Mushroom Stroganoff

This is a rich and flavorful dish, which has a wonderful creamy texture. It is vegan, or can be easily modified to be vegetarian if you prefer. 

The key to this dish, is the layering of the flavors. By adding the ingredients in stages, you maximize the depth and richness. 


6 cups of brown Mushrooms, sliced. About one pound.
4 Tbsp Earth Balance or Butter
1 clove Garlic minced
1/2 cup Onions, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces.
1/2 cup Red or Yellow Pepper, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces.
2 Tbsp grated Carrot
1/4 cup Madeira wine
1/4 cup Vegetable Broth
1/4 tsp Sea Salt
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1/8 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 cup non dairy Sour Cream
1/4 cup non dairy Parmesan Cheese or more to taste.
1 lb of Pasta (Fusilli or Farfalle are perfect) or Egg Noodles

Begin by slicing your mushrooms and chopping onions and mincing your garlic. Melt the spread/ butter in a large sauté pan and add the onions and garlic and sauté gently until they soften.

Add your peppers and grated carrot. Continue to sauté, and then add your mushrooms. Stir well to coat the mushrooms and add your salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Start you water for your pasta, and then add your Madeira and vegetable broth to the mushrooms and increase the heat to bring it to a high simmer. The mushrooms will release a lot of water, so keep simmering until most of the liquid is gone.

Once the water is boiling, salt your water and add in your pasta/noodles and when 2 minutes from being done, remove the sauté pan containing the mushrooms from the heat and fold in the sour cream. This will keep the sour cream from breaking.

Drain the pasta/noodles, gently mix the mushrooms and pasta in a large serving bowl, add your cheese and serve.

Serves 3-4

Fuchsia Dunlop – The Marcella Hazan of Chinese Cooking.

If you want to learn to cook Italian you could go to Marcella Hazan, French you could go to Julia Child, Elizabeth David or Jacques Pepin. But, if you want to learn to cook Chinese, you go to Fuchsia Dunlop. I have learned so much from her and I now feel confident in tackling most Chinese food at home.

“Fuchsia Dunlop is a cook and food-writer specialising in Chinese cuisine. She is the author of Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking; Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China, an account of her adventures in exploring Chinese food culture; and two critically-acclaimed Chinese cookery books, Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook, and Sichuan Cookery (published in the US as “Land of Plenty)”. 

‘The best writer in the West… on Chinese food’ Sunday Telegraph
‘Fuchsia has a rare ability to convey an encyclopaedic knowledge of Chinese cuisine in a compelling and totally delicious way.’ Heston Blumenthal
‘Fuchsia Dunlop joins the ranks of literary food writers such as Elizabeth David and Claudia Roden.’Independent
‘A world authority on Chinese cooking… Her approach is a happy mixture of scholarly and gluttonous.’Observer Food Monthly

Sichuan Shrimp – Spicy, Salty, Sweet and Sour

This is a very good dish and easy to prepare. As with all Chinese food, it is critical that you have “mis en place”. Everything in it’s place before you begin.

I can sit a read a Fuchsia Dunlop cookbook like a mystery novel. I think she is an amazing Asian chef. I often find inspiration for dishes and use bits and pieces from her recipes to inspire and cobble together my own. I particularly enjoy “Every Grain of Rice” and “Revolutionary Cooking” 
I guess this should be called Sichuan Shrimp ala Fuchsia Dunlop!
2 whole Star Anise
3 cloves Garlic, sliced
1 inch piece of Ginger Root, minced. 
6 dried Tien Tsin Chilis, or to taste
3 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
2 Tbsp Hot Bean Sauce
1 Tbsp Shaoxing Wine
1 Tbsp Fermented Sweet Black Vinegar
2 tsp Sesame Oil
1-2 tsp Sugar
1/4 tsp ground/crushed Szechuan Peppercorns 
1/8 tsp Black Pepper
3/4 lb Shrimp, shelled and deveined. Retain the shells. 
1 medium Red Pepper, cut into 1/2 inch pieces 
1 medium Onion, cut into 1/2 inch pieces. 
Prepare the shrimp, the sauce mixture and the vegetables. 
Heat the oil in your wok until almost smoking. Add the two star anise and cook until fragrant. Add the shrimp shells and continue cooking for 1 minute. Remove both from the oil and add the garlic, ginger and dried chilies and cook until just starting to color. 
Add the shrimp and cook until they begin to curl. Add the sauce and continue cooking until the shrimp are curled and pink. Remove from the wok and serve with rice. 
Note: You can easily make this vegan/vegetarian by substituting firm tofu for the shrimp. Just cube the tofu and add a bit of the hot bean paste and allow it to marinade.

Vegan Cacio e Pepe, perfect Roman simplicity!

Ah, the creamy interplay between the cheese and the crushed black pepper. This is one of my favorite Roman dishes. A monument to simplicity. 

