Friday, February 29, 2008

More vegan recipes ''in the news''...

The Toronto Star has a Sesame Lime Soba Noodles w/ Shiitakes & Snow Peas recipe from Canadian cookbook author Dreena Burton's book Eat, Drink & Be Vegan (which a vegan friend of mine who is remarkable in the kitchen recently recommended to me). From the same book, they feature a Chipotle Lime Two-Bean Hummus recipe. Vegan Freak Radio interviewed Dreena about her book last November; you can listen to it here.

The Guardian
(UK) has a short article on another Canadian cookbook author (one of my absolute favourites!), Sarah Kramer, and features a Portobellos Mushroom Bake that sounds delicious, as well as Brainless Banana Pancakes and Sarah's Blueberry Dilip (which is a kind of crumble).

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Vegan recipes in the ''news''

A quick Google News search brought these up this morning. It's neat seeing vegan recipes popping up in mainstream media.

The Canadian Press featured a
Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie recipe (it's vegan if you omit the cheese) created by Toronto chef Massimo Capra for a Food Network Canada series.

The Baltimore Sun featured an Indian Pumpkin and Lentils recipe by self-published cookbook author Sukumaran Muralidharan.

The Shreveport Times offered up Tofu Super Scramble and Raisin Bread recipes.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Current reads

I picked up a discarded copy of Janet Barkas' The Vegetable Passion at a library book sale around a month ago. It's subtitled A History of the Vegetarian State of Mind and examines different periods throughout the history of vegetarianism, focusing on some obvious areas like its practice in India and by the early Greeks, as well as the movement that came much later in England. It also examines famous vegetarians like Tolstoy, and even Hitler (more infamous than famous, that one). Published in 1975, it definitely precedes the huge flurry of writing about vegetarianism that seems to be filling up bookstore shelves today in post-Peter-Singer days. From some snooping around online with Google, I'm assuming that it's well out-of-print.

Here's a not-so-kind review of it from Time, printed at the time of its publication. The reviewer didn't think much of Barkas' style and seeming lack of substance, but noted the importance and relevance of the of the subject matter, nonetheless. I'll share my own thoughts on the book at a later date, since I'm just a few dozen pages into it right now and am currently in over my head reading an Eliot Coleman book on organic farming (something about which I'll also be posting at a later date).

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Recipes: Desserts!

I've never been much of a sweets fanatic, with the exception of adoring chocolate and cheesecake (or the sublime and permanently addictive food group created when I combined the two back when dairy wasn't an issue). Because of this, I've never spent a lot of time experimenting with desserts. I think I've only ever baked one single cake from scratch (no kidding), and I'm sure that the last time I baked a pie was over seven years ago. And should I mention that my last experiment with brownies -- from a mix out of a box, is still mocked good-naturedly by a couple of good friends who witnessed the outcome?

With all this confessed, I have to add that I've resisted attempting to learn to bake tofu-based cheesecake out of fear that I'd succeed (I'm weak, I tell you).

Thankfully, I've been able to dabble with some really simple (in terms of ingredients, time and cost) and relatively healthier dessert recipes over the years. Here are a couple of them. I'll post more over the next week.

Adapted from Kathy Cooks Naturally by Kathy Hoshijo:

Gingered Bananas

4 bananas, sliced
2 lemons, juiced
2 scant tsp of freshly-grated ginger

Toss everything together and serve. (I like to chill the lemon juice ahead of time.) Serves 2.

Pears In The Surf

2 cups of diced pears
1/8 to 1/4 cup lemon juice
1 Tbs of agave nectar
1 tsp of freshly-grated ginger
1 tsp grated lemon rind
fizzy water (e.g. Perrier, San Pellegrino)

Mix juice, agave nectar, ginger and lemon rind and marinate the diced pears in it for a minimum of a half hour, chilling it and mixing it occasionally to ensure pears get covered nicely.

Spoon into serving cups immediately before serving and pour fizzy water over the fruit to fill the cups. Serves 2.

