Burnt Mushroom and Artichoke Succotash

10 ounces button mushrooms. minced
1 small jar marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
2 tbls capers and brine
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tbls hot sauce
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 serrano, minced
1 habanero, minced
1 poblano, diced
1 large shallot, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 can kidney beans, rinsed
1 can red beans, rinsed
2 tsps basil
1 tbl salt
2 tsps black pepper2 tsps garlic powder

This dish uses the char of the mushrooms to add umami. When you char mushrooms, it's almost as if they are transformed into an entirely different product. Those bland, little sponges are miraculously turned into a rich, meaty, flavor bomb. They become like vegan bacon lardons. They elevate all the other ingredients with which you combine them and make everything come alive. 

The key is to take the mushrooms all the way to the edge of being burnt. 

Cook the mushrooms heavily salted in a dry fry pan over medium high heat. They will release their liquid. Let that evaporate. Deglaze with the wine. Let that…

Cucumber and Apple Salad

This dish just came to me out of the blue. I had a cucumber craving and this was the result.

The textures are great. The crunchy apple and cucumber. The rich vinaigrette. The juxtaposition of sweet and savory. It's summer on a plate.

zest and juice from 1 lime
2 tbls olive oil
2 tsps spicy brown mustard
2 tsps diet citrus flavored green iced tea
1 tbl Louisiana hot sauce
2 tsps salt
2 tsps dried dill, if you use fresh dill double the amount
1 tsp black pepper

Whisk together the dressing components in a bowl large enough to accommodate the salad ingredients as well.

1 large cucumber, about 3 cups, diced
1 large granny smith apple, about 1 cup, diced
3 small shallots, about 1/2 a cup, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced

Add the apple to the dressing as you dice it to keep it from turning brown. Add the other ingredients. Toss or stir to coat in the dressing and evenly mix the ingredients.

It's great immediately and even better after a few hours in the fridge.

I made it into a sandwich too!