This makes a ton! Eat as many tacos as you will, save for leftovers, or freeze. Tacos comin' out o yo ears!) 

Tofu extra firm - 2 packages (cut into cubes)

Mushrooms - I had 1/2 container of button mushrooms left. Quartered

Yellow onion - 1 large onion, chopped.

Olive oil - several TB. (2-3) 

Garlic - 4 cloves, minced.

Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce - (I used 7oz of La Morena brand) *see note

Cumin - 1TB

Coriander - 2tsp

Cinnamon - 1tsp

Cloves - 1/2tsp

Chile power - 2tsp

Unsweetened cocoa powder - 3TB

Molasses - 1TB

Peanut butter - 2TB

Tomato paste - 6oz can

Vegetable broth - 2 1/2 cups

Honey (or agave if vegan) - 1TB

Guacamole (I know everybody has their favorite but, just in case) 

Avocado - 2

Garlic - 3 cloves minced

Red onion - 1/4 of a large once, chopped small

Tomato - 1/2 chopped (if in season)

Cilantro - 1/2cup loosely packed, minced

Jalapeno - 1 minced (seeds removed if you don't like spicy) 

Limes - juice of two limes

Salt to taste - a few good pinches.  

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Corn tortillas (makes 12 6" tortillas) 

Masa Harina - 2 cups ( I used bob's red mill masa harina & recipe) 

Salt - 1/2tsp

Hot water - 1 1/2cups (you might want a little extra water too) 

 *Some chipotle pepper in adobo brands are much spicier than others, all of them being spicy. Taste the adobo sauce and tone this ingredient amount down if you think you need too. This recipe is fairly spicy but remember some of the spiciness will be cut with the chocolate, molasses, tomato paste, honey, and peanut butter. 

Preheat over to 475 degrees. Put a kettle of water on the stove or heat up 2 cups of water on the stove until just boiling. Get your tofu out and set it out to press (see technique in this post) . Mix together salt and masa harina. Once water is hot, slowly pour in 1 1/2cups of the hot water, stirring simultaneously with a wooden spoon until it forms a thick ball. A few dry bits are ok. Add a little extra water if you feel you need more, I didn't.  You don't want this too wet, kind of like the texture of corn grits that have been left out too long and are kind of hard. Leave it on the counter to sit while you do everything else.

Chop up all your mole ingredients, including the chipotles in the adobo, to have the on hand. Once tofu is pressed (it is also not the end of the world if the pressing step is skipped) then cut into 1/2 inch - 1 inch cubes. Toss with 1-2TB of olive oil. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 30-45 minutes (on the longer side if unpressed) until golden. Flip every 15 minutes. 

Heat up large, deep skillet in 1-2TB of olive oil on medium heat. Add garlic and onions. Let soften and get fragrant for several minutes. Add chipotle peppers and all the adobo sauce, along with all the spices. Cook for several more minutes. Add remaining ingredients (except tofu and mushrooms). Simmer for 20 minutes. Put in a blender and process until smooth. Pour back into a pan and add tofu. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add mushrooms. Simmer for another 10. 

While sauce is simmering, make the guacamole. Mash together the avocado and garlic. Stir in onion, jalapeno, tomato, and cilantro. Squeeze in lime juice and sprinkle with salt, stir and taste until happy! 

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Heat up a skillet on high heat on the stove top. Take out the masa harina "dough" ball and divide into 12 wedges. Roll each wedge into a ball. Place a piece of wax paper on the bottom of the tortilla press. On top of the wax paper, place a ball in the center of the press. Squeeze the press down to flatten. Add into the hot skillet. Let cook until just starting to golden a minute or two on each side. Repeat with all 12.

Assemble the tacos! Add spoonfuls of mole on the corn tortillas, top with guacamole, and sprinkle with extra cilantro and fresh squeeze of lime juice. Tastes better when served with a margarita. 

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A scented rutabaga soup for that last cold front.

Rutabagas. 

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I love soup. I really think I could have a cup of soup, a light salad, and a good crunchy piece of bread with a smear of butter for most meals. There will be plenty more soup recipes to come in our time together, hopefully it will be a long one, but as we are approaching warming months we have to temporarily part with beloved soup. I'm sorry soup, its not you, its me, but I am sure we'll have a fling or two this summer. Rutabagas are such an interesting vegetable. They are beautiful too... and I am a sucker for anything even the slightest bit purple. I've made this soup over and over, it is fantastic. I've adapted this recipe from a cookbook Lucid Food. The ingredients here are slightly different and I change the texture of the soup quite a bit, which I think makes all the difference, but she has beautiful recipes and this soup is brilliant. Star anise and rutabaga - who knew? 

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Recipe (serves 4) 

Rutabaga - 3 cups peeled and diced

Shiitakes - About 1 scant cup chopped

Tofu - 14oz pressed and cubed

Vegetable broth - 4 cups *see note*

Shallots - 2 small, minced

Scallions - 1 bunch

Garlic - 2 cloves minced

Ginger - 1 inch numb minced

Star anise - 4 stars

Soy Sauce - 4TB

Oil - 5TB (I used coconut here for the tofu and sesame in the soup)

White pepper - 1/2Tsp generous

Rice vinegar, scallion greens, and red pepper flakes for toppings

*This recipe would be a great time to pull out any homemade vegetable broth (mushroom or any broth you have). The flavor is pretty imparted on the soup here. I happen to have some broth in my freezer I had made with significant rutabaga peelings and other roots. I like to save all my vegetable trimmings from the week and make a vat of broth.

I like to press my tofu when I have the time, or when I am frying it. It gets out the extra water so that the tofu is crisper and takes less time to pan fry. Wrap your tofu in a kitchen towel, set on a cutting board our counter and place books on top. You can do this for several hours if needed - but at least 20 minutes. Move on to prepare your soup.

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Separate you scallion "meats" from the whites and slice each thinly into slivers. Mince up your garlic, mince your shallot, and peel/cube your rutabaga into 1/2 - 1 inch cubes. Heat up 2TB of oil in a large soup pot on medium heat. Toss in garlic, shallots and scallions whites, let infuse and soften for a minute. Add your rutabaga, white pepper, star anise, and 2TB of soy sauce. Cook for just a few minutes. Add the stock and let boil softly for 20 minutes or until the rutabaga is very tender. 

While rutabaga is boiling and tofu is pressing mince up your ginger and trim/cube your shiitakes. Once tofu is ready slice it into about 1/2inch cubes. Heat up 2TB of coconut, sesame, or olive oil in a skillet on medium-high/high heat. Add your tofu. Cook tofu, flipping occasionally, until crisp and golden, about 5-10 minutes. Turn down heat to medium and add in another TB of oil, your ginger, and shiitakes. Cook for about 5 minutes until aromatic and shiitakes are tender. Pour over about 2TB of soy sauce and stir until absorbed. 

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Back to the rutabaga. Remove the 4 star anise - they should be floating. Pour the soup into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour back into the pot and taste, season with salt. I usually do not need any - soy sauce is pretty salty and you are adding the tofu/shiitakes, keep this in mind. Ladle soup into bowls and place spoonfuls of the tofu/shiitake mixture in the center. Top with scallion greens, red pepper flakes and a drizzle of rice vinegar. Yum!

Even wolf pups like rutabagas. 

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