Sunday, September 15, 2019

Lentil Beef Barley Soup with Instant Pot Elements

A variation of the Lentil Barely Soup with Italian Sausage that reflects updating ingredient preferences and cooking methods. A very-slightly-different Barley Beef Farro soup recipe is also on the way.

1 c uncooked unhulled (pot) or semi-pearled barley, rinsed. We love Timeless Foods Purple Prairie Barley
1 c uncooked French (Puy) lentils, rinsed and picked over
2 TBSP olive oil
2 c onion (or 1 large onion), finely chopped or chopped in a food processor
1 lb ground beef
4 garlic cloves, chopped or put through a press
3 carrots, diced or chopped in a food processor
1 bunch greens, washed and chopped
2 tsp salt
2 dried bay leaves or 4 fresh bay leaves
3-4 thyme sprigs
9-12 cups water or any kind of stock
3 c tomatoes (this is a very flexible amount; I freeze tomato sauce in 24 oz jars but canned tomatoes of any kind will work. Purée them if you don’t want chunks)
1-2 tsp sherry, balsamic or red wine vinegar or to taste (optional)
Mushroom or regular soy sauce to taste

  1. Put the rinsed barley in the Instant Pot with enough water to cover by 2 inches. Making sure the vent is closed, set the function to multigrain and cook for 40 minutes at high pressure. Timeless is now selling only semi-pearled purple prairie barley. If you’re using semi-pearled reduce cooking time to 20 minutes. We never use fully pearled barley so you would have to look up the timing on that. When the cooking time is complete, let the pressure release naturally then drain and rinse the barley and set aside
  2. Without bothering to clean your Instant Pot insert too much, put in the uncooked lentils. Add enough water to cover by 1 inch. Making sure the vent is closed, set the function to multigrain and cook for 10 minutes at high pressure. When the cooking time is complete, let the pressure release naturally then drain and rinse the lentils and set aside
  3.  If you’ve got at least a 6 qt Instant Pot you can do the cooking in it, but mine is only 5 qt and I usually just use my Dutch oven on the stove. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat and add the onions. Cook until the onion is soft and slightly browned, stirring often, about 10 minutes. 
  4. Add the ground beef and cook until the beef is cooked through, breaking it up as you go
  5. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute
  6. Add the carrots and greens and cook another minute or two
  7. Add the barley, lentils, bay and thyme water/stock and tomatoes along with the salt. Because the lentils are already cooked you can add the tomatoes now without making them tough
  8. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Cook 30 minutes to one hour
  9. When the cooking time is nearly done, taste for seasoning. Add vinegar and/or soy sauce to taste. Smoked paprika might also be nice
  10. Serve with Delicious, Crusty Bread or Drop Biscuits

Saturday, June 1, 2019

New Method Small Batch Whole Grain Pizza Dough

So many pizza dough recipes! This one is a variation of the 100% whole grain pizza dough, still based off of  Patricia Wells’ pizza dough. Thanks to Stella Parks and her 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread, I have learned the wonders of autolyse, letting the whole grain flour rest with the water for a while to let it absorb and foster gluten formation. Thus, I’ve changed my mixing method yet again for this dough, adding in the rest. I’ve also scaled back again to the single recipe instead of the double, as I tend just to make dough fresh as needed instead of relying on the freezer. A single batch of dough works much better in the food processor using the autolyse method. When I tried it in a larger quantity it slowed the food processor and the dough got spun up under the blade, making it super annoying to manage. Other than that, the ingredients and proportions are unchanged. I weigh my water now because 1/3 cup liquid measures are hard to come by—so much easier.

I’ve had excellent luck patting this dough into quarter or eighth sheet pans to make pan pizza. The crust is completely different in texture, of course, more bready than crispy, but it also makes a more satisfying work lunch and reheats better than the thin crust stuff.

