Sunday, October 24, 2010

Mushroom Panzanella

I have been having a craving for Panzanella, but all the recipes I cam across used tomatoes and basil when those aren't quite in season anymore and I was craving arugula. I found a way too complicated recipe by Michael Chiarello, then dumbed it down so normal people can make it on a week night. I vastly cut down the ingredients and the prep.

This was so delicious I am definitely making it again. I also only had half a loaf of french bread so I halved it.

For the bread:
Loaf of french bread
1/4 cup unsalted butter

Leave your bread out unwrapped overnight. Cut it into cubes. I used his suggestion and cut the slices with a serrated knife, then used a paring knife to chop the slices into cubes. Do not slice your bread too thin! Melt your butter in a sautee pan until it starts to bubble a little, remove from heat and toss in the butter. Toss with salt and pepper. Bake at 350 until slightly brown on the outside, 10-15 minutes.

For the salad:
3 tbs olive oil
1 lb mushrooms. I used baby bellos
2 tbs minced garlic
1 cup arugula

Sautee mushrooms in the olive oil. Add salt and pepper. Toss the mushrooms with the bread and arugula. Add salt and pepper to taste. Rather than making the dressing suggested, I tossed it in 1/4 cup olive oil and 4 tbs red wine vinegar. Then I sprinkled some parmesan on top.

Note: If you cannot find arugula it is sometimes called rocket. You could also substitute raw baby spinach.

Shrimp Po Boys

This recipe is from one of my favorite food blogs, Annie Eats

It was perfect for a weeknight and did not take long at all. We served with Alexia sweet potato fries and used the left over remoulade as a dipping sauce.

For the shrimp:
1 tb olive oil
2 tbs Old Bay (Annie used cajun seasoning, as a Baltimore girl I love Old Bay)
1 lb shrimp
hoagie rolls

Season the shrimp with salt, pepper, and the old bay, then sautee in the olive oil until they are pink and curled.

For the remoulade:
1/2 cup mayo
2 tbs stone ground mustard
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 and 1/2 tsp pickle juice
1/2 tsp horseradish
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp paprika
splash of hot sauce.

I just mixed these all together but you can also put them through a food processor. I didn't think it was necessary and didn't want to make more dishes.

Once you have the shrimp cooked, slather your bread with remoulade, add lettuce and tomato and shrimp them enjoy!

Clam Pasta

This picture is really awful but the pasta was simple to make and delicious to eat. Its a Cooking Light recipe. I did add an extra can of tomatoes, an extra can of clams and cooked more pasta to make sure we had left overs for lunch.

1 9 oz package of linguini (I used 12 ox angel hair)
1 tbs olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
1.2 tsp crushed red pepper
2 tbs tomato paste (this made the sauce thicker but I would leave it out next time)
1 14.5 oz can of tomatoes with juice (I used two)
2 6.5 oz cans of clams (I used 2 10 oz cans of baby clams)
2 tbs fresh parsley
1 tbs basil
1 tbs oregano

Boil water for the pasta, salt your water and add the pasta. Cook according to the package instructions.

Heat oil. Add red pepper and garlic, sautee for a minute or two. Add tomato paste and tomatoes. Cook for approximately 4 minutes. Add clams and cook until fully heated. Add herbs and cook for one minute more.

I sprinkled pecorino romano over the top and served with nice, warm bread.

Poblano Stuffed Portobellos

This is a delicious recipe posted by Food and Wine Magazine. I think it would be a great side dish to some kind of meat, I'd probably serve it with salmon or double the recipe next time. Everywhere I say to broil, Food and Wine said you can also grill.

2 poblanos
4 portobellos
3 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup chopped onion (I left this out)
1 cup chopped bay spinach
1/2 cup cooked rice
1/4 shredded cheddar
2 tbs chopped cilantro

Turn your oven to Broil and roast the peppers until they start to blacken. For me this was about 10 minutes, just keep a close eye on them. Food and Wine said to remove them and place them in a bowl covered with saran wrap. I pretty much skipped this step so they would cool faster.

Either brush the portobellos with olive oil or spray them lightly with olive oil based non stick spray. Put them on a tray and broil them for 5 minutes or so, until they look tender and juicy.

