Back before Hurricane Sandy, I went to Tokyo for a week for work. Luckily, I was able to to have most afternoons (and several evenings) to myself when I could explore that exotic city -- definitely the most foreign place I've ever been to. Never having been somewhere where I couldn't at least read the street signs, it was a totally new experience for me and one I hope to be able to share with the vegetarian at some point in the future!
Of the culinary delights, I of course indulged in fantastic sashimi (it's so hard to eat it back in the Statesnow!), udon and lots of tea. Not being able to speak the language, I mostly ordered by pointing at various items on a menu so half the time I didn't really know what I was eating: not something that bothered me in the slightest!
My favorite afternoon in the city was spent in the company of Mom's best friend from high school, who happens to live in Tokyo. She took me around kappabashi, "kitchen town", where we wandered in and out of various kitchenware, restaurant depot and dried goods stores. Of the delicacies I brought home, the largest was a package of dried shiitake mushrooms. I could smell them even through the plastic and they sat on our hutch waiting to be used.
The opportunity presented itself last week as I scanned my brain for what to braise my newest batch of beans with. Mushrooms! I exclaimed. I soaked the shiitakes all day and then when it was time to make dinner, I was also rewarded with the soaking liquid which turns into a fantastic stock (I've since used it several times). Serve these over linguine. Leftovers? We had them over spaetzle one day and as part of a mixed green salad the next. I recommend a rioja alongside. Bon appetit!
Braised Pinto Beans & Mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons rapeseed oil with chili (you can substitute olive oil)
- 1 tablespoon butter, unsalted
- 10 yellow onions, finely diced
- 12 cloves garlic, crushed
- 6 ounces dried shiitake mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 1 15-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons black pepper, freshly ground
- 1 cup chicken broth (can substitute vegetable broth)
- 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
- 2 teaspoons oregano, chopped
Soak mushrooms in a bowl of clean cold water for at least 1 hour, ideally 8 or overnight. Drain and slice thinly. Save soaking liquid and use as mushroom broth.
Heat oil and butter together in a pan over medium heat until butter is melted. Add onions, garlic and mushrooms and saute 8 minutes, until onions are soft. Reduce heat to medium-low and add tomato sauce, paprika, beans, salt, pepper, broth and fennel seeds. Cook another 15 minutes, until beans are warm and soft has thickened slightly. Garnish with oregano and serve warm.
- Braised Beef & Mushrooms from Eating Well
- Black Beans with Mushrooms from VegWeb.com
- Onion Rings & Green Bean Casserole from Jules Speaks Gluten Free Blog
- Grilled Portobello Mushroom Tacos with Mango Black Bean Salsa from Tasty Yummies
- Mushroom Burger from Vegetarian Food
- Slow-Cooker Black Bean-Mushroom Chili from Eating Well