Tag Archives: shiitake mushrooms

Beef and Broccoli on the Grill

I christened the Weber® Wok I got at the end of last season’s grilling period with beef and broccoli. Good choice. It was really quick and really good. In hindsight, I would make one significant change to how I cooked the beef, because the grill cooks so much hotter than the indoor stovetop. I’ll add a note in the recipe on how to do that better.

Whether you’re cooking such a dish indoors or on the grill, having all the ingredients ready and at hand is important, so that nothing is overcooked while you’re fumbling for the next ingredient. I used marinated flank steak strips for the beef, but you could also use skirt steak or sirloin. I forgot to weigh or measure the mushrooms and broccoli, but have a pretty good idea of how much I used.

I chose to cook the vegetables first, so they wouldn’t cause the meat to be overdone as the broccoli cooked. When the meat was done (in a virtual minute) the vegetables were just tossed back in to reheat with the remaining sauce.

Beef and Broccoli on the Grill

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 1/2-3/4 lb flank steak cut across grain in thin strips
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar (unsweetened)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch (see note about marinade)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4-8 tablespoons vegetable oil, depending on the vegetables you use
  • 3-4 cups broccoli florets (if you use stems, plan for longer cooking)
  • 2 cups shiitake mushroom caps, sliced
  • salt & pepper
  • cooked rice for serving (I used brown basmati)


  1. Marinate the beef strips for 2-4 hours in the next 6 ingredients—soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, garlic, ginger. *Note about marinade: Usually, I like to have the cornstarch in the marinade, which thickens quickly on cooking, but the grill was too blazing hot for that and I think some of the cornstarch burned off right away. I’m suggesting instead that the cornstarch be added to the 1/2 cup water and added after the meat is cooked and the vegetables are tossed back in.
  2. Prepare grill for direct heat at about 400° using about 60 briquettes in a chimney starter. Spread the ash-covered coals in the center of the grill under the cooking grate no more than two coals high, so they don’t actually touch the bottom of the wok.
  3. Place the wok in the grill, close the cover, and heat the grill and wok to about 400°. The bottom of the Weber® Wok, a cast iron wok, sits below the grill grate; if you are using a wok of a different material and/or that sits on top of the grate, your cooking times may differ.
  4. Mushrooms: pour 2 tablespoons oil in the wok, then add the sliced mushrooms and toss for a few minutes. Mushrooms will soak up oil, as you probably know, so you’ll need more for the broccoli.
  5. Broccoli: pour in up to 2 more tablespoons oil into the wok and add broccoli florets. Toss for a few minutes, then close the grill cover for a 2-3 minutes to cook through. Alternatively, you could place a large lid on the wok itself.
  6. Scoop out the vegetables and set aside. Wipe out the wok with paper towels, if needed.
  7. Beef: Add another two tablespoons oil to the wok and allow the grill to reheat. Add the meat and marinade and spread out the meat to cook for 2-3 minutes. Alternately, you could strain the meat and marinade, adding only the meat first and the marinade after it is done.
  8. Toss in the vegetables and the 1/2 cup water and cornstarch (and the strained marinade if you did that). Toss until the sauce is thickened, which is almost instantaneous.
  9. Remove to serving bowl and serve over rice.

Don’t leave your wok on the hot grill to burn; remove it to a heatproof space to cool to make cleaning a little easier. I cleaned mine with warm water and kosher salt.




Butternut Squash Lasagna

I picked up a variety of winter squash this weekend—butternut, delicata, and spaghetti—and it’s easy to let them be the inspiration, the star in a meal. Butternut is my favorite, especially in risotto, but today, I’m making it the star of lasagna, along with bacon, sage, shiitake mushrooms, and Parmesan cheese. I’m leaving out the heavy cheeses—ricotta and mozzarella—so that the squash stands out. Still, it will be plenty rich enough, even though I’m making the béchamel with 2% milk.

The combination of squash and sage produced a sweet filling with floral notes. My husband pretended to not know what that means, although I know he knows what a flower is.

