Sorry for all of this quiet on the blog front, but this past weekend my little brother got all married up in a small and beautiful ceremony. This was also the weekend that a crazy snow storm hit Southwestern Ontario. Luckily we flew in Thursday afternoon when the weather was still clear and while our Friday drive from Toronto to London, Ontario took 4 hours instead of the normal 2 hours, we arrived safe and sound. Our flight heading back to Vancouver was delayed for a little bit on Sunday night, but we made it back to balmy Vancouver temperatures no worse for wear.
A little jet-lag aside, I’m posting a recipe I made a couple of weeks ago. This year, I’ve decided to to try new things. My eggplant recipe from last month is one such example…I tried it and hey, I liked it! This meal is another kick in the pants for me: dried mushrooms. Normally, I’m not a fan but I came across this recipe on Epicurious and decided to take another look. I played with the ingredients to suit what I had on hand and lucky me, this meal was amazing served over brown rice.
Now if you think that conquering this fear was a breeze, I assure you it was not. Cutting up the rehydrated mushrooms was a painful process because no one told me that dried mushrooms have a very earthy nasty stank. It was so pungent that I almost didn’t go through with it….but like any trooper, I forged ahead. When the meal was ready to eat, I made Cornelius (also a mushroom hater) try the first bite. He liked it…so I cautiously dug in too. Thankfully, this was amazingly yummy! It was spicy, vegan and delicious and it tasted like a great meal from my favorite Chinese restaurant. While the recipe list looks long, it’s actually pretty quick to whip up once the mushrooms have soaked. Stank or no stank, I’m making this recipe again!
spicy tofu with shiitake mushrooms
20 dried shiitake mushrooms
3 c boiling water
1 c vegetable broth
2 T soy sauce
1 T white wine vinegar
2 t agave nectar (or honey)
1 T cornstarch
a few grinds of freshly ground pepper
2 T canola oil
1 package of extra-firm tofu, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 leek (white and pale green parts only), cut into slices
2 T black bean sauce
2 T minced fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 t chili-garlic sauce
1. Place mushrooms in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let sit for 2 hours, drain and remove stems. Slice caps and set aside.
2. Prepare sauce by mixing the broth, soy sauce, vinegar, pepper and honey together. Whisk in the cornstarch until blended.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil in a large skillet or wok and stir fry the tofu until golden brown. Remove from the pan. Heat the remaining oil in pan and stir fry the mushrooms for a couple of minutes until brown. Add in leeks, ginger, garlic and black bean sauce and stir to coat mushrooms. Add back in tofu and pour in sauce. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 3 minutes. Serve over brown rice.