Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Roasted Mushrooms

After a long hiatus, let's just say this recipe was worth posting.

Roasted Mushrooms

The inspiration for this was a combination of a bag of mushrooms in the fridge that needed to be cooked, an ever-present hunger for new & fabulous was to cook mushrooms, and a recipe from
Gourmet magazine (again, inspiration -- mine is definitely a dish with a different flair).

Although this would make a knock-out side dish to just about any beef entree you could imagine OR would be a killer appetizer on a little crostini, I'm eating this whole-bowl style with a hunk of bread as my entire meal.  And I couldn't be happier.

1/2 lb. mushrooms (I used plain white button, but baby 'bellas would be stellar!), halved if large
1 sm. - med. red onion, peeled and wedged (through the root)
5 med. cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (approx.)
3 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
a pinch of red pepper flakes
a pinch of dried (or fresh) thyme
salt and pepper, to taste
juice of a lemon (or, in my case, half of one really juicy lemon)
a handful of Italian parsley, rough chopped
1/2 cup red wine

Preheat oven to 450F w/ rack in the middle.
Toss mushrooms and onion with garlic, red pepper flakes, thyme, salt, pepper, and oil in 1.5-2 qt baking dish (glass or earthenware).
Top with 2 tbsp of butter, cut into tiny cubes, and roast, stirring every 5-10 minutes, for about 20 to 30 minutes.  The longer you cook past the 20 minute (or so) mark, the less sauce you will have in the bottom of the dish.
Once removed from the oven, stir in lemon juice, parsley, and last tbsp of butter.
Serve immediately, and I highly recommend some (preferably crusty) bread to sop up the sauce.

I'd love to spend more time talking about how much I love love love this dish -- earthy, bright, and hint of spice, almost meaty, hearty (I could go on!) -- but the more I do, the more time I'm spending AWAY from my bowl of mushrooms.  So consider this my 'Welcome Back' dish, and you'll be hearing from me again soon.  (Fall is coming, after all!)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

tilapia stew with sweet potatoes, collard greens, chick peas, and cornmeal dumplings

so apparently today is national bouillabaisse day.  i didn't know a stew could have a national day, but apprently it can.  and does.

for anyone who doesn't know, a bouillabaisse is (thanks, wikipedia!):

Bouillabaisse is a fish soup containing various kinds of cooked fish and shellfish and vegetables, flavored with a variety of herbs and spices such as garlic, orange peel, basil, bay leaf, fennel and saffron. There are at least three kinds of fish in a traditional bouillabaisse, typically scorpionfish, sea robin, and European conger, and it can also include gilt-head bream, turbot, monkfish, mullet, or silver hake.  It also usually includes shellfish and other seafood such as sea urchins, mussels, velvet crabs, spider crab or octopus. More expensive versions may add langoustine. Vegetables such as leeks, onions, tomatoes, celery and potatoes are simmered together with the broth and served with the fish.

now, depending on the recipe, bouillabaisse can get a little pricey (as it usually should contain at least three or four different kinds of seafood and shellfish -- and saffron, which i don't have), so i decided to make a fish stew.  not quite a bouillabaisse, but delicious.  and filling, healthy, nutritious, and really pretty simple and easy.

tilapia stew with sweet potatoes, collard greens, chick peas, and cornmeal dumplings

4 tilapia filets, roughly chopped into large bite-sized pieces
a few tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
2 carrots, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 sweet potato, diced
4 leaves (approx.) collard greens, cut in a rough chiffonade
1 can chick peas, drained
1 can diced tomatoes with liquid
2-3 tbsp each of apple cider and red wine vinegar
4 c hot water
spices: paprika, freshly cracked black pepper, chili powder, ginger, cinnamon, old bay, red pepper flakes
4 dried bay leaves
3 tbsp butter, melted

