Friday, June 6, 2014

Week 2 - bbq mushroom sandwich, beans and greens

I am well aware that the two recipes I'm sharing today are typically made with pork products. And honestly, I'm sure they taste better that way. But! Vegetarians don't often get to eat tasty sandwiches, and I really love this recipe. I use a decent amount of tamari in both dishes to try and get a salty/smoky/savory flavor. You can replace with soy sauce, but I really like tamari because it's concentrated and I think imparts more flavor for its salt content, if that makes any sense. I made a quick BBQ-style sauce for the sandwich, but if you have a bottled or homemade one that you like just replace the sauce I make here with 1/2 C of your choice.

By the way, this is my "trick" for cooking dried beans. It goes quickly and there's no soaking or planning ahead required, only time. And obviously, it takes like 3000x as long as just opening a can, but since I'm a vegetarian and beans are often a main component of my main dishes, I like to cook them from dried myself so I can control texture, salt content, flavor, etc. It really is so easy to do it this way, honestly I'm not too sure what all the soaking, draining, and soaking is about really.

Beans and greens:
-1/2 C dried beans. I used beautiful heirloom beans called good mother stallard beans (who knew?) but pinto, navy, cannellini or kidney beans would be great.
-1 bunch collard greens, about 10 large leaves
-1 clove of garlic, peeled and left whole
-generous pinch of salt
-splash of tamari

Rinse and pick through the beans, discarding any stones or broken beans. Fill your largest pot about 2/3 of the way full, add beans and garlic clove and set to boil on high heat (it's going to seem like way too much water, but remember you'll add the greens later, and the large volume seems important for this quicker cooking process for some reason). When the beans come to a boil, leave boiling for a solid minute stirring semi frequently. Reduce the heat to low, stir and cover. Leave simmering for about 40 minutes, until the beans start to soften. This means you *could* chew and eat one successfully (i.e. without choking or breaking a tooth) but they're still not soft enough to eat in the final dish. When the beans reach this point, add in the salt, stir, and cover again. Cook undisturbed for another 20 to 30 minutes, longer if they seemed to have a long way to go when you tasted them. Meanwhile, cut all the ribs out of your collard greens. If you're obsessive like me, you'll cut all the leaves in half, stack them, cut them in half again, and slice thin even ribbons (see above). If you're not obsessive, you'll just tear or chop all the leaves into small, bite-sized pieces. Rinse the collard greens in a colander under plenty of running water and leave to drain. After those 20 to 30 minutes are up, add all of the collard greens to the pot, stir, and cover again for another 20 minutes or until the beans and the greens are cooked to your liking. Drain with the colander, pick out the garlic clove and discard it, then drizzle beans and greens with tamari to taste. Makes about 3 or 4 servings as a side dish.

BBQ mushroom sandwich:
-1 lb mushrooms, any kind or a mix. Go cheap! I used crimini.
-3 cloves garlic

-1 TBSP tomato paste
-1 TBSP molasses (I have blackstrap, any kind is fine though)
-2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
-1 TBSP dijon mustard
-2 TBSP tamari
-1 TBSP olive oil
-1 tsp smoked paprika

-4 hamburger buns, quarters of a baguette, whatever you like to eat sandwiches on

Wipe mushrooms and caps with a damp paper towel or cloth. Don't go crazy here, just gently brush away dirt clumps, etc. Slice all of the mushrooms into a fine dice, long thin matchstick shapes, or a combo of both. It doesn't matter how perfect this looks, as long as the pieces are relatively small, because they'll be cooked down and stacked on the sandwich. Peel and finely dice the garlic.

Mix together all of the remaining ingredients (except the buns) to make a quick BBQ sauce. Stir vigorously with a fork to combine. You can play around with this ratio to your own taste, this is just a sweet but mostly salty balance that I really like. You could replace the paprika with chili powder, just be aware that some chili powders contain salt (and so do tomato paste and dijon mustard!) so you might want to dial back on the tamari.

Take a large frying pan with a lid, add a small splash of olive oil, and set over medium heat. When the oil is hot, slowly add all of the mushrooms. Stir, and leave to sweat it out for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring semi-frequently and adjusting the heat so that they don't burn or stick. During this time they will shrink dramatically and release a lot of water. When the pan has more or less dried out again, add the garlic and the BBQ sauce and stir. Cook at a simmer for 20 minutes, stirring to make sure they don't burn. Taste and see if the mushrooms are cooked to a texture you like. You want the mixture to still be sauce-y, because that mushroom-infused sauce is the tastiest part! Turn off the heat, and pile about 1/4 of the mushroom mixture onto each bun or bread slice and serve.

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