Tag Archives: mushrooms

Going Vegetarian: Kale & Mushroom Frittata

8 Jan

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Once a week at least, I like to cook a vegetarian meal. This veg-erriffic food-fest is for a few reasons:

  1. I really like vegetables. Nom nom CRUNCH.
  2. I like to think, or at least pretend on a bad day, that I eat nutritiously.
  3. Soy is good. Seitan is also good (try it at Whole Foods). Edamame is muy delicioso. Bottom line: Meat substitutes are pretty tasty.
  4. It helps me save moola. Carrots are cheaper than pork chops. Winskies.

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Christmas Vacation (the Griswold-free Edition): Pizzas, Pasta, and a Whole Lotta Carbs

29 Dec

Hello hello, my lovely readers and friends! I’ve returned from a lengthy and lovely Christmas Break (the joys of working in education: I still have a set-in-stone-employer-can’t-touch-it end-of-December vacation. HOO-rah!) with updates of the foodie variety. As expected, my sojourn to my family homestead (figuratively, not literally — I grew up squarely in suburbia, not the big ol’ fields and pine-filled woods of THT’s childhood) was filled with food. Literally filled. The stuffed turkey and I were vying for the heftiest belly on Christmas night, and I’m very okay with that.

It was pretty wonderful to be home, actually. I mean, having come from depressingly snow-free DC, how could I beat this winter wonderland?

Image courtesy of Felicia L. / Facebook.com.

Image courtesy of Felicia L. / Facebook.com.
“White Christmas,” anyone?

And with a mama this cute, my time at home was downright fabbity fab-fab. 🙂

Image courtesy of Felicia L. / Facebook.com

Image courtesy of Felicia L. / Facebook.com. Family resemblance, right down to the 80+ layers of warm clothing!

There were so many culinary highlights, that it’s hard to pin down my favorite dishes. My little sister made an amazing Asparagus Sauté, cutting the asparagus into 2-inch chunks and sauteing them with olive oil, a few minced garlic cloves, and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. My older sister’s Pignoli Cookies were so epically Italian and so darned tasty that any attempt to reproduce their southern-Sicilian magic would moot. (Or a “moo” point, if you’re Joey.) NOTE: If you’re interested in tackling their tastiness, here’s a delicious version of her recipe from Italian Food Forever.

And Grandma GKG’s Christmas Eve Italian feast, complete with Pasta with Broccoli Rabe, was, as usual, downright divine. (Spaghetti + sauteed broccoli rabe + parmesan + chicken broth + a topping of crushed croutons. Simple, huh?)

And as an alternative to turkey, my padre tried this recipe for Michael Symon’s Porchetta from Food Network Magazine. With its spicy pancetta and rosemary filling (an extra kick comes from oodles of red pepper flakes), it was a hit for the senses and the sinuses. Whoo!

Image courtesy of foodnetwork.com. Molto bene!

Image courtesy of foodnetwork.com. Molto bene!

My contributions were mostly of the sous-chef variety — scoring the pork roast, baking some bread, arranging tables, washing dishes, etc. However, I did make one of my absolute favorite pizza recipes, which I’ll now share with you, lovely readers.

Here’s a preview:

Image courtesy of Felicia L. / Facebook.com. Love the blur effect -- looks like steam on the oven window!

Image courtesy of Felicia L. / Facebook.com. Love the blur effect — looks like steam on the oven window!

One night a few days before Christmas, the task of dinner prep fell to me. (I know, how terrible … twist my arm, why don’t you, Mom? Tee hee.) I decided to make one of my specialties, White Pizza with Caramelized Onions, Mushrooms & Ham. I also whipped up a Pesto Pizza and Veggie Pizza, which are low-key additions to the pizza repertoire of any budding chef. (Pesto Pizza = pesto sauce, cheese, and sliced tomatoes; Veggie pizza = wheat crust, tomato sauce, and as many veggies as your fridge can hold.) The white pizza, however, is an elegant and stylish dinner treat.