start heating a pot to medium.  toss in all the spices to toast and bloom their flavors.  add olive oil and let it come up to temperature (when you add the onions, you want them to sizzle).
add onions, stir to coat in oil/spices.  cook a few minutes to begin to soften.  add garlic, and cook a few more minutes.  then add in the carrots, bell peppers, and celery (a little cajun "holy trinity," a little french mire poix) and let saute for a few minutes.  and, of course, salt and pepper as you go.
once the veggies being to soften, add the sweet potato and greens, stir, and continue to saute for a few minutes.
add vinegar, tomato, and water (enough to cover everything even after you add the fish and chick peas -- use your best judgment).
bring up to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to simmer for about 15 minutes.
add fish and chick peas, recover, and simmer for another 15 minutes.
during the last 15 min of cooking time, melt 3 tbsp butter.  add a few spoonfuls of cooking liquid.  add cornmeal (and s&p), stirring.  adjust with cornmeal or soup liquid until the consistency is wet but holds a form -- not a loose dough.
add dumplings into liquid, recover, and cook an additional 5-10 minutes.

serve immediately and enjoy.  i served it drizzled with a bit of olive oil and sprinkled with parmesan, although sour cream, creme fraiche, yogurt, parsley, chives... you get the idea.  garnish with what you like, or not at all.  hot, hearty, delicious, and really good for you!  i kind of wish the weather had been a little colder tonight to best-enjoy it, but i was still into it!

Friday, December 10, 2010

easiest delicious baked tilapia!

this is delicious, light enough but still filling, and i love the flavors here.

easiest baked tilapia
2 tilapia filets (or however many you want to cook and will fit in you dish)
1/2 onion, roughly chopped
2 small carrots, roughly chopped
1 c frozen spinach, thawed
1/2 c frozen green beans (sub. brussels sprouts or pretty much anything you want)
1 jalapeno pepper, halved, ribs and seeds removed (if cooking for more, 1/2 pepper per filet)
juice of 1 lime
3 tbsp butter, divided
oil/nonstick spray

preheat oven to 350F.  either spray baking dish or or rub with just enough oil to lightly coat and keep from sticking
mix and spread veggies in dish, season with s&p.  be sure to place jalapeno halves so that they will be centered under filets
season filets with s&p to taste (i like enough salt and plenty of pepper)
layer filets on jalapeno slices.
juice lime over the whole dish.  slice 2 tbsp of butter in half, set two halves on each filet
cover dish semi-loosely with foil, bake for 30 min., then uncover, divide last tbsp butter between two filets, and set to broil for another 15 to 20 minutes.

i served mine sprinkled with a bit of grated parmesan cheese and some cilantro, 'cause that's how i like it.  : )

and here's the best part...  (drumroll, please)

if you up the baking time to about 45 min to an hour, you can put everything in frozen!  that's right, no thawing whatsoever!  just put it in, leave it alone, and enjoy when it's done!

again, you can substitue whatever veggies you have around, but i especially liked the way the carrots added a sweetness and some great texture to the soft (and not the least bit dry, i might add) tilapia.  and for those wary of the peppers, i promise, for once i didn't make something spicy.  the jalapenos under the filet just releases a really nice aroma and you get a lot more of the green, pepper flavor than anything hot.  it's all about some more depth of flavor.  and you could use lemon juice or i might even try grapefruit if you're into it, but definitely don't skip the fresh citrus!  seriously, this one is too easy and too delicious not to try.  this recipe was enough for me, but i eat a lot -- haha! -- but could probably serve two, especially with a nice crusty bread.  and really, that means it's only 1 1/2 tbsp butter per serving for the whole meal.  and lemme tell you how easy cleanup is...

