Tamari-Glazed Mushrooms and Quinoa, Perfect Lunch!

I present you another simple lunch recipe! I love making this because it takes minutes to prepare, I can make multiple portions ahead, and have lunches ready during the week. You can of course add in beans or extra vegetables, but it’s pretty good as it is. It’s super filling and so yummy!

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Here is what you need:

  • 8-10 oyster mushrooms
  • 1 tbs tamari
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 2 gloves garlic
  • 2 green onion stalks
  • 1 cup dried quinoa
  • red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste

Here is what you do:

  1. Rinse the quinoa under running water. Place it in a saucepan with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and let simmer until all the water has been absorbed. Stir in 1 tsp coconut oil and add some salt and pepper if you like. Set aside.
  2. Cut the mushrooms length wise. Heat up 1 tsp of coconut oil in a saucepan and add the mushrooms. Stir until they are golden. Add in the tamari sauce, red pepper flakes, garlic and half the green onion. Give a quick stir until the tamari sauce is well absorbed. Remove from the heat.
  3. Place some quinoa in your plate and add some mushrooms on top. Garnish with the remaining green onions and enjoy!

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This is clearly a very simple recipe, but it’s so delicious! It’s packed with delicious flavours and incredible textures. It makes the perfect lunch because you can eat it both cold or warmed up. The quinoa will keep you full for a while, so you’ll be able to run around all day. Finally, this is something you can prepare ahead of time to have ready to go when you need a flavorful and nutritious lunch. Let me know if you try it out!

Simple sweet potato gnocchi and lazy rosé sauce

Yesterday I realized that we had some beautiful potatoes that were starting to sprout in your pantry. It was time I took action and transform these beauties in something good! I wanted to try out something new, and so I went for gnocchi. I don’t have any experience in eating or making gnocchi but, after watching a few videos online, I eyeballed a recipe and it worked really well! My boyfriend said they were really good and very ‘gnocchi’ like. Success!

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Be warned, this recipe takes a while to prepare as you have to cook everything twice. However, the result is a filling, soft, chewy and satisfying meal. We devoured these little beauties at night after we went for a run, and they were perfect! I recommend preparing a light sauce as they can become quite heavy. My lazy rosé sauce was really good and fast to prepare.

Here is what you need:

  • 400g potatoes: 200g sweet potatoes and 200g white potatoes
  • 100g corn starch
  • 100g rice flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • only if needed: 2 tbs almond milk.
  • extra flour to work with

Here is what you do:

  1. Cook the potatoes in boiling water. You can cook them whole with their skins, or peel and cut them first. Drain well.
  2. Mash the potatoes with a fork, add the salt and the flour little by little. Mix with your hands until you have a nice supple dough. If your dough is not coming together because it is too crumbly,  you can add a few tablespoons of almond milk little by little. This can help if your potatoes are not starchy enough.
  3. Divide in small dough balls, and form long tubes of about 1cm of diameter by rolling your dough with your fingers on your counter. Don’t forget to sprinkle your work surface with some flour to avoid sticking.
  4. Cut in bite sized pieces. Press each gnocchi on a fork to add the typical gnocchi pattern. This is optional, but it’s fun and will help your gnocchi cook faster.
  5. Boil some water and add a few gnocchi at a time. Let cook until they come to the surface of the water. It is important to keep the water boiling.
  6. Eat with pesto, tomato sauce or with your favourite pasta topping. I served mine with some oyster mushrooms and a rosé sauce.

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For the lazy rosé sauce: in a sauce pan, combine 1 cup of almond milk with 2 tbs ketchup or tomato paste, 2 tbs almond powder and season to your taste. Bring to a boil and mix until it thickens. That’s it!

The contrast between the soft gnocchi and the crunchy mushrooms was really nice. The sauce brought a nice savoriness to everything and combined all the flavours. Definitively a recipe to try out when you have time and feel like having a special pasta dish. Let me know if you give this a try!

Simple Mushroom Risotto

This is the perfect recipe for a busy night because it takes minutes to prepare, and you’ll have enough for some lunch. It is also filled with amazing flavours and textures. Plus basmati rice is so fluffy and makes everything better! I don’t know if basmati rice qualifies as risotto rice, but this is still extra yummy.

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Here is what you need:

  • 1 tsp oil
  • 3 cups of sliced mushrooms
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 4 cups of water
  • 2 cups of chopped cilantro, divided in two
  • 1/2 cup raw cashew nuts
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp paprika powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pinch of red chili pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste

Here is what you do:

  1. In a large sauce pan (make sure it is deep enough), heat the oil on medium-high heat and stir in the mushrooms. Cook until they lost all their water and are starting to get a nice golden color.
  2. Add the rice and  mix over. Add the water, the nuts, the spices and half the cilantro. Keep on medium-high heat until boiling. After 5 minutes, turn down the heat to medium-low, a let simmer until all the water is absorbed by the rice. Taste and add salt and pepper.
  3. Mix in the other half of the cilantro just before serving.

