Pickled Oyster Mushrooms

There are a few species of Lactarius genus, commonly known as milk-caps, that are very popular salt pickled in Slavic cuisines — L. deliciosus/Ryzhik, L. resimus/Gruzd’, etc.

Today in the U.S., mentioned above milk-caps are either unknown or deemed inedible, while in Easter Europe they are traditionally considered among the best edible mushrooms. After removing the bitterness, they are salted and later enjoyed as a condiment (there is no better companion for a shot of ice-cold vodka!) or as an ingredient in other dishes. Salted mushrooms are fleshy, juicy, and have a unique flavor.

When gruzd or ryzhik mushrooms are not available, my second favorite are P. ostreatus or Oyster mushrooms. Luckily, they are farmed by Kitchen Pride just about two hours away from Austin, in Gonzales, TX.

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Cuttlefish and Pickled Ramps Rice Salad

Cuttlefish and Rice Salad

Served at room temperature, rice salads are perfect for summer. They can be composed with local ingredients. They can be vegan, vegetarian, or include light proteins. Calamari or cuttlefish are ideal for that kind of salads. Pickled ramps used in the recipe are part of my Wild, Wild, Wild Ramps!, but can be substituted with your favorite pickles and olives. The vegetables, pickles, and dressing you use will make your salad unique.

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Falafel

Falafel

Chef J got us one of authentic recipes for the class. We made it, and the whole school came to taste our falafel — the best I ever had. I remember other chef-instructors couldn’t believe it was truly vegan and gluten-free, with no wheat flour added to the mix.

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Rasam

Basic Rasam and Chapati

Rasam is an important part of traditional South Indian menu. If you start with a precooked lentil stock, store-bought organic tomato puree, it is very quick and easy to make. It is light and bright and perfect for vegetarian and vegan diets.

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