Monday, December 6, 2010

chicken drumsticks braised in four-bean chili/stew and skillet corn bread

another freezing (almost) night here in austin, so i decided it was time i busted out the cast iron and went for the gold.  i fully recognize that this is not chili as it "should" be -- as a well-fed texan, i admit this is not proper chili, but for this healthy-eating-oriented, non-red-meat-eating kitchuation-maker, it hits the spot when the hats, scarves, and coats come out!

chicken drumsticks braised in four-bean chili/stew
1-2 tbsp canola oil
4 chicken drumsticks
1 red onion, sliced
3 carrots, diced
1 jalepeno, minced
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 poblano peppers, roasted and peeled
1 can black beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can great northern white beans
1 large can diced tomatoes
1 sm can tomato paste
1-2 c frozen corn, thawed
3 bay leaves
spices: chili powder, chipotle chili powder, paprika, cumin, cinnamon
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juiced
cheddar cheese, grated/shredded

head cast iron dutch oven over med heat with canola oil.  once hot, brown s&p'd drumsticks on all sides
remove from pot, add in onions and spice blend, stir to soften onions and toast spices, a few minutes
add carrots, garlic, and jalepeno, stir to begin to cook.  form bowl in center of veggies, add tomato paste.  cook out raw flavor.
add corn, beans, and diced tomatoes, plus lg tomato can-worth of hot water -- or just enough to cover.  nestle in bay leaves, adjust seasoning to taste, and bring to a boil.
bury drumsticks in veggies, reduce heat to low, and simmer for an hour and a half.
add lime juice and chopped cilantro.  serve with shredded cheddar.
food coma.

and then...

skillet corn bread
2 c corn meal
1 c whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1-2 c frozen corn
1 egg
2 c buttermilk
2-3 tbsp butter
pinches of chili powder, freshly cracked black pepper, and red pepper flakes

put butter in skillet, place in oven, and preheat to 350F.
combine dry ingredients (including corn) in lg mixing bowl
combine buttermilk and egg, add to dry ingredients with melted butter (from the skillet).
pour batter into skillet and bake for 30-45 min, until golden brown on top.
let cool in skillet for 10 minutes, then finish cooling on rack.

in the past, i've added onions, garlic, jalepenos, cheddar cheese, omitted the frozen corn...the possiblities are endless.  this recipe is a little drier, so it pairs really well with soups and stews.

seriously, though, i'd love to tell you how much i enjoyed this meal tonight, but my head is shutting down because my stomach is so full.  really, i squeezed this entry out so i wouldn't forget.  hope you enjoy!

Friday, December 3, 2010

white wine-braised chicken drumsticks with squash, eggplant, broccoli, carrots, and onion

Today was a good day for a braise.  Hearty, wholesome, hot, and heavenly.

a few tbsp vegetable oil
4-6 chicken drumsticks
1/2 red onion, sliced
2-3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 head broccoli
2-3 squash, chopped
1 med eggplant, chopped
2 tbsp butter, cut into small cubes
your choice of seasonings
white wine -- buy a bottle and eyeball it.  this should be a wine you drink while you cook, not that "cooking wine" bullshit

heat dutch oven (i went with cast iron) on med-high with vegetable oil.
when hot, add chicken drumsticks.  i put salt, pepper, and tony's cajun seasoning with some olive oil in a ziplock bag and shook them around before adding to the pot to season.  substitute your favorite seasonings/herbs/spices, or skip and just s&p.
preheat oven to 350F
rotate every few minutes until golden brown on all sides.  set aside on a plate.
add onions to pot.  stir occasionally for a few minutes, until slightly softened.
add garlic.  stir a few times, then add carrots.  after a few minutes, add broccoli.
after a few minutes, add squash and eggplant.  s&p to taste
add chicken drumsticks back to pot, on top of veggies
add wine until you can just see it, about halfway up the veggies.  add a cup or so of water.
sprinkle cubes of butter over the top of everything.  make sure to put a cube on each drumstick.
last chance to season away -- i went for dried powdered thyme and a bit of paprika.
bring liquid to a bubble, put in oven, uncovered, and allow to cook for about a half hour.  check meat color for doneness -- white=good, pink=bad.
i served mine over a bed of toasted ciabatta slices, about the size of biscotti.
drizzle with a bit of the liquid.  delish.

super-simple, no-fuss, wholesome food.  i've become such a fan of a good braise.  for the quality of the results, it's not much effort.  and the time is easily managed.  and, honestly, who doesn't love an all-in-one-pot meal?!

