Wild Rice with Sautéed Kale and Oyster Mushrooms

Wild Rice with Sautéed Kale and Oyster Mushrooms from www.athoughtforfood.net
Wild Rice with Sautéed Kale and Oyster Mushrooms from www.athoughtforfood.net

After Spain, I figured I was finished with traveling for the year. And then an e-mail came asking if I wanted to check out St. Petersburg, Florida, and then head out to Orlando for the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. How could I refuse such an offer? St. Pete has a fun, budding food scene; and what was nice to see was how supportive everyone is of other businesses, with each brewery, bartender, and chef suggesting I go to this place or that. Too many places, in fact... so another trip will have to be planned. Additionally, the city has a nice art community, with 70+ urban murals scattered around the Downtown area, as well as the Dali Museum and Chihuly Collection, both of which I was able to tour (though they were brief visits). On Monday, I made my way over to Epcot for their annual culinary festival. It's the over-the-top experience one expects from Disney, with all the sounds, smells, and whirling gizmos. What I wasn't prepared for was how delicious the dishes would all be. Each plate felt authentic and not some bastardized version of the country's food. I ate a lot, but I also walked a ton (even as an adult, Epcot felt enormous). I hadn't really seen myself making a trip to Disney World, but I would definitely return for a repeat of this event. 

And my travels aren't over. I'm now in Oregon visiting Harry and David (known for their pears, as well as their extensive catalog of products). I'm here for a few days and then I head back to Boston. And I really need to start thinking about our Friendsgiving menu. There are a few dishes on my brain, like this warm wild rice and kale salad. It's one of those creations that came to me after returning from picking up produce at our coop. The pairing of earthy mushrooms, sweet sautéed kale, and the spices and lemon zest make for a vibrant side. 

Wild Rice with Sautéed Kale and Oyster Mushrooms from www.athoughtforfood.net
Wild Rice with Sautéed Kale and Oyster Mushrooms from www.athoughtforfood.net
Wild Rice with Sautéed Kale and Oyster Mushrooms from www.athoughtforfood.net
Wild Rice with Sautéed Kale and Oyster Mushrooms from www.athoughtforfood.net
Wild Rice with Sautéed Kale and Oyster Mushrooms from www.athoughtforfood.net

Wild Rice with Sautéed Kale and Oyster Mushrooms

4-6 servings, as a side


1 cup wild rice, rinsed
1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves ripped into bite-size pieces
1 pound oyster mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 small yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 red pepper, seeds and stem removed, chopped
Olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Zest of a lemon

Add rice, 3 cups water, and 2 teaspoons salt to a pot and bring it to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, cover with a lid and reduce heat to a simmer, cooking for about 45 minutes. If there is any remaining liquid, transfer the rice to a colander. 

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large non-stick skillet set over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes, until they are tender and lightly browned. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. 

Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the skillet and set over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, followed by the red pepper. Cook for 3 minutes. Add the kale to the pan (if necessary, do this in stages to keep it from overflowing the pan) and cook until wilted. Season with salt.

Transfer rice to a serving bowl. Add the sautéed vegetables to the bowl, and sprinkle the cinnamon, cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and lemon zest on top. Using a large spoon, mix until thoroughly combined.  Season with salt, to taste.

Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup

Something happened this weekend that touched me. I got a note from a reader looking for a recipe (well, funnily enough, it was this soup recipe) that they couldn't find on the site. I get these messages once in a while, people looking for posts that, for one reason or another, no longer exist. I lost a few while transferring my site platform and I'm slowly adding them back (it's a bit of a process since I have to start from scratch and write the recipes, take the photos, etc). Anyway, I got a message over Facebook asking if I could share this soup recipe with them. I must admit that I don't always make the effort and will often say something like "I'm sorry, but the recipe is gone." but I decided it wouldn't be that hard to write it out for her.

A few minutes later, I received the following note: "You are AMAZING! Thanks so very much for your quick response. This is one of my favorites and exactly what I needed this weekend. I lost my grandmother this week and this is basically a hug in a bowl. Keep on cooking and sharing... you're actually touching people in ways you didn't even realize."

When I read this, I was taken aback. I hadn't expected my response to mean a whole lot, but here we have it... proof that even small gestures can have a huge impact. You never know what a smile will do to brighten up someone's day. Or how a simple compliment can boost someone's spirits. They're little things that we can all do. An important lesson as we head into a new year.

Soup was one of the first things I remember learning to cook (and I think for those interested in developing their culinary skills, it's a great place to start). The process fascinated me. Where so many meals consist of multiple elements that should work together (if done correctly), one bite of soup has to hit all the right notes. Preparing soup taught me how to properly season food. It taught me the importance of textures in a dish. And, above all else, I learned that with just a few ingredients, one can create a delicious, totally satisfying meal. 

This wild rice and mushroom soup was a staple when I was growing up, and I continue to make it throughout the winter. It's a hearty soup, but quite healthy too.  Most of the items in here are probably already in your pantry. 


I was able to get all of my ingredients using Peapod, the grocery delivery service. It was a cold day (despite the pictures, it was in the twenties) and I was in no mood to leave the house. I've heard lots about Peapod. My grandparents use them and at least once a week the truck drives down our street to deliver to our neighbor. The driver was very nice and all of my groceries were brought straight to my front door. I have a feeling I'll be using it again during our next snowfall (which I really don't want to think about).