Cook the onion in 1 tbs olive oil until translucent. Add the baby spinach and cook until wilted. Once the spinach cools, press the extra moisture out of it. Mix with rice, cheddar and cilantro. Remove the seeds from the poblano and dice. Add to rice and cheese mixture. Add salt and pepper to rice mixture to taste.

Turn oven to 325, stuff the mushrooms with the rice mixture and cook until cheese is melted and rice mixture starts browning on top, about 15 minutes.

Rachael Ray's Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

She does it with chipotle and adobo sauce, which I left out.
2 tbs. olice oil
2 cloves garlic
2 jalapenos, seeds removed and diced
1 bottle Negro Modelo
15 oz can pumpkin
1 and 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp mexican chili powder (I added this)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
15 oz can black beans
3 cups of vegetable broth
1 green apple, chopped
1/3 cup of cilantro, chopped
lime juice (1 lime's worth, I used about 2 tbs. bottle lime juice)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup jellied cranberry sauce
tortilla chips
salt and pepper to taste

Saute garlic and one of the jalapenos in the olive oil, about one minute. Add the beer and cook until it reduces, several minutes. Add canned pumpkin, cumin, cinnamon, and salt and pepper.
Add vegetable broth and black beans. Cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes.

Combine sour cream and cranberry sauce in a bowl. I left mine kind of chunky, but if you want it well mixed you can put it through a food processor. Combine apple, remaining jalapeno, lime juice and cilantro.

One the soup is finished, top the soup with crumbled tortilla chips, sour cream and apple salsa.

I thought the soup by itself was nothing too special, probably because I didn't have the chipotle, but once you add everything together it is really good and perfect for football Sunday or on a rainy, cold night.

Monday, October 4, 2010


When we lived in Boston we used to go to this little pasta place in Brookline called Bottega Fiorentina. If you are ever in Boston, I'd highly recommend it. It is a small Italian grocery that makes about 20 different homemade pastas and serves lunch, usually for less than $10. We took Dan's Mom there one time and she got something along the lines of this, tomato basil pasta with ooey gooey pockets of mozzarella mixed in. It passed the test of the true Italians and was delicious, so I've tried to recreate it. The mozzarella does tend to clump together, but I like the way the cheese melts and makes the tomato juice nice and thick. I even taught my Mom to make it and she loved it too, so I consider that a success. It takes maybe 15 minutes to make and would be a great side with salmon or chicken for all non vegetarians.

Two cans of tomatoes, with juice. (Plain or italian seasoning)
One package of gnocchi
8 oz of mozzarella, cut into small cubes
Handful of fresh basil, chopped (You can substitute a tablespoon of basil in a tube if basil is not in season)
salt and pepper to taste
two cloves of garlic
tablespoon of olive oil

Boil water. Add gnocchi and cook according to the package directions.

Put the olive oil in a sautee pan and add the garlic. Sautee for one or two minutes. Add the cans of tomatoes. Add basil and simmer. Add Italian seasoning, salt and pepper to taste. (I often use the italian seasoned canned tomatoes.) You should cook your tomatoes about five minutes or as long as you need for them to really absorb the basil. When I use fresh basil I normally do about 10 minutes.

Drain gnocchi. Mix the gnocchi into the pan with the tomatoes. Add mozzarella. Remove from heat and let it sit for two minutes while the cheese melts a little bit. You can cook it a little longer over heat if you want really melt-y cheese.

Butternut squash risotto

So we had more or less a week of straight rain here and it made me want something warm and yummy involving squash. This recipe is actually very easy to make. Yes, risotto takes forever to stir, but the prep itself was incredibly simple. Then you can do what I do and catch up with friends on the phone while you stir! Great for multi tasking. It's from the William Sonoma Vegetarian for All Seasons cookbook (which also has great vegetarian appetizers if you want to check it out).

1 lb butternut squash
8 cups of vegetable stock
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons minced flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup olive oil (I used less)
1 yellow onion (I hate onions and left this out)
1 1/2 cups arborio rice

Preheat oven to 375. Cut squash in half, scoop seeds and strings out with a spoon, then lay open side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cook for 20-25 minutes (I had to cook mine about 35 minutes). You could do this the night before if you're trying to cut down on prep time.

Bring the stock to a boil. Turn to low to keep warm.