I struggled to make a vegan version of this dish, as the lack of dairy tended to make it a bit dry. You need that creaminess to soften the bite of the black pepper. I kept at it and finally found the key to create the creamy texture, vegan cream cheese. 
Note: One additional benefit of vegan dishes is that they are non dairy, as such, they are also good for anyone who is lactose intolerant. 
1/2 lb Spaghetti 
2 Tbsp Earth Balance
2 Tbsp Tofutti Cream Cheese
1 tsp Go Veggie Parmesan Cheese
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp – 1 Tbsp freshly ground or crushed Black Pepper. To taste. 
Pinch of Sugar, I add this as some non dairy products can be slightly bitter. I find this creates a more dairy like richness. 
Bring water up to a boil, add some sea salt to the water and then add the spaghetti. While the spaghetti is cooking, combine all sauce ingredients into your serving bowl. 
When pasta is just al dente, dunk a heat proof measuring cup, into the boiling water and remove about 1/4- 1/2 cup of pasta water and set aside, then drain pasta. 
Add the pasta back into the still hot cooking pot, add the sauce ingredients, mix and stir in the reserved pasta water a bit at a time until creamy. Finish with more parmesan cheese and serve. 
Serves 2 

Spicy Refrigerator Pickles

These are easy to make and very good. They can made within an hour and require no special equipment or canning supplies. 

The spices in the recipe can be altered to suit your taste, but I must say, this recipe is quite good.


2 lbs Cucumber, thinly sliced, 1/4 inch.

2 Onions, quartered and sliced.
2 Jalapeño, sliced in half.
4 Garlic cloves, peeled.
4 Sprigs of fresh Dill
3 cups Sugar
4 1/2 cups White Distilled Vinegar
2 tsp Sea Salt
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1 1/2 tsp Mustard Seed
1 1/2 tsp Celery Seed

Prepare and then place cucumbers and onions in a large bowl in layers. Set aside. 

Combine remaining ingredients in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook and stir just until the sugar is dissolved. About 1 minute. Pour over cucumber mixture; allow to cool. 

Put mixture into two one quart jars, making sure to get at least 2 sprigs of dill, two halves of jalapeno and two cloves of garlic in each jar. 

Pour the remaining syrup into each jar. Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 48 hours before serving.

Makes 2 quarts

Khai Jiao -Thai Omelette

When I’m craving this dish, nothing else will do. This a true Thai comfort food.

Normally, it is served over steamed jasmine rice as a one plate meal. It’s not typically a breakfast food, but rather a quick meal often purchased from a street vendor or whipped up by your Mom. 

There are many versions and some people add meat, seafood and other ingredients. I’m going to make a simple non meat version, which is my favorite.

If you are a strict vegetarian, you can omit the fish sauce and substitute a mushroom soy sauce. It will give you the umami punch, without the fish sauce.


3 Large Eggs
1 tsp Fish Sauce (Red Boat or Three Crabs are both top brands)
1/4 tsp Lime Juice
2 Tbsp finely minced Onion
1 tsp thinly sliced Shallot
Freshly ground Black Pepper
2 -3 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
Steamed Jasmine Rice
Chopped Green Onion

Heat your oil in the wok to a very high heat. It should be just starting to smoke.

While your oil is heating, beat your eggs to a frothy texture and then add the fish sauce, lime juice and black pepper and beat again.

Once the oil is very hot, add your onion and shallot to the wok. It will cook instantly. Gently pour your egg mixture into your wok in a circular motion. The egg mixture will bubble up and start browning. I keep the wok moving and keep tipping the wok to allow the egg mixture to distribute.

Once it is well browned, flip it over for maybe a minute and then remove from the wok and serve over a scoop of steamed jasmine rice, some chopped green onion sprinkled on the top, extra fish sauce, crispy shallot, cilantro or Sriracha sauce if desired. It’s also yummy with some Prik Nam Pla. See the recipe below.

Nam Pla Prik (Fish Sauce with Hot Chilies)

This is also referred to as Prik Nam Pla in Thailand. It seems to be said both ways.
6 Tbsp. Fish Sauce, here is where you will really see the difference in using a top Thai fish sauce.
2 cloves finely sliced garlic
1 tsp. of white or palm sugar
5 finely chopped Thai chilies
1/2 lime, sliced- Optional
Blend thoroughly in a mortar and pestle, a small food processor, or it can be finely chopped by hand. This will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator.

Bourbon Pecan Bread Pudding – A Southern Classic

This is very easy to prepare and incredibly tasty. It’s rich, filling and perfect for a picnic or BBQ. 

In a clinch, you can skip the time in the refrigerator, but it does improve the final result, if you have the time to spare.


8 -9 large Croissants, torn into 1 inch pieces.
5 eggs, plus two egg yolks
2 cups Soy or Whole Milk
1 cup Heavy Cream (Whipping Cream)
2 Tbsp Bourbon 
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 cups White Sugar
1/2 cup Raisins
1 cup Pecans
Freshly grated Nutmeg, approx 1/4 tsp
1Tbsp Butter for greasing the pan

Begin by greasing a large Pyrex baking dish (approx 10 1/2 x 15 1/2) with the butter. Then tear the croissants into 1 inch pieces and set them into the baking dish. Sprinkle on the raisins.

Beat together the eggs, extra yolks, then add the soy milk, heavy cream, bourbon, vanilla extract, nutmeg and finally the sugar and combine. Pour this mixture over the croissants and push down with a fork. Cover and refrigerate for 12-24 hours.

Preheat oven to 350F, remove the  pudding from the refrigerator, sprinkle with the pecans and bake in the center rack covered for 35 minutes, and then uncovered for an additional 10 minutes or until the pudding springs back when touched. Cool slightly and serve.