Vegetarian Pho

I’ve been musing about soup as seasonal comfort food ever since the weather turned chilly, but after having pho (pronounced “fuh”) tonight for the first time in my life, I now realize you truly don’t know soup as comfort food until you experience this Vietnamese rice noodle and broth concoction. On the day of our first snowfall, which was accompanied by sleet and icy winds, this recipe could only be more apropos if one had a cold—it would be the perfect food-as-medicine meal!

In the past, I’ve just skipped over the pho section on the menu at Vietnamese restaurants because it’s always been made with meat and meat broth. But a few weeks ago when I was reading 101 Cookbooks’ most recent favorites list, it included a “to cook” link that brought me to a vegetarian pho recipe from, a new-to-me blog. Upon reading the ingredients, I could practically smell the fragrant broth. And vibrant fresh veggies and herbs, plus brown rice noodles (pasta—yay!) had me moving this recipe to the top of my “to cook” list.

I made the recipe pretty-much as written with the exception of using baby bok choy in place of the called-for head of bok choy because the co-op didn’t have it. You’ll like this any time of year, but it will be an especially welcoming meal if you’re having weather like we are. In addition to being vegetarian, it’s vegan and gluten-free, and after seeing how much my non-vegetarian husband loved it, you’ll likely satisfy just about anyone. Enjoy!

Vegetarian Pho

From, as adapted from Green Kitchen Travels by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl

2 large onions, peeled and halved

A nub of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced

4 cinnamon sticks

4 star anise

4 cloves

4 cardamom pods

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

4 large carrots, peeled and chopped

1 fennel bulb, quartered, stalks removed

1 tsp minced garlic

1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce (tamari is a gluten-free soy sauce)

8 cups vegetable stock

4 heads of baby bok choy, halved

Fresh basil

Fresh mint

2 cups beansprouts

Sliced jalapeño peppers

Several limes, quartered

Thin sweet onion slices

1 pound brown rice noodles

Sriracha sauce (optional)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place onions and ginger slices onto a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 10-12 minutes until the edges are starting to brown.

Place spices in a stock pot and dry roast until fragrant, stirring to prevent from burning. Add vegetable stock, tamari, carrots, fennel, and roasted onions and ginger. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Strain soup base through a fine mesh strainer to remove vegetables and debris, then return strained broth to the pot and reheat. Cook noodles according to packet instructions. Prepare serving bowls with cooked noodles, bok choy, beansprouts, onion, fresh herbs, jalapeño, and lime wedges. When ready to serve, pour over hot broth and serve immediately. Garnish with sriracha, if desired. Makes 6-8 servings.



Spicy Curried Sweet Potato Soup

Spicy Curried Sweet Potato Soup
The cooling temperatures, shorter days and changing leaves have got me craving soup. A fall soup, of course! In years past squash soup has been my go-to when the chilly weather arrives. Thinking I might switch that up a bit, I considered a beet soup, but then I spied some beautiful sweet potatoes at the farmers’ market. Decision made!

This soup was our first course when Pete’s parents came for lunch last weekend. It was so good, I had to cook up another batch for this week’s lunches and added a little kick with cayenne pepper, making a really good soup downright fabulous. You can vary the amount depending on your heat preference, or leave it out altogether if you prefer.

Topping off the soup Monday was a little dollop of Greek yogurt and fennel fronds. Today, I threw in some leftover cooked wild rice before I heated it up and it was a great combination. Use your imagination or just have the soup plain, regardless, the flavors will be like a warm blanket snuggling you through the change of seasons. Enjoy!

Spicy Curried Sweet Potato Soup

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 tablespoon good quality curry powder (I used Madras-style curry)

¼ – ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into ½” size pieces

4 cups vegetable broth

1 cup coconut milk (regular or light)

Salt & pepper to taste

Greek yogurt, fennel fronds, toasted pumpkin seeds or almonds, for garnish

Cooked wild rice makes a good addition for a more filling version (stir in wild rice after soup is done and heat through)

Heat oil in stock pot over medium heat. Cook onion until it starts to soften, about 3-5 minutes. Add curry and cayenne and stir, cooking for about 30 seconds, until spices are fragrant. Add sweet potatoes and vegetable broth. Bring soup to a low boil and reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until sweet potatoes are tender.

