Posts Tagged ‘vegetarian’

Quick mushroom cream sauce

October 23, 2014

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This is a fast weeknight dish I threw together (apparently in the dark). It’s based on another Smitten Kitchen recipe, but where she puts the resulting buttery, mushroomy goodness on perfect little toasts, I put it on some farmers’ market ravioli.

I can never quite find white bread perfect enough for tiny mushroom-topped toasts, do you have that problem? The slices would have to be crunchy AND soft, rich but not overpowering, and at least half an inch tall. I prefer whole wheat toast with my sardines. Maybe I’ll talk about sardines soon, too. ;)

    Mushroom Cream Sauce

1 pound brown (Cremini) mushrooms or whatever mix you like
2 tablespoons butter
1 tender white portion of leek, 2 small shallots or 1/2 an onion (leeks are my favorite), sliced thin
1/2 cup white wine or sherry
2 glugs cream or half and half
salt to taste
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped chives, according to taste
chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, to taste

Clean and dice your mushrooms. Melt butter on medium-high heat – when foamy, add the mushrooms, salting liberally. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms release some of their moisture. If using onion, add it to the pan sooner. If using shallot or leek, reduce heat to medium and cook until barely translucent.

Next, pour in the wine and let simmer, covered, for around 3 minutes. At this point, evaluate your sauce. Is it nicely reduced or too liquidy? If it needs to reduce more, remove the lid until you like the looks of it. Reduce heat to low to avoid curdling, then add your glugs of cream, stirring well to get the caramelized bits at the bottom of the pan. Once your desired thickness is achieved, take the mixture off the heat and add the chives and parsley.

Toss with pasta and serve!

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Browned butter panko… Goes on everything

October 8, 2014

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This is sort of a recipe, sort of a tip for packing lunch. Last year, I fell in love with crunchy Bosc pears on bitter salads. This lunch box has a baby kale, pickled radish, and sliced pear salad, quinoa pilaf, and kiwi slices. When I made my pear + greens salad over and over again, I found it came out best when I added a salty/crunchy element. This time I had some leftover browned butter panko – so good. You can press these browned butter bread crumbs onto cauliflower, broccoli, meat… or make a little fried goat cheese for a salad. Here’s how you do it:

Cut 4 tablespoons of butter into slices. Add to a pan over medium high heat and allow to melt, but stand by with a spatula or scraper. When the butter starts to foam up, stir it. The little bits of proteins and sugars in the butter sink to the bottom and stirring will help you brown them evenly. When the butter has reached a level of browned-ness you like, add a cup of panko or breadcrumbs, 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (or herb of preference) and salt to taste, stirring constantly.

Allow the panko/bread crumbs to soak up the butter, then watch and stir as they start to brown. When they are golden and toasty, take them off the heat quickly and throw them on top of whatever is nearby!

To make fried goat cheese, slice your chevre about 1/4 inch thick. I then placed the slices in the freezer to firm them up, but I still got a messy result (hence no photo). Dredge them in flour, then beaten egg, then press it into your finished browned butter crumbs. Because the crumbs are already browned, just barely fry the goat cheese in a little oil. I almost regretted making the first one because they were frequently requested after that…

Shishito pepper snack

September 30, 2014

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These little shishito peppers came in my CSA box from Farm Fresh to You (the code MARI2172 will get you $10 off and get me a $25 credit, but I expect everybody who wants to do this has already signed up). I tried them a bunch of different ways, and they were all good, but this quick “dry” fry was the best!

Add a good tablespoon or two of oil to a hot pan (canola, grapeseed, olive – just be careful of the smoke point), add the peppers and a substantial sprinkling of salt, and cook until blistered, stirring frequently. Voila! A snack that tastes excellent with beer. Grab them by the stem, bite off the pepper part, and stack your stems next to your beer coaster as proof of your mighty conquest.

I think I paired them with a Stone IPA. Let me know if any other combinations are outstanding. :)

Weeknight Dinners

March 10, 2014

Cooking when you don’t feel like cooking sucks. Nothing sounded good tonight, and the fridge isn’t exactly stocked, so I made pesto, which didn’t suck, because the whole thing took 20 minutes.

packed up for lunch

packed up for lunch

I had some curly kale from my most recent CSA delivery, so I put some of that under my pasta and called it a night. (After packing up the leftovers for lunch, of course!)

Pesto Ingredients:

6-8 large basil leaves

1/3 cup toasted pine nuts

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 clove garlic (or more, to taste)

olive oil

I combined all ingredients except the olive oil in the food processor and pulsed until chopped small. I then added olive oil until it was the consistency I like. Bam! Pesto. Make sure to taste it to see if it needs salt or  more garlic.

I put a pot of lightly salted water on the stove and set it to boil. Once I saw bubbles, I threw in washed and chopped kale and let that cook until bright green but tender. I pulled the greens out with tongs and put the pasta in the same water to cook. Once the pasta was tender, I drained it, stirred in the pesto, and added diced ricotta salata – a cheese I’m adding to everything these days. Feta cheese would also be lovely, and if I’d had some cherry tomatoes around? HEAVEN.

Making pesto is definitely one of the those comforting things I do when I have only a smattering of ingredients. It’s especially nice that I don’t always have to use basil or 100% basil. I’ve added kale, spinach, and arugula  to the basil to stretch out the pesto without anyone really noticing much difference in taste. I’ve also made it with all arugula, which was delicious. (Mental note: buy more arugula seeds.) Once I get my Italian parsley plant up and roaring, I think I’ll try an all-parsley version. I’ll let you know how it goes.