1 lb. mushrooms
(I used a bag of oyster mushrooms from the Highland Park Farmers Market — marked as 1 lb.)
1 large onion
Olive oil (or coconut oil)
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 tsp. sea salt or to taste
Spices or dried herbs (I used dried thyme)
This mushroom paté (or mushroom dip or mushroom spread) can be made in a short time. Chop then sauté the onion in olive oil (add salt at the cooking point so it will absorbed well and not be so salty if added later). Add the mushrooms, chopped into pieces. Put the onions, mushrooms, and walnuts in the food processor, then add dried herbs. Turn on the food processor until the mixture is smooth or slightly chunky. Klara Levine, who gave me this recipe, suggested it should be the consistency of haroset.
I wrote a previous version of the mushroom paté recipe here. Enjoy Pesach to all those who celebrate – and to those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, enjoy spring.
Spices or dried herbs (I used dried thyme once, fresh thyme another time – time for a thyme joke?)
Suitable for Passover or any time of the year one wants a tasty, easy to make spread, this mushroom paté (or mushroom dip or mushroom spread) can be made in a short time. Chop then sauté the onion in olive oil (add salt at the cooking point so it will absorbed well and not be so salty if added later). Add the mushrooms, chopped into pieces. Put the onions and mushrooms in the food processor, then add the salt and dried herbs. Turn on the food processor until the mixture is smooth. Add the walnuts – you can chop the nuts finely or in bigger chucks, as you prefer. Klara Levine, who gave me this recipe, suggested it should be the consistency of haroset.
Update in 2015: Klara says add the salt when sautéing the onions or mushrooms – cook salt into the food, never add at the end.
This was originally published on April 4, 2010. As an experiment, I am republishing it on April 9, 2015. Enjoy the rest of Pesach to all those who celebrate – and to those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, enjoy spring.
Mount Greylock in the Berkshires has a lot of goldenrod on top of the mountain. And many happy butterflies are enjoying themselves.
We also visited The Mount in the Berkshires, where Edith Wharton lived for a while with her husband (before she divorced him) and his dogs. There is a pet cemetery near the garden that has lots of tidy flowers, many of which are butterfly-friendly, like this butterfly bush. The Whartons allowed their dogs to sit at their fancy dining table along with distinguished guests (is that natural? as this is Nature Notes).
We saw this red mushroom besides the trail that we climbed to the top of Mount Greylock.
It seems that a traditional shepherd’s pie is chopped meat, potatoes and vegetables piled in layers in a casserole dish. I re-found a delightful vegan version of this recipe in my Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites. I served this vegan version to my company on Chanukah; it was well-received. However, I didn’t care much for all the potatoes in the dish. So I re-wrote the recipe using mashed turnips instead of mashed potatoes, and here is the result. You can try it on your own with either turnips or potatoes, whichever you think you may prefer. My friend Klara suggested you could also substitute sweet potatoes.
Ingredients for Potatoes/Turnips Layer (bottom layer)
4 large turnips, cooked and mashed with the garlic cloves (or 3 cups mashed potatoes)
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tsp. salt
Ingredients for Vegetables Layer (middle layer)
1 chopped onion
1 tsp. olive oil (or other vegetable oil or coconut oil)
1 cup cooked cauliflower (or cooked broccoli or cooked brussel sprouts, chopped into pieces)
1/2 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup diced red or green peppers (optional)
1/2 cup kasha, cooked
1 Tbsp. red wine or sherry
2 tsp. oregano or marjoram or thyme (and/or fresh parsley)
1 tsp. soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste
Ingredients for Mushrooms Layer (top layer)
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
1 Tbsp. corn starch or potato starch (original recipe said corn; I always have potato starch available from Pesach, so I used that)
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. cold water
1/2 cup vegetable stock (or stock from potatoes, if you used those instead of turnips)
ground black pepper to taste
Cooking and Assembling the Shepherd Pie
Bottom Layer: Cook the turnips covered in water. Add garlic cloves. Add salt toward the end. Mash the turnips at the end.
Middle Layer: While turnips are cooking, sauté the onions in the oil for about 5 minutes. Cook the kasha until tender. If vegetables (cauliflower, brussel sprouts and/or broccoli) are not yet cooked (I used leftover vegetables), steam until tender. Mix the onions with the kasha, cauliflower, carrots, and other ingredients for the middle layer.
