By Addie Broyles
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We're in the middle of a summer when we can't really travel the way we used to.
Road trips and maybe even a short flight might be on the horizon, but with so many international flights on hold, many of us are sitting at home dreaming about those big intercontinental trips we hope to take one day.
If you have a strong case of wanderlust, a new cookbook called "The Atlas Cookbook: A Food Adventure" by Charlie Carrington (Hardie Grant, $29.99) might be just what you need. The book is a culinary tour of more than 20 countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Iraq, Portugal, Turkey and Vietnam, and is an exploration of regional ingredients, cooking techniques and dishes that make each cuisine unique.
Carrington runs a restaurant in Melbourne called Atlas, and he uses his own travels to inform the food he prepares at the restaurant, with the cuisine changing every four months. It's not as authentic as going to each country yourself, but cooking a recipe from his book, like these Chinese-style green beans with peanuts and shiitake mushrooms, could be the start of a journey that might one day get you there.
Green Beans with Peanut and Shiitake Mushroom Crumble
A top-notch dish with gutsy flavors, which are sometimes found lacking in vegetarian cooking. The meatiness comes from the earthy umaminess of the shiitake mushrooms and the malty smokiness of the black vinegar (also called Chinkiang vinegar). Make sure you really blister the beans to get the right crunch and texture.
- Charlie Carrington
2/3 cup grapeseed oil, divided
16 shiitake mushrooms, roughly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4-inch piece fresh ginger, minced
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar
2/3 cups crushed peanuts
1 pound green beans, stems removed
In a wok or frying pan over medium-high heat, warm 1/4 cup of the oil. Saute; the mushrooms until lightly colored, then remove from the heat and chop them into a rough mince. Set aside.
In the same pan, over high heat, warm another 1/4 cup of oil and fry the garlic and ginger until golden and crispy. Add in the soy sauce and vinegar and the shiitake mushrooms and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are cooked. Mix in the crushed peanuts and set aside.
Again place the same pan over the highest possible heat and pour in the remaining oil. When the oil is hot, stir-fry the beans until the skin blisters but the beans aren't overcooked. Pile the beans and peanut and shiitake crumble onto a plate to serve.
- From "The Atlas Cookbook: A Food Adventure" by Charlie Carrington (Hardie Grant, $29.99)
Addie Broyles writes about food for the Austin American-Statesman in Austin, Texas. She can be reached at email@example.com, or follow her on Twitter at @broylesa.