Turn off heat and blend soup, using an immersion blender, until completely smooth and velvety. Add coconut milk and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve garnished with a small dollop of Greek yogurt and fennel fronds and/or mix in some cooked wild rice for a more filling soup. Makes about 6 good size servings.



Arrabiata Sauce with Pasta

Arrabbiata sauce and pasta
My house still smells of Italy! The aromas of garlic, olive oil, red pepper, and tomatoes floated from my kitchen as the sauce cooked and spread through every room. This Belgian-French-Irish girl actually feels Italian! And you happily will too if you make Arrabbiata sauce.

Just a few fresh ingredients come together for one of the most flavorful (and spicy) sauces in Mediterranean cooking. Roma tomatoes at the peak of freshness are easy to find at the farmers’ market, as are local garlic and flat-leaf parsley.

Roma tomatoes
Then you only need good quality extra-virgin olive oil, dried red pepper, sea salt, plus whole wheat penne (the pasta traditionally served with Arrabbiata sauce) or rotini (or use your favorite gluten-free pasta, if desired) for a dish to pair with a glass of robust red wine–a truly perfect meal (especially if you dine al fresco). And it’s so easy! Enjoy!

Garlic and red pepper

CookingJar o'sauce

Arrabiata Sauce with Pasta

2 ¼ to 2 ½ pounds ripe roma or plum tomatoes

2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

4 large or 6 smaller cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped

Dried red pepper, crushed to make 2-3 teaspoons (depending on your preferred level of heat)

1 teaspoon sea salt

Chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley

1 pound whole wheat penne or rotini pasta, cooked al dente (or use your favorite gluten-free pasta)

Wash tomatoes and, using a sharp knife, score each with an X just through the skin. Blanch tomatoes in boiling water for about 30 seconds. Transfer to ice water to stop the cooking for about 30 seconds. Drain and peel the tomatoes from where the skin curls back at the X. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper. Cook for several minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes and salt. Cook over medium heat for about 20-25 minutes, breaking up tomatoes as they cook and the sauce reduces. For a chunky sauce, crush the tomatoes with a spoon or potato masher. If you’d like a smoother sauce, remove from heat and process with an immersion blender until smooth.

Serve in bowls over al dente pasta. Sprinkle with chopped Italian parsley. Makes about six main dish servings. Cin cin!



Spring Roll Lettuce Wraps

Lettuce Wrap
A twist on a spring roll, this recipe was inspired by a
Spring Roll Salad in Kowalski’s Market most recent magazine. Fresh herbs, summer veggies, cold rice noodles and spicy peanut sauce all rolled up in a crisp lettuce leaf—the perfect appetizer or first course with cocktails on the patio as the weather proclaims it’s just about June! Gluten-free and vegan too, and totally delicious. Enjoy!
Lettuce leaves

Spring Roll Lettuce Wraps

8 oz. rice noodles or vermicelli, broken half or quarters
1 cup shredded carrot
1 cup chopped cucumber
¾ cup sliced green onions
¼ cup chopped cilantro
¼ cup chopped mint
¼ cup chopped basil

½ cup grapeseed oil
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons, smooth, natural peanut butter
1 tablespoon Thai sweet chili sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon Asian chili-garlic paste
A dash of salt

¾ cup salted peanuts, salted
8-10 romaine lettuce leaves

Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water and drain again.

In large bowl, combine carrot, cucumber, green onions, cilantro, mint and basil. Add well-drained noodles and use a tongs to mix the noodles into the veggie-herb mixture.

