Posts tagged ‘mushrooms’
This dish, an amazing marriage of roasted brussels sprouts, savory sauteed mushrooms, parmesan, and crispy shallots, was probably the most successful new dish we tried at our fake Thanksgiving party this year. And that’s saying something, considering how happy we were with the turkey and stuffing! It manages to be everything that a homey green bean casserole is (comforting, traditional, delicious), but elevated to a new level by fresh mushrooms, homemade shallot rings, and the roasted sprouts. I love green beans, but the sprouts have a more complex flavor and texture that works well here, and even sprout-haters tend to like them in this dish. It’s miles away from any gloop-laden thing you’ve had from a can, but still somehow very close to home.
I have a lot I could say about the origins of this recipe and the importance of stuffing, but I’m going to cut to the chase first. For me, this is The Best Stuffing Ever. The only recipe I’ll need from now on. The One.
This stuffing strata comes out so fragrant, moist, and flavorful, you would never know it hasn’t been cooked inside the turkey. But the fact that it hasn’t set up camp in a turkey means that you can shorten your turkey cooking time, and serve the stuffing to vegetarians without that out-of-place taste of vegetable broth that usually flavors vegetarian stuffing. Also, it’s a total snap to whip up; you can assemble it the day before and just pop it into your already-350-degree oven on the big day. It features all the traditional flavors of a really homey stuffing (sage, thyme, celery, and of course the bread) bound together by a magical mixture of egg, milk, wine, mustard, and gruyere cheese. The strata gets moistness and richness from the egg mixture, but doesn’t turn out soggy or taste of breakfast; essentially, it tastes like everything stuffing should be, but more…better!
Finally, yes finally, I am getting caught up on the kitchen firsts backlog I got buried under after my vacation! We actually made this dish during the last week of July, and here we are practically a month later (luckily, still swiss chard season, although we are nearing the end of its June-August peak) and I don’t want to wait any longer to share this recipe! This one came from Peter Berley’s The Flexitarian Table, and it immediately spoke to me, as I had been wanting to try chard for the first time and mixing it with israeli couscous, mushrooms, and feta sounded like a great way to do so (we seem to be on a feta kick lately, so its inclusion totally sealed the deal). Unfortunately, it turns out that I don’t really like chard (oops!), but if there was ever a dish that would make me want to eat it anyway, this is it!
Well, I think it’s fair to say my first documented week of menu planning was a disaster. We stuck to our plan 3 days out of seven (4 days if you count moving skipped parts of Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday’s meals to Sunday), and one of those days was just sticking to the plan of eating out. I was pleased that we made use of our backup plan to cover one of those days, but all in all it went pretty badly. On the bright side, the nights we ate the Sonoran enchiladas and the baked chicken with mustard-herb crusts (read on for the recipe) were good enough to ease the sting of failure.
Luckily, I think I learned a bit about making things go a bit smoother. I think my main pitfall was that I originally built the menu plan by choosing recipes I was excited about, but I did not make the time on Sunday or set aside the money to go buy all the necessary ingredients. This ended up biting me in the butt the very next day– I would have gone through with the plan to make Chicken Machaca on Monday, but I got home tired and couldn’t face the idea of going back out to the store for chicken and peppers. So, next time, I’ll make sure I have all the critical ingredients for the first day or two, and ideally at least most of the critical ingredients for the rest of the week before I start.
So, here’s my attempt at week two. Last week we had 4 “weekend” type meals, so this time we’re shooting for a much better ratio. Most of these recipes are relatively simple, utilize the proteins and fresh produce we got this weekend, and should be low maintenance enough for a busy week. We’ve already taken care of Sunday and managed to stick with the plan as written!
Sunday (everyday): Chicken Machaca with rice and Parral Pea Pods (carryover from last week)
Monday (weekend): Korean BBQ Sliders and Tuscan Fries with salad
Tuesday (everyday): Homemade Pizza with Jicama and Cucumber Salad
Wednesday (everyday): Light Sweet and Sour Pork (carryover from last week) with rice and sauteed zucchini
Thursday (everyday): Spaghetti Bolognese (lighter style with mushrooms, ground chicken and a touch italian sausage) with Roasted Cauliflower
Friday (everyday): Baked Chiles Rellenos
Saturday: Flex night, freedom to eat out or collaborate with friends
Backup plans: breakfast for dinner, bean burritos
And now, for a super easy and healthy recipe for chicken brushed with mustard, coated in herby panko and baked, read on! Also an italian recipe for sauteed mushrooms (mushrooms trifolati). Delicious!
A few weeks ago when spring was just around the corner, we went on an entree salad kick so severe that I could not keep up with blogging all the ones we tried; if I had, you the blog-readers would probably have written this off as a rabbit food blog and gone elsewhere! I posted our best-of-the-best, but then in an effort to space out my salad ramblings I waited on some others, and now suddenly its weeks later and I’ve all but moved on, except that I can’t get this one out of my mind! It arose from a desire to do something new with the beloved pea shoots, and made use of some beautiful local shiitakes we had picked up, and while I’m not sure the salad was meaty enough to make a meal all-in-itself, I will definitely be making this again as a fresh, jazzed-up accompaniment to a light meal.
Every year around this time I notice grocery stores starting to stock fiddlehead ferns, and I have always wondered about them– besides looking awesome, are they special enough to warrant their hefty pricetag? After getting a tip-off that they were in stock at a local store, I had to go and check some of these curly little guys out.
Sure enough, my first impression at the store was that they look pretty cool but arrrrghhh they were going for $17 a pound! Definitely wasn’t going to be going home with a giant bag of them. I was however able to grab a nice little handful of them for about $2.50, so I trotted back home with perhaps my fanciest ingredient yet set aside for a kitchen first.
Well folks, the time has come yet again to consider resolutions! I typically tend to be of the “make ’em and break ’em” persuasion, generally within the first two weeks, but this year I am hoping to manage to follow through with at least one. And by follow through, I do indeed mean follow through: all year, no cheatsies.
Although I am considering the staying-power of a few personal resolutions as well, the one I am concerned with here is a cooking related one that I’ve been thinking over during the last month, and I hope it will be one I can stick with– I take it as a good omen that I have actually been looking forward to starting! My goal, in 2010, is to begin a “kitchen firsts” series on this blog, for which I will attempt to do one new thing in the kitchen every week. Especially at first, this will most often take the shape of new ingredient to my kitchen– it could be something that I have never tasted or cooked before (sunchokes and rutabagas are on my list), or it could be something I’ve eaten many a time but never bought and prepared myself (fennel, parsnips, etc). Kitchen firsts may also appear as a new kind of recipe (i.e., I’ve never made a souffle before), or a cooking technique that I’ve never tried before (braising, butterflying). My hope is that with these restrictions, I should be able to fill a whole year with weekly Kitchen Firsts (whenever I doubt that I’ll be able to come up with enough new items, I just take a stroll through the produce and bulk sections, or better yet, head to a specialty market like an asian grocery store!). I encourage anyone who is interested in embarking on a bit of a culinary adventure to follow along with these kitchen firsts, and please feel free to make suggestions if you can think of any interesting ingredients or recipes using them that you think we should try!
(read on for a New Years Breakfast Recipe)