Tag Archives: mushrooms

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I have something to confess- I hate holidays. I mean I LOVE Halloween, but I am not fond of the food traditions for American holidays. Unless I am making my own spread, I am not a fan of Thanksgiving. It usually involves me asking my husband what he wants, and then making it. My family on the other hand- seems to love it. But if you left it to me, I would rather be eating Chinese take out. I am pretty sure last year we had no Christmas dinner planned with family members and I told Jon all I wanted to Chinese take out. He thought I was kidding. I WAS NOT. We got home from his parents, and I sulked that it was too late to get general tso tofu, and he just stared at me in disbelief. He offered to get Chinese the next day, and it is never the same.

So my happy vegan memory was when I was able to get that Chinese take out. I can’t remember the exact year, but at some point in high school, I remember spending the 4th of July with my Mother. It was pretty un-American. We ordered Chinese food, watched Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, then watched the fireworks from our front yard (barely.) *sigh* Those days are over. Especially my favorite thing about the 4th of July, the fireworks display in Red Bank has been stopped, which is shame.

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I don’t know what I got that night, but there is a good chance it was spring rolls, various apps, and possibly moo shu. I don’t know when I first discovered this dish, but it is one of my take out favorites. For starters you get SO much of it. It is pretty much a veggie stir fry that you serve in little pancakes with hoisin sauce. Traditionally you use pork, but any Chinese take out place will make it vegan, or any meat of choice. 

I rarely get it anymore, mostly because I might get Chinese take out once or twice a year. But making it at home is super easy. In fact, it is much faster when you use a food processor to shred all the veggies. Make prep easy, and the clean up mostly just a food processor, wok, and cutting board. To make the recipe easier I used pre-baked tofu from a local tofu factory. But you can make your own 5-spice baked tofu.

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Most everything is cheap and easily accessible in an American super market. But there are two ingredients that might be hard. The American version of this dish is served with a thin Chinese pancake called a spring pancake. I’ve read reviews saying you can find these in the refridgerator section of Asian food markets. You can use a flour tortilla that you would use for a taco (that’s what I did) or you can serve it next to rice, which is the traditional Chinese way of serving the dish.

I used small oyster mushrooms for this dish, but you can use any type of mushrooms you like. I would try and stick to something like button mushrooms, shiitake, or baby bellas. Thinly slice the mushrooms so they are small and fit well in the wraps.

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I remember the first time I had green bean casserole. I didn’t have it until I was in my 20s, it was never a Thanksgiving staple in my family. My brother in law grew up eating it and requested it for the dinner spread. My sister read the can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup, frustrated by the simplicity. Really just a can? What are “french onions”? We all gathered around the table and tasted the dish. My sisters and I all agreed it was a mistake and voted off the dish from future dinners.

I didn’t listen. I couldn’t shake off has a very classic dish could be so bad. This prompted me to make a 100% from scratch version of the dish, and made it vegan. Each year I kept tweaking the recipe, and trying out new methods. This year, as I made a pre-Thanksgiving testers batch, I found the perfect match.

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I debated posting this dish since the photos didn’t turn out so great. I thought I could wait till after Thanksgiving and post it with better photos. I mean, this is a dish you could make for Christmas, right? But then after discussing Thanksgiving dinner with my Mother-in-Law, it seemed that she had plans for her own green bean dish. Posting the dish was a now or never deal.

This is a great dish if you are the guest invited to Thanksgiving. It isn’t hard to make, but it does take some time and planning. First you have to roast the onions, then you have to cook the green beans, then you need to make the sauce, then combine into the casserole dish. So it is great to make, getting all the messy work out of the way of the host. Even better is that it is a vegan dish that doesn’t seem “healthy.”

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The plan is simple. Bread and bake onion rings in the oven. Cook the green beans by boiling them for 5 minutes, or use frozen beans (fresh will give the best results). On a stove top make a mushroom-miso like gravy. Cover the green beans with the “gravy” and top with onions. Heat again in the oven. Simple enough.

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jajangmyeon1 So the other day I was making Jajangmyeon and went into my blog archives for the recipe that I posted almost a year ago. To my horror, the instructions were TERRIBLE! I mean so bad that I was embarrassed to keep the recipe up. The image was broken, and the original photo was terrible. I wouldn’t think so much improvement with my posts would happen in such a short amount of time. But Jajangmyeon is one of my favorite dishes, and I just had to keep the world in the loop of this yummy dish. I originally grew up eating this because of my Aunt Hannah. She is Korean immigrant who married into my family. She would bring packages that looked like ramen that she called “Black Spaghetti.” She taught me her special way of cooking them. If I was in an Asian food market I would snatch up as many as I could. When I went to college in Philadelphia I had access to Korean restaurants. I became obsessed with finding one that would serve these black bean noodles. When I finally found one, I became sold on fresh jajangmyeon. They were pricey, so I learned how to make the noodles myself. Since I had it fresh, I found out those dinky ramen packets were pretty terrible. Continue reading


I first was exposed to it when I was little. My Aunt Hannah, who is Korean, brought over some “black spaghetti,” as she called it. The black spaghetti looked like packets of ramen, but instead of a soup, it was drained and covered in a sauce. I remember her teaching me the “best” way of cooking it, and going to the local Asian Market snatching them up. Fast forward to 2007. I watched the Korean Drama Coffee Prince. The first episode featured a Jjajangmyeon eat off, and dawned on me what my “black spaghetti” really was.

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At the time, there weren’t many online sources for the dish and when checking out local Korean restaurant, none actually had the dish on their menu. The reason is that Jajangmyeon is based on a Chinese dish, Zhaziangmian. The original Zhaziangmian dish uses hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and various bean pastes to get the black sauce. The Korean version uses chunjang, which is a black bean sauce that is much sweeter than it’s Chinese counterpart. There are many differences, but today, you are likely to see Jajangmyeon at a Chinese restaurant in Korea. Think of it a little bit like General Tso in the US, distinctly American in it’s own right but you won’t find it anywhere other than a Chinese food shop.

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