In a small bowl, whisk together the grapeseed oil, lime juice, peanut butter, Thai sweet chili sauce, rice vinegar, maple syrup, chili-garlic paste, and salt. Pour half the sauce over the noodle mixture and gently use the tongs to incorporate it. Add about half the peanuts and toss again.

To assemble, place a romaine leaf on a plate and, using the tongs, set some of the noodle mixture in the middle. Drizzle with a little more sauce and top with chopped peanuts. Fold leaf over the filling. If the leaf is extra-large, you may want to cut the wrap in half to make it easier to pick up and eat. Makes 8-10 wraps.

A New Year’s Eve Dinner Party: Grilled Pear Crostini and Winter Vegetable Israeli Couscous

Happy 2014 to you all! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season full of family, friends, love and great food!

Pete and I were fortunate to have a little vacation time right after Christmas and spent a couple nights in favorite cities sandwiched around a couple nights at the cabin (while Otis enjoyed a little vacation of his own at the pet resort). Arriving at the cold cabin, it was around 30 F. degrees outside, but even colder inside. After Pete got an inferno going in the wood stove, the temperature climbed to a balmy 32!Thermometer (940x1280)

Gradually the warmth spread throughout the cabin and we had a comfortable evening listening to the WTIP’s eclectic programming and relearning backgammon (neither of us had played since college!). The next day was an active one spent running and snowshoeing in gently falling snow, but the outside temps plummeted that afternoon and by our second morning “roughing” it, outside it was -15 F., which made it all the more challenging to keep the cabin interior toasty, but we remained close to warm—lots of layers helped!

The sub-zero temperatures rewarded us with stunning views lakeside. Ice formations were spectacular and the steam rising off the warmer-than-air-temp lake gave the sunny morning an extraordinary look.


Back home now for a couple days, we decided a New Year’s Eve dinner in was the celebration of choice. One of my favorite Christmas gifts, from my brother and sister-in-law with impeccable taste, was Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi by Yotam Ottolenghi. Trying out a few new recipes was a perfect way to spend the evening.

Grilled Pear Crostini was our first course. Adapted for taste preferences and what we had on hand, this was both pretty and delicious, and is an appetizer that would go over big at any dinner party. Make sure your pears aren’t too ripe or they will fall apart on the grill pan.
??????????????????????OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur second course was a re-do of the salad I made for Christmas, an orange-pistachio salad, flecked with red onion and tossed with orange juice-Dijon vinaigrette. Recipe coming in a future post.

A bold and hearty Winter Vegetable Israeli Couscous was our entrée. Spicy and filling, the perfect dish for a celebration dinner on a night where temperatures continue to remain stuck below zero. Wanting to avoid a trip the grocery store, I adapted it for what I had in my fridge and pantry, and have included both recipes as I made them.

Dessert was thawed from the freezer—leftovers of our Christmas Apple Pear Galette with Cinnamon-Buttermilk Glaze, paired with a scoop of vanilla bean ice-cream. After dinner champagne by the fire brought us to a midnight toast and welcome of the New Year. May it be your best ever!

Grilled Pear Crostini
Makes 2-4 servings

1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4-6 slices whole wheat baguette, cut 1 ½ inches thick
2 semi-ripe pears (unpeeled)
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
4-5 ounces good quality mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon, for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a food processor, process pine nuts, 4 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, and a bit of salt and black pepper to a coarse paste. Spread a thin layer of paste on each slice of baguette. Place bread slices on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

Meanwhile, cut each pear lengthwise into 6 wedges and remove the core with a knife. Toss the pear wedges in a bowl with the remaining tablespoon olive oil, sugar, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt.

Heat a ridged cast iron grill pan over high heat until very hot. Using a tongs, place the pear slices in the pan and cook for about one minute to make char marks, then turn with tongs and cook for one minute longer on the other side. Remove the pears carefully with tongs.

To assemble crostini, sprinkle each toasted bread slice with cheese and top with a couple pear slices. Bake for 3-4 minutes, until cheese is somewhat melted. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chopped tarragon and freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.

