March 2023 COTM - Shannon Martinez Month

ONE-POT BURRITO RICE - Vegan with Bite, p. 101

Health food this is not. You start by sautéing onion and red and green bell pepper with a pinch of salt. Add garlic. Then add “veggie mince,” which in these parts, means Impossible. As that cooks, add chili powder (I used Pendery’s original), cumin, coriander, cinnamon, sweet paprika, and dried oregano (I used Mexican). Mix all that up, then add a can of diced tomatoes. After that cooks for a bit, you add the rice and stir to coat, then some frozen corn kernels and a can of black beans. Add stock, stir, and cook, covered. At the end of cooking, you stir in scallions and vegan cheese, then you top with more cheese and put the cover back on to trap the heat while the cheese melts. Serve garnished with cilantro and fresh avocado. She suggests serving with corn chips and hot sauce, which we did.

Another super hearty recipe. There is a lot in this dish, and a lot of flavor. It reminds me a bit of the rice dishes in Rick Bayless’ More Mexican Everyday, but just… more. Truly a one-dish meal. The only think I would change is to use a little less liquid next time. This rice dish was wet, kind of risotto-like (like the Bayless dishes).


BROCCOLI, LEMON & MINT RISOTTO — Smith & Deli-cious, p. 91

I don’t have this book, but MelMM provided a link to the recipe online. The ingredients and technique are all there, so I’ll just note my deviations and additions, of which I made several. First, I didn’t try to multitask the making of the risotto and the broccoli pesto because I’m not a fast cook, and traditionally cooked risotto demands a certain level of attention, after all. So I did the pesto ahead of starting the risotto, and I used the same pot for cooking the broccoli and the risotto (there’s no way the broccoli would’ve fit in the small saucepan mentioned). I used the juice and zest of two small Meyer lemons, and after whizzing all the ingredients I felt the balance of lemon and salt were good, but it needed smoothing so I blended in a couple of tablespoons of water. (I didn’t use any green chile because one person I was cooking dinner for can’t really handle any heat.)

For the risotto itself, I didn’t use the brown onion, and instead sliced up three spring onions (in the US sense) and the whites of six (rather than three) scallions, setting aside the scallion greens to add later. I also peeled and chopped the thick stem of the head of broccoli and sautéed it with the alliums, so the whole thing was used. After sautéing the rice and before beginning to add my vegetable broth, I deglazed with a good glug of dry vermouth. Fresh peas were not an option, and I don’t care for frozen, so instead I chopped up the third of a bag of artichoke hearts that was hanging out in my freezer and added them. At the same time, I added the sliced scallion greens and a drained can of great northern beans (to contribute protein so it’d be a real one-dish meal). When I stirred in the broccoli pesto at the end, I also added a good amount of (non-vegan) grated parmesan.

This was a hearty and very delicious risotto that was greatly enjoyed by all. The broccoli pesto added a lot of flavor, with its lemon and herbs, and I love that the pot had a whole bunch of broccoli in it without the florets overtaking the flavor and texture of the dish, just carrying more with it. Highly recommended, and a dish I’d happily make and eat again.


Ohhhhh, that’s like a broccoli rice casserole flavor profile. Which is my JAM with steak. Mmmmmm

Much brighter flavors than any broccoli rice casserole I’ve had.

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BROCCOLI, LEMON & MINT RISOTTO - Smith & Deli-cious, p. 91

This dish is a house favorite around here. The risotto is made in the usual way. You also make a broccoli pesto from blanched broccoli, olive oil, fresh mint, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and green chile (optional). This pesto is stirred in when the rice is just cooked, along with some peas. Parmesan is added to finish (optional), and some black pepper.

I made this many times as written, until last year when I was cooking from the Sahadi book (Flavors of the Sun). That book had a suggestion for using minced preserved lemon in risotto in place of parm for a brighter flavor. This risotto immediately came to mind, and I tried it. It took an already great risotto to another level. So that’s the way I do it now. I’m looking forward to my upcoming CSA boxes with broccoli.

Risotto pictured with a topping of tempeh, morels, more broccoli, and cherry tomatoes.


