Stir-Fried Bok Choy and Shiitake Mushrooms

Stir fries are great on so many levels , especially as the cook up so fast , not only do you get fast gratification when hungry , you also retain many of the rich nutrients , otherwise lost in slow cooking . This dish is a perfect accompinment to chicken or pork with a bowl of  steamed Jasmine rice or great when you want something less filling , but still satisfying.

Adapted from food and Wine

Serves 8

2 tbs vegetable oil

1 tsp sesame oil

1 large garlic clove , minced

1 lb small fresh shiitake mushrooms , stemmed , or 1/4 lb dried mushrooms , soaked in hot water , then drained and stemmed.

2 lbs baby bok choy

1 tbs dark soy sauce (  or 1 tbs Asian Fish sauce )

Kosher salt  and freshly ground pepper

3 Thai chiles , halved , seeded and julienned

Heat the vegetable and sesame oils in a wok . Add garlic and stir fry over high heat until golden , about 5 seconds . Add the shiitakes and stir fry for 5 minutes . Add the bok choy and stir fry until just wilted , about 5 minutes longer . Season with soy sauce , salt and pepper and stir fry 1 minute longer .

Transfer to a serving dish , top with chiles and serve.


Spicy coleslaw

I am simply smitten by this vegan coleslaw by Patrick Clark . It is tangy , crunchy and spicy . The slaw needs to rest at least half and hour for the flavors to marry but anything beyond 4 hours and it starts to lose its crunchiness. This is a perfect accompaniment to ribs , chicken or fish .

serves 6

Patrick Clark

3 cups shredded green cabbage

1  1/2 cups julienned carrots

1 cup julienned jicama

1 sweet onion cut into julienne

salt and freshly ground pepper , to taste

1 cup apple cider vinegar

3 shallots , chopped

1 jalapeno pepper ,chopped

3     1/4 inch thick slices peeled gingerroot

2 garlic cloves , sliced

10 black peppercorns

1 cup olive oil

In a large bowl , combine the cabbage , carrots , jicama and onion and season lightly with salt and pepper.

In a small saucepan combine vinegar , shallots , jaslapeno , ginger , garlic and peppercorns and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a medium bowl and whisk in olive oil.

pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refridgerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 3 hours before serving.

Artichoke Gratin

The original recipe for this fresh ,light gratin came from Fine Cooking magazine using fresh seasonal artichokes.  I tried this using great frozen artichoke hearts when they were not in season and it worked out very well (I used Bird’s eye frozen Artichoke hearts ) but any brand you like will do. I also added a little pepper flakes to add a slight zing to the dish.

2 packs frozen artichoke hearts

1 large lemon

1 tbs all purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1 bay leaf

oil for gratin dish

1/3 cup dry white wine

salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 tbs chopped fresh parsley

2 tsp chopped fresh Marjoram or 1 tsp dried

2 garlic cloves ,minced

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs

4 tbs extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

Squeeze juice from lemon into a large , non reactive saucepan. Add about 8 cups of water , the flour, salt and bay leaf, and bring to a boil. Add the artichoke hearts to the boiling liquid. Cook until the artichoke hearts are tender but still firm 7 to 10 minutes. Drain

Heat the oven to 375*F. Lightly oil a 2 quart gratin dish. In a bowl ,toss the artichokes with the wine and a little salt and pepper. Spread evenly into the gratin dish. Toss together the parsley ,Marjoran ,Garlic ,parmesan , bread crumbs and 2 tbs olive oil (add red pepper flakes at this point ,if using) Toss in 2 tbs olive oil. Sprinkle evenly over Artichokes and drizzle on 2 tbs olive oil. Bake until gratin is heated through and  crumbs are golden ,about 25 minutes.

Potato , Porcini and Borsin Gratin

This is a deliciously sumptious and wildly satisfying potato dish .I have to admit making this up by combining a few recipes from various books and magazine. The inspiration came about one evening when preparing for guests , I had less heavy cream than I needed , so I used Borsin cheese for creaminess instead, and Viola !!!

