Veggie Tortilla Soup

Hey there.

Yeah still on the needing to eat well kick over here. Yoga and whole foods are helping to make me feel whole. I swear about half of my anxiety and mood can be attributed to how I eat. Eating well helps keep me sane.

Tortilla soup is one of my all time favorite soups. For some reason I have always had it in my brain that it had to be made with chicken. Happily I stumbled on this recipe and realized I was so wrong.

veggie tortilla soup

Even as I started making it I was skeptical. Could it be just as tasty meatless? Surely it could right? And can these measurements for the spices be accurate? That is a big bowl full of spices for just one pot of soup… On and on I doubted.

Till I took the first taste. Perfect. Delicious. Spicy. So full of flavor. And completely vegan. Well at least until I topped it with cheese and sour cream. Stick with just lime, avocado and cilantro and it would be.

Nathan, who is not very thrilled with my vegan/vegetarian attempts of late, has gone to the fridge and unprompted eaten this soup as a leftover. This man is not know for eating leftover ANYTHING (well except for pizza and tortilla) fixed himself a huge bowl and raved about it the whole time.

As with most flavorful soups this was definitely better the next day. And the next day. It made a huge pot and I will happily eat it for days to come.

veggie tortilla soup

One year ago today: Roasted Chickpeas and French Apple Tart

Veggie Tortilla Soup
From The Cooking Photographer

2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (4 ounce) can diced mild green chiles, drained
1 (28 ounce) can fire roasted chopped tomatoes
1 1/2 cup fronzen whole kernel corn, defrosted
32 ounces vegetable broth homemade or store bought
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 lime

Garnishes:
tortilla chips
shredded cheese
diced avocado
chopped cilantro
sour cream
hot sauce
lime juice

In a small bowl mix together cumin, sweet paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, coriander, salt and black pepper. Set aside. In a large pot heat the oil over medium high. Add the onions and bell peppers. Sauté until soft, stirring occasionally. Add the spices and garlic; cook for 2 minutes. Add the green chile peppers, tomatoes, corn, black beans and vegetable broth. Cook until warmed through. Squeeze in lime juice. Serve in bowls and garnish as desired.

veggie tortilla soup

Chickpeas with Bengali Mustard Spices

Are you feeling the over indulgence from the holidays?

Both Nathan and I have certainly noticed it. Nothing irritates me quite as much as my pants not fitting the way they are supposed to. I mean come on. I bought them and they fit a certain way and continued to fit that way for EVER and a few too many holiday cookies and the suckers are out to make my day miserable.

Do.not.like.

Chickpeas with Bengali Mustard Spices

I put up with for exactly fourteen seconds before I resolved to do something about it. Sure I am a bit behind the rest of you with your new years resolutions but hey don’t judge. Some of us are born procrastinators.

For the record I did make resolutions. Two of them in fact. Firstly to move more. As in physically move. Second was to love myself more. I am winning at one of those but not so much at the other. I will let you sort that one out.

So. Back to what I decided to do about my rebellious pants. I decided first to concentrate on my first resolution to move more. Moving should help my pants fit better right? So thus began 30 days of yoga vinyasas every morning. Asthanga yoga is my personal favorite so I have been doing three surya namasakara a (sun salutation a) and three surya namasakara b (sun salutation b). It is tough. Mostly to motivate myself but man do I feel better.

Secondly I jumped started my body back into healthy eating with a three day juice fast and switching to vegetarian eating focusing on whole grains, beans, and veggies. It has been delicious and I feel so so so good.

Chickpeas with Bengali Mustard Spices

I am an all or nothing type of person. Making some drastic changes in how I was eating has helped me get on track and realize my body does better on less and on real food.

This was one of the many recipes I pinpointed when picking veggies and bean recipes. Nathan loves chickpeas so I knew right off the bat this would be a winner. And I was so right. He inhaled it. He told he would eat it every single day.

I would too.

We ate it just as is with no rice. It felt downright indulgent.

I love nothing more than a recipe that is delicious and nutritious and I can’t get enough of it. Also thankfully my pants have decided to get their act together and stop making me miserable.

