Weekday Vegetarian: Tofu and Wild Mushrooms
TreeHugger founder Graham Hill found himself in a quandry about a year ago. He knew the health problems that can be caused by eating meat, the awful treatment of animals in factory farming, as well as the ecological problems for the health of the planet. And yet, he still ate meat.
Graham found a solution to this conundrum that he was comfortable with. Here is a bit of his TED talk earlier this year outlining that solution:
I realized I was being a pitched a binary solution. Either you're a meat-eater or you're a vegetarian and I guess I just wasn't ready. Imagine: Your last burger. So, my common sense and my good intentions clashed with my taste buds and lead me to commit to doing it "later". And later never came. Sound familiar?
I wondered "Could there be a 3rd option?" And I found one, and I 've been doing it for the last year and it works. It's called Weekday Vegetarian. And the name says it all. Nothing with a face during the week and on the weekends, your call.
Lots of people want to cut down on the amount of meat they consume, without necessarily becoming vegetarian, but they don't know how to go about it. I talk to people all the time who think that it's hard to cook vegetarian meals, or that it is difficult to get adequate nutrients, neither of which is true. I'm starting a series called Weekday Vegetarian and will provide you with a vegetarian or vegan recipe from Monday to Friday. The focus will be on healthy foods using fresh, local and seasonal ingredients. I'll also be providing you with links to some of the literally hundreds of vegetarian recipes I've posted on our sister site, Planet Green.
I'm starting the series with this tofu and wild mushroom dish which I made for my son. I added some szechuan peppercorns, because he likes a bit of heat, and it was a nice addition. I used yuzu juice rather than lemon juice, which provided a bit of brightness to the flavour. I didn't have any dried shiitake mushrooms so I used a bit of dried black trumpet mushrooms and some morels. Then I used up some fresh mushrooms that I had in my refrigerator. If you have fresh mushrooms, by all means use them, add them before the dried mushrooms and let them cook for a few minutes. Then add some vegetable stock or water in place of the mushroom soaking water. You can have this simple recipe on the table in about half an hour. Serve it over rice, or Chinese noodles.
Tofu and Wild Mushrooms
8 dried shiitake mushrooms
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
2 green onions, cut into 1/4 inch pieces, roots and tough tips discarded
1 package firm tofu, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tbsp cold water
1 tbsp powdered kudzu, arrowroot, cornstarch of other thickener
1 tbsp soy sauce, or to taste
1 tsp lemon juice, or to taste
1. Soak the shiitake mushrooms in 1 1/2 - 2 cups of water for 20 minutes, or until soft. Drain, reserving the liquid for later use. Cut off and discard the stem, if desired, and slice the remainder in 1/4 inch pieces.
2. Heat the oil in a wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 30 to 60 seconds, until fragrant. Add the shiitakes, green onions, and tofu.
3. Add 1 cup of the mushroom liquid, cover and cook over medium-high heat for 5 to 7 minutes, turning the tofu once, untilt he tofu is cooked through.
4. In a small bowl, stir together the water and the kudzu until no lumps remain. Add the kudzu mixture and soy sauce to the tofu mixture and stir. Cook for another minute. Flavour with lemon juice to taste.
From Ancient Wisdom, Modern Kitchen by Yuan Wang, Warren Sheir and Mika Ono