25 April 2011

Egg and Radish Sandwich

This recipe is unusually simple for a blog post, I grant you. Ever since George harvested radishes from our garden, I've been dreaming about this sandwich. Now that I've managed to make it—despite the kitchen being completely torn apart and the kitchen sink removed—I have to share the recipe with you, my loyal groupie. If you live in a studio with a kitchenette, or you're out camping, or you're moving out, this simple gourmet sandwich is just what Dr. America ordered.

Egg and Radish Sandwich

hard boiled eggs, peeled

1. Either chop the eggs and mix with mayonnaise, or slice the eggs and slather mayo onto the bread.
2. Add sliced radishes to the eggs, top with lettuce, and enclose in a snuggly embrace of bread.

The texture and flavors, while simple, make a counterpoint on the palate. Soft, warm, savory eggs jostle spicy, crunchy radishes, and cool, crinkly lettuce.

If you don't feel like making eggs, I've eaten variations of this with hummus, and I imagine baba ghanouj or a vegan pâté would also substitute successfully.

UPDATE: If you replace the bread with fresh spinach or lettuce, you have a lovely salad on your hands. I am even more addicted to this than the sandwich!

07 April 2011

Fierce Mushrooms

Nick Kindelsperger of Serious Eats has exceded my expectations in two out of two recipes. His latest success adapts a torta recipe by Rick Bayless. My adaptation makes Kindelsperger's recipe vegan and gluten-free and also dispenses with his request for bollilo rolls (found in every U.S. supermarket from nowhere to nowhere else).

These mushrooms burst with juicy, fresh flavor in a way I haven't experienced in years. I highly recommend eating them, smacking your lips, putting your feet up, and lazily rubbing your stomach.

If you don't want to make tacos, you can just mix the fierce mushrooms with rice or add it to pasta. You could pretty much add them to anything—that's how great they are.

Fierce Tacos

Fierce Mushrooms:
8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, sliced
8 ounces oyster mushrooms, sliced
8 crimini, baby bella, or button mushrooms, sliced
6 cloves of garlic, peeled, smashed, and sliced
1 scant teaspoon salt
fresh juice of 2 limes
3 Tablespoons olive oil

Fierce Beans:
1 can black beans, drained and rinse
2 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed, and sliced
1 scallion, sliced
some cooking oil

fresh green leaves
optional: a smear of goat cheese
corn tortillas (yeah, I get that these should get their own tortilla category)


1. Mix together everything in the "Fierce Mushroom" category. Pour it into a 9x13 baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and cook at 375 for 10 minutes. Then remove the aluminum foil and continue roasting for another 40 minutes.
2. Wash your dishes!
3. Spray a fry pan with with oil, turn on medium heat. Brown some garlic in it, add the beans. Stir and then mash it all together with a hand-held potato masher or a large wooden spoon. Add scallions and turn off the heat.
4. Heat up and soften tortillas in a toaster or the oven.
5. Make soft tacos: add some mushrooms, some beans, some greens, a little goat cheese (optional), and a little salsa.
6. Gobble immediately. Serves 3 people.

02 April 2011

How to Write a Food Blog, or Why Don't You Put More Pictures on Your Blog?

Ovaries of steel. That's what I have. Yes, my reproductive system is invulnerable and a choice metaphor for my blazing courage. I write a food blog nearly bereft of photos, without tell-all stories about my life, without delving into my philosophy of life, and even without a background in food production (I'm not even the best cook in my family). What's more, I have the huevos to boast about it.

Frequently I receive this comment: "I love your blog! You need more pictures though."

No I don't! You need more imagination. I love reading cookbooks, especially those classics without many photographs, like Simple Food, the Tassajara Bread Book, the Voluptuous Vegan, and How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. It entices me to imagine for myself how the food looks, smells, and tastes.

I'm one of those nerds who prefers computer games with basic graphics (Super Mario forever!) because they give me the space to invent the majority of the details about the world and characters. I also prefer to play the board game Agricola with cubes of different colors representing cattle (brown cube), wild boar (black cube), and sheep (white cube). I've had the option to upgrade to animal-shaped pieces and firmly refused.

I prefer books to movies. I prefer naps to movies. And I prefer a movie that implies rather than shows every graphic detail about its protagonist's private life. Tell, not show.

Which brings me to the point of this blog. You may scavenge some useful recipes from it but mostly I just want you to enjoy the writing. I am an award-winning writer; in fact, I won two writing awards in junior high and don't you forget it. I write this blog because I wish to practice good writing, although I admit I've always had a soft spot for food—in the latest Serious Eats poll "Food—Yes or No?" I voted yes.

So how do you write a blog? Any way you damn well please. That's my attitude, the attitude of someone with not one, but two ovaries of steel.

Vegetarian Egg Drop Soup

Yesterday I felt like one of the Three Bears. On my right, George felt the soup had too much spice. I, in the middle, felt the spice was just right. Gavin, on my left, added a lot more spice to his soup.

What was all the fuss about? Just egg drop soup, Chinese restaurant comfort food for the sick or perpetually chilly. The reason this conversation was so odd was that all three of us enjoyed the soup—a lot. People went back for seconds. The recipe was even requested by Gavin, who is of Chinese ancestry himself and who professes to loathe restaurant egg drop soup because it has too much cornstarch and MSG.

In light of this strange turn of events, my advice is that if you have people with spice sensitivity, add a little bit less white pepper than the recipe requires, and place salt and pepper shakers on the table so that everyone can adjust for themselves.

I adapted this recipe from a non-vegetarian one by Nick Kindelsperger at Serious Eats (see link on the left). Imagine No Chicken Broth is in my experience the only store-bought vegetarian broth able to handle this kind of homey, broth-centric recipe.

Egg Drop Soup

4 Cups total Imagine No Chicken broth, divided into 1/2 Cup and 3 1/2 Cups
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated (with a microplane is easiest)
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
3 scallions, washed and sliced
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 8-ounce package of shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, sliced
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
3 eggs, beaten in a bowl

  1. In a medium saucepan, add 3 1/2 Cups broth, ginger, soy sauce, scallions, white pepper, and mushrooms. Bring to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, strongly whisk together remaining 1/2 Cup broth with cornstarch. When the soup is boiling, slowly drizzle the cornstarch mixture in, stirring constantly. Reduce to a simmer.
  3. Slowly drizzle in the beaten eggs, stirring lazily, the way a couch potato would. Immediately turn off the heat. You can serve this at once to the paynim horde… or reheat it later to excellent effect.
Serves 6 people.
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