Chickpeas with Bengali Mustard Spices

One year ago today: Graham crackers and Muesli 

Chickpeas with Bengali Mustard Spices
From Taste with the Eyes

2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon dry mustard
salt to taste
1 can chickpeas, rinsed & drained
5 oz. baby spinach

Heat oil over medium-high heat. Add mustard seeds, cumin, fennel, and cook for a minute or two. Add turmeric, chile powder, dry mustard and stir to combine. Add chickpeas and cook until heated through. Add spinach, cook until the spinach has wilted. Season with salt to taste.

Chickpeas with Bengali Mustard Spices

Rye Caraway Bread

I am in the love love love rye bread camp.

And caraway. Love me some caraway.

Rye Caraway bread

But you know that already from the rye caraway scones.

So when my sister offers to bring over bacon, tomatoes, and lettuce for BLTs if I provide the bread I gotta bring my A game.

Rye Caraway bread

Well that and I am weird. Really good bakery bread can be pretty spendy ($4-5 a loaf or more). We don’t eat sandwich bread unless it is Dave’s Killer Bread and that isn’t cheap either. The artisan bread I have been making lately is delicious but I wanted something just a bit better for this go around.

And we already had rye flour. That’s normal right? To just have rye flour on hand? Thanks for making me feel normal about it.

Rye Caraway bread

So off I went to try and find a good recipe. I feel like recipe picking is something I am pretty good at. Rarely do I get a recipe that is a complete and utter failure and I ascribe that to my ability to know what a recipe will turn out like by reading it. Oh and by knowing that Smitten Kitchen is almost always a sure bet.

I don’t pretend that making this bread is quick. It is ridiculously easy but takes a while. I think I started around 8 am and pulled the bread out of the oven around 2. There is a ferment, kneed, rise, punch down, rise, shape, rise, and lastly bake. None of it takes particularly long but you are required to be around and baby sit the bread off and on.

Rye Caraway bread

Perfect for a lazy Sunday morning. Or when you get snowed in. Or when you really really want rye bread.

Totally worth it though. I baked it on a pizza stone and threw some ice cubes onto a sheet pan in the oven before I shut the door to create some steam. The bread is light, flavorful, chewy, and has a slightly crisp crust.

Rye Caraway bread

Beyond perfect for BLTs. I used some the leftover bread for an egg sandwich the next morning and then a cheese sandwich that afternoon. Then it was sadly gone. I have been obsessing over it ever since and fully intend on making another loaf this weekend.

Rye Caraway bread

One year ago today: The very best pizza dough

Rye Caraway Bread (makes 1 large loaf)
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Sponge
3/4 cup bread flour
3/4 cup rye flour
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 cups water, at room temperature

Flour Mixture
2 1/4 cups bread flour
1/2 plus 1/8 teaspoon instant yeast
2 tablespoons caraway seeds
1/2 tablespoon coarse salt

Dough and Baking
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
cornmeal for sprinkling

Make the sponge
Combine sponge ingredients in a large or mixer bowl and whisk until very smooth, to intentionally incorporate air — this will yield a thick batter. Set it aside.

Make the flour mixture and cover the sponge
In a separate large bowl, whisk together the flour mixture and gently scoop it over the sponge to cover it completely. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and allow it to ferment for 2-3 hours at room temperature. (The sponge will bubble through the flour mixture in places.)

Mix the dough
Add the oil and mix with the dough hook on low speed for about 1 minute, until the flour is moistened enough to form a rough dough. then raise the speed to medium and mix it for 10 minutes. The dough should be very smooth and elastic, and it should jump back when pressed with a fingertip; if it is sticky, turn it out on a counter and knead in a little extra flour.

Let the dough rise
Place the dough in a large container or bowl, lightly oiled. Oil the top of the dough as well (spray oil works great). Allow the dough to rise until doubled, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Flip the bowl over and let the dough fall out on to a lightly floured counter, press it down gently, fold or form it back into a ball and allow it to rise a second time, back in the (re-oiled) bowl covered with plastic wrap for about 45 minutes.

Shape it and wait out the final rise
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and gently press it down again. Round it into a ball and set it on a cornmeal sprinkled pizza peel (or baking sheet). Cover it with oiled plastic wrap and let it rise until almost doubled, about 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. While it is rising preheat the oven.

Preheat the oven
Place your pizza stone (or upside down baking sheet) in the oven and preheat the oven to 450°F as early as you can tolerate. On a shelf below the pizza stone place a cast iron skillet or sheet pan.