1 oz dried porcini mushrooms , soaked in 1 cup     warm water for 30 minutes.

5 large Russet potatoes

3 garlic cloves ,minced

1 tbs unsalted butter

1 package Boursin cheese

2 cups regular ,not skim please ,Milk

1 cup heavy cream

2 tbs minced parsley

2 tbs fresh minced chives

1 tsp salt

a few gratings fresh nutmeg

Strain mushroom soaking liquid through a coffee filter into a small saucepan ,careful to leave sediment behing. . Boil soaking liquid until it is about 1/2 cup.

Preheat oven to 375*F.. Rinse and dry mushrooms. Chop coarsely. Peel potatoes and slice thinly , about 1/8 inch thick. In a large saucepan melt butter , add garlic followed by mushrooms, stir 1-2 minutes. Add milk ,crumbled borsin cheese,heavy cream , salt and half the herbs, stir to combine. Add the porcini liquid and potatoes. Bring to a boil, stirring.

Transfer to a buttered 2 quart baking dish, bake for about an hour or until potatoes are tender. Sprinkle with the rest of the herbs and serve hot.

Pumpkin -Corn Pudding

This savory side dish is a staple at our holiday table. it was featured in Bon Appetit some years back and was an instant hit both with family and friends.I love the fact that it uses the stove top only ,freeing up much valued oven space.

serves 4

2 TBS butter

1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels

1 TBS minced garlic

2 cups (or more )milk

1 cup canned solid -pack pumpkin

1 cup cornmeal

Melt butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add corn and garlic. Cook 3 minutes,stirring frequently. Mix in 2 cups milk and pumpkin. Bring mixture to simmer. Gradually stir in 1 cup cornmeal. reduce heat and cook until mixture is thick,stirring constantly,about 4 minutes. Thin mixture to desired consistency with additional milk if necessary. Season pudding generously with salt and pepper

Bulgur and herb pilaf

Bulgar is one of those grains that is both nutrtious and delicious,therefore great for vegetarians and vegans alike. This simple recipe from Wolfgang Puck has been slightly altered to turn it completly vegetarian. I love using something called “BETTER THAN BOULLION” sold in the soup isle of most supermarket.It is very concentrated so really packs a flavor punch.

Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 medium onion ,finely chopped

1 cup Bulgur

2 cons reconstituted ,vegetable better than boullion or 2 cups vegetable stock

Ground white pepper

1/4 cup finely diced carrot

1/4 cup finely chopped celery

2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano

2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Heat olive oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and saute until golden,about 5 minutes. Add bulgur;stir until toasted. About 3 minutes. Stir in broth and season lightly with salt and pepper. Bringto boil. Add carrot and celery. Reduce heat to low,cover and cook until liquid is absorbed, about 13 minutes. Remove from heat and add herbs and lemon juice.

Roquefort Mashed potatoes

I know I have mentioned my love for the city of Boston MA several times, and the Steak House,Grill 23 is one of the finest I have eaten in. My youngest son, Ashish,who now lives in Boston,loves Mashed potatoes,and with the holidays coming up ,I thought you may want to try this for a change from the regular. It is important you use Yukon gold potatoes ,which give it an attractive golden color.

Serves 6

3 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes,peeled,cut into 1 inch pieces.

1/4 cup olive oil

6 garlic cloves,minced

3/4 cup (3 oz) crumbled Roquefort cheese

1/2 cup milk

6 tablespoons butter

Ground white pepper

Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until tender,about 10 minutes.Drain. Return to the same pot . Using electric mixer ,beat to break up potatoes,about 1 minute.

Heat oil in heavy medium saucepan over low heat. Add garlic and stir until tender,but not brown.,about 4 minutes. Add to potatoes. Add milk ,cheese and butter to potatoes,beat until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper (can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover;let stand at room temperature. Rewarm over low heat,stirring often)