Are these cute, or what? These are beech mushrooms, which I saw for the first time the other day in the local Asian market.
And here's something you haven't seen on this blog yet—a super-macro photograph taken inside under the pathetic lighting conditions in my house, in Canada, after the end of July, so it's far from perfect, but still kind of attractive in its way, I think:
We'll keep trying. Tonight I cooked these beech mushrooms in a recipe I found on FatFree Vegan Kitchen, which Susan says she got from a book called A Cook's Book of Mushrooms, by Jack Czarnecki. Susan calls it Maitake and Beech Mushrooms with Simmered Tofu on Sesame Rice, but I had enough beech mushrooms to make half the dish, which was my goal, so I didn't fret about using another kind. I'm going to give you SusanV's recipe word for word—other than halving it, the only substitution I made was to exchange the green beans (which I didn't have) for the same weight in baby bok choy (which, obviously, I did). The results look a bit different from Susan's, but I was super-pleased with all of the recipes, particularly the simmered tofu, which I kept warm in the toaster oven while I did the stir fry in the same pan I had simmered it in, making this, my friends, a two-pan meal. Enjoy:
from FatFree Vegan Kitchen
Make these recipes in the reverse order that they are listed. Put your rice on to cook about an hour before you plan to eat. Then, chop the vegetables and mushrooms, and cook your tofu. When it's done, make the stir-fry, which should be ready at the same time as the rice.
8 ounces green beans, ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
1/2 large yellow onion, cut into thin wedges
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
4 ounces maitake or hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, cut apart along their natural lines
4 ounces beech mushrooms, separated
Simmered Tofu (see below)
1/3 cup water or vegetable broth
2 tsp low sodium soy sauce
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp sugar or agave nectar
1 tsp Sriracha sauce (or other chili sauce) or to taste (1 tsp. may be too spicy for sensitive palates)
Sesame Rice (see below)
Spray a large skillet with a light coating of oil and heat it on medium-high. Add the green beans and 3 tablespoons of water and saute for four minutes. Add the onion and cook until for another 3 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and the mushrooms and cook, stirring gently, until the mushrooms are tender, about 2 minutes.
1 package firm or extra-firm (non-silken) tofu (about 1 pound)
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp low sodium soy sauce or tamari
Cut the block of tofu into pieces about 1/2-inch thick. In a large skillet, mix the broth with the sesame oil and soy sauce. Add the tofu and bring to a simmer on medium heat. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until sauce has almost all evaporated. Gently remove the tofu and place it on a plate. Cover to keep warm until ready to use.
1 1/2 cups long grain brown rice
3 cups water
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds or gomasio
1 tsp salt, or to taste
Put all ingredients into a pot and heat to boiling. Cover and lower heat to a simmer. Cook for 40 to 50 minutes, until water is absorbed and rice is tender. (You may also do this in a rice cooker.) Keep warm until ready to use.