Slash and bake the bread
With a sharp knife or singled-edged razor blade, make 1/4- to 1/2-inch-deep slashes in the top of the dough in a square pattern. Quickly but gently slide the bread on the hot stone or hot baking sheet. Toss 1/2 cup of ice cubes into the pan beneath and immediately shut the door. Bake for 15 minutes, lower the temperature to 400°F, place an instant read thermometer in the bread and continue baking till it registers 190F or for 10-20 minutes and the bread is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Cool the bread on a wire rack.

Rye Caraway bread

Lentils and Spinach in Masala Sauce

Shut the front door.

I can make curry paste.

Lentils and Spinach in Masala Sauce

I guess I have made curry from scratch before (as in not from a purchased paste or powder). Nathan pointed out you don’t know that though because all the curries on here are yellow curries. I have this delicious green coconut curry I make…. yum.

Lentils and Spinach in Masala Sauce

But to make an honest to goodness curry paste was something else. I still have enough left over in my fridge to whip up another batch of these delicious spicy lentils.

Lentils and Spinach in Masala Sauce

And I know I don’t have to tell you this but lentils are SO good for you. Chocked full of vitamins and fiber and so terribly cheap. If they aren’t part of your diet you should seriously add them. And this recipe is any easy way to do it.

Lentils and Spinach in Masala Sauce

Sure the making the paste is a whole extra step but the flavor is unmatched. Plus you get the satisfaction of enjoying a delicious dish you made. I am contemplating making this paste just to gift to friends and family. Wouldn’t you love to get that as a Christmas present?

Lentils and Spinach in Masala Sauce

One year ago today: Brownie cookies with a salted caramel frosting

Lentils and Spinach in a Masala Sauce (serves 8)
Adapted from Naturally Ella

3 teaspoons cumin seeds
3 teaspoon coriander seeds
2″ piece ginger, peeled and cut into pieces
1 teaspoons red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
4 teaspoons garam marsala
2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons peanut or other nut oil
4 tablespoons tomato paste
2/3 cup packed cilantro leaves

2 tablespoon olive oil
1 small white onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup masala paste
1 28 oz can stewed tomatoes
1 can coconut milk
1 1/2 cup red lentils
4-6 cups spinach

To make paste, toast cumin and coriander seeds in skillet until fragrant. Use a mortar and pestle (or a spice grinder) to grind spices. In a small food processor, add ginger and pulse until broken into small pieces. Add red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, garam marsala, and salt. Give a couple pulse to incorporate. Next, add nut oil, tomato paste, and cilantro leaves. Pulse until paste forms and everything is well incorporated. Set aside.

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and add diced onion, cooking until translucent, 4-5 minutes. Add in minced garlic and cook for one more minute. Stir in masala paste and cook for 1-2 minutes, then stir in stewed tomatoes and coconut milk. Stir together and bring to a boil. Add in lentils and reduce heat to medium low. Cook, stirring often, until lentils are tender, 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat and fold in spinach. Serve with your favorite grain, extra cilantro, and a dollop of greek yogurt.

Lentils and Spinach in Masala Sauce

Rosemary Garlic Focaccia

I am not the bread baker.

I also do not always manage to coordinate my dinners well. Rosemary garlic focaccia with curry? Sure! Sounds like a great idea!

Rosemary and garlic focaccia

You know why we made focaccia? Because it was something I have been wanting to share with you. The conversation the day I made this literally went:

“Naan is on the blog already isn’t it”

“Yeah I think so”

“What should we have with the curry?”

“Focaccia?”

“Sure!”

Rosemary and garlic focaccia

Except… I just discovered naan isn’t on here. So now we get to add naan to the list of recipes to share and maybe eat it with lasagna or ravioli. This all makes perfect sense right? Good. I am glad we are on the same page.

And even if it doesn’t I got to have delicious focaccia for dinner. And a delicious curry. And they weren’t awful together.

Perfect lazy Sunday bread baking project. I am fairly new to yeast baking and, as you can see, I didn’t screw this one up at all.

Serve however you wish but this is particularly decadent with a plate of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Yum.