this one warmed me up on a cold night.  hit the spot, and left me with leftovers, or enough to feed a family.  and of course the veggies could easily be switched out for whatever you have around and/or is in season.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

open-faced fried egg sandwich

so it's (finally) cold here in austin, and i couldn't be more excited.  so i've been in the kitchen (surprise, surprise), celebrating with some hot & hearty treats.  yesterday, i whipped up a big (almost spilling over) pot of soup, but it was a little too similar to the potato cabbage soup of a previous post, so i skipped posting the recipe, but here's a photo:

tonight, however, i went for simplicity.  i was really craving fried eggs, which are one of my favorite cold-weather (or, really, all weather) foods that always reminds me of late-night dinners my mom whipped up.  so here's my version: an open-faced fried egg sandwich on a toasted roll with sauteed red onions and cottage cheese.

3 tbsp butter, divided
1 roll, split and toasted
1/2 red onion, sliced
4 eggs
cottage cheese
louisiana hot sauce (to taste)

start with one tbsp of butter in a pan on medium heat.  once melted and the pan is hot, throw in the onions and cook until well-softened and starting to get a little color on them.  i added a second pat of butter later in the cooking process, as mine got a little dry.  in the mean time, toast the roll.  when it's done, spread with cottage cheese.  once onions are done, layer them on the cottage cheese.  after teh onions are out of the pan, return it to the stove with the last pat of butter.  once melted and pan is hot again (shouldn't take too long), fry four eggs.  i like mine with a little s&p and some tony's cajun seasoning, but pick your poison ;) and fry your eggs to your favorite firmness.  i like mine a little runny so the yolk can coat the onions.  once the eggs are done, stack on the onions.  top off with a few shots of louisiana hot sauce, grab a knife and fork (you'll need it!), and dig it.  afterwards, submit to the food coma and be glad you aren't out in the cold (even if you're glad the cold is here).

now about submitting to that food-coma...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

orange-braised chicken with fennel, asparagus, and carrots

i am visiting the family this week, and tonight was "my night" to cook.  apparently i needed some vitamin c in my diet, because everything i cooked/baked today had oranges or orange juice (or both) in it.  what i ended up serving for dinner was this: orange-braised chicken with fennel, asparagus, and carrots!

(i swear there is chicken under there...)

a few tbsp vegetable oil (i used canola)
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 small (or 1 large) fennel bulb, sliced
1 small bag baby carrots
1 white onion, sliced
2 bunches asparagus, trimmed (bent and snapped)
5 clementines, or 1-2 lg. oranges, peeled and segmented
orange juice (a few cups -- eyeball it and use your best judgment)

preheat oven to 350
on stove top, heat oil in a large dutch oven on med/med-high heat.  pat chicken breasts dry with paper towel, salt and pepper one side.  once pot is hot, put seasoned side down to sear.  season top side while the bottom side sears.  sear both sides, about 4-5 minutes per side.  remove chicken from pot, set aside.
add fennel and onions to dutch oven.  after a few minutes, add baby carrots (or peeled carrots cut into 2-3 in pieces).  once onions begin to soften, add asparagus.  salt and pepper to taste
after a few more minutes of cooking, spread a layer of orange segments over vegetables.  put chicken breasts on top of this layer, and top with the rest of the orange segments.
pour in orange juice to cover vegetables and just touching the bottom of the chicken breasts.  cover and bring up to the beginning of a boil.
uncover, put in oven, and let braise for about half an hour.
check chicken for done-ness (should be white, not pink, all the way through).

this was a total hit with the fam!  really delicious!  moist, tender chicken, and the citrus was a really nice accent to the veggies!  i served it with fresh spinach that i just wilted with orange segements and toasted pecans.  none of the orange was overpowering, but it just added a really nice freshness to the whole meal!  it would actually be really great in the summer, but i love oranges during cold weather as well.  i recommend it, and i'm pretty sure my family would, too!

and, of course, have a very happy thanksgiving!