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Vegetarian

Wild Mushroom Bucatini

June 24, 2020

 

When I visiting New York City recently, my friends and I ordered a few dishes to share at a very cool eatery called The Smith.

We ordered their Wild Mushroom Bucatini and promptly ordered another one after it came because we wolfed it down, it was so ridiculously good. I couldn’t stop thinking about it so I came up with this recipe. I actually submitted it as one of my recipes for Coastal Design Magazine’s next issue. I was so excited to share it with the world because it might be one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten. Sadly, the magazine folded when the quarantine hit. The editor was gracious enough to let me share it here on the blog and the very talented photographer Kindra Clineff sent me this images. So yay you get to have it dear blog readers!

The thing that makes it amazing (besides the butter, garlic and shallots) is the white wine. It is pucker-y and full of umami and makes your mouth sing. It is comfort food yet you feel surprisingly good after eating it.

I love all the salads and grilled meat in the summer but sometimes it’s still nice to fire up your stove and make something that makes you feel like you’re in a restaurant. It comes together surprisingly fast too. If your people like mushrooms, I highly recommend for an at home date night, cooking for one, or – hopefully soon – having dinner guests over.

Hope you are all well and staying sane/safe!

Happy Cooking, xoxo Katie

 

 

Wild Mushroom Bucatini

 

1 pound bucatini pasta, cooked according to package

4 Tablespoons of butter (1/2 stick)

½ cup of shallots, diced

2 garlic cloves, diced

1-1.5 pounds of sliced mushrooms, such as porchini, baby bellas, or any foraged variety

½ tsp. salt, ¼ tsp. pepper

1 cup white wine

2 cups chicken broth

½ cup cream

1/2 cup parmesan, grated preferably into course bits with a blender or food processor for texture, plus more for serving

¼ cup finely chopped parsley (optional)

 

Directions:

 

In a large pot, boil water for pasta, then cook according to package directions. Take care to salt the water and drizzle a bit of oil in it.

 

Melt butter in large pan over medium heat. Add shallots, stirring frequently while they sautee for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add mushrooms and cook for 10 minutes, until they’ve released their water and browned a bit. When they are cooked, scrape into a bowl. Add the wine to the pan and let it reduce about 10 minutes over med-low heat. Then add the chicken broth and let it reduce for 10-15 minutes, then add cream and stir. Add mushrooms back to the pan and reheat. Remove from heat and stir in parmesan and parsley if desired. Toss with cooked pasta and serve immediately, with more pepper or parmesan if desired.

 

 

Goat Cheese and Sage Gnocchi with Butternut Squash, Kale and Blue Cheese

October 4, 2019

This post is basically one big ode to fall. And gnocchi. And my husband for taking me out to eat on our Anniversary. We went to the Black Trumpet and this was our main course. My meat-loving husband and I split this for our 15 year Anniversary dinner. It just oozed fall comfort food when we saw it on the menu and that’s pretty much what it is. This will help you get your fall on, I promise.

Also, why aren’t people shouting from the rooftops that homemade gnocchi is SO good and easy? Consider this my rooftop shout.

Remember that scene in Unbroken when he was on the stairs and watching his mother or grandmother making gnocchi in the kitchen, and that memory of comfort sustained him through almost dying in a boat and almost dying in the prisoner of war camp?

When I saw that scene, I was touched by the power of food memory like everyone else but now I know it really is because homemade gnocchi is that good. (RIP Louis).

Gnocchi has FOUR ingredients (five if you use cheese like I did) – you put potatoes that have been boiled and mashed (or grated) on a work surface that’s dusted with flour, then you add flour, make a well, crack an egg, add some salt and for these I added goat cheese and sage, and then you mix it all together with your hands until it forms a dough. It might actually take as long to make and boil these as it takes to boil a box of spaghetti.