Preheat oven to 350°. Spread the turnips in a lightly oiled baking dish. Layer the vegetables with kasha on top. Bake uncovered for about 15 minutes.
Top Layer: combine mushrooms, wine, soy sauce, herbs and stock in a saucepan and cook until mushrooms soften and release their juices, about ten minutes. Add the corn or potato starch and let it continue to cook, stirring until it thickens. Add pepper to taste.
Put mushroom layer on top of the baked bottom two layers. Garnish with scallions or parsley if desired. You can also cut the pie into pieces and put the mushroom “gravy” on top of each one, but I generally like my guests to take if they want, so it works better to have the whole dish in the middle of the table as a choice.
This shepherd pie can be a nice accompaniment to a meat or fish meal, or it can be a main dish alone if you have a guest who is vegan. Or maybe you just found out you are lactose intolerant and crave a casserole. As Ilana-Davita remarked that my last recipe on hummus might be more suitable to a summer post, here’s a tasty dish befitting a cold January evening.
Pictured above, from left to right, are a portobello, maitake, and shiitake mushroom. I bought these at a local Asian supermarket on Route 27 in Edison called H-Mart.
Why use these special mushrooms? Why not just stick to white button mushrooms? In addition to the excitement of having something new in one’s soup, maitake and shiitake have medicinal benefits. Here’s a post on the health benefits of maitake (slows tumors, protects healthy cells from becoming cancerous, may reduce the need for insulin and more). This post on the health benefits of shiitake mushroom is on cancer.org. Susun at Planet Thrive writes about medicinal mushrooms in general.
Here are a bunch of maitake mushrooms.
This is a shiitake mushroom. Sometimes I put a shiitake mushroom in a mug of hot water and drink it the way someone would a cup of tea.
I was in mood for a mushroom soup with no grains, and so I came up with this recipe. To photograph it for a post, I put in a red china bowl. This prompted my daughter to eat it; she insisted on eating it in the red china bowl. You see, presentation does count!
8 oz. shiitake mushrooms
8 oz. baby bell mushrooms
1 zucchini (or substitute other greens, such as bits of kale or collards)
Saute the chopped onion in a bit of olive oil. Slit the leek in half; wash out any particles inside the leek. Cut in half and put in with the onion. Chop the zucchini and put it in with the onion. Add chopped mushrooms. Cover with water and add at least 1 cup more water. Cook until all is tender. Add sea salt and wine. Add miso at the end. Sprinkle with scallions and serve.
Shiitake mushrooms: make the soup all the more healthful and flavorful by using shiitake mushrooms
Preparing the Soup
Saute the chopped onion in a bit of olive oil at the bottom of a large pot. When the onion turns translucent, add the barley. Add more than enough water to cover the barley – about one inch higher in the pot. Cook for about 1/2 hour until the barley is almost tender. Add pepper and salt to taste. Add optional ingredients of carrots, other root vegetables, garlic and celery; add the mushrooms. Pour in one cup more of water. Cook until the vegetables are tender. Add optional kale, dill, other herbs and/or other fast cooking greens. Add soy sauce or miso to give the soup taste. Serve warm.
Coming soon (next week?): a list of soup recipes from around the blogosphere. Also, some suggested soup ingredients. If you have a favorite soup recipe that is on a blog, feel free to leave the link in the comments (thanks to Mrs. S., who last week did just that).
For this sauteed mushroom salad, I used two kinds of mushrooms: baby bella and shiitake. You can choose any two types that are available to you. Shiitake mushrooms in particular have healing properties.
2 boxes of mushrooms, 2 different types (shiitake and baby bella, for example)
1 tsp. olive oil
lemon juice to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1 head of bok choy, chopped (optional – you can substitute other greens)
Sauté the mushrooms in the olive oil for about 15 minutes and until the juices of the mushrooms begin to flow. Add bok choy or other greens (chopped kale, chopped collards, parsley or cabbage are all possibilities to try). Add lemon juice, salt and pepper. Cook until the bok choy softens. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Here’s the stuffed squash I made last week. Using Klara‘s idea of using shitake mushrooms, I sauteed some onions and mushrooms to stuff my squash. I also mixed in some chopped celery and sage from my garden, as well as bits of cooked buttercup squash. I didn’t use any animal products, but I must say I might have found it just a tad tastier if it had either a bit of cheese or some chopped meat. We humans do crave fat. On the other hand, my body felt much better eating it this way, a lighter food.