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This is delicious! The spices and mushroom are a great combination, and the basmati rice is soft and light. It makes for a great side dish, but can really make a great meal on its own. Give it a try next time you are looking for a one-pan supper, and let me know how you like it!

Fancy (but easy) Mushroom Nest

This week-end I went to Blanc de Gris which is an urban farm specialized in oyster mushrooms. How fun! I was so excited I actually did a cooking test before cooking the whole batch to make sure I would do it right… Well, I’m glad I did because this looked really nice, and it was delicious!

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Look at all these colors! This dish was fresh, savoury, filling and really let the mushrooms be the stars of the show. The grapefruit and clementine salad was so flavourful and brings a really nice texture to the entire plate. It could really make a meal of its own. As for the purple potato mash, well, I’m completely biased about purple sweet potatoes, so let’s just say it was amazing.

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But really, the mushrooms were incredible! So firm, tender and so not mushy. Unlike any mushrooms I have bought before these have a flavour of their own and are not watery at all.

Here is what you need for the strawberry-grapefruit dressing:

  • 1/2 cup grapefruit flesh
  • 3 strawberries
  • 3 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 tsp sriracha (adjust to taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Here is what you do for the dressing:

  1. Just put everything in your blender and blend until the strawberries are completely pureed.
  2. Keep this is an air-tight container in the fridge. This will stay fresh for about a week.

Here is what I put in the salad:

  • romaine and butter lettuce
  • grapefruit flesh
  • clementine chunks
  • capers
  • avocado
  • shredded carrots

Here is what you need for the purple mash:

  • 2 normal white potatoes (I really need to pay more attention to varieties of potatoes…), about 4 cups once diced
  • 2-3 purple sweet potatoes, about 4 cups once diced
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 laurel leaf
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • salt and pepper to taste

Here is what you do for the mash:

  1. Wash and peel the potatoes. Dice them in small chunks.
  2. Boil in water with the laurel leaf until the potatoes are tender and cooked through.
  3. Strain and transfer to a big bowl. With a potato masher or a fork, mash the potatoes. Add the milk a little at a time until you get the consistency you like.
  4. Add the dried herbs, give a good mix and season to your own taste.

Here is what you need for the mushrooms:

  • 350g fresh oyster mushrooms
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • salt to taste

Here is what you do:

  1. Crush and mince the garlic and set aside. Separate and cut the mushrooms if they are not bite-sized.
  2. In a large pan, heat the oil on medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the mushrooms and sauté until they have a nice golden color.
  3. Add the garlic and salt and stir well until cooked through.

To assemble the plate, add lettuce first then all the other salad ingredients around the plate. Add a few spoonfuls of mash in the center and flatten it with the back of a spoon. Arrange the mushrooms in the center and add some dressing on the salad before serving.

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Be ready to impress anyone you are serving this too, including yourself! This is such a fancy-looking plate, so why not try it out?

Let me know what you think and if you try it out!

Blanc de Gris, or how to have a mushroom farm in the city

Last summer I had the chance to visit the urban farm Blanc de Gris which specializes in growing mushrooms. After being a little bit confused by the very urban setting (the farm is in fact situated in an old warehouse), Dominique, one of the co-founder took us around a tour of the “farm”. One word: wow! I was really impressed by the installations, the ingenuity of their project (they up-cycle coffee grinds and beer grains) , their technique, and their fresh enthusiasm for a really original and awesome project.

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Lysiane, the other co-founder in one of their growing chambers. Look at those mushrooms!

Today however, I was even more excited because their farm was open to the public (hey, that’s me!) since their oyster mushroom production just exploded! We got to buy some fresh mushrooms. Will you just look at them? They are so perfect!

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We were really happy to meet with Lysiane, who is the other co-founder of Blanc de Gris. She was very friendly and gave us amazing mushrooms to bring back home. Her passion for her job was palpable and so refreshing. She told us that they were really happy with their production and that things were really starting to grow. While they are still working with high-end restaurants of the city, they are now looking into creating their own line of transformed mushrooms products.

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This is a really fun new venture for this young farm as it would make their production shine outside of its current clientele, while also making the entire production of mushrooms valuable. I am very curious to see what products they will be working on, but I’m quite sure that it will be done with the same care, integrity and excellence that you can witness when visiting Blanc de Gris. Their business is truly an asset for the city of Montreal, as well as for the foodies and urban farmers alike.

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I really can’t wait to cook these amazing mushrooms; there’s also a little bit of pressure on my shoulders! I really encourage you to like their Facebook page as they announce when they organize flash sales or visits. You wouldn’t want to miss that, right? Also stay tuned for a mushroom-filled recipe!

 

Christmas Series: Hot Pot Dinner!