(Watching: The Sound of Music. Quit yer snickering!)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Recent acquisitions

Even while living on the cheap, a gal needs to soak up some entertainment here and there. This evening, I managed to stumble upon a collection of 50 musicals, mostly from the 1930s and 1940s, for $20. A lot of them were just excuses to feature some simply amazing jazz performers, variety show style. I also nabbed a 2-DVD set of old Zorro TV episodes for $2.50. If I played everything back to back, I'd have over four straight days' worth of stuff to watch. Even if I were a four hour a day couch potato (which I'm not), that would mean almost a month's worth of watching at just half the cost of cable. Neat-o!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Meet your Meat

This short video, narrated by Alec Baldwin and produced by PeTA, has been circulating for quite a spell. For those of you who aren't strangers to vegetarianism, veganism or animal ethics, you're likely already well aware of Meet Your Meat and may very well have seen it already. Regardless of what they think about PeTA (or of what I think about PeTA, which isn't much), most folks with whom I've spoken who have seen it agree that it's impossible to walk away from it without its somehow impacting your choices as a consumer.

If you've never seen footage before of the conditions in which animals are raised for human consumption, be forewarned that this isn't light viewing. I think, however, that it's necessary viewing if you're interested in living the sort of authentic existence life where you make your decisions as a consumer while keeping your eyes wide open.

Recipe: Kasha and Veggies

Kasha is toasted buckwheat groats (which are just buckwheat kernels stripped of their outer coating and cracked into smaller pieces). In Eastern European countries, the term ''kasha'' is more generically used to refer to a sort of porridge (either sweet or savoury) that can be made from oats, buckwheat, rye or wheat.

If you can't find kasha at the supermarket or health food store (which is where I usually get it), you can substitute regular buckwheat groats, which have a more bitter taste. You can even toast up regular (dry) buckwheat groats in some oil in a pan until they've browned a little. Toasted groats aren't as bitter as the regular groats and have a bit of a distinctive nutty taste.

Here's another favourite recipe of mine, adapted from The Cookbook for People Who Love Animals, which I hope to track down soon.

Kasha and Veggies

Step 1:
2 cups kasha
4 cups water

Boil water and cook kasha for 15-20 minutes.

Step 2:
2 Tbs oil
5 onions, diced
2 large carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup tamari
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp basil
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne
3 Tbs tahini

Heat the oil and sauté the veggies for around 6-7 minutes (until tender), then add the cooked kasha, seasonings and tahini and cook an additional 8-10 minutes.

I usually serve it up with steamed greens tossed with a bit of balsamic vinegar, virgin olive oil and crushed garlic, or sometimes with a tossed green salad.


The Ethicurean and rBGH

I love The Ethicurean. It's not a vegetarian blog, but it's one of my favourite blogs out there now dealing with the ethics of consumption, both in terms of the actual information that's presented, as well as how it's presented . There are different contributors and they discuss topics such as organic farming, food labelling, animal welfare, changes in legislation, the biotech industry, etc. It's definitely worth bookmarking if any of these areas are of concern to you.

Someone posted an open letter to Monsanto there yesterday, listing off the small roadblocks they've been hitting during the lobbying they've been doing in the US to prevent dairy farmers or producers from labelling their milk rBGH-free (rBGH or recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone is manufactured by Monsanto and marketed under the name POSILAC). I was grinning from ear to ear reading it. Monsanto's take on it is that having some dairy products labelled rBGH-free would invariably lead consumers to believe that there's something wrong with it, which would in turn lead to consumers avoiding dairy products coming from cows who've been injected with it.

The Organic Consumers' Association website has
a section dealing with the rBGH issue, featuring everything from news stories about it to lists of rBGH-free producers and companies. They also spell out all of the reasons its usage ranges from problematic to outright dangerous, both to cows, as well as to the humans who consume the dairy products coming from cows injected with it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Of interest to those in the area with feline companions

Feline first aid course

Dr. Jim Berry of the Douglas Animal Hospital will offer a feline first aid course on March 16 at 12:30 p.m. in the President's Room of the Alumni Memorial Building at UNB.

The cost is $55 and all proceeds will be donated to The Arthritis Society and the Chickadee Cat Club's first cat show.