Rosemary and garlic focaccia

One year ago today: Carrot Cake Cookies

Rosemary Garlic Foccacia (makes one 9 x 13 pan)
From Baking Bites

2 cloves garlic
3 cups bread flour
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast (.25 oz)
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup water
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
additional olive oil and coarse salt

Finely mince garlic using a sharp knife or a garlic press. In a small saute pan over medium heat, saute garlic with a little bit of olive oil until lightly browned and fragrant. Transfer to a small dish and allow to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, combine bread flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Whisk to combine. Add in olive oil and water, sauteed garlic and chopped rosemary and stir with a large wooden spoon until dough comes together into a ball. Add an additional tablespoon or two of water if dough is too dry to form into a ball easily. Stir until dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. (All of this may be done in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook).
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 4 minutes (You can also knead the dough with the dough hook on medium-low for 3-4 minutes). Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

Generously grease an 9×13-inch baking pan (or a sheet pan) with 1/4-1/3 cup olive oil. Turn dough out onto pan and press gently outwards with your fingertips, spreading the dough as you go, until it has evenly filled the pan. Pressing with your fingertips instead of kneading preserves the bubbles in the dough.
Cover with a clean dish towel and allow to rise for 30-40 minutes. Preheat oven to 400F.

After rising brush dough with 1 tbsp additional olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake for 25-30 minutes until bread is well browned. Place bread on a wire rack to cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing.

Rosemary and garlic focaccia

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Absolutely positively 100% stuck in a rut.

Does that ever happen to you? The minute the weather turned I wanted to make all my favorite recipes from this little blog. Problem is that then leaves me with nothing to share with you. Nothing new. Same old same old.

Cream of mushroom soup

There were a few attempts at creativity but it was more a clean out the fridge and attempt to call them enchiladas type of creativity. Nothing that would impress you much I am sure.

However we did eek out this soup last week. I was looking for something lighter and not so cream laden. When I actually pureed it up with the immersion blender and tasted it I realized it needed no cream at all. So can I still call it cream of mushroom soup?

Cream of mushroom soup

Eh. Whatever. It’s delicious.

You do have take the time to brown the mushrooms and chanterelles. Color is flavor so don’t rush that step. Otherwise this is a basic throw together on a Sunday afternoon soup. Delicious.

I promise there will be more excitement to come. Lots of things in the works. For now… soup. And lame excuse for enchiladas.

Cream of mushroom soup

One year ago today: Homemade buttermilk ranch

Cream of Mushroom Soup (serves 4-6)
Adapted from Food.com

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 lb chanterelle mushroom, sliced 3-4 big ones reserved
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons white wine
4-5 cups water
1 tablespoon butter
Sour cream for serving

In a saucepan, heat the olive oil, then add the onion, garlic and chanterelles. Cook until the onions are transparent. Dust with the flour. Add the white wine and water. Stir to combine. Simmer for 30 minutes. Meanwhile tear the leftover mushroom. Melt the butter in a small nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and slowly sautee till a deep rich brown. Check the soup for season and salt and pepper to taste. Serve in prewarmed bowls, and garnish with mushrooms and sour cream.

Cream of mushroom soup

Chanterelle Mushroom Tacos

We have talked chanterelles before. In fact I was going to share a very similar sentiment with you today- I LOVE seasonal cooking. It makes me appreciate the very best foods all the more since I can’t have them year round.

This is the earliest I can ever remember having chanterelles. We have had some rain the past few weeks off and on and that apparently has been enough. I love that the first few rains of the fall I get excited because that means mushrooms.

I have always sourced my mushrooms from local hunters. It is so much cheaper than buying them in the store plus I can get them earlier in the season and often they are much better quality and fresher. Plus I love buying direct as much as I can.

Chanterelle Mushroom Tacos

I scored four pounds of these gorgeous mushrooms this past week. I was having a hard time coming up with what to do with them other than just sautee them in butter and eat them straight. Thank goodness for google. I was hunting for a cream of mushroom soup recipe but somehow managed to find this taco recipe instead.

Now just trust me for a minute. I am not a substitute mushrooms for meat sort of person. If the mushrooms are good and can stand on their own great but I am not going to pretend they are meat when they aren’t. We are eating less and less meat around here for so many reasons so the idea of a recipe specifically for mushrooms tacos was appealing.

Chanterelle Mushroom Tacos

So much win. You have no idea.

