Cookbook author Mindy Toomay's blog about eating for health, cooking with spirit, and celebrating life in northern California. Here she dishes up food rants and raves, recipes, and plenty of kitchen wisdom.

By your own efforts, waken yourself, watch yourself, and live joyfully.
-- The Dhammapada

Why not make a daily pleasure out of a daily necessity?
-- Peter Mayle


Shiitake 4ever

In my research over the last several years about longevity-enhancing foods, certain kinds of mushrooms are frequently mentioned. This is because people who live in Japan, and specificallly on the Japanese island of Okanawa, have a great life expectancy and eat those mushrooms on a regular basis. Maitake, reishi, and shiitake top the list.

I don't know much about the first two, because they don't show up often in produce markets. But I keep both fresh and dried shiitake on hand most of the time. In addition to their youth-promoting reputation, their intense depth of flavor, "meaty" texture, and affinity for strong seasonings makes them terrific ingredients for the health-conscious creative cook.

Here are two short articles that explain some of the shiitake's benefits, one from the University of Wisconsin and one from Whole Foods . Add shiitake mushrooms to your diet and be well for a long time to come. Organically grown shiitakes are readily available (at least in California) and you can even grow them in your back yard or kitchen, on a specially inoculated log.

Tonight I used shiitakes in the simplest of dishes. Over medium heat, I lightly sauteed some finely diced tofu with sliced fresh shiitake in a touch of roasted sesame oil for a couple of minutes, then added a thinly sliced clove of garlic, a sprinkle of tamari, and some curry powder and sauteed for a couple of minutes longer. I then added about 1/4 cup of water and covered the pan. When it started to sizzle, I knew the water was almost gone and removed the lid, added some pre-steamed baby string beans, and gently stirred until the pan was pretty much dry. After transferring the mixture to a serving dish, I squeezed on a little fresh lime juice and added some strips of roasted red bell pepper. And it was good.


At 1:06 AM, Blogger Kelvin said...

Kia Ora (Hello) from that krazy blogger down under in New Zealand. I haven't "tried tofu" yet, but.....I will !!! I feel that we could learn a lot from the Japanese way of cooking. I'll send you an email to join my foodie blog if you wish. I wouldn't mind what you post - recipes; you can mention your recipe books, what-ever you like. You have really great food blogs.

At 12:57 PM, Anonymous Pearl said...

That sounds very good. I've got some dried shitakes for the first time and will see what I'll make of them.

At 4:17 PM, Blogger Chloe said...

i feel healthier just by looking at it!
i don't know if i can find shiitakes in greece. Of course asian shops store them but not supermarkets, so i have to plan ahead.

At 9:52 PM, Blogger KaiVegan said...

Looks really good, Mindy. Another wonderful dish to try. Thanks!


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