Scoop the squash insides into a food processor. Puree with 1/4 cup of stock. Put in a saucepan and add nutmeg, parsley, salt and pepper to taste.

Warm the olive oil in a pan. Add the rice and stir to coat for about two minutes. Ladle in some stock and stir until absorbed. Continue to ladle in stock, about half a cup at a time and stir until absorbed. Continue until all stock is absorbed. For me this took about 40 minutes, although WS claims it takes 20. WS also advised that you serve it with the squash puree on the bottom and the risotto on top, which is what my picture is of. Dan and I both liked it better with the squash puree mixed in. WS actually said to take the squash puree, put it in the bottom of a ramekin, then pack the risotto in on top, then flip them over onto the plate and garnish with parsley. Need I mention that I am way too lazy for that?

In retrospect I would probably use sage instead of parsley and add sauteed portabellas to give it more texture. But it is definitely a yummy, filling fall/winter vegan recipe.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Poached Eggs with Smoked Salmon

My husband insists that he doesn't like Rachael Ray. Yet every time I make one of her recipes he seems to like it. This is a real winner in our house, last night he said "I love when you make this one." It's also popular with my brother (the ultimate carnivore and bottom-less pit) and my Dad (who has more food sensitivities than anyone I've ever met).

Rachael Ray's poached eggs with smoked salmon, potatoes and spinach (slightly adapted)

1 pound of baby red potatoes quartered
4 cups of baby spinach
lemon juice
1 tbs dijon mustard
3 tbs mayonnaise
2 tbs fresh dill
1 tbs white vinegar
4 eggs
3 or 4 pieces of smoked salmon, sliced

Boil a pot of salted water. Once the water is boiling add the potatoes and cook for 12-15 minutes. Drain them and spread them out on a baking sheet to cool (they cool down quickly this way). When they're cooled off mix them in a bowl with the spinach and the sliced salmon.

Combine the mustard, mayo, dill and lemon juice to make a dressing. Toss the potatoes, etc in the dressing. Save a little to put on top of the eggs.

Fill a small pot with water and boil. Add the teaspoon of vinegar. Once the water is boiling turn it down to a very low simmer. You want to see some air coming to the top but not a whole lot. Crack an egg into the water and swirl the water with a spoon, making sure the egg doesn't stick to the bottom. Repeat with the other three eggs. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes, then remove the eggs with a spoon and place the on paper towels to dry.

Put a little bit of the potato mixture on a plot, top with two eggs and a little bit of the left over dressing.

Notes: Rachael Ray usually adds chopped kalamata olives and capers to the potatoes. We never seem to have capers and Dan hates olives so I leave those out. I also usually substitute arugula for the spinach when I can find it.

Peach Cobbler

We went to the Farmer's Market last week and loaded up on a lot of good produce, some homemade olive rosemary bread (delicious!), manchego, and summer sausage (none for me of course). We bought some delicious looking peaches but it was scorching hot and they got jostled so much that by the time we got home they started to look a little bruised and mangled. To make good use of them I decided to make peach cobbler and just cut the bruises out. I think our peach to dough ratio was a little lacking on the peach side as a result, but this recipe, courtesy of aeposey on, was delicious!

For the peaches:
8 peaches, sliced (we did not peel them as suggested and it was fine)
1/4 white sugar
1.4 brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tsp lemon juice (we omitted, I had run out)
2 tsps cornstarch

For the dough:
1 cup flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 tbs unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
1/4 boiling water

pre heat oven to 425 degrees
Combine "for the peaches" ingredients in a bowl. Make sure to really mix them so the peaches are covered in gooey goodness. Put them in a 2 quart baking dish and bake for 10 minutes.

Mix the flour, sugars, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Crumble in the butter with your fingers, or a mixer if you have one. Mix in the boiling water.

When the peaches come out of the oven drop teaspoons of the dough on top (the dough will expand and spread as it bakes). When all the dough is used up and the peaches are covered, bake for 30 minutes. You can also sprinkle a little sugar and cinnamon over the top before putting it back in the oven, but I skipped this (I'm lazy!)

We had a Farmer's Market dinner of friend green tomatoes, olive bread, manchego, and peach cobbler for dessert. YUM! To see the original recipe: