Today for #FamilyFriday, we honor our immigrant family. What can we possibly say about the heart, the enrichment, the value that our immigrant community has given us? As a child of a professor, Becky was exposed to a wide array of visitors of many nationalities: Nigeria , India, Italy, China, Sudan and Libya. All the students from these countries shared their culture and cuisine. How very fortunate and experience! Duos has long reaped the rewards from the talented immigrants who work with us and play with us. We can bring you a diversity of cuisine because of our friendship with our immigrant citizens. We honor all of you brothers and Sisters. #immigrantswelcomehere
I cannot tell you how many times I go into a restaurant and ask for soup. I always ask for soup. I want soup. I need soup. Alas, most often soups in restaurants are created from stock that is not vegetarian. Chefs often chuckle at the idea that soup can be rewarding and satisfying without a meat base. Well,well well, I'm here to tell you. Yes, yes you can have amazing soup, satisfy your most ardent skeptics and make use of a whole lotta things you would normally toss away. Here is the deal.
*Gather goodies: onion and onion peels, potatoes (this nighshade plant is fine - never use peppers or eggplants), whole smashed garlic, celery, carrots, carrot peels, if you have or wish, you can add, leeks (more about them later) and/or fennel bulb. Then your herbs and spices: parsley, bay, thyme, whole black peppercorn are all mainstays but you could use basil and chervil too.
*Heat olive oil...no need for fancy. Just a decent brand.
*Throw in your veggies and get them searing away.
*When everything has a nice golden touch to it and the veggies are reduced down a bit, start adding water. Add more than you think because it can reduce forever.
*Then the vegetarian magic ingredients: Red Star nutritional yeast flakes and tamari soy sauce. Red Star yeast makes the stock have a chicken y (not real word) flavor. In my world I use it for everything from breading tofu to sprinkling on popcorn (then it tastes cheesy!). Tamari is strong soy sauce that is aged in oaken barrels and is a by product of miso production. (it's also usually gluten free, bonus!) Use it sparingly. You need to add some salt too in order for the stock to be balanced and when reduced, stock salts get concentrated.
*Stick a spoon and see if the balance initially seems pleasant to you. Even though it might not taste great, YET, you can tell what its future flavor profile will morph into.
*Boil, boil, toil and trouble. Let it go but keep an eye on the water level. Add more water if needed.
*Once you feel proud and happy with the depth and flavor. I often let mine simmer for an hour but you can reduce the time if you're heavy on ingredients and are in a hurry.
*Then strain that bad boy! What you are left with is a colander of really great compost and a pot full of deliciousness. You can store your stock in the fridge for at least a week or in the freezer...well, almost eternity.
A Word on Leeks
Who doesn't love the lovely leek? Well, one might love the leek but hate to contend with the copious amount of dirt that is hiding in every stinking nook and cranny. When cooking, only the white part of the leek is used but the greens are great for stock and for enveloping a bouquet garni (yet another thing to explain...oh, well, later). Cut the "butt" of the leek off. Cut the green off. See the dirt? See the futility of getting rid of the dirt? Don't worry, I've got a trick! Cut lengthwise across the white, dice into 1/2 discs. Throw into a bowl of water and separate those discs (you can also just dice them more before adding to water but I kind of like the separating). Swish and smash them around, drain and do it all over again. You will see the dirt residue in the bowl and will know if they are clean enough when your water rinse is totally clear.
Listen friends, you are really making dinnertime much too stressful and difficult. If you made menus ahead of time and shopped to the menus, you would not be putting yourself and the screaming hungry, home-worked out children through such torment. We're here to help.
Okay, gang. Here is a skeleton of a recipe for making a mushroom filling for most anything and anyone (except folks who don't appreciate mushrooms!). Ours occasionally take the form of Dyerwolfs. It can be vegan (no butter only olive oil...add tofu or not), it can be pureed, or it can be the base of a soup. Have at it and let me know how you rock and roll with it's wild goodness!