225g hard red wheat berries, ground finely (or storebought whole wheat bread flour)
225g kamut grains, ground finely (or pre-ground kamut flour)
260g room temperature water
1 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt (I used table salt but you could use any fine salt; if using coarser sea salt you'll need a bit more)
55g water
2 TBSP olive or other oil


  1. Grind the grains into a large bowl and add the 260g of water. Stir to combine and knead a time or two to make sure the water is fully incorporated. Cover and let sit for 2 hours
  2. After the resting time, break the dough into pieces and add to the food processor with the yeast, sugar and salt. You may want to mix the yeast with a teaspoon of the remaining water just to ensure it dissolves. This dough is less wet than Parks’ so there is more of a risk of undissolved yeast
  3. Process until dough is silky and you get a windowpane, about 75 seconds. This is not so easy with this dough so use your judgment. I’ve been known to dump it into the stand mixer to ensure proper gluten formation, but this last time I didn’t do that, didn’t get a full windowpane and all was fine
  4. Drizzle in the water then the oil through the feed tube while pulsing. The dough should start to form a ball. Keep pulsing until the dough is a smooth ball and expect it to be sticky
  5. Put dough in clean bowl and cover. You can do a room temperature first rise or stick it in the fridge. I usually do room temp for the first rise, punch down and then refrigerate until about an hour before I need it
  6. Portion out the dough into 3-4oz balls for personal pizzas and proceed with my pizza recipe or your own as desired

Monday, April 15, 2019

Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Candies

After last year’s wild success with Homemade Crunch Bars, I set my sights on peanut butter cups. They’ve always been my favorite, yet as time has passed I have been less and less satisfied. Reese’s cups (or eggs or pumpkins etc) are too sweet and neither chocolatey nor peanutty enough for my current tastes. So I was already thinking about a way to make my own. And then the girls discovered the Great British Bake-Off and they’re hooked. They check out cookbooks and read them for fun and they’re super interested in experimentation. The eldest, in particular, is very excited about using silicone molds for candy making, to the point that she used her own money on our trip to Arizona to see my parents to buy herself a set of sweet little heart molds. This got me thinking and, sure enough, cat-shaped silicone molds do exist! The kids love cats almost as much as they do candy so the urge to put the two together (much like how the “two great tastes” of chocolate at peanut butter taste great together”) was irresistible. The Easter Bunny will gift them the molds as well, so they can have as much cat-shaped fun as they like in future.
I started with a New York Times recipe, mainly because it called for natural peanut butter. Sadly, I didn’t like it (though Evan and my work colleagues were impressed). The filling was too chalky and I didn’t like the flavor of the vanilla extract. Searching around, I found a recipe that cut the peanut butter with butter and also added some brown sugar. Since my ideal pb cup filling would be like egg-free peanut butter cookie dough, the brown sugar seemed a great choice. The author said that natural peanut butter wouldn’t work, but I ignored that and happily my instincts were right. I still don’t love the vanilla extract and think that next time I’d use vanilla powder instead. Other than that, though the filling it lighter, creamier and tastier than the NYT one. I did use 1/4 cup less powdered sugar than the recipe called for—it would have made my teeth ache if the filling had been any sweeter. Instead of the Trader Joe’s pound plus 72% dark chocolate I have been using as my standard, I have switched to the Trader Joe’s fair trade organic 70% which I feel tastes significantly better. It also has a better consistency when melted.
I made the full recipe this time and, because my molds are small, that makes way too many candies. The recipe below has been halved, which will still give the whole family enough chocolate peanut butter goodness to satisfy even though most ardent fans.

118 g natural peanut butter at room temperature (if using unsalted, add a 1/4 tsp salt to the mixture)
1 1/2TBSP unsalted butter, softened and cut into small cubes
1 1/2 TBSP packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract or a good shake of vanilla powder
Up to 1/2 c powdered sugar (I used 3/8 c)
6 oz good quality dark or milk chocolate (you may need a bit more or less depending on how thick you like the chocolate layers), broken up or chopped
1 TBSP refined coconut oil, if desired, to give the chocolate extra snap