These mushrooms have a light flavor. They are a bit nutty and a bit meaty. The serrano pepper adds just the slightest suggestion of heat. Please please please trust me when I tell you I was skeptical about the oregano too but just do it. It makes the tacos. Honestly.

We ate them with a good squirt of lime and some cilantro (and although not in these pictures we did add some grated cheese). I made enough for us for dinner planning that we wouldn’t eat it all and my sister and brother in law could have the rest when they came over to watch Little so we could go on a date. We ate so much of it I had to make a second batch. Good thing I had four pounds of mushrooms to start with….

And later this week chanterelle mushroom risotto. Yeah you read that right. Betcha you can’t wait.

Chanterelle Mushroom Tacos

Chanterelle Mushroom Tacos (feeds 2-3)
Adapted from Heidi Swanson

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
1/2 small serrano chile, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Kosher salt
12 ounces chanterelles thinly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
8 corn tortillas
1/2 cup grated cheese for your choice (if desired)
1/2 lime
1/4 cup cilantro leaves

Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onion, chile, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt until onions are translucent, 2 to 4 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, over high heat, until mushrooms turn deep golden brown and release their liquid, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat and sprinkle with oregano. Adjust salt if necessary. Toast tortillas over the flame of a gas burner, turning with tongs, until crisp and blackened in spots. (You can also char them in the broiler.) Divide mushroom mixture among tortillas, squeeze a wedge of lime over the mushrooms, and then sprinkle with cilantro and cheese.

Chanterelle Mushroom Tacos

Quinoa, Avocado, and Tomato Salad

Can we be real today?

Sometimes I get super tired of cooking. Like maybe I will just have a slice of cheese for dinner tired.

Healthy and quick quinoa, avocado and tomato salad

Nathan is juicing again most weeknights so mostly I am cooking for just Little and me. Little has his opinions about food. Most days I am one of two things: either surprised or exasperated. Surprised that he did in fact eat what I didn’t expect him to or exasperated because something he has eaten for the past three weeks he wont touch. So I end up sticking with safe foods on nights it is just us- fruits, sauteed zucchini, whole wheat pasta, and cheeses.

So that is what leads to me having half an apple and a slice of cheese for dinner. Not the best choice but hey it could be worse.

Often dinner around here looks like this.

 Healthy and quick quinoa, avocado and tomato salad

A simple salad of quinoa, lime juice, salt, tomato, and avocado. Filling, satisfying, very little cooking. Little will not eat this but eh. I don’t mind. More for me. He can have cheese.

Do you have go to dinners that are quick and simple and NOT a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (cause that happens around here all to often too)? Please do share!

Healthy and quick quinoa, avocado and tomato salad

Quinoa, Avocado and Tomato Salad (serves 2 as entrees 4 as a side)
Mine

1 cup dry quinoa
2 cups waters
1/4 tsp salt
1 avocado diced
1 tomato diced
Juice of 1 lime
Salt to taste

Bring the water to a boil over medium high heat. Add the quinoa and salt stir briefly and return to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for 12-15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed and no longer crunchy. Fluff with a fork and allow to cool slightly. While still warm add the lime juice and salt to taste. Toss with the tomatoes and avocado. Serve.

I prefer it while it is still warm however you can make the quinoa in advance and assemble before eating. Double to serve as a side at a BBQ. It is delicious.

Healthy and quick quinoa, avocado and tomato salad

Fudge date balls

I love chocolate. Some may say I have a chocolate problem. I don’t think it is a problem as I have no issue with it.

If pressed I wouldn’t say I have sweet tooth. I have a weakness for chocolate, and apparently snickerdoodle cookies, but otherwise I can take or leave candy.

When I worked outside the home and had an office I had a designated drawer in my desk just for chocolate. At any given point in time I had at least 4 different kinds of chocolate but more often than not I had 10-15. You read that right. Ten to fifteen chocolate bars.  Mid-afternoon I would paw through the drawer to find just a bite or two of the chocolate that would fit my mood that day.

Once I became a stay at home mama I transferred all that chocolate to a cabinet in the kitchen (my new office). Little quickly learned when I snuck off to the kitchen around 3 in the afternoon that it was chocolate time. I have given him tastes of chocolate from very early on. And only good chocolate mind you. None of this Hershey’s crap.