Mushroom filling for Most Anything
3TB Butter( if vegan just sub olive oil)
2 TBS Olive Oil (yes, need 5 TBS total if vegan or you could mix Earth Balance)
2 lb any mix of mushrooms, diced or sliced however you like
1 large onion, diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
4 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp red chili flakes (or less if serving kids, more if serving the brave ones)
1 tsp fresh thyme, minced
2 tsp dry mustard powder
1/3 cup fresh parsley, minced
1/2 tsp dried marjoram (mostly because not that easy to find it fresh...but, if you do find it fresh, use about 1 tsp instead)
1/2 cup any ole cheap red wine (or good red wine if you are an oenophile)
2 TBS Tamari Soy Sauce (this is tasty aged soy sauce. I don't like iccky regular soy sauce, I just don't)
salt and pepper to taste
8 ounce cream cheese
PLUS...when I want extra tastiness I add:
Gruyere, 1 cup grated
-Heat your super large skillet
-Toss in your butter or olive oil
-Add mushrooms, onion...cook down down down
-Add garlic, celery, red pepper, and all the rest but cheese...if you are using tofu, add it now so it absorbs all the crazy goodness
-Keep cooking! Reduce until your liquid is gone and it is sticking slightly but not in a burny sort of way.
-Toss in that block of cream cheese and swirl around. It is going to melt quite nicely
-Add gruyere if using
JUST GROOVE ON IT. Fill puff pastries, or pizza dough for calzone, add stock and make soup, make weird shapes, blend it all and bake for a pate. Yeah, that'll do friends, that'll do!
As a kid I worried about war. I worried about the way people did or did not get along. Not getting along made no sense to me. I used to lie in my little pine tree nest, look up at the clouds and ask myself "How can people drop a bomb from the sky? The people in the plane don't even know the people on the ground. Mommies and daddies, children, grandparents?" When there was a conflict between Greece and Turkey, I drew a picture of me in a boat with outstretched hands to both sides asking them to stop. I still hold true to that child who does not comprehend the distance between us.
Feeling concerned about the refugee crisis all over the world particularly the needs of our recent Syrian residents feeling unwelcome in Indiana, I met with two caring women from Exodus Refugee, an amazing non profit that is “dedicated to the protection of human rights by serving the resettlement needs of refugees and other displaced people fleeing persecution, injustice, and war by welcoming them to Indiana.” We pondered what good we could do together. How can we make our new community members feel included, welcomed, engaged and at home? What role can restaurants play? Exodus serves a large world population: Syrian, Congolese, Burmese, Chinese...more than 20 countries. Wouldn't it be good to simply gather, cook together and dine together? That is what we did. Our first meal was with 5 amazing Syrian women, a brilliant translator, 3 women from Exodus and 8 kind Indianapolis women. The Syrian women prepared a miraculous dish of lamb, rice and buttery nuts as well as a cucumber and yogurt condiment. Us Western women concocted a kale, sugar pea, apricot salad and of course (the season is well upon us), strawberry shortcake.
What ensued was a most magical of nights. We laughed and watched each other. We sipped tea and shared stories. We dined with the most stunning of sunsets as our backdrop. How easy it felt. How human it was. This is who we can be. This is my answer to the bombs and the war. Sit down, share a meal, now more than ever. Love wins.
SERVICE BERRY SYRUP
Okay guys, this is silly simple and you can certainly play with it in a myriad of ways. You can pick these 2 cups of berries in about 2 minutes!
· 2 cups Juneberries, tiny bit of stem okay, fret not, wash in strainer
· 1/2 cup of sugar(or less of agave or honey or whatever floats your sweet tooth boat)
· 2 cups H2O
-Toss those guys all together in a small saucepan
-Simmer for about 10 minutes. The berries will open revealing white interior, the color will change but it will still look watery and not thick enough, fear not.
· 1 TBS fresh lemon juice and the zest of 1 lemon*
Puree the whole gig. I use an emulsion wand but you can use a blender or food processor.