Roast the squash ahead of time:

Infuse the butter for the béchamel with sage leaves, remove, then brown the mushrooms:

Make layers of no-boil noodles, squash, bacon, béchamel, and parmesan:

Bake, covered with foil for 30 mins, then uncovered for about 20 mins or until browned and noodles are done:

Butternut Squash Lasagna

  • Servings: 6-9
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Roast Squash and Bacon

Preheat oven to 400°

about 4 lbs butternut squash (I had two medium squash)

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt & pepper

6-8 slices thick-sliced bacon

  1. Peel, seed, and cut squash into 1/2 inch dice.
  2. Toss with olive oil and spread out on non-stick baking pan or pan lined with parchment. My sheet was a little overcrowded, but it worked out fine.
  3. Roast for about 30 mins or until tender and browned.
  4. Put bacon slices on a second pan lined with non-stick foil. Put it on a second shelf or put it in the oven when the squash is done. The bacon only needs 15 mins.
  5. Set squash aside to cool or refrigerate if making another day. Chop or break bacon into small crumble.

Make Béchamel (medium white sauce)

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter

8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) all-purpose flour

salt & pepper

4 cups milk (I used 2%)

fresh sage leaves, about 6-8 leaves

2 cups sliced shiitake mushroom caps

  1. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat with sage leaves, cooking until you can smell the sage and the butter is bubbling. Remove the sage leaves.
  2. Brown the mushrooms in the butter—about 5 minutes or until browned.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste, about 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  4. Stir in flour until combined and free of lumps. You could add a little more butter or a little oil, if you think too much has been absorbed by the mushrooms. Usually if you cook them long enough, they give back the fat. You can tell if you need more if the mixture is dry and the flour cannot be completely incorporated.
  5. Slowly pour in the milk, which you can warm in the microwave first for quicker cooking. Just once, I’d like to find a measuring cup that pours without running its contents down the side and onto the stove and floor.
  6. Stir until the sauce is thickened, maybe 5-10 minutes. Set aside.

Assemble Lasagna and Bake

Preheat oven to 350° (or lower if you just made the squash and bacon)

Butter a 13″ x 9″ baking dish

1 package whole wheat, no-boil lasagna noodles

2-3 cups shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

  1. Place one cup of sauce on the bottom of the dish.
  2. Arrange three lasagna noodles over the sauce, evenly spaced in the dish. You could certainly use more if you are concerned about covering every inch of the dish, but the servings are easier to cut if the noodles are fewer.
  3. Arrange half the roasted squash over the noodles, sprinkle with half the bacon, cover with 1/3 the sauce and up to 1 cup of the cheese.
  4. Top with three more noodles and make a second layer as the first.
  5. Top the second layer of filling with three more noodles. Cover with remaining sauce and cheese.
  6. Cover dish with aluminum foil that is tented a little—it helps if the foil has a non-stick side against the casserole.
  7. Bake for at least 30 minutes.
  8. Uncover and bake for another 20-30 minutes until the top is browned and the noodles are tender.


My husband is eating out all week with job candidates, so I’m taking the opportunity to eat eggplant.

The first ratatouille, or more specifically “Ratatouille Provençale,” I ever made was from my Joy of Cooking (1967, p. 278). When I was young, I didn’t know anything about eggplant, and was surprised to see so many recipes for it in this book. The only eggplant recipes I had seen on TV were the breaded and fried sliced variety, usually smothered in tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. That did not look appetizing to me, but more like the cooks were trying to cover up something that was either tasteless or bad-tasting. When I finally decided to try this casserole, I did feel like the flavors were exotic and rich, even spicy.

I have since learned that recipes vary, and while tonight’s is very close to that first one, I’m adding some mushrooms and bacon, but skipping the zucchini, and the peppers and onions were roasted on the grill last night, which should add a nice twist to the dish. Next time, I’ll try grilling all the ingredients and then doing a quick combine and simmer at the end. Parmesan cheese and olive oil will round out the flavors, but I will miss the parsley I lost in my recent freezer disaster. Some dried marjoram will fill in for the herb.


  • Servings: 4 as main dish; 8 as a side
  • Difficulty: easy
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Basically a stew, but all the ingredients should be cooked until just done and not mushy. I cook each ingredient separately, and then combine at a simmer for just about 5 minutes, to keep the flavors distinctive. I would not use the 45 minute simmer mentioned in the recipe pictured above.