Limited space is available. Register by contacting Bev Amos at 459-2780 or

(I must admit that I was a little perplexed that proceeds would be going to The Arthritis Society, rather than maybe going towards one of the SPCA shelters, or the low-cost spay / neuter program for which some of the local pet stores have been accepting donations.)

Monday, February 18, 2008

GMOs in EU Revisited

I wrote about France's recent banning of Monsanto's genetically modified corn (MON810) last Monday. European farm ministers met today to discuss whether to allow it, three other types of maize and a type of genetically modified potato to be grown in Europe. The farm ministers couldn't reach an agreement, one way or another, which is tantamount to waving it through. According to Reuters:

EU law provides for rubberstamp GMO authorizations when ministers are unable to agree after a certain time. Since 2004, the Commission has authorized a string of GMOs -- nearly all maize types -- in this way, outraging green groups.

In the news, as well, concerning GMOs and the EU:
Europe is purportedly facing a ''crisis'' in its meat supply because of political resistance concerning the use of genetically modified protein in animal feed. Without being able to either grow or import the feed, it seems livestock totals will have to be cut back and that the price of meat could increase drastically, and that the recourse would be to import meat from outside of the EU -- ironically enough, from animals raised on genetically modified feed. It's funny how the idea of just encouraging consumers to lessen their consumption of animal products couldn't be factored in somehow. I mean, is it really so unthinkable? Did I miss the part about the sky falling?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Peak Oil, Peak Coal, and Beyond

This is an interview with award-winning vegetarian author, educator, lecturer and Peak Oil expert Richard Heinberg, posted to YouTube by the folks at Peak Moment Television.

Their half-hour long episodes -- Conversations -- focus on local food production, renewable energy, transportation alternatives, what businesses or government can and should be doing, as well as what individuals can do to prepare for life after the oil age. They're hosted by Global Public Media and YouTube and where available, can be seen on community access television.

The description provided on YouTube for this particular episode:

Peak Moment 63: Hot topics from Richard Heinberg: record-high U.S. fuel prices; the ethanol big-business boondoggle; coal projected to peak about a hundred years early (around 2020); what the climate change discussion is missing; and the benefits of "going local".

I love his musical intro!

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Future of Agriculture

Anybody with an interest in the future of agriculture -- of food -- in the US (and the rest of the world, really should read this article about the impact of recent budget cuts by the Bush administration on agricultural research in public institutions, and what it means in terms of agribusiness not only increasing its profits at the US taxpayers' expense, but also ultimately curtailing research into areas of farming that aren't wrapped around patents and genetic engineering.

From the article:

The future of agricultural research at America's land-grant institutions belongs to biotech conglomerates like Monsanto. And it seems likely that it's a future of chemical-dependent, genetically modified, bio-engineered agriculture. In stark contrast to how the federal government and many states are wallowing in red ink, the St. Louis-based Monsanto boasted more than $7 billion in annual sales in 2007 -- simply the latest in four years of record-smashing profits. And so when our president says that the time has come for public land-grant institutions to get cracking at "leveraging nonfederal resources," you can be sure that Monsanto's ears perk.

But, it doesn't take a presidential invitation to get Monsanto to sink its roots in the land-grant system. Those roots are already planted. Iowa State's campus boasts a Monsanto Auditorium and the school offers students Monsanto-funded graduate fellowships on seed policy with a special focus on "the protection of intellectual property rights." Kansas State has spun off Wildcat Genetics, a side company whose purpose is the selling of soybean seeds genetically engineered to survive the application of Roundup® -- the result of a decades long relationship with Monsanto, the pesticide's maker.

It looks like the future of organic farming research in North America will be left in the hands of folks like Dr. Elaine Ingham of Soil Foodweb, Inc.. Unfortunately, Soil Foodweb, Inc. isn't churning out the next generation of agricultural scientists, which is why agribusiness' increasing control of American universities and other academic institutions conducting research should be especially worrisome.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Thumping Hearts Day!

May those of you with sweethearts indulge yourselves shamelessly in this cheesiest of Hallmark-days. Any excuse for a romantic candlelit dinner gets my official thumbs up.

What's that sound?


(Or is it lub-dub lub-dub lub-dub?)

