The wet pavement outside my window, the gray skies, the wind that ruffles the (few) trees on my city streets…these are the things that make me want to entrench myself in the kitchen and make things like soup and stews and braises. I have a slab of pork belly in the freezer from a new purveyor that I am itching to roast long and slow, and to attempt to finally get the crackling right. This weather makes me want to roast a whole chicken in my cast iron pot, tucked into a milk bath with some sage and lemon. I want to make banana cake, or a messy apple galette, and eat this warm out of the oven.
These are the things that run through my head when the weather takes a melancholic turn.
When, really, I should be thinking of (finally) getting some proper rain shoes…or paying more attention to remembering to stick an umbrella in my car.
Anyway. Warming, slow-cooked, hearty meals will need to wait because one's workload does not necessarily listen to the weather reports. Deliverables don’t realize that the rains just beg for a 7-hour shoulder of lamb to be lovingly cooked. And as I rush back home to a mountain of emails, a grossly over-sized to-do list, and 30 minutes to get something on the table, I know (with much regret) that these drawn-out, dawdling dishes will just have to wait.
If you find yourselves in similar situations, as I know a lot of working mothers do, then this is for you. It is a simple and easy (and delicious!) stir-fry that is ready in minutes. It can be paired with almost anything. And it can be later built upon to make other dishes.
Also, as a bonus, mushrooms still do seem like “rainy day” food, calling to mind wet forests and cozy hiding places.
Asian Style Garlic Mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 8-10 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 250 grams Shiitake mushrooms
- 250 grams Oyster mushrooms
- 250 grams Shimeji mushrooms
- 1/4 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice
- 1-1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- optional: sesame seeds for garnish
- Bring a skillet or wok to medium high heat. When hot add the canola oil and swirl the pan. Add the garlic to the pan and let this sauté a bit, just until they release their fragrance but before they brown.
- Add the shiitake mushrooms to the pan and toss to coat with the garlicky oil. Fry for a couple of minutes then add the oyster mushrooms. Toss and fry for a couple minutes more then add the shimeji mushrooms. The pan may seem dry, and if so just add a tablespoon or two of water. And make sure to keep tossing the mushrooms around so they all get evenly cooked.
- When the mushrooms have softened, add the Chinese 5 spice and mix well. Then add the soy sauce and sesame oil and mix thoroughly. Remove from heat and garnish with sesame seeds if you have them around.
When I made this we had it with fried bangus (milkfish) on one day and as a side for steak on another. But really, it can complement a plethora of dishes, or, on its own piled on some brown rice, or atop some soba noodles, maybe with a squirt of chili oil, serve as a tasty vegetarian main course.
Another thing you can do, if things are extra busy, is make a double batch and use it throughout week in different dishes. Here are some ideas:
- Heat some of the mushrooms with cream in a pan to turn it into a pasta sauce
- Fold some mushrooms into egg for a tasty omelet
- Pile on toast and top with a very runny fried egg and a drizzle of sriracha for a quick lunch
- Add it to some broth, along with some sliced vegetables and egg noodles for a comforting bowl of noodle soup
- Use them to top a salad
- Bulk up a veggie stir-fry with them
- Add to a pan of bistek Tagalog at the last minute
- Warm and pile onto bruschetta for surprise guests
- At the end of the week add it, along with other leftovers, to a big wok of fried rice!
These mushrooms are from the charming folk at the Ministry of Mushrooms, where I get most, if not all, of my fresh mushroom needs. They deliver boxes of lovely mushrooms (you can choose a mix you like, or all one kind) right to your doorstep…need I say more? If you are a busy human like me “we deliver” are magic words. It’s also nice to support local purveyors. Plus, their mushrooms are indeed fine, fine specimens.
Hope you are having a great week and that this recipe saves you a bit of time…time to do your nails, or have an extra game of tag with your little ones, or time to send off a blog entry! One of these days I promise a slow-cooked something…until then this will have to do.