Dinner Re-vamped

Well, back to the wonderful rhythm of my life this week!

Somehow without even doing anything at all (or maybe because of not doing anything at all!?!) my “to-do” list has grown since before the spring break. Funny how that works. I was just digging through a drawer looking for my camera charger thingy and came across an abandoned “to-do” list from several months ago…and in reading through it I realized that there were still things that I hadn’t done on that list. So…maybe its not just my procrastination but maybe (just maybe) its the list itself! Perhaps lowering my expectations on what I am capable of doing could help me accomplish more!!! I will do some experimenting on that theory…next week 😉

This week I am heading for a small trip out east to visit my nephew and nieces. Ahhhh, Ottawa in early April— too late for ice sculptures and too early for tulips. What will we do? I guess all the pressure will fall on my family’s shoulders to entertain us.

For this past week the pace has been at full speed and planning meals can be almost too much some days. Having all that beautiful leftover food from our holiday meal in the refrigerator has managed to carry us through the week. But it’s not what you think! I have only reheated and served the exact same meal one time. The others have been (surprisingly) well-disguised re-vamps with very little effort on my part 🙂

Earlier in the week I took the leftover Maple Glazed Sweet Potatoes (see recipe in New Traditions blog) and tossed them with cooked Soba noodles. Adding in caramelized onions, sauteed garlic, toasted pine nuts and some olive oil, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper. I popped the sweet potatoes onto a baking sheet and broiled them in the oven to re-heat and add even more of a crispy exterior. It was delicious!


Then on Wednesday, after finding some stunning watermelon radishes in my grocery basket…


I utilized the leftover quinoa by adding lightly sautéed radishes (I used a small amount of olive oil and salt in a pan and sautéed for about 5 mins each side) and a scrumptious portobello mushroom “steak”. Now I know what you are thinking- Cooked radishes?  Yes, cooked!  Even though I LOVE raw radishes, cooking them is equally fantastic.  It becomes amazingly sweet and takes away that sharp spicy taste that a fresh, raw radish is famous for. You must try this at home!


The mushroom steak is a recipe I have been making since first becoming a vegetarian. It’s a Tal Ronnen recipe from his cookbook The Conscious Cook. Incredibly easy, it just requires the time for marinating. And marinating is the secret to a well prepared portobello steak. It infuses so much flavour and transforms the texture from rubbery to “meaty”. Here is the cooking instructions from Tal Ronnen’s cookbook;


sea salt

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 shallots, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar

4 portobello mushrooms, stemmed and gills removed

1 tbsp dried thyme

  • Place a large pot over medium heat. Sprinkle bottom with a pinch of salt and heat for 1 minute. Add the oil and heat for 1 minute, being careful not to let it smoke. This will create a nonstick effect.
  • Add the shallots and garlic and cook for 5 mins. Add the wine, vinegar and 1 cup of water, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 20 mins.
  • Add them mushrooms and cook for 1 min. Pour the mushrooms and liquid into a shallow container, cover, set aside to marinate for 1 hour.
  • Sear the mushrooms: Remove from marinade and press between paper towels to remove excess marinade. Sprinkle with crushed peppercorns, salt, thyme, pressing the seasoning into both sides of the mushroom. Discard the marinade. Place a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and heat for 1 min, then add the mushrooms in one layer, working in batches if necessary. Cook until browned and crisp, 2 to 3 mins on each side.

Have a great week! And visit me on Instagram (figbasil) or Twitter (@figandbasil) to find out what kinda trouble (and food) I discover in our nation’s capital 🙂