Monday, February 11, 2008

France bans its only homegrown GM crop

I read an article today that made me feel hopeful. It's the old drop in the bucket, I know, but it's still good to see someone standing up to international agri-bullies. France has decided to ban its only genetically modified crop, the MON810 strain of corn introduced to them by the friendly folks at Monsanto. The corn is used for animal feed. A few weeks ago, when France first expressed its intentions to impose a ban, the US-based Biotechnology Industries Organisation (BIO) released a statement calling on the US government and European Union to jump into the fray to intervene. According to BIO:

"This continued moratorium will negatively impact French farmers, consumers, and the environment. Biotech crops have tremendous potential to reduce the environmental impact of farming. By growing biotech crops, farmers reduce pesticide applications and the consumption of fuel and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as reduce the need for plowing to control weeds, which leads to better conservation of soil and water, and a decrease in soil erosion and compaction."

Ah... sure. However, according to Greenpeace,
all is not cut and dried concerning MON810's effectiveness, or its possible impact on the insects and organisms (either beneficial or harmful) that are exposed to it. Sale of the seed was banned in Germany earlier last year and this ban has since been lifted, albeit with regulations imposed to purportedly curtail the possibility of cross-contamination of GM crops with conventional crops. Since France took its stance on MON810, over 300 scientists and environmental groups in Spain (Europe's largest grower of GMOs) have come forward with a petition calling for a ban on the cultivation of all GMOs in Spain. The United States' government will likely attempt to retaliate against France with trade sanctions at the WTO level, which it did a few years back in response to Austria's ban on the cultivation and use of MON810. Austria still refuses to lift its ban.

The Organic Consumers Association has
a ton of information on GMOs in general, and on Monsanto, more specifically -- its products, its politics and its history. The one thing that is clear in all of this is that agribusiness has become less about consumerism and more about politics, where international trade regulations are now taking away the rights of elected governments to respond to the needs and concerns of their own people. What better way to circumvent consumers' rights to control what they eat than to force it into their stores and sneak it into their products?

As agribusiness continues to fight against the labelling of GMO products, this leaves consumers with the task of struggling to
educate themselves about where their food comes from, and whether the manufacturers producing it are using genetically modified ingredients. When it comes to choices, it seems that the only uncomplicated option now left to consumers that doesn't involve doing your homework first is to choose to purchase organic products.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Recipe: Lentil Soup

This one's a variation of the ongoing basic green lentil soup recipe I've been slapping together forever. The tarragon addition started up a few years back when I first began growing it in my garden. It's optional, but is really worth it.

Lentil Soup

1-1/2 cups lentils, washed
1-1/2 quarts veggie stock or water
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbs nutritional yeast
2 stalks celery & tops, chopped
1 Tbs celery seed, ground
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
1-1/2 to 2 cups tomatoes, stewed (I often just use the canned and diced)
2 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs lemon juice
1/2 or 1 tsp fresh tarragon, shredded (optional)

Place lentils in pot. Add water / veggie stock, salt and yeast. Cover and simmer until almost tender. Add remainder of ingredients. Cover. Simmer until carrots are done (about 15 minutes or longer). Add the tarragon during the last 5 minutes of cooking.

This soup is great with fresh whole grain rolls smeared with Tofutti "cream cheese" or a bit of Earth Balance margarine sprinkled with nutritional yeast.

Serves 5-6.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Recipe: The Most Amazing Lentil Burger Ever

The recipe is adapted from The New York Times Natural Foods Cookbook by Jean Hewitt (ca. 1971). It was the first mostly-vegetarian cookbook I ever bought, back in 1990 or so when I picked it up at a used bookstore in Ottawa. I've made these for over fifteen years and they're still my favourite homemade veggie burgers.

Lentil Burgers

2 cups cooked lentils
1 cup of whole gr
ain bread crumbs (e.g. whole wheat, spelt, etc.)
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 tsp salt (I use a little less)
1/2 Tbs celery seed
1/2 tsp pepper
1-2 tsp garlic powder (or 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced)
1/2 a large onion, grated
whole wheat

Mix all the ingredients but the lentils and flour. Mash the lentils only a wee bit more than lightly and mix with other ingredients. Form palm sized patties, just under an inch thick. Dredge 'em through the flour and then fry on both sides in hot olive oil until they've browned.

