If you like mushrooms this dish is for you. It’s quick and easy. I often have it for breakfast and it’s a great way to use leftover mushrooms. When at the age of seven I went to live with my grandparents they didn’t have a refrigerator and the nearest store was a mile away. Grandma got ice from the milkman and stuck it in metal box that sat in the garage. The coolest spot. If you don’t have a refrigerator you aren’t eating much meat, and any leftovers have to be eaten the next day. We ate a lot of unusual breakfasts.
We did all our shopping in a long low white building that had FARMERS MARKET written on the side in big barn-red block letters. Inside was a bazaar: Stalls full of everything: used books, toys, shoes, clothing for anyone of any shape, pots and pans, dishes, canned items. The stall owners announced a special sale in broken English as you passed by. She always stopped at a one that had baskets filled with different colored and shaped dried beans, lentils, and spices. The aroma of the dried spices would make my mouth water. I hoped she would buy big creamy looking lima beans — my favorite. She sometimes stopped at a cheese stall, stocked with cheeses of all shapes and shades of orange, some hanging from strings from rods above the other cheeses. My siblings and I would hold each other’s hands and noses hoping she wouldn’t buy Gorgonzola — my grandfather’s favorite. She always bought few large round crispy loves of bread that had big holes inside, like swiss cheese. That bakery was our favorite stop because the saleswoman would give each of us kids the cookie of our choice.
The most important stop, and what Grandma saved for last, were the vegetable stands. There was always a sense of excitement there, people milling around, the air rich with a loamy, earthy smell. Large outdoor stalls stood in a circle, overflowing with fruits and vegtables — piles of artichokes, apples, glossy black eggplants so shiny you could almost see your reflection in them, carrots, beets, tomatoes, green beans, sometimes fava beans (another favorite), 50 lb bags of potatoes. They didn’t mess around, it was all about food and lots of it.
White-aproned women stood in front of each stand — two bulging pockets, one for change, one for bills, at the ready. The women yelled out prices. The men bagged the purchases. My grandmother would bargain for the best price. Sometimes we’d walk away with baskets of mushrooms. My grandmother was a huge advocate for child labor. We peeled the mountain of mushrooms. That night we ate bowls of mushrooms cooked in their own liquid, dipping chunks of the fresh, crispy bread in the juices. What was leftover topped macaroni the next day. Both wonderful meals. Here is my jazzed up version of that meal.
This is for one serving
4 oz mushrooms sliced
3 cloves garlic sliced
4 oz whole wheat pasta
1 and 1/2 tsp mushroom seasoning. La Bo De can be found in Korean stores or online.
2 tbsp. Shiitake Stir-fry sauce OR Vegetarian Mushroom Oyster Sauce. Wan Ja Shan brand is my favorite, both vegan.
A pinch of red chili powder
4 tbsp water.
A little olive oil to taste.
While you start the spaghetti (I use just a quart of water), put all the ingredients in your pasta bowl. Cover and microwave for 5 minutes on high, depending on your microwave. This can be done on top of the stove but why dirty a pan.
When the pasta is done pour just a little of the pasta water into the mushroom mixture. This adds some flavor and also keeps the pasta from sticking together and you can get away with using less olive oil.
I hope you enjoy this.