Where I’m Cooking From*


I used to know a guy, tall, blond, angular, Brit, lived on South Beach, with his own his sense of couture. He’d been to Thailand and had taken to wearing sarongs, those long, wraparound skirts that look right on a Thai but on him looked like he was wearing a towel.

We’d go long stretches without seeing each other, but would run into each other from time to time, and he would swoop down and hug me to his skinny chest, kiss me on both cheeks and say, “Darling I’ve been dying to see you, but my life is not my own.” I thought he was absurd. Now I have become him.

I’m not tall or blonde and don’t rock a sarong, but I am absurd and my life is not my own since writing and publishing Feeding the Hungry Ghost: Life, Faith and What to Eat for Dinner. I’m meeting wonderful, fascinating people, having deeper connections, doing all the things I talk about in my book. On the downside, it’s meant painfully fewer blog posts, for which I beg your pardon.

I keep thinking life will return to normal, but then I think of a line from Morrissey (a fellow vegan but a way cooler one), “There is no such thing in life as normal.” And I think of a line from a Pulp song, “I seem to have left an important part of my brain somewhere in a field in Hampshire.” Perhaps I’ll meet up with that bit of brain again. I’m really more interested in meeting you.

While I have no plans to be in Hampshire yet, one never knows. But here’s where I foresee being:


March 21, 3:30 PM Miami Home Show


March 28, 6 PM Books and Books

San Francisco

April 9, 6PM Book Passage, Ferry Building


April 14, 11 AM, Les Dames d’Escoffier Tropical Brunch , Miami Beach Botanical Garden

April 18, 6 PM HistoryMiami

April 28, 3PM Heart of a Chef, Fairchild Tropical Garden

New Orleans

May 1, 6 PM Octavia Books

West Palm Beach

June 1, 1PM Williams-Sonoma, The Gardens

If I show up in a sarong, please slap me.

* A friendly homage to Raymond Carver’s beautiful, blistering short story, “Where I’m Calling From.”

Dandelion Greens and Mushrooms With Wild Rice and Sage

Sultry like risotto and greater than the sum of it’s parts, it comes together in less time and without all the stirring. Rice may be cooked ahead.

1 cup brown rice (or brown and wild blend for fun)

2 cups vegetable broth or water

1 tablespoon vegan margarine like Earth Balance *

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 onion, sliced thin

pinch red pepper flakes

1 pound mushrooms, sliced thin

1 bunch dandelion greens, chopped

1 handful sage leaves, coarsely chopped

sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

a drizzle of truffle oil to finish, if you’ve got it

Bring vegetable broth or water to boil in a medium-sized pot. Add the rice, cover and let simmer for 30 minutes,or until grains are plump and tender and has sucked up all the liquid. Set aside (or, if you like, prepare a day or two ahead and keep covered and refrigerated).

From here on in, everything goes quick. Heat vegan margarine in a skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until it starts to turn golden and smell all nice and toasty and buttery. Add the garlic and onion and pepper flakes. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring, until vegetables soften and turn translucent, about 7 minutes.

Add the sliced mushrooms, stirring for a few minutes, until they darken. Then cover and reduce heat to low. Let vegetables cook and mellow for 15 to 20 minutes. They can do it unassisted. Do some gentle stretches while you wait. Breathe.

Remove the lid. The mushrooms will have produced some self-created broth. Excellent. Bring heat back to medium-high. Add the dandelion greens by the handful. Stir until the greens wilt but are still a deep and lovely green, no more than 5 minutes.

Tip in the rice and chopped sage leaves. Fold to combine. Season generously with sea salt and pepper, and a gilding of truffle oil, should you have such a thing.

Serves 4.

7 thoughts on “Where I’m Cooking From*

  1. 21ST Century Cuisine GLOBAL Culinary Collection

    Bonjour Ellen ~ B R A V O On Your N E W Book - Our WEEKLY F O O D I E News has Posted EVERY Event ~ Including Wednesday’s In New Orleans !

    May We Speak very soon re : http://www.TasteofAmericaCookbooks.com

  2. 21ST Century Cuisine GLOBAL Culinary Collection

    Dandelion Greens and Mushrooms : Would Be F U N !

    Can We Pair It With a Perfect Beverage ?

  3. Antonia Vautrin

    People often add too much salt in their recipes without realizing it until it’s too late, but do not worry. There is a way to fix this! Add two peeled and chopped raw potatoes to the dish, and then allow it to simmer for around 15 minutes. The potatoes help absorb the extra salt. For a dish that is tomato-based, just put a few more tomatoes in and let them cook until they’re tender. These will dilute the extra salt.:.

    My blog

  4. benjia morgenstern

    I bought your book last night at The Miami Beach Botanical Gardens and consumed the first chapter SEEDS with tears in my eyes. To turn left when others turned right and headed out the door…at Sunday School, no less. The tracks were laid..
    You are our MFK Fisher..How to Cook a Wolf ( I don’t mean any harm to the wolf)..Ruth Reichl..I apologize. You are you!

    1. edgy veggie Post author

      Gracious, darling, you’re pretty terrific, yourself. Let’s connect, cook, eat, laugh.


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