What really surprised me was how easy it was to order through their site. Sometimes online commerce can be a bit hard to navigate, but when I used it, I was able to find items quickly either through a search or by "shopping by aisle." Also, I don't know about you but I'm terrible at keeping track of pantry items so I loved that I could browse through the store and come across things like nuts or dried fruit and be reminded that I'd been meaning to pick some up. All of your orders are saved in the system, making it very easy to reorder groceries. 

In working with Peapod to create this post, I learned some things about the company that I didn't know. Like I had no idea they've been around since 1989, making it the longest operating Internet grocery service. Their markets include: Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Maryland, District of Columbia, Virginia, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and, of course, Massachusetts. To get more info about Peapod, head on over to the website... and be sure to check out their blog for recipe ideas.

Sometime in the next week, I'll be hosting a giveaway over on Instagram for a year long PodPass membership for one Boston-area resident. PodPass is a membership-based program that removes all delivery fees for orders over $100.  Be sure to follow me on on Instagram to get all the details about the giveaway.  

DISCLAIMER: This post is sponsored by Peapod. Thank you for supporting the brands that make A Thought For Food possible.


If you do not own an immersion blender, you can just dice the vegetables instead of leaving the pieces bigger.

8 servings

1 cup cooked wild rice
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 lb white button mushrooms, washed and chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 teaspoons chopped rosemary
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
Black pepper
Fresh parsley, chopped

Set a large soup pot over medium-high heat, add olive oil. Let heat for 30 seconds and add onion. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, mushrooms, carrots, celery, mushrooms and rosemary and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add vegetable broth and water, cover pot, and cook for 15 minutes. 

Stir in cooked wild rice to the soup and, using a hand blender, give it a quick blend to break up larger pieces. Season with salt and black pepper. Ladle soup into bowls and top with fresh parsley. 

Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl

Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl - A Thought For Food

Sushi and I have been good friends for quite a long time. My first experience consuming raw fish occurred when I was a sophomore in high school. I was spending the afternoon in New York with some pals and we ended up at a food quart with lots of options. I probably got a sandwich or a burger (this was before I became pescatarian), but someone brought a small platter of sushi to the table. We all looked curiously. What's that?  Even as a kid, I was an adventurous eater, so when she asked me if I wanted a piece, I said, "Sure!" Without thinking too much about it, I loaded it with wasabi and soy sauce (too much of both) and stuffed the whole thing in my mouth. After my sinuses stopped burning, I was able to enjoy the subtle flavors and variety of textures in that single bite. From that moment on, I was hooked.

There are other moments in my life where sushi has played an essential role. Like my relationship with Eric. When we had our initial phone conversations about where we should go for our first date, I suggested coffee or cocktails... you know, in case we didn't hit it off.  We agreed on a place and time and that was that. But a few days later, I got a call from him asking if I ate sushi. Yes... yes I do. Good, he said. Let's get sushi. As we sat at the table, a boat of sashimi and nigiri before us, he said, "Just so you know, if you didn't like sushi, I was going to break things off." And while some people might see that as being a bit dismissive, I was right there with him. I find that people who eat sushi tend to be more open-minded, especially when it comes to food. At the time, I knew I wanted a partner who was just as passionate about food as I was. I wanted to be with someone who was willing to take risks in life. When he told me that, I knew it was meant to be. (I should also add that we named our dog, who we got just before we were married, Maki. Yup... obsessed)

Needless to say, when I came across a recipe for Ahi Tuna Poke, in Sara Forte's striking new book, The Sprouted Kitchen: Bowl and Spoon, I was sold on making it. The whole thing came together so easily, I had to wonder why I'd never tried it before. It's basically a giant sushi roll bowl! Say THAT a few times. Sushi roll bowl. Sushi roll bowl. You can top it with all different kinds of veggies and make it as spicy as you'd like. Sara recommends wasabi or chili flakes, but I love the chili paste we keep stocked, so I went with that. Add to that a bit of grated ginger and garlic and a drizzle of soy and sesame oil and you have a kickin' marinade.

If I haven't expressed how much I adore Sara's book (and Hugh's pictures), let me take a moment to just say this. Buy the book. Now. The photos jump off the page, the writing tells a beautiful story, and the recipes... well, I guess that's the most important part. These are recipes that will stand the test of time. They can be made for a big dinner party or a quick weeknight meal (I'd say this poke falls under the latter). It's a book you keep in your kitchen... there's endless amounts of inspiration. Again... go get the book. 

Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl - A Thought For Food
Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl - A Thought For Food
ahi tuna poke bowl-3887.jpg
Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl - A Thought For Food
Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl - A Thought For Food
Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl - A Thought For Food
Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl - A Thought For Food

Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl

Source Adapted very slightly from the recipe in Sprouted Kitchen: Bowl + Spoon by Sara Forte

Yield 4 servings


1 1/2 cups short-grain brown rice or white rice
1 1/2 pounds sushi-grade ahi tuna
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Chili paste
2 green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
3 carrots, grated
1 bunch (about 8) medium radish, thinly sliced
2 large, ripe avocados
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
Sesame seeds


1. Rinse the rice in a fine-mesh strainer. Cook the rice according to instructions or in a rice cooker.

2. With a sharp knife, cut the ahi into 1-inch cubes. In a large bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, sesame oil, minced ginger, grated garlic, vinegar, and chili paste, to taste. Add the ahi and green onions and stir gently to combine. This much can be done up to 1 hour in advance. Keep chilled.

3. Just before serving, pit and dice the avocado into small cubes.

4. Arrange your poke bowl with a generous scoop of rice, ahi tuna, avocado, grated carrot and sliced radish. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top. Serve with cilantro and more soy sauce on the side.