  1. Cream the butter and peanut butter together in a small to medium bowl until well combined. I use a hand mixer
  2. Add the brown sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth
  3. Slowly add the powdered sugar, 1/8 of a cup at a time, and mix until thoroughly combined. When the mixture is reasonably stiff, stop adding powdered sugar and taste. Adjust as needed, adding more sugar if it doesn’t seem sweet enough. My mixture was about the texture of thick cookie dough and it worked well
  4. Make little peanut butter patties to go in your molds or muffin cups and have them lined up and ready to go. This can take some guesswork and that’s ok
  5. If not using silicone molds, line a 24 cup mini muffin tin with paper liners. Otherwise, get your molds ready. Ideally you should put the molds on a baking tray to make transporting them to the freezer easy
  6. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler or using the microwave (2.5 minutes on 50% power, then stir and cook for a remaining 30 seconds to a minute on 50% power as needed)
  7. Put a thin layer of chocolate in the bottom of the mold/liner and spread it into the corners and up the sides. I like to do all the chocolate lining first and then I go back and put the patties on top. If you have extra time or are worried that the pb mixture will melt into the chocolate, you can freeze the bottom layer of chocolate before laying in the patties
  8. Freeze either just the bottoms or the filled cups until firm and set, 20 minutes or more
  9. Remove from freezer, re-melt the chocolate as needed and put a layer of chocolate on top, trying to get into the edges. Smooth out the top with a small offset spatula if desired
  10. Freeze or refrigerate again until set, then remove from molds or muffin tin. Keep refrigerated until eating just to help make sure the peanut butter doesn’t get too ozzy

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Thai Basil Tofu Stir Fry

I don’t know why I had never tried using tofu as a substitute for ground meat, but now that I know that the texture and flavor are completely fine for everyone in the family, I will be using it often. The recipe below is based on this PBS one by Marc Matsumoto, which I adapted in my usual way.
The dish comes together extremely quickly but you do have to plan ahead because you need to use previously-frozen tofu. Freezing the tofu changes the texture entirely and makes it very easy to crumble it into “grounds” but you need to have it frozen for at least 24 hours and then it takes quite a while to thaw. Matsumoto says he just keeps a block or two of tofu in the freezer and I am going to do the same. Then you only need to plan for thawing time, which can be sped up with a bowl of warm water.

Matsumoto’s recipe is vegan and he recommends a hard-to-find white soy sauce as a substitute for fish sauce. I didn’t have time to go hunting for it, so I just used the fish sauce. All the other ingredients are vegan. I basically used the same method for this dish as I do for all of my other one-skillet ground “meat” recipes—sauté the aromatics, add the ground protein and vegetables and steam until they’re cooked, then add sauce. This differs from Matsumoto’s technique but worked well for me. The recipe is very adaptable to any vegetables you want to throw in, as long as they’re chopped to a size that will ensure it all gets cooked at the same time.

The whole family really went for this dish in a way I did not expect. The fish sauce definitely lends a bit of a funk but they were all over it. I had doubled the sauce portion on my first try because I felt the amount given wasn’t enough. This made it too salty. While mitigated by the plain grain we served it over, I have reduced the salt in the recipe that follows.

1 14-16 oz block extra firm tofu, frozen in its package and then thawed
2 TBSP vegetable oil (with a high smoke point)
1/2 onion finely chopped (original recipe adds the onions later and cuts them in strips—feel free to do that if you like it better, we prefer smaller pieces of onion)
2-3 cloves garlic minced or put through a press or chopped in the food processor
100 g (or two to three large handfuls) shiitake or crimini mushrooms, chopped finely
1/2 head of broccoli, cauliflower or cabbage cut into quite small pieces or chopped super finely in the food processor
1/2 red bell pepper sliced or chopped similarly to the other vegetables
2-3 carrots thinly sliced or chopped similarly to the other vegetables

2 1/2 TBSP fish sauce or vegan substitute such as white soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp dark soy sauce

Large bunch Thai basil (or to taste). I finely chopped it to ensure distribution throughout the dish and was surprised at how well the flavor carried

With all the extra vegetables, our family of four got two nights out of this amount


  1. Remove the previously-frozen and now thawed tofu from the package. Using a colander, discard the water and then rinse thoroughly, squeezing all the while. The more rinsing and squeezing you do, the milder the flavor. The tofu will naturally start to break up. Keep doing so, tearing and squeezing, until you get small crumbles. Get as much water out as you can and leave in the colander until you are ready to use
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and then add the onion. Sauté until translucent, reducing heat if the onion starts to brown too much (unless you like browned onion better)
  3. Once the onion is soft, add the garlic and mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms have given up their liquid
  4. Add the tofu and other vegetables and lower the heat. Put the lid on the skillet and steam for a few minutes until the vegetables are your desired level of tenderness
  5. Add the sauce to the pan and stir. Taste and adjust seasoning to your preference
  6. Remove from heat and scatter the basil over the dish, stirring it in if you like (we do)
  7. Serve over the grain of your choice, or even rice noodles

