Sunday, April 10, 2011

Shiitake Mushrooms with Ramps served with Madagascar Pink Rice and Salad with Mango Dressing

I love ramps, or wild leeks, and should try to grow them! I've only found them in stores a few times; I first discovered them in June 2008 and also cooked with them in June 2009. When we were visiting Asheville last week, I found them at the French Broad Coop in bunches of about 15 for I think $4 - yippee! I used ramps for tonight's main dish. I prepared ingredients:

  • Half of a package of tempeh cut into thin 1/4" strips, then cut again in half crosswise

  • One quarter jalapeno pepper, roughly diced (so, if they were too hot, the pieces could easily be removed from the plate)

  • All but three ramps from a bunch (I counted - thirteen ramps for this dish) and cut them into approximately 1/2" slices, a little smaller for the white portions and a little bigger for the green ones

  • About a quarter medium bell pepper, cut into approximately 1/2" chunks

  • A large handful of shiitake mushrooms; I have always washed mushrooms, though I know that gourmands recommend simply brushing them. Today, I brushed them clean. I cut off hardened knobby ends, then sliced the mushrooms into halves or thirds

I preheated a little extra virgin olive oil (the only kind of olive oil I use) over medium heat in a cast iron pan and added the tempeh. I cooked 3 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, then added the mushrooms and jalapeno; a minute later, I added the ramps. I cooked a few more minutes till the ramps and shiitake cooked down a bit, and the tempeh was turning brown, then added the bell pepper and cooked about two more minutes.

I enjoy Happy Human's organic spice rubs, and have their "Basic Boost" (garlic, onion, paprika, salt, echinacea, "and other super secret organic spices"). I mixed 1/2 teaspoon or so of it into the vegetables and served.

I also prepared some Madagascar pink rice by cooking one part rice to one and 3/4 part water (I think next time I may want to make it a 1:2 ratio as the rice was a little dry) and one vegan salt-free bouillon cube. I brought to a boil then simmered, covered, on low heat for about 20 minutes. I love this tasty, chewy, whole-grain rice that cooks so quickly.

I made a simple salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, and carrot. We like salad simply with a little lemon or lime juice, a little freshly ground black pepper, and sometimes a touch of salt. On our Asheville trip, my wife loved a mango dressing that Nine Mile made, and she attempted to duplicate it using our Vitamix blender. She put into the blender:

  • Half a mango (I imagine that any kind would be good, but she used a "champagne" ataulfo variety, one of my favorites)

  • Half a cup of raw cashews

  • Six basil leaves

  • A small half-clove of garlic

  • A little salt and pepper

  • Half a cup of water

and blended on high for half a minute till all was liquified.

By the way, I had forgotten till I got a message from somebody, but an article about veganism that I was interviewed for appeared in today's newspaper. It mentions this blog and includes several pictures that I have taken of my dinner plates.


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