Baby Shiitake Mushrooms with Ancho Chile Sauce

Shiitake Mushrooms with Ancho Chile Sauce

How many times have you been at a local farmers market and walked smack dab into a mountain of baby shiitake mushrooms? I mean there they are, incredible in their tininess and then you realize that you can’t think of a thing to do with them. So you walk away and then kick yourself when you get home.

Well, that’s been me too many times to admit. But not last week at the Portland Farmers Market. My mind went blank, as it loves to do at just such moments, but I steeled myself and bought a pound and a half of the little jewels anyway. And all the while MauiJim is hissing at me, “But what are you going to do with them?”

New Year’s Day Black Bean Ancho Chili

New Year's Day Black Bean Ancho Chili

I tasted my first Black Bean Chili at the venerable Green’s vegetarian restaurant in San Francisco many moons ago. It was singularly delicious—an intriguing amalgam of deep, yet clean flavors. Since then, I have created numerous variations on the black bean soup and chili theme. This is the latest and quite possibly the best so far.