Monday, March 4, 2019

Better-Method 100% Whole Wheat Crumpets

I’ve been making whole wheat crumpets for a few years now based on this Paul Hollywood crumpet recipe converted to using all home-milled wheat flour, half hard red wheat, half soft white wheat. I have been happy with these crumpets, particularly after I realized that I needed to substantially increase the water used to account for the whole grain and especially when I follow my own advice not to fill the crumpet rings too full (that last is a real struggle for me as I want a tall crumpet and frequently overfill my rings). And yet, they still verged on gummy.

Enter the Serious Eats 100% whole wheat sandwich bread recipe published recently.  I adore this recipe. The end result is tender and tasty and everything you could hope for in a whole wheat sandwich loaf. One secret to it is the 2.5 hour autolyse, in which the bulk of the liquid is mixed with the flour and left to sit. I have long known that whole grain flour takes longer to absorb liquid, but I didn’t understand that this absorption time would also inspire gluten formation, which is then later developed by kneading (or using the food process in the Serious Eats recipe). A lightbulb went on for me and I wondered if my crumpet recipe might be improved by an autolyse. This required pretty radically changing the method in the first part of the recipe. I use instant yeast, which negates the need for dissolving or using warm liquid, which gives me the flexibility I need for doing an autolyse. I follow Stella Parks’ technique in the bread recipe and added all but 2 TBSP of the liquid to my flour so that I would have some liquid to help when I mixed in the instant yeast. I was definitely worried that my mixing technique would fail but it worked beautifully. The only change I made to the timing was to give the mixture and additional 20 minutes or so to rise. After 80 minutes, my dough had indeed risen fully and begun to fall, just as Mr Hollywood says in his recipe.

After the autolyse and first rise, I followed the recipe that I’d modified earlier. I had thought that perhaps with the autolyse I wouldn’t need to use quite so much extra water but I used it all and it definitely needed it.

I did the long, slow preheat of my Baking Steel griddle and then cooked the crumpets at just above medium. This batter was definitely more bubbly and active than any other I’ve ever made and the interiors were not gummy. Though I know it’s sacrilege to split a crumpet (unlike an English muffin), I do it anyway. These ones fork-split easily, unlike the crumpets from previous batches. I plan on repeating this recipe very soon making sure to add even less batter to each ring (one recipe I consulted suggested add a scant 2 TBSP only). Glad I made that batch of lemon curd....

6 oz (175g) soft wheat berries or whole wheat pastry flour
6 oz (175g) hard wheat berries or whole wheat bread flour
12 fl oz milk. Use 10 oz at first and hold 2 oz back for after the autolyse
14g instant yeast (or two packets or 4 1/2 tsp)
1 tsp sugar
10 oz  warm water (Hollywood recipe calls for 5-7 oz)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
Oil for the crumpet rings and griddle

  1.  Mill the flours and add to the bowl of a stand mixer, stir the flours and 10 oz of milk together. I did not use warmed milk—straight from the fridge was fine. Let sit for one hour
  2. Give the mixture a stir then sprinkle the yeast and sugar over the top (alternatively you could dissolve the sugar and yeast into the milk). Using the regular mixer blade (not the dough hook) and keeping the mixer running on low, slowly dribble in the milk. The only reason to do it this way is to give the dough a chance to absorb the liquid without splashing everywhere. 
  3. Once the milk is mixed in, beat on low to medium for up to three minutes until you get a very smooth batter
  4. Cover and let rise 60-80 minutes. I found Hollywood's tip that the dough should rise and then start to fall super helpful. I err on the long side of rising time because the whole wheat dough does take longer
  5. Stir down the dough, then dissolve the salt and baking soda in the warm water. Add the water to the dough and again stir a bit by hand to avoid sloshing. Mix until well blended. Another helpful Hollywood tip is that the batter should be the consistency of double cream. I thought my batter reached that texture, but it was also very springy--my gluten strands were strong. Don't be afraid to add more water as you will definitely get better bubbles with a thinner batter
  6. Cover and let sit 20 minutes. While the batter sits, heat a cast iron griddle on medium-low so it has a nice long time to distribute the heat
  7. After the final rest, grease the griddle and up to 8 crumpet rings . Turn up the heat to a bit higher than medium (I do 5.5 or 6 out of 9)
  8. Use a scant 2 TBSP of batter per crumpet. You can use more, but then it makes it really hard not to get a burnt, leathery bottom on the crumpet before the top is cooked through. Cook until the top is set and you're seeing lots of bubbles. I find that my crumpets need a LONG time to cook, up to ten minutes a side. This is not consistent with Hollywood's recipe but is what I've found all the times I've made crumpets
  9. Either remove the rings before or after flipping and cook just a few minutes on the second side. With the new mixing method, it has been a dream to get the rings off of the crumpets, I’m happy to say
  10. Serve immediately or save in an airtight container or freeze, toasting to refresh, splitting if you are a heretic like me