White Pizza with Caramelized Onions, Mushrooms, & Ham

You’ll need:

  • 1 white or wheat pizza crust, rolled out and prepared for baking
  • 1 cup prepared bechamel sauce
  • 1-2 cups shredded fontina cheese
  • 4-6 slices of deli ham, sliced into thin shreds
  • 1/4 white onion, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 cup white button mushroom slices
  • Additional parmesan cheese, salt & pepper for seasoning

Here’s what you do:

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Prepare pizza crust on top of either a baking sheet or a baking stone.
  • To caramelize onions, heat 1 tsp olive oil in a small pan on medium-low heat. Add onions and cook, slowly, for 20-30 minutes, adding 1/4 cup of water every few minutes, or until water is absorbed each time. This slow method will render sweetness and delicious caramelized sugar from the onions.
  • To prepare the mushrooms, cook in batches over medium-low heat with a smidgen of olive oil. Do NOT add mushrooms all at once; keep space between each mushroom and flip once, allowing them to brown on each side.
  • To prepare the ham, simply saute the slices in either the onion pan or the mushroom pan once either vegetable is finished cooking. Allow the ham to crisp up slightly, for no longer than 5-10 minutes.
  • Spread the prepared bechamel sauce over the crust. Check here for a simple recipe. Top with shredded cheese, caramelized onions, and prepared ham slices and mushrooms. Additional parmesan is good here as a garnish, as is a grind or two of fresh black pepper.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until crust and cheese are lightly browned. Slice into small squares and enjoy as an appetizer or a main meal.

This pizza is SO darn good, it’s ridiculous. If you’d like something less labor-intensive, you can also use raw onions, raw mushrooms, and deli ham straight out of the package. The extra steps add a whole nother dimension, however, and are definitely worth the effort!

What are your favorite holiday recipes? What are your classic Christmas dishes, wintertime favorites, and seasonal delicacies? Happy eating!

Easy Dinners: Tortilla Pizza

11 Dec

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Love pizza? (Who am I kidding? If you didn’t love pizza, I suspect you wouldn’t be on this pizza-loving woman’s blog.)

Don’t have the time to roll out fresh dough or whip up your own? (I.e. like every 20-something on a weeknight.)

Hunting through your fridge for some semblance of nutritious food, and coming up a bit short? (Again, like a lot of us. Unless you work at Whole foods. I bet their employee discount is ridiculous.)

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Food Shopping: My Hipster Farmers Markets Are Less Mainstream than YOUR Hipster Farmers Markets

1 Sep

Public artwork in Mount Pleasant. Love!

Disclaimer: I am far too mainstream to be any sort of legitimate hipster. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

2nd Disclaimer: Today I am consumed with college football. These photographs were taken last weekend. Can’t say I was at a farmers market while Notre Dame was playing Navy at 9am this morning. I was, however, at the only open watering hole in the DC metropolitan area. #Breakfastofchampions.

It’s been a while since I wrote a farmers market post, and after my recent venture to the Columbia Heights and Mount Pleasant farmers markets here in DC, I felt inspired by seasonal goods and local vendors. Both markets are within a mile or so of each other in Northwest DC, easily accessible on the Yellow and Green Metro lines (Get off at Columbia Heights to hit up the CoHi market on 14th, then walk less than a mile due west to Mount Pleasant’s Lamont Square). Win!

For more information about both markets, hit up this site for Columbia Heights, and this one for Mt. Pleasant.

We’re now in that delicious late summer phase, when some of the summer’s best seasonal veggies are making their debuts (or singing their swan songs) at farmers markets. First, I found …

So many watermelons, so little time.

…watermelons! So beautiful and in-season, watermelons can be used in more versatile ways than just slicing up a wedge for a summer night’s dessert. Try topping a tomato-based gazpacho in diced watermelon for a sweet crunch to balance the soup’s tangy flavor, or dare to be … daring with this excellent Watermelon Feta Salad recipe from the folks at PBS. 

Next, I spotted these beautiful heirloom tomatoes.

Is it weird if I visualized one of these bad boys as Bob the Tomato from Veggie Tales?

While heirlooms can be a bit pricey, their flavor is unmatched and so unique from tomato to tomato. (Tomato, to-mah-to, to-tasty…) I recommend slicing them, salting them lightly, and adding to a grilled cheese sandwich with something distinct and flavorful — say, shredded Gruyere or a slice of soft, lovely Fontina? They’re also phenomenal in salads — try this lovely-looking take on a Panzanella (read: best use for stale bread aside from French Toast EVER) Caprese salad from Bites Out Of Life, using diced or sliced heirlooms.

After that, I spotted these lovely little pints of raspberries. They looked fresh and juicy, ripe (heh heh, puns … oif.) for the taking.

Raspberries have about a million excellent uses in various recipes — top your morning yogurt and granola with raspberries and a drizzle of honey for a tart-sweet topping, or stir them into warm oatmeal with a drizzle of maple syrup for a pink-tinted breakfast treat. For a surprising twist, try this savory raspberry sauce with garlic, chicken stock and even jalapenos (!) over pork chops. Thanks to Amy’s Cooking Adventures for such a killer recipe.