Serving suggestion: Melt slices of vegan mozzarella on patties and serve with tomato slices. lettuce and onion sprouts in a whole grain bread sandwich. The recipe makes around 5-6 patties.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Darwin Day, February 12

I was at the grocery store yesterday, picking up some cat food and red wine (treats all around!) when I noticed the abundance of pink and red things clumped together here and there. It's that Hallmark-worthy time of year again. My association with Valentine's Day is pretty much limited to bad memories of sitting in my elementary school classroom, clutching my empty decorated Kleenex box (boxes we'd all been told to bring in), wondering who would give me a token valentine that year. Even at the wee age of 6 or 7, my sheltered delusions of equality and universal kindness were being picked apart and reconstructed by the public school system (snicker). Basic math and reading skills were served up on the side. I'd wince at the end of the day, on February 14th, watching some of the kids as they'd go through their boxes trying to hide their disappointment. I always felt a little lucky that I fell into that gray murky area that kept me out of the schoolyard cliques, yet safe from complete ostracization. My point? Valentine's Day isn't all love and chocolate (although chocolate, especially of the organic and vegan variety, is always loved by the humble writer of this post).

So? With all of this on the brain, I poked around on
Richard Dawkins' website this morning before work, while enjoying my morning cuppa green tea. I was pleasantly surprised to read about a strong movement promoting February 12 as the global celebration of Darwin Day (February 12 having been the date of his birth in 1809). According to Wikipedia, Darwin Day has been celebrated somewhat sporadically for a century now. In the late 1990s, however, efforts were initiated to kick-start a regular and more official celebration, not only to commemorate Charles Darwin, but to celebrate the things he's come to symbolize -- science and humanity. The Institute for Humanist Studies calls him the "Emancipator of the Human Mind". The man's been dead for 200 years and his work is still lodged firmly in the middle of the ongoing battle between science and faith over our origins.

The official Darwin Day website
has a list of events scheduled around the world on February 12, as well as information on how to plan your own event. Primordial Soup potluck, anyone?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Cinema Politica Presents "The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil

As part of it's weekly Friday Night Docs series, Cinema Politica Fredericton is presenting The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil this Friday, February 8, at 7 pm. From the documentary's official site:

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1990, Cuba's economy went into a tailspin. With imports of oil cut by more than half – and food by 80 percent – people were desperate. This film tells of the hardships and struggles as well as the community and creativity of the Cuban people during this difficult time. Cubans share how they transitioned from a highly mechanized, industrial agricultural system to one using organic methods of farming and local, urban gardens. It is an unusual look into the Cuban culture during this economic crisis, which they call "The Special Period." The film opens with a short history of Peak Oil, a term for the time in our history when world oil production will reach its all-time peak and begin to decline forever. Cuba, the only country that has faced such a crisis – the massive reduction of fossil fuels – is an example of options and hope.

Global Public Media has an excellent article on the documentary and the changes in Cuba that are examined in it.

Want some context?
Here's a short article by Colin J. Campbell, founder of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas, that provides an overview of the peak oil issue, and of its significance.

For even more information about peak oil, check out this two part interview with
Richard Heinberg:

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Cannonball Adderley - Jive Samba (ca. 1963)

This video from 1963 was quite possibly recorded live at Studio G by TBS TV on July 7. It features:

Cannonball Adderley
- alto sax
Nat Adderley - cornet
Yusef Lateef - flipping from tenor sax, to oboe and flute
Joe Zawinul - piano
Sam Jones - bass
Louis Hayes - drums

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Plastic Bags, Part I

Around a month and a half ago, I tucked my bicycle into a small nook between the side of my sofa and my collapsible (and sadly, unused) sewing machine, and resigned myself to a winter of adapting to being a pedestrian again. Part of this meant that I would be losing the speed and mobility that had allowed me to spend the previous seven or eight months being a finicky shopper, able to flit from one store to another to shop for better deals or fresher produce. Travel-time more than tripled, which entailed the necessity to plan ahead more carefully. On the other hand, I also suddenly found myself with two free hands to carry bags for extras outside of what I could ordinarily cram into my well-worn knapsack whilst cycling. I'm quite happily car-free, and for those rare occasions when I do need to make a large purchase, it's much cheaper to take an occasional cab than to have a car sitting in my driveway 24/7. So far, I've managed to keep my cab rides down to one every couple of months.