Strain through a fine-ish mesh strainer, smishing it through with a rubber spatula. Use for:
Play with it adding tiny tastes (you don't want to overwhelm the berries) of ground cardamom or rose water or cayenne (why not?!).
*Substitute the lemon with lime or orange
It is the time of year when my sleep is dominated by dreams of morel mushroom hunts. Not just one dream, constant, recurring dreams of prolific patches of golden morels. And they're all for me, all for me. I have hunted mushrooms my entire life. Growing up in Bloomington on 100 acres of wood and field, it was easy. In my memory, a simple stroll into the valley yielded huge fairy rings of mushrooms. That was with a child's eyes and less deer (just a theory I have). It is a remarkably rewarding experience to hunt morels. An outing for the treasure hunter in us all. Even if one emerges from the forest empty handed, who doesn't like a walk in the woods in an Indiana spring...except the ticks...oh and the snakes...the briers. So here are a few hints I have.
- May-apples are only an indicator because they pop out when the season is upon us. It is not that you find them there. Although you could.
- Take a walking stick to gently lift leaves and toss snakes out of the way
- Of course, dead ash and elm....orchards, fields, lawns...I've found plenty in town!
- Stand in a spot, get low, crouch, scan about 5-6 feet out
- If you find a little guy, don't pick yet. Just look, hold still, take your time. Due to the underground action of fungi, there are usually more. This gig is not for the impatient to be sure.
- When you're cannot bear it another moment, cut your little morel(don't pull), shake gently to spread the spores. Try to place in a mesh bag to continue the spreading of spores.
- Yes, you MUST wash them. I slice in 1/2, toss it in salted water...rinse, redo, rinse, redo...I wash until there aren't particles in the bottom of the bowl.
- An overcast day is really good for hunting
- Ideal conditions are several 70 degree days...and warm nights, not under 50. Soil should be loamy and give under your feet. Rain. We do well to hunt after a number of good soakings.
- Hunt with a friend. It can be spiritually rewarding to be alone in the woods but hunting with a friend is nice too.
- One of my favorite ways to enjoy morels is just eggs, ramps and mushrooms...little goat cheese, yum! Damn good and damn simple. Always the Indiana bread and fry is welcome. I mix butter and olive oil for the frying to lessen the risk of burning. Of course a lovely saute and toss on grilled bread...titch of homemade ricotta. Oh yah, that'll do.
I ramble. Carry on and I would love to hear of your wild morel rompus-ing!
Don't be scared. It's tofu. We pride ourselves in the ability to convert even the biggest skeptic to our tofu ways. Oh, Grasshopper, breathe, learn and enjoy!
1) Tofu has been used for over 2000 years. Developed in China around 200 B.C. Gotta respect your elders.
2) Freezing it is super cool! Ice crystals make grooves and layers that enable the tofu to be played with in a myriad of ways. We thaw and squeeze that baby block of tofu and voila: a blank slate for all kinds of goodness.
3) Protein and other such nutritional thank yous. Of course, tofu is happy to reward your curiosity with a smorgasbord of good nutrition. 1/2 cup of tofu has about 10 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat, 25% of our daily dose of calcium, 11% of the iron the big guys think we should have. PLUS: tofu is captain of all 8 of our essential amino acids. Dang, tofu, you are very kind to our bodies.
4) Okay, we don't suggest taking a bite out of a plain block of tofu. Agreed, yucky. But that sneak-a-saurus tofu is a master of disguise. It can be baked, stir fried, sandwiched and scrambled. Used for desserts, floated in soup, and cubed in a salad. Italian, Mexican, Asian, American dishes alike can all be enjoyed with our pal, tofu.
Not convinced? Here is a little something we like to make with tofu. We hope you will too.
*1 block firm tofu (you can use extra firm but just firm is way, way better)crumbled ans smished up
*titch of oil
*1 small onion, diced
*1/2 - 1 (depends on size and your taste) red bell pepper, diced
*anything else you want: mushrooms, garlic, spinach, cilantro
*Red Star Nutritional Yeast Flakes about 3 TBS...this is usually found in bulk bins of natural food groceries. It is a very nutritional and tasty addition to tofu.