 Fudge date balls- they taste like chocolate truffles but are sugar free and good for you!

The child is a chocolate fiend. What can I say? He takes after his mama. Like his mama though he doesn’t eat much at a time. This probably has to do more with his access to said chocolate rather than his self control. Just sayin.

One of my dear friends made this last week for a playdate we attended. Holy cow a bite of chocolate without a lick of sugar? Yes we can have the conversation of not eating too much dried fruit and that dried fruit has lots of sugar but I don’t care. At the end of the day it is still just fruit. And it is stupid good.

So here you go. My new obsession- chocolate I don’t feel the least bit bad about eating or feeding to the little.

Two things. First let these set in the fridge for a bit. I dare you to bite in to a cold one and compare it to a real chocolate truffle. So stinking close in flavor and texture. Second double the batch. Or triple it. There are never enough.

Fudge date balls- they taste like chocolate truffles but are sugar free and good for you!

Fudge Date Balls (makes 6)
adapted from The Happy Raw Kitchen

8 pitted  dates
1  tablespoon cocoa powder, or carob
1  tablespoon hulled hemp seeds (any nut or seed really will do)
1  teaspoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon dried coconut (not sweetened)

For decoration:
1-2 tablespoons hemp seeds or coconut for rolling

Process the ingredients ingredients in food processor until mixture starts sticking together. Shape into 1 inch balls and roll in extra hemp seeds or coconut. Balls can be refrigerated about 1 hour to firm up (DO THIS). These are very soft and chewy if eaten right away.

Fudge date balls- they taste like chocolate truffles but are sugar free and good for you!

Baby Bok Choi and Mushrooms

We are completely devoid of a passable Chinese food in my town.

Baby bok choi and mushrooms. Filling, healthy and vegan!

I am a super picky restaurant person to start with. I am not trying to brag but most of what I get in restaurants in my price range I can make better and cheaper here at home. The restaurants out of my price range have incredible food but I struggle dropping what amounts to a week worth of produce on one entree- which if given a recipe I can most likely replicate at home with very similar results.

Baby bok choi and mushrooms. Filling, healthy and vegan!

So when I was chatting with friends the other day and mentioned the lack of good Chinese food  and they all agreed with me I knew I wasn’t being picky.

Want to know how bad it really is? Our local paper just released a “best of” list. The best Chinese restaurant? P.F. Changs. That’s how bad things are around here.

Baby bok choi and mushrooms. Filling, healthy and vegan!

Thai food is another story. We have lots of great Thai. And Mexican. But for now in order to get a good Chinese food fix I have to make it myself. You know what? I don’t mind.

Baby bok choi and mushrooms. Filling, healthy and vegan!

This simple yet satisfying vegan dish is a great first step into Chinese food. It requires little to no prep work (other than some chopping) and cooking takes less than 10 minutes. It is start to table in 15 minutes flat.

Baby bok choi and mushrooms. Filling, healthy and vegan!

And veggies! Look at all the veggies you would be chowing down on. That alone should be enough reason for you to make this. Oh and it is yummy. There’s that too.

Baby bok choi and mushrooms. Filling, healthy and vegan!

Baby Bok Choi and Mushrooms (serves 4)
My own

1 lb mushrooms (Any mushroom will do. The more flavor the better. I used cremini.)
1 lb baby bok choi
2 tbs olive oil
2-3 tbs soy sauce
1/3 cup beer or rice wine (hoppy beer is best but that is also my stance in life)
1 tbs corn starch
Rice for serving

Place your wok over your largest burner and set the heat to medium. While the wok is heating separate the bok choi steams and leaves. Chop in to bite size pieces. Place in two separate bowls. Chop up the mushrooms. Once the wok is hot add 1 tbs olive oil and then the bok choi steams. Cook for about 2 minutes then add the leaves. Cover with a lid and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes or until soft. Remove to a plate. In the same hot wok add the last tablespoon of oil. Add the mushrooms and cook for about a minute. Add the soy sauce, beer or wine and mushrooms and cook for another minute. Mix the corn starch with 2 tablespoons of cold water making sure it all dissolves and then add to the mushrooms. Stir till the sauce if thick, about another minute. Pour the mushrooms and sauce over the bok choi. Serve with rice.

Baby bok choi and mushrooms. Filling, healthy and vegan!