I've generally had no problem accepting some plastic bags at stores, since I do it so rarely and always reuse the bags to clean litter boxes (which nonetheless leaves them ending up in the landfill, I know). Lately, my mother's been re-homing her plastic bags with me, since they would otherwise end up getting thrown out by her. Because of this, I've decided to nose around online a bit, to look for creative and useful things to do with extra bags, as well as ways to reuse existing items at home to actually make reusable bags. I've noticed that reusable bags are often for sale now at many grocery stores, from $1.00 to $4.00, so I was curious to see what other options were available.

I found
this blog post on how to make bags out of old sheets and used jeans (or other sturdy fabric). The cost is zilch if you use your own old sheets and old jeans. Online instructions for making shopping bags are plentiful. For instance, even has animated step-by-step instructions for another type of bag. It calls for more durable fabric than what you'd get with sheets. I'd suggest checking out a thrift store, or the liquidation sales that fabric stores often have, if you want to keep costs down.

A woman called Cristen has devoted
a blog to crocheting with plastic from old bags. She tells you how to prepare them first and provides links to dozens of projects, including how to make crocheted bags out of used plastic bags. Cindy, at provides tons of patterns (with illustrated instructions) for plastic bag crafts. For instance, she has instructions on how to make a doormat or a pot scrubber. Now if I can only learn to crochet... Craftzine has also featured information in its blog on how to crochet things out of plastic bags, as well as how to fuse plastic to create things like clothing and jewelry.

So why not just recycle the bags, you may wonder? Aren't most bags
biodegradable these days, anyway? I'll post more on that aspect of the plastic bag issue later.

(Listening to:
The Bauhaus' The Sky's Gone Out)

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Where soy milk comes from (and musings about vegan yogurt)

The soy controversy came up in conversation last night with a mostly-vegan friend who's decided to cut all soy products from his diet. We were discussing soy- and dairy-free alternatives to soy milk, and speculating about the existence of soy- and dairy-free yogurt. It seems that the only soy- and dairy-free yogurt on the market right now is something called Ricera, which is made from organic brown rice. It's high in protein, cholesterol and trans-fat free, and fortified with Vitamins A and D, as well as with calcium. According to their website, they got off to a rocky start when the Vitamin D source they used was found to be D3, which is animal-derived. They've since rectified the problem and are using D2, which is vegetable-derived.

All nutritional questions aside, however -- is it tasty? I've never seen it in Canada, but a friend has mentioned that it's available at Whole Foods. A few Google searches led me to some sad reviews of the product, at least one using the word "barf". As more and more people avoiding dairy in their diets (either from lactose-intolerance, concerns over the use of hormones in the dairy industry, or for ethical reasons) become concerned about the purported issues with soy, it probably won't be long until other dairy- and soy-free brands of yogurt pop up on store shelves.

Recipe: Baked Rice and Lentils

This is adapted from a recipe found in an old Seventh-Day Adventist recipe booklet published in Canada in 1989. It's incredibly simple and inexpensive to make and you can easily tweak the seasonings to please your own taste buds. Use it wherever you'd use something like mashed potatoes (e.g. with roasted veggies and seitan).

Baked Rice and Lentils

2 medium onions, diced
1/2 cup uncooked rice
2/3 cup uncooked green lentils
2/1-2 cups water
4 tsp or so of soya sauce

Saute the onion in oil, if you wish (I just dice it and throw it in raw with everything else).

In a small casserole dish, dump the rice, lentils, water and soya sauce and the raw / sauteed onions. Bake covered at 325 F for at least 40 minutes or until the rice is tender. Add water if necessary and add salt / pepper to taste when done if desired (I never do since the soya sauce is salty enough).

Optional: Add 1/2 cup of sauteed mushrooms or drained canned mushrooms.
Add crushed garlic to taste.