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Oven-Baked Falafel

A year or two ago, I tried and liked the Serious Eats falafel recipe. I would make and fry big batches and then freeze them to use for my work lunches. However, I fell out of the habit of making it because the pan frying was so tedious and they always fell apart quite a lot so I ended up with scorched bits in the pan. In the end, the reward wasn’t worth the effort. When I saw a new recipe on smitten kitchen I decided to give it a whirl. Like the Serious Eats version, this uses soaked but uncooked chickpeas. In fact, the recipes are super similar so it may be that my pulsing technique is what made the difference, that or the use of onion (I omitted scallion in the Serious Eats recipe as I dislike them intensely). I hoped that it might stay together better and it did. However, many people in the comments said that the mixture was too wet for them so I was extra careful and drained my soaked chickpeas very well. I also made no attempt to avoid pulsing the mixture into a purée—most people who had issues with the falafel balls falling apart reported that things worked better when they processed the mixture more.

Optimistically, I had made a double batch thinking I would freeze it for lunches. Then we spontaneously were invited to the house of some friends to meet their gorgeous new cat, so I offered to bring dinner—the mixture I’d had resting in the fridge all day, storebought pita and hummus (instead of making tahini sauce) and some broccoli to steam. Because there were 8 of us all wanting to eat at the same time, and because I wanted to spend my time visiting and petting the kitty, we opted to form the mixture into patties and bake them. Success!

I know that I will make this recipe much more frequently if I can do it with a fraction of the effort. I made a second double batch today so that I could freeze it and I did fry three patties as a test to see if the result was worth it. I won’t like to you: fried falafel has a crunch that oven-baking cannot match. However, that crunch is going to be dimmed significantly by freezing and re-heating and the baked result is quite nice. If you’re going to eat the whole recipe right away, by all means fry them up. But if you’re planning for the future, save yourself some time and splatters and bake them. What follows is the doubled version as I know I won’t be making less than that.

You certainly may shape these into the traditional balls but I find that I greatly prefer a more patty-like shape as it is more pleasing to bit into, especially in a sandwich.

*You need to build in enough time for the chickpeas to soak at least 8 hours and for the processed mixture to rest at least half an hour before cooking*

1 lb dried chickpeas, rinsed and picked over
4 qt water
3 TBSP kosher salt
Combine water and salt in a large container to dissolve the salt. Then add the dried chickpeas and let soak for at least 8 hours.

Most of a bunch of flat-leaf parsley washed and dried well. You can also use a mixture of cilantro and parsley
1 large onion
6 large cloves garlic
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground coriander (or more to taste)
1 tsp ground cumin (or more to taste)
1/2 tsp cayenne, chipotle, New Mexico chile powder, or to taste