Winter Vegetable Israeli Couscous
Serves 4

2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
10-12 baby blonde or gold potatoes, cut into quarters
4 large or 8 small shallots, peeled and cut into ½ inch chunks
2 cinnamon sticks
¼ teaspoon five spice powder
3 bay leaves
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
¼ teaspoon hot paprika (or sweet paprika, plus a pinch of cayenne)
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 ¼ cups cubed winter squash or pumpkin

½ cup golden raisins
1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained, reserving liquid
Vegetable broth or stock to make 1 ½ cups when combined with reserved bean liquid

1 cup Israeli couscous (or regular or whole wheat couscous; quinoa for a gluten-free version, cooked according to package directions)
large pinch of saffron
1 ¼ cup vegetable broth or stock
2 tablespoons butter, broken into pieces

1 tablespoon harissa
Zest of half a lemon
Freshly squeezed juice of half a lemon

Chopped tarragon, Italian parsley, or cilantro for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large baking dish, combine the carrots, potatoes, and shallots with cinnamon sticks, five spice powder, bay leaves, three tablespoons olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and the remaining spices, until vegetables are evenly coated. Cook for 15 minutes.

Add the cubed squash, tossing to incorporate, and continue cooking for about 35 minutes, until vegetables have softened, but are not mushy. Add raisins, chickpeas, and broth with reserved chickpea liquid. Cook an additional 10 minutes, or until heated through. Stir the harissa, lemon juice, and lemon zest into the vegetables. Taste and add salt, if needed.

About 10 minutes before vegetables are done, heat to boiling the 1 ¼ cup vegetable broth, remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, saffron and a pinch of salt. Add Israeli couscous, and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the butter and stir into couscous and cover until butter is melted.

To serve, place several large spoonsful of couscous in a shallow bowl. Top with a large ladle full of vegetable mixture, including liquid. Garnish with chopped tarragon, Italian parsley, or cilantro. Enjoy!

Cold Spicy Soba Noodle Bowl and Diner en Blanc


Saturday night we had the great fortune to be part of an incredible event. It was an exciting, elegant, sophisticated, yet down-to-earth, welcoming, bring-your-own-everything, leave-no-trace affair. Diner en Blanc Twin Cities 2013.

Diner en Blanc (Dinner in White), basically a flash mob dinner party, originated in Paris 25 years ago, when a group of people decided to meet up for a picnic and the leader of the group suggested they dress in all white so they would be able to find each other easily. A mystery couple coordinated the Twin Cities’ first Diner en Blanc in 2011, with the secret location only announced an hour prior, and each year it has grown in size, with an estimated 365 white clad revelers in attendance this year. In addition to wearing white, table linens and accessories are generally white too, including candelabras and flowers, if you so choose. You bring everything—food & beverage, tables, chairs, table accessories, and when you leave, you haul it all with you, including garbage, hence the leave-no-trace description.

From a distance (400x249)

My brother and sister-in-law have attended the last two years and seeing their beautiful photos made me want to be a part of this unique celebration. Originally scheduled in June, it was postponed due to weather and my excitement only escalated during the last month. Pete was a little reluctant about the wearing white thing, but was totally on board otherwise. One benefit of the rescheduled date was time to invite more people—this is definitely a the-more-the-merrier type of gathering.

Our group of 10 assembled at my brother’s centrally located house to await the location announcement by the mystery hosts via Facebook. Promptly at 6:30, it was posted: The Sculpture Garden at the Walker Art Center, right by the famous Spoonbridge and Cherry. I’ve lived in Minnesota for 17 years and in the Twin Cities for 5, but have never been there. I’ve come close though—each time I’ve run the Twin Cities Marathon the course goes by the sculpture garden, but either it’s not visible or I was just too focused on the race to notice.


Scott candles

Attendees descended upon the sculpture garden en masse, arranging their elegant dining sets in a seemingly endless row, and eventually, more rows. There was much mingling and checking out others’ creativity that ranged from basic white table linens to small and large candelabras, gorgeous white flower arrangements, white-bowed chair covers, and one group even had a tall canopy frame above their table with huge Japanese lanterns; white, of course! It was fun seeing such elegance.