PICKLED CHINESE MUSHROOMS - Smith & Deli-cious, p. 37

This was a recipe that caught my eye when the book first came out, but I didn’t make it right a way. Later, when Japaneasy and Vegan Japaneasy were COTM, I made the pickled shiitakes in one of them and discovered a) that I really love them ,and b) that it is the perfect thing to do with rehydrated shiitakes left over after making stock or dashi. And that experience drew me back to this recipe. I used mushrooms left over from making a big batch of stock. The recipe also calls for wood ear mushrooms. You are supposed to simmer the mushrooms in a saucepan to rehydrate, and add the carrots for the last minute of cooking. You want the carrots lightly cooked, still crisp. I skipped the simmering for the shiitakes, as they were already fully rehydrated, so it was just the wood ears and the carrots. The mushrooms and carrots get tossed into the dressiing, which is comprised of salt, sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, black vinegar, sugar, toasted sesame seeds, ginger, garlic, red chile, Sichuan crispy chile oil, cilantro, and sliced red onion. You toss it all together and let sit for 30 minutes or more, stirring as needed to redistribute the dressing.

This salad was absolutely fantastic. I could not stop eating it. If you make it, double or triple it so you have enough that makes it to the table.


Great idea on the preserved lemon, I’ll have to try that.

TOM YUM FRIED RICE - Vegan with Bite, p. 90

This recipe delivers a lot of flavor with very little effort by making use of commercial tom yum soup paste as a flavoring agent for fried rice. Brilliant. The called for veg are yard-long beans, king trumpet mushrooms, gai lan, pineapple, frozen corn, and onion. Working off supermarket produce, I used broccolini in place of the beans and gai lan, and cremini mushrooms. Absolutely fine here, although I would like to make it with original ingredients. You stir-fry the veg in a hot wok, then add the tom yum paste and stir to coat the vegetables. Your day-old rice goes in next, and then the stir-fry is seasoned with fish sauce and soy or Maggi sauce, and some chili paste or oil if desired. Some halved cherry tomatoes and fresh cilantro and Thai basil go in last.

This was easy, fast, and tasty. It does make a lot. I have a 16" wok, and it was pushing the limits. I would suggest if you are just cooking for one or two, to halve the recipe. You won’t have leftovers, but you won’t have pineapple chunks flying out of your wok either. Taste wise, I would up the tom yum paste a bit next time. While this was flavorful, I wanted to get more of a tamarind hit. (I used Maesri brand paste, YMMV with other brands).


They look mouth-wateringly good.

BOLOGNESE - Smith & Deli-cious, p. 92

You can find the recipe for this linked upthread. Definitely not one for bolognese purists, but it’s become my go-to version. It starts out innocently enough, with you sautéing onion, carrot, and celery. But then you add mushrooms. Soon you will have Marcella Hazan rolling in her grave when you add the garlic, followed by capers and their juice, chile flakes (!), oregano, and tomato paste. To this unholy mix, you add your veggie mince (I use Impossible ground). Martinez gives a nod to tradition by adding soy milk to the ground meat mixture and cooking it down. I did this the first time I made the recipe, but haven’t bothered since, since I think it adds nothing. I just don’t think this step is serving its original purpose when you are using Impossible and mushrooms instead of animal meat. Some wine goes in next, which I don’t skip. When that is reduced, in go diced tomatoes and passata. I don’t normally keep diced tomatoes on hand, so I use whole peeled tomatoes that I pulse briefly in the blender. She also calls for the vegetarian “beef” stock. I don’t think any of the commercial vegetarian (or not vegetarian) beef stocks are worth using, so I’ll just use a vegetable stock here. The magic umami ingredient also goes in at this time: porcini mushroom powder. Add a bay leaf, and let it simmer. Martinez finishes the sauce with fresh basil and parsley, more sacrilege.

Maybe this shouldn’t be called a bolognese. I don’t know, and don’t care. I like it better. @LulusMom1, if it’s possible that there is a bolognese out there that you would like, this would probably be it. I serve it on big fat rigatoni, undoubtedly oversauced, with no apologies.


I have been on the hunt for a good one. I used to use Uncle Ben’s back in my 20s. And then realized just how full of chemicals it was. (But it taste SO good with steak, seriously) All the one’s I’ve tried from scratch since have been a huge let down. Not cheesy enough. Not broccoli-y enough. Not creamy enough, if you know what I mean. I am totally trying this when our house comes off keto.

Voting for April is happening here:

DAN DAN NOODLES - Vegan with Bite, p. 98

You can find this recipe online, linked upthread. Dan dan noodle purists might quibble with this recipe, but I’ve run across far less authentic versions. First you have the ground “beef” mixture… it’s cooked with ginger, scallion, ya cai, garlic, sweet bean paste (or hoisin sauce), shaoxing wine, and dark soy sauce. Your noodles are tossed with a sauce of tahini, soy or Maggi sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, five spice powder, ground Sichuan peppercorns, minced garlic, a whopping 1/2 cup of Sichuan chile oil, and an equal amount of boiling water. There is a recipe for the chile oil on p. 164. I didn’t make it because I had homemade chile oil on hand, but it looks like a good version. I would say you need to know your chile oil before you go dumping 1/2 cup into this sauce. I had a Dunlop version using Korean chile flakes which is not particularly hot, so I had no problem with the volume, and actually mixed another, hotter oil in with it to get my desired heat level.