  1. Rinse and then drain the soaked chickpeas very, very well. I leave them to sit over the colander while I prep the rest of the ingredients
  2. If you want to save a bit of effort, wash and dry your herbs and then put them in the food processor bowl. Pulse until chopped. You can also finely chop by hand, but it seems silly to me not to let the food processor do the work. However, you will get a better result if you process the herbs first on their own before adding the rest of the ingredients
  3. Add the onion, garlic, salt and spices to the foood processsor and pulse a few times then add the well-drained chickpeas
  4. Pulse well until you’ve got a reasonably homogenous mixture. Test it by making a ball between your fingers. If it won’t hold together at all you should pulse some more. The end result looks kind of a like a paste and kind of like cooked couscous. When you’ve got the right texture,  scrape the mixture into a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least half an hour. I’ve left it overnight with no issues
  5. When you are ready to cook, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and generously oil two half-sheet pans. Use an oil with a decent smoke point—olive oil is not your best choice here
  6. Remove the mixture from the fridge and form into balls or patties. I use my large cookie scoop for this and flatten the top a bit. Place the patties on the sheet pans. I got 27 patties about 2 inches across
  7. Bake for 15 minutes then turn the patties over and switch the positions of the baking trays. Bake for an additional ten minutes. They should be nicely browned on top and bottom
  8. Remove from oven and serve or cool and then tray freeze and bag up for future meals

Monday, December 3, 2018

Garlicky Bok Choy with Shiitake Mushrooms

This is a modified version of Fuchsia Dunlop’s recipe for Bok Choy with Fresh Shiitake from Every Grain of Rice. Most of the recipe is directly hers but I used the dried shiitake variation because that’s what we’ll likely have on hand plus a few other little tweaks, namely the shape of the bok choy.
I always love bok choy in a restaurant but have struggled to cook (and eat!) it at home because of the different cooking time seemingly needed for the stalk and the greens.
However, in a time when other green veg was hard to come by at the farmers’ market, I picked up some full-size bok choy and decided to give this recipe a whirl. I almost left out the mushrooms, thinking that the smaller members of the family would soundly reject them but I was completely wrong. In fact, I thought that most of my dinner would be a bust with the youngest as I had planned to cook some farro to accompany the bok choy and baked tofu and she historically has never cared for it. (My other daughter and I adore its squeaky nuttiness). But, lo, not only did both kids gobble up the bok choy and beg for more mushrooms, but the youngest also proclaimed how much she loved the farro. Just goes to show it pays to keep re-presenting things over time because tastes change.
Back to the shape of the bok choy. While I appreciate the lovely presentation of a quartered bok choy stem, it is nearly impossible to pick up and eat and little mouths struggle to manage. So this time I blanched the whole bok choy stalks (baby this time) and then shocked and drained them before cutting them into bite size chunks prior to stir frying. It’s going to be much easier to get those forkfuls into our happy mouths.
I also use less ginger than Dunlop suggests, just because that’s my personal preference. Finally, Dunlop’s recipe calls for potato flour, which surprised me in the US edition, because I know from experience that this really should be potato starch in our parlance—potato flour exists and is a whole different thing.

6-9 dried shiitake mushrooms
Dash of Shaoxing wine
Slice of ginger
4 bunches baby bok choy or 2 bunches regular
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp potato starch mixed with 1 TBSP water
3 TBSP oil (a variety with a high smoke point—I used a bit less oil than this)
3 garlic cloves, sliced
Peeled and sliced ginger to taste (though because I keep my ginger in the freezer, I just grated some)


  1. Prepare the dried shiitakes: cover them in hot water and leave to soak 30 minutes. Then drain and cover with fresh water. Add a dash of Shaoxing wine and a slice or two of ginger. Simmer at least 20 minutes and just leave them there until you want them. Just slice or halve them as desired before you start your stir fry
  2. Pull the bok choy stems off the base as you would with stalks of celery and soak them well in cold water (I had a lot of grit in the bottom of my basin that I’m very glad we didn’t end up eating!). After 15 or so minutes of soaking, carefully lift the bok choy out of the basin and leave the grit behind
  3. Bring a couple of quarts of water to a boil then add a tsp of salt and a splash of oil. Add the bok choy and cook a minute or two until the leaves are wilted. Drain and rinse with cold water then drain again
  4. Cut the blanched bok choy into bite-sized pieces or the shape of your choice
  5. Stir the sugar into the potato starch/water mixture and set aside
  6. When you have all your ingredients sliced or chopped and are ready to start stir frying, heat the oil in a seasoned wok over high heat. We have an induction range so woks don’t work well; I use our 12-inch skillet or cast iron pan. Swirl the oil around then add the garlic and ginger. Cook very briefly, just until you can smell them, then add the mushrooms and bok choy. Stir them around a few times then add the starch mixture and salt to taste. Stir once again to combine and then serve