And the food! Everyone had beautiful food! From simple to super fancy multi-course gourmet, it was a feast for the eyes! My brother, the coffee connoisseur, even had a cool hand-held pump thing that magically turned a thermos of hot water into little cups of robust espresso.


The weather couldn’t have been more perfect and as dusk fell, we were treated to an almost full moon that made a stunning backdrop for sparklers, which are a tradition at Diner en Blanc. There is something absolutely magical about the sight of hundreds of people in white waving sparklers in the twilight amid the boisterous sounds of a giant outdoor party! We can’t wait to do it again next year!


CandlesOur menu fell in the middle in terms of elaborateness. Along with Prosecco and Rosé of Côtes du Rhône, we had an appetizer of the Vegetable Pot Stickers I blogged about a while back, and a simple salad of cucumber chunks tossed with a little rice vinegar, mirin, fresh dill and salt & pepper.


Dessert was the Three Berry Buttermilk Bundt Cake I posted last week and it truly was the best cake I’ve had in years! Our entreé was a spicy cold soba noodle dish filled with fresh vegetables, marinated, baked tofu, and crunchy cashews dressed with a zesty tahini sauce. If you don’t want to take the time to marinate and bake the tofu, buy already baked tofu with Asian seasoning and that will work just fine. Feel free to vary the vegetables to your liking and to what you have on hand. Also if you can’t find soba (buckwheat) noodles, whole wheat spaghetti or linguine makes a great substitute. Enjoy!


Spicy Cold Sesame Soba Noodle Bowl

12 oz. soba noodles or whole wheat spaghetti or linguine
2 tablespoons sesame oil

¾ cup tamari or soy sauce
3-4 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 ½ tablespoon rice or white wine vinegar
3 teaspoons minced ginger root
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons sweetener (honey, maple syrup, agave, sucanat, organic sugar—your preference)
1-2 teaspoons of Asian chili paste (depending on your preferred spice level)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 bunch green onions, sliced
A big handful of snow pea pods, sliced
2 carrots, shredded or diced
½ red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 cup thinly sliced green cabbage
4 red radishes, diced

½ – ¾ lbs. baked tofu (recipe follows)

½ cup chopped, roasted cashews
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds

Cook noodles al dente according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Toss with 2 tablespoons sesame oil. Chill several hours or up to a day.

Just before serving, whisk together sauce ingredients (you can make this ahead and refrigerate, but bring to room temperature and whisk it again before using). Stir green onions, snow peas, carrots, bell pepper, cabbage, radishes, tofu, cashews and sesame seeds into noodles, reserving a little bit of each. Pour sauce over noodles and toss really well. Sprinkle reserved ingredients on top. Makes 6 servings.

Asian Baked Tofu
Adapted from PBS

16 oz. extra firm tofu
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon sriracha hot chili sauce
pinch of garlic powder
pinch of onion powder
pinch of sea salt

To remove moisture from the tofu, line a plate with a couple layers of paper towel and place tofu block on top. Lay a couple more layers of paper towel on top of tofu and place another plate over it. Weigh it down with a heavy can or cast iron pan and let sit for 20-30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray or line with parchment. Cut tofu into 1” slabs.

In bowl, whisk together marinade ingredients.


Place tofu slabs in a ziplock bag or a large shallow dish. Pour marinade ingredients over tofu and let sit for 20-30 minutes. Remove tofu from marinade (reserve marinade) and lay flat on the baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping each piece of tofu midway through and brush with reserved marinade. Cool tofu on wire rack. Once cool, slice tofu into bit sized pieces.

Baked tofu

Spicy Mock Duck Sloppy Joes


Before our recent Fargo trip, I made a list in my head of restaurants to check out while we were there; places that were either new since our last visit or those I’d been wanting to try, but just hadn’t yet. Mezzaluna, Maxwell’s, Sarello’s (actually across the river in Moorhead, MN) and Red Raven Espresso Parlor topped the list.