Noodles are tossed with sauce, ground meat goes on top, blanched bok choy, raw cukes, roasted peanuts, cilantro, and toasted sesame seeds are your garnishes. I forgot to add the cukes until after I took the picture, but I did add them. I forgot the sesame seeds altogether, but didn’t miss them. All in all, this was very tasty and I’d say a solid version of the dish. My only quibble is the five spice powder, which I don’t really like in dan dan noodles. I would omit it in the future, there is plenty of flavor without it.


KOFTA - Vegan with Bite, p. 79

Looks like this one isn’t online. Hard to go wrong with kofta (have you ever met one you didn’t like?), but Martinez guarantees a good version in her usual way… by packing them full of flavor. There are the usual suspects: onion, garlic, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, mint, cilantro, parsley. And then there are the less traditional but brilliant additions of preserved lemon and harissa. It all makes for better-than-usual kofta. I didn’t grill these outside because it was raining, but no matter. Even cooked in a skillet they were delicious. The are served with the tzatziki from p. 159, which is as good a version as any. I use Kite Hill’s high protein yogurt which is thicker, more like a Greek yogurt. We gobbled these up. Served with the twice-cooked saffron and lemon potatoes from Smith & Deli-cious.


TWICE-COOKED SAFFRON & LEMON POTATOES - Smith & Deli-cious, p. 122

See picture above. Also not online. I guess you’ll have to buy the book. This is reminiscent of one of my favorite potato recipes, the Greek lemon potatoes from The Olive & the Caper. These have a somewhat different technique. In a roasting pan that can go on the stove, you bring the potatoes to a boil with vegetable stock, lemon juice, sliced lemon, sliced onion, bay leaves, thyme, oregano, saffron, and garlic. Once they come to a boil, you cover with foil and transfer to the oven for 45 minutes, then remove the foil and bake 30 minutes more. The baking is supposed to happen at 350F. Based on my experience with the recipe from The Olive & the Caper, and the fact that I was in a hurry, I bumped up the heat and shortened the time. I think I could have gotten away with less liquid. Or possibly skipped covering the pan. I will play around with that in the future. But the pototoes… absolutely delicious.


Those potatoes sound amazing! Would you be willing to post ingredient amounts? I respect if you prefer not to.

Sounds like merguez given the harissa addition. All looks delicious!

BEEF STROGANOFF - Smith & Deli-cious, p. 109

I have vague memories of stroganoff from the '70s and '80s, and it was strips of beef, mushrooms, sour cream, wine, and that’s about it. Then the vegan versions were the same but with just mushrooms. Nothing to write home about. This version is not that.

Martinez calls for a mock meat product called mutton chunks which I have not seen in locally (I think it would be found in an Asian market if it is found in the US at all). So I used a TVP product called “Beef Not” strips. I was a bit short of the 9 oz of mushrooms called for, so I made up the difference with some dried morels (why not?), which I redhydrated with the “beef” strips. I then like to use some of this soaking liquid to mix with vegetable stock base (Better than Bouillon) to make the stock for the recipe.

The recipe has you sauté onions, mushrooms, and caraway seeds in a mix of butter and oil. You then add garlic, followed by smoked and sweet paprikas, and tomato paste. Your rehydrated beef pieces then go in. You add some flour to this mixture and cook for a minute, then add your stock, worcestershire sauce, red wine vinegar, and whole grain mustard. Simmer this for about 20 minutes. Turn the heat way down and stir in the sour cream at the end, along with some fresh dill. Serve over rice or noodles (the latter, for me).

I have no idea about authenticity here, but the addition of the caraway, the smoked paprika, and the fresh dill, just takes this to a whole new place. It’s delicious, and I really have no desire to make any other version.


Reminder: please go vote for our next COTM if you haven’t already. Voting closes at 5pm tonight.

Stock - 2 cups (I would use less)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 lemon sliced into rounds
1/2 brown onion, sliced
2 bay leaves
2 garlic cloves, peeled but whole
3 sprigs thyme
1/4 cup EVOO
saffron threads, a pinch (I used a hefty pinch)
dried oregano - 1/2 tsp
salt - 1.5 tsp
potatoes, 1 kg/ 2lbs, 3 oz
optional parsley to garnish (I omitted)

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