1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced

4 slices thick bacon, cooked to chewy doneness and roughly chopped

1 medium eggplant, cut in half inch dice, about 2 1/2-3 cups

1-2 small onions, roughly chopped

1-2 bell peppers, roasted, peeled, and roughly chopped

1 tablespoon garlic, grated or minced or roasted

1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram

13 oz good quality crushed tomatoes, drained with liquid reserved (I used Cirio crushed tomatoes)

olive oil for sautéing

Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated for garnish

salt and pepper to taste (I like to season each layer lightly)

As mentioned, my onions and peppers had been roasted on the grill, then the peppers were peeled and both were chopped; otherwise, I would cook them using the following process:

  1. Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add about 2 tablespoons olive oil to the pan and allow to heat for a minute. Add the sliced mushrooms and let sauté until brown without stirring. Stir for another minute or two, then remove to dish. I like to cook mushrooms first in a clean pan for most dishes, so they are allowed to brown and develop flavors without absorbing those of the other ingredients.
  2. Add the bacon slices to the same pan and cook over medium heat to desired doneness. I like chewy bacon, not crisp. remove to cutting board and chop.
  3. To pan with bacon drippings that is still over medium heat, add about 1 tablespoon more olive oil, then the diced eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally for 5-10 minutes. The eggplant will absorb all the fat and begin to appear translucent. Remove to a large bowl.
  4. Add 1-2 tablespoons more olive oil over medium heat, then the onions, peppers, and garlic. Cook, stirring often for about 10 minutes, or until done to your liking.
  5. Add back the eggplant and mushrooms. Reduce heat to low. Stir in the drained tomatoes and marjoram, adding any of the reserved tomato juice as needed for a moist but not soupy consistency. Cover and simmer for about 5 minutes until heated through.
  6. Remove to serving dish and add cooked bacon and grated cheese.

Save some for topping your scrambled eggs in the morning.

Pheasant Stir Fry

Time to start in on that mountain of pheasant breasts in the freezer.

I’m always suckered into a stir fry, because it has that reputation of being something whipped up quickly in one pan on high heat. The truth is that it takes a lot of prep, from slicing and dicing all the vegetables and meat, to measuring out the sauce ingredients so they are ready to throw in quickly, to time for marinating, if that’s part of your dish. It’s the recipe that looks good on TV where the chef has minions setting everything up in advance so it can be thrown together in three minutes.

I tried to keep the prep down in this recipe by using only a few main ingredients—pheasant, shiitake mushrooms, and snow peas—and I marinated the pheasant, which gave me the time to mix the sauce ingredients. It turned out well, although my choice of pan didn’t allow the pheasant to brown as I would have liked. I should have used my regular stainless steel cookware, but I gave a large non-stick pan a chance and it just didn’t want to brown anything. Oh well, it only affected the photos.

Pheasant Stir Fry

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Marinate sliced pheasant breasts for 15-30 minutes:

8 boneless, skinless pheasant breasts, sliced in 1/4 inch strips (if using chicken, 4 breasts would be plenty)

1/4 cup orange juice

1 teaspoon cornstarch

Grate and set aside to cook with meat:

2 tablespoons fresh ginger

2 large cloves garlic

Prepare sauce and set aside:

1/4 cup orange juice

1/2 cup chicken stock

4 tablespoons hoisin sauce

2 tablespoons soy sauce

3 teaspoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

Prepare vegetables:

3/4-1 lb snow peas, cleaned and trimmed

1/2 lb shiitake mushrooms, cleaned and sliced thinly

1/2 cup chicken stock

Peanut or vegetable oil for frying

  1. When all the ingredients are prepared, heat a large saute pan or wok over high heat until very hot. Add 2-3 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil.
  2. Add snow peas and mushrooms stirring quickly to prevent sticking. Add 1/4 cup of the chicken stock, stirring until it evaporates, then add the other 1/4 cup and let it evaporate. Remove the vegetables to a plate, leaving the heat on under the pan.
  3. Add the marinated meat to the pan, with more oil if necessary, stirring to prevent sticking. You can cook the meat in stages if you have a lot to cook, removing it to a plate to cook the rest.
  4. Add the ginger and garlic to the pan as the meat is cooking.
  5. When the meat is done, which should only take 2-3 minutes, return the vegetables to the pan and toss with the sauce mixture until it is thickened and glossy.

Serve with rice.