Disappointingly, Sarello’s was closed all week for the holiday and with limited time, we never made it to Maxwell’s. However, we were able to cross Mezzaluna and Red Raven off our list, and we’ll definitely go back to both. Mezzaluna was a great place for happy hour with a bar menu that included a very well-seasoned, hearty portabella mushroom “burger” with homemade tots—either potato-asiago or sweet potato (I got one, my mom the other, and we shared—I preferred the sweet potato). Some nice wine and beer options were discounted and their dessert menu had several tiny, two-bite-sized selections, so heck, why not? Two bites of blueberry pie with lemon curd bliss!

But my meal at Red Raven was the one that left me craving it over and over again! The Sloppy Duck (mock duck) sandwich was spicy deliciousness that I knew I must attempt to recreate at home. The Red Raven Espresso Parlor is a worker-owned and run espresso place in an old fire station with a funky interior displaying the works of local artists, and out the side door, a peaceful, flower-filled courtyard patio. They also have live music, in fact, that evening was to be open mic night for original music—how cool! The food appeared to be exclusively vegetarian, which meant I had choices! I love choices!

Not expecting such a generous-sized sandwich, I added a side of quinoa tabouli and while the sandwich with its accompanying baby carrots and pickle spears was a meal in itself, I wasn’t sorry. This was the best and freshest tasting tabouli I’ve ever had! Pete’s artichoke and hummus sandwich was excellent too, but didn’t linger in my memory like the Sloppy Duck. The day was too hot and humid for the Red Raven’s namesake espresso, but our thirst was thoroughly quenched with large glasses of Italian soda over ice—we both chose cherry and it was the perfect refreshing beverage to cool us off and balance the bold flavors of our lunch!

Here’s my attempt at duplicating that crave-worthy sandwich. I think it’s close, and more importantly, it’s delicious! Both Pete and I enthusiastically agreed!

Spicy Mock Duck Sloppy Joes
The Red Raven’s version was served on sliced bread—good quality, artisan bread. It was wonderful, but really too filling for me. I made the switch to a small, crusty whole wheat bun, but if you’re hankering for a large meal, big slices of bread would be a great choice! Mock duck, which is made mostly from wheat gluten and spices, can be found canned in the Asian or gourmet section of a well-stocked grocery store. It also can be found at Asian markets or your local co-op or natural food store, but my experience is that it’s about half the price if you can find it at a grocery store. The Cub Foods near me has it for less than $2.50/can and I’ve see it priced over $5/can other places.

2 10 oz. cans mock duck, drained, liquid reserved
1 tablespoon neutral oil, such as grape seed or safflower
1 medium onion, chopped
½ red bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, minced, include all the seeds (yee haw!)
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup organic ketchup
1 ½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 tablespoon vegetarian Worcestershire sauce (Annie’s Naturals is my favorite)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon organic brown sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ to 1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Crusty, toasted whole wheat buns or artisan bread slices, for serving

Placed drained mock duck in bowl of food processor. Pulse a few times to break it up. Add a little of the mock duck liquid and process for just a couple seconds. Continue until it’s kind of a cooked hamburger consistency. Set aside.

Mock duck can

Mock duck

Mock duck meat

Heat a large pan over medium heat. When hot, add oil. When oil is hot, add onion and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add bell pepper, jalapeño, and garlic and stir to combine. Add remaining ingredients, excluding buns/bread. Mix together and increase heat until mixture boils. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer mixture for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove cover and simmer 10 minutes more. If too thick, stir in a little of the remaining mock duck liquid.

Serve hot on crusty, toasted whole wheat buns or bread, topped with pickles if you like, such as these. A fresh salad of julienned kohlrabi, scallion, and leaf lettuce with a light dressing rounds out the meal. Serves 4-6. And it’s even better the next day!

second day