I am so excited to share this recipe with you! I had a lot of fun planning, cooking and eating it!

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As I was looking for a fun recipe for a Christmas dinner party, I wanted to stay away from fake turkeys, or any traditional food. I wanted something refreshing, original and shareable. When I imagined it, I wanted people to have to talk to each other, have fun and share something good. To me, this is what Christmas is about.

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While browsing my cookbooks, I stumbled upon Isa’s mushroom hot pot. This was it! I really wanted to modify this recipe to make it more like a Chinese fondue where people cook their own food in a rich broth.

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So I grabbed my boyfriend and we went on a mission to the Asian supermarket. I really wanted to find fun vegetables, mushrooms and fragrant herbs to make this hot pot exceptional, while still paying a reasonable price for everything. I really suggest investing your local Asian store as they often have a great selection of vegetables, mushrooms and herbs for a fraction of the price you’d pay in a regular supermarket.

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Needless to say, we were not disappointed. This is so exciting! It was a lot of fun to try out, and everyone around the table was full and happy.

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Here is what you need (for 4-5 people):

For the broth:

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cubes of vegetable broth
  • 8 cups of boiling water
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 1 onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 lemongrass stalk
  • 1 inch fresh ginger root
  • 3 whole star anise pods
  • 1.5 cinnamon stick
  • 5 lemon leaves
  • 3 tbs tamari sauce
  • 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 can (8.5 oz) coconut milk
  • 4 fresh or dried shiitake mushrooms (if you use dried, soak them overnight)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro with the stalks (around 1 cup)

For the vegetables (These are the ones I used, but feel free to change them to what you have, like and find.)

  • 8 fresh shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 cup fresh oyster mushrooms
  • 8 king oyster mushrooms
  • 1 bunch of enoki mushrooms
  • 1 bunch shimeji mushrooms
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1 small broccoli head
  • 1 small chinese or zucchini squash
  • bamboo shoots (I bought a small head in an air sealed pack, but canned would work too)
  • 1 can of slices water chestnuts
  • 1 can of baby corn
  • 10 mini bok choys
  • 1 bunch of chinese broccoli or mixed greens
  • kelp noodles
  • fake meat of your choice (we used textured vegetable protein,or TVP)
  • fried tofu (you can buy this ready-made in Asian supermarkets)
  • lime slices (to serve)

Here is what you do:

  1. In a large pot, place the oil, chopped onion, chopped garlic cloves and minced ginger root. Cook on medium heat until fragrant. Add the salt and saute until the onions are translucent.
  2. While the onions are cooking, dissolve the vegetable broth cubes in 2 cups of boiling water and add the corn starch. Mix until completely dissolved.
  3. Slice the 4 shiitake mushrooms thinly (including the feet) and add them to the onions. Also slice up the red bell pepper (1/2) and add it to the pot. Continue to stir until the red bell pepper is softened.
  4. Take your vegetable broth and add it to the onion mix. Stir a little.
  5. To your broth, add the cinnamon stick, star anise pods, and lemon leaves. Stir until fragrant and add the rest of the water (6 cups).
  6. As the broth is cooking, start cutting your vegetables and display them on a plate. If you feel like you have too much of something, add it to the broth. This will give more flavour to your broth and will also make ‘fishing’ possible during the meal. I ended up adding about 1/3 of the vegetables to the broth while it was cooking. I find that the assortment of mushrooms really create a rich flavour. If you are using TVP, it would be a good idea to soak it in water now, just remember to squeeze the extra water out before serving. You can also drain and rince the kelp noodles.
  7. Taste the broth and add the soy sauce and pepper accordingly.
  8. Let the broth simmer.
  9. Once you are done cutting all your vegetables and are ready to serve, add the coconut milk and cilantro, and bring back to a simmer.
  10. Take your lemongrass stalk, and cut a few centimeters off both extremities. Then, cut the stalk in 3 or 4 parts. With a pestle or heavy cup, crush the lemongrass and add it to the broth. Adding it at the end really helps keep the flavour as it is quite volatile.

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To serve, make sure every one has a skewer stick or a little metal basket. Each person will pick and choose whatever they want cooked, put it in their basket and cook it in the broth. If you want, you can add lime juice to your own bowl, but I find that unnecessary. Still, it’s nice to have that option. We used a portable cook top to keep the broth simmering throughout dinner.

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The broth was thick, savoury and full of wonderful flavours. It was very filling even if we just ate it as is without rice or noodles. The kelp noodles have a very crunchy texture which is interesting, but you don’t need to plan a full portion per person. They are just a nice add-on I find.

The TVP really is great in this recipe as it takes on all the broth flavours and really gives the chewy texture of meat.

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It was a lot of fun to eat this with my family this week-end. I had a great time preparing the vegetables with my mom, and the men enjoyed the richness of the broth… which was consumed entirely!

This is truly a must try, so let me know how it turns out!