I also discovered — hurrah! — some great-looking oyster mushrooms.

Yup, photobombed by a pint of tomatoes.

Oyster mushrooms impart a savory flavor to any dish, such as a stir-fry (add them towards the end — they’ll cook very quickly) or a rice bowl (cooked brown rice + sauteed mushrooms + 1/2 cup chicken broth + soy sauce + chopped green onions and sesame seeds = MMM). They’re best in the fall, and will likely keep showing up at your local farmers market for weeks to come. Here’s a slide show of recipes using oyster mushrooms from Martha Stewart, including a divine-looking Mushroom Soup.

Lastly, I spotted these plums at a great price, which is clutch when they’re in their peak late-summer season.

Oh yeah. Look at those bad boys.

Plums might be one of my top 3 favorite fruits, which is saying a lot for this fruit-and-veggie-loving gal. Try them in my Skillet Upside-Down Cake for a lovely dessert, or if you’re in more of a savory mood, this decadent Chanterelle, Bacon, and Plum Salad with Blue Cheese from Jaden Hair at Steamy Kitchen. Wow!

That’s all for this farmers market roundup. Get excited for fall produce! I’m seeing lots of dark greens in your future …

Sauteed Chicken Breasts with Julia’s Mushrooms

14 Aug

Happy Official Birthday, Julia! Here’s a beautiful tribute to la grande dame de cuisine herself, written by Marlo Thomas on HuffPo.

For those who’ve seen “Julie and Julia,” you might remember one of Julie Powell’s (er, Amy Adams’) early revelations from “Madame Scheeld” – don’t crowd the mushrooms! What does this semi-cryptic warning mean? (Given that it sounds like advice for when the shrooms were angsty middle schoolers – if you crowd ‘em, they get rebellious and cranky, apparently.)

Julie Powell (Amy Adams), NOT crowding her mushrooms.

Julia’s revelation was simple: When you sauté or cook your mushrooms and crowd too many of them in a pan, they’ll release their liquid and end up steaming each other, rather than browning. And brown, caramelized mushrooms are your goal, rather than “sweaty” mushrooms that haven’t had the chance to fully develop their flavors.

Determined to follow suit, I whipped up this recipe for Sauteed Chicken Breasts with Julia’s Mushrooms. The History Teacher and I noshed upon its tastiness to great effect, heartily drinking our beers alongside the dish as, I imagine, Julia and Paul enjoyed their French wines with gusto in their days in la belle France. For those of us who attempt to cook somewhat “healthily,” the butter content might stop your heart altogether. However! As Julia would say, never apologize – and never compromise with what she called “that other spread,” the infernal margarine. Bon appetit!

Julia at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, with her beloved teacher, Chef Brugnard.

Sauteed Chicken Breasts with Julia’s Mushrooms – serves two

For the chicken breasts, you’ll need:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • A dash of poultry seasoning
  • Salt & pepper to season
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

For Julia’s Mushrooms

, you’ll need:

  • 1 ½ lbs mushrooms, wash, dried and sliced. (Use basic button mushrooms)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Parsley to serve

Here’s what you do:

  • Pound the chicken breasts until they are about ½ and inch thick; to easily do this, cover both the top and bottom of each breast with plastic wrap or a paper towel. Then, use a heavy, wieldable object (an actual meat tenderizer works perfectly, but I used the bottom of a heavy jar. Be resourceful!) to pound the breast meat until it’s at the right thickness.
  • In a wide, flat bowl, combine the flour, poultry seasoning, salt & pepper; dredge the chicken breasts lightly in the flour mixture on both sides.
  • In a 10-inch flat skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat (about a 6 on your stove dial). When the oil is hot (sprinkle water droplets into the oil – if they hiss and steam up immediately, you’re ready), add the chicken breasts. Cook for 4-5 minutes on each side, until lightly browned and cooked through. Set aside on a plate, lightly covered in foil.
  • Add the butter and olive oil to the pan, raising the heat to high. When the butter’s foam subsides, add the mushrooms and toss occasionally, cooking for 4-5 minutes. They will absorb the fat, then begin “squeaking” as the water (well, steam) escapes them. They’ll brown quickly at this point, so only cook them for 1-3 minutes longer, or until well-browned.
  • On a serving plate, first place your chicken breasts. Top with Julia’s mushrooms; then, sprinkle salt, pepper and dried or fresh (chopped) parsley on top.

Bon appetit! And happy birthday to an American legend.