Bok Choy and Mushrooms

Bok Choy and Mushrooms

When I get a new cookbook I tend to read my way through it and use little sticky-notes to mark the recipes that look most interesting and ones that I want to come back to…

About a year ago I got a copy of “Vietnamese Home Cooking” by Charles Phan of San Francisco’s Slanted Door restaurant and it turned out to be one of those cookbooks that in addition to having great-sounding recipes, it also is a “good-reading” cookbook with lots of stories and information. And yes, there were a lot of sticky-notes stuck in this book…

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As it turned out, one of the simplest recipes from this book has inspired my version you’ll see here, and it’s a recipe both Bonnie and I come back to over and over, and when you try it I think you may do the same!

So dear Dedicated Readers, let’s head into the kitchen and Let’s Cook!

Bok Choy and Mushrooms

Ingredients

The vegetation...

The vegetation…

3 Tbl  Canola Oil

2 Tsp  Minced Garlic

1/2-3/4 Lb  Fresh Mushrooms of your choice (I usually use Oyster Mushrooms when I can, and the original recipe calls for baby Shiitake, but I’ve made with Cremeni/Bella with good results as well, so most any type, or a mix, will work)

3/4-1 Lb  Baby Bok Choy (or regular size if that’s what you can get your hands on)

Saucy stuff...

Saucy stuff…

2 Tbl  Rice Wine (from the Asian market, or Dry Sherry from the grocery/liqueur store works really well too)

2 Tbl  Fish Sauce (from the Asian market, or you can find now at many bigger groceries)

1 Tbl  Chicken Broth (or veggie broth or water)

Procedure

First prep your veggies: slice the mushroom caps into two or three pieces depending on the size of the cap – you want nice bite-size pieces. If using a button-type ‘shroom, slice into 1/4″ or so thick pieces.

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Separate the baby bok choy into leaves (you can leave the smaller core section whole except for trimming the root end as needed). Cut the the larger outer leaves into a couple of pieces or more – again you want a good bite-size piece. If using regular bok choy cut into pieces one to two inches in length.

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Wash the bok choy well to get rid of any dirt/grit, especially at the root end. The pieces don’t have to be perfectly dry as a little bit of water on them will help them to steam when cooking.

Heat your wok over med-high to high heat and add the oil. When its shimmers add the garlic and stir for just a few seconds, then add the mushrooms.

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Stir-fry for about a minute until the mushrooms start to get soft.

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Add the bok choy and the wine and mix together well.

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Add the fish sauce and broth and continue to stir-fry for another couple of minutes until the bok choy is just tender. If not as tender as you’d like, put a lid on the wok and let steam for a bit until done to your liking.

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Remover from the heat an put into a serving bowl.

Bok Choy and Mushrooms (here with rice and roasted chicken)

Bok Choy and Mushrooms (here with rice and roasted chicken)

This is perfect with sticky rice to soak up the sauce (I like this a bit “saucy”, and this is a fairly thin sauce, if you want it thicker you can add a bit of cornstarch/water slurry to thicken it up). It makes a really nice side to a simple chicken or fish entree, and I’ve even had it by itself just with rice – all the mushrooms give it a meaty texture (the original recipe calls for a much smaller proportion of mushrooms to bok choy).

Just a few simple ingredients combined in just a few minutes to make a really great dish! I think you’ll like this one!

Back to the kitchen!

Dedicated Readers will know that I’m not one to eschew a nice, juicy Rib-Eye or turn my nose up at some lovely pork belly, but yes, I will occasionally dip my toe in the vegetarian (and even sometimes vegan) pool to test the waters…

All kidding aside, I know that cutting back even a bit on my meat consumption is good for me, and the planet as well…

So here’s a vegetarian recipe I’ve made more than once (so yes, it’s a good one), and it’s one of those that’s easy enough for a weeknight (like Meatless Monday), and versatile… you can add extra veggies to it, adjust the quantities a bit depending on what you have on hand and it will still turn out well!

I first came across this recipe on the Adored Home blog as one of her Meatless Monday recipes, and the original recipe comes from the Yummy Morsel blog (ain’t the interconnection of the interwebs great?). I was also inspired to write this one up for you after I was given several samples of vegan “cheese alternative” products called Vegan Gourmet Shreds from Follow Your Heart (the Vegenaise® people…). You can certainly use “real” cheese, but this casserole is an application where “not-real” cheese actually works pretty well.

Okay, let’s get on with it – Let’s Cook!

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Ingredients

6  Small Corn Tortillas (of course you can use flour if you want, and cut/tear larger size tortillas to fit if that’s what you have)

1  Onion, chopped

1  Green Bell Pepper, chopped

1 or 2  Jalapenos, chopped (you can use Serranos or other pepper of choice if you like, quantity depends on your heat preference)

1  Can (about 15 oz) Black Beans, drained and rinsed (or Black Soy Beans if you have/prefer)

1  Can (11 oz) Corn Kernels

1  Cup Picante or Taco Sauce (mild, medium or hot as you prefer)

1  Cup Salsa (ditto)

1  Tsp Cumin

2  Cups (or more if you prefer… and you might) Mexican Style Cheese, shredded (in this case I used the Vegan Gourmet Fiesta for this inside and topped with their Cheddar – you can use any real or vegan cheese of your choice: Mexican blend, cheddar, jack, etc)

1  Tbl Oil

Procedure

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

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Heat the oil in a skillet over medium to medium high heat and saute the onions and bell pepper until getting soft.

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Add the cumin and jalapenos and stir for a few seconds then add the salsa and picante sauce and stir. Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.

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Add the beans and corn and stir well to combine. Remove from the heat.

Spray a baking dish (I used an 8″ x 8″, 2 quart Pyrex dish) with some cooking spray and spread a third of the mixture from the skillet on the bottom of the dish.

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Next top that with a layer of the tortillas – I overlapped two from side-to-side as shown above then tore a third in half to cover the rest of the mixture.

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Top the tortillas with about a third of the cheese (or as as much as is needed for a nice even layer).

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Add another third of the skillet mixture and spread it out. Top this with another layer of tortillas and another third of the cheese.

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Spread the remaining mixture on top and cover the dish with foil. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

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Take out of the oven and remove the foil. Top with the remaining cheese and put back in the oven until the cheese is melted, maybe 5 minutes or so…

Remove from the oven and let stand 5 or 10 minutes before serving.

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Serve with a side of salsa and a dollop of sour cream (or plain yoghurt or some vegan-sour-cream-like-alternative, of which I have no idea what that would be…). A nice green salad alongside wouldn’t hurt…

Like I said above, you can adjust this recipe as you like: add more/use other veggies (chopped sauteed mushrooms would add “meatiness”), add something like Boca crumbles or Gardein beef-alternatives, etc if desired, or whatever you think might be good…

Easy, pretty quick and fairly inexpensive… and it tastes good too! I’ve even frozen this with good results. So give this one a try and let everyone know what you think in the comments section!

DSCF4454Thanks to the good folks at Follow Your Heart for the samples of their Vegan Gourmet Shreds (and in effort of Full Disclosure, I was given the samples free of charge). They worked well in this recipe (as well as on a flatbread I tried them on), and no it’s not the same as a dairy cheese, but if you’re vegan, have a problem with lactose, or just looking to reduce your intake of dairy/animal products these products are worth giving a try. There are (at the time of this writing at least) discount coupons available on their website.

Okay, that’s this edition of Let’s Cook… so now it’s, as always, back to the kitchen! See you again soon!

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