*Magic liquid mix: 2-4 TBS Tamari Soy Sauce
1 TBS Chipotle (more if you want)
1/2-1 cup H2O
Put those liquid guys in a measuring cup, whisk together
*Saute onion til translucent app 5 minutes
* add pepper, mushrooms, garlic if wish. Saute another couple of minutes until mushrooms aren't raw
*Throw in your tofu and Red Star Yeast. Cook for a bit, stirring often
*Add Magic Liquid Mix. Stir. Let boil down and be as juicy or not as you want.
*Finish with cilantro and/or scallion if want
This can serve 3-4 folks. Or just 2 if you are Becky's Son In Law
So, it's a good thing that folks are discovering Meatless Mondays. At Duos, excuse our improper English but, it ain't nothin' new. We've got your meatless gig covered! Some of the partners at Duos have been vegetarian since 1973. You know back in the day when all that could be had when dining out would be pasta or a salad bar. Yeah, those days are long gone. We would venture to say we have a few tricks and treats up our sleeves.
Duos consistently has at least 15 vegetarian offerings every day. At LEAST 9 of them are vegan (one would never know from all the super flavor!) and about 8 are gluten free option or gluten free. That doesn't even take into account all the fun testing and experimenting that we do all the time.
It is our pleasure and purpose to create , offer, expose, challenge and stimulate your palate, brain and body with new experiences.
Each week we will let you know about some sumptuous dish that will make you forget about the bacon. This week:
Mustard Crusted Tofu with Seared Sweet Potato, Kale and Mustard "Cream" Sauce
Our dear friend, teamler, and beloved buddy Luke, passed away last weekend. This is such a sad day for all of us at Duos and we know it will be a very sad day for all of you who loved and depended on Luke as well. Luke lived a life of service to others in more ways than we know and he impacted the lives of so many, many struggling youth with his honesty, openness, and kind listening ear. Not to mention his generous distribution of his baked goods, especially his cheesecake. He helped each one of us be a better person.
We will keep you posted on services that are being arranged for him.
Duos will NOT be open for breakfast on Monday, December 28th (we will be open for lunch). We will need at least this day to mourn and try to ponder how to fill the shoes of such a dependable, kind, accommodating and trusty staff member. We will reopen for breakfast on Tuesday, December 29th with a heavy heart but the determination to exemplify the goodness that was Luke.
This ole lady needs help. You won't get to butcher a cow, but you will get to gut an eggplant and bread some mean ass tofu. You will work with a bevvy of really good folks who like bad music. You will learn a lot. Your ego can stay in the closet. Your cleaning skills will be praised. The hours are easy and painless. You can pick up extra gigs when we go to peoples houses and make pretty food (and you can wear fancier clothes then). You will be given a nickname, so if your given name has always bothered you, rest assured, a new day dawns. Part or full time is possible.
Yep, Duos Kitchen is looking to hire a humble, hard working, organized, kind, thoughtful, open person who has a non blood thirst for learning vegetarian and unusual cuisine. Send a convincing cover letter and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org
Last night I enjoyed a hearty salad for dinner. Just the salad. Lovingly crafted by my adult children, I relished every bite. In the throws of Summer, in the midst of emerging goodies from the fields and farms, why bother with anything else? There are times when I prefer a salad of quite simplicity: Greens, tomato, dressing and then there are times when the more the merrier: Salty and savory baked tofu, grain of any sort, garbanzo or kidney bean, egg, nuts, pepperoncini, tomato, red bells, shredded carrots, succulent little cucumber, pickled onion. I like to make this when there are leftover legumes and grains (I don't want to dirty a thousand pots for my salad fix!). Rub a bowl with garlic clove, throw in a dash of vinegar, herbs if I want, salt and pepper, good olive oil. Franks Hot Sauce is a welcome companion. Dijon too, but not always. Toss the glorious garden. Have at it.Much Love,Becky