This is one of those dishes that you can get all the elements together ahead of time. I cooked the vegetables and made the dough on Sunday and then our tile guys came in to finish our kitchen (yay, I can’t wait to show you all now that it’s done! Post coming soon). I didn’t get to roll out the gnocchi until two days later and it was totally fine.

To put the dish together, you just roast the kale (make extra because you will want to nibble on it all day long).

And then you make the butternut squash puree – just add some liquids to thin it out (I used milk, broth and apple cider vinegar) and some butter, salt and pepper.

Then you boil the gnocchi – it only takes 3 minutes to cook, and it nicely floats to the top of the water to tell you its done.  Then you melt 2 T. butter in a large pan and cook it until it’s browned.

Then you put these three elements together – which honestly you could have used each part alone or in a million other ways for other dishes, so keep them on hand all fall. Then you sprinkle blue cheese and chopped hazelnuts on top ( look for hazelnuts at a gourmet grocer or try Amazon).

This could be a Thanksgiving side dish, a comfort meal for a friend who had surgery or new baby, or just a date night at home. My older kids loved it, the little ones just wanted the gnocchi.

 

For the gnocchi:

4 russet potatoes (about 2.5 lbs)

2 1/2 cups flour + more for work surface

4 oz. goat cheese, softened

1 egg

2 T. chopped fresh sage

1 tsp. salt

Directions: 

Boil potatoes: put peeled potatoes in a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil, then cook for 20 minutes. When fork tender, remove and let dry on a towel.

Using a potato masher or potato ricer, mash potatoes until they are the consistency you would use for mash potatoes. (You can also grate them).

On a work surface coated in flour, pile the potatoes and then add the 2 1/2 cups of flour. In the center of this pile make a well and add goat cheese and egg, beating egg with a fork. Then add sage and salt, and using your hands combine all ingredients well and form into a loaf. Using a sharp knife, slice 1-2 inch strips through the longest side of the dough. Pulling one row apart at a time, roll between your fingers until a thin log is formed. Then cut 1-2 inch pieces of dough to form each gnocchi.

You can boil immediately, for around 3 minutes or until it floats to the top of the water. If you want to serve them later you can lay them on a cookie sheet and put in fridge or freezer until ready to boil. Once frozen they can be stored in a ziplock bag in the freezer.

For the butternut squash:

1 butternut squash, sliced in half, seeds removed

Olive oil

2 T. butter

3/4 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup milk

1/4 apple cider vinegar, optional

Salt and Pepper

Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil and oil it. Place squash cut side down, and cook for 30-35 minutes, until squash feels tender when a knife is inserted. Let cool.

For serving, scrape squash into pan set on medium heat. Mash with a potato masher as it heats, then add butter and let it melt, then stir to combine. Thin puree out with your choice of liquids, I used 3/4 c. whole milk, 1/2 c. chicken broth, 1/4 c. apple cider vinegar. Stir and if necessary mash until desired consistency. Add 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp pepper, tasting to adjust seasoning if more is needed. Keep warm until you assemble the dish.

For the kale: 

4 cups kale, steams removed and torn into pieces

2 T. olive oil

1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Toss kale with oil, salt and pepper. Divide kale among 2 sheet pans to avoid steaming and to get crisp. Roast for 15 minutes, until crisp.

To assemble: combine butternut squash, gnocchi then kale onto a plate or plater. Sprinkle 1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles and 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts on top. Serve immediately.

Rosemary Polenta with Morel Vinaigrette and Roasted Veggies

May 8, 2019

It’s that glorious time of year when flowers are blooming, the sky is filled with lacy branches of trees sprouting blossoms and buds, and New Englanders can finally start eating things that are growing near us. I just planted my lettuce and herb gardens (with a few jalapeño plants to load up the top of Asian noodle bowls). And we can’t get enough of the birds singing, its the most beautiful music.

One of the most exciting signs of spring for foodies around the world is when morels pop up in forest floors and on the edges of a forest. (If you’re curious about hunting for them here is a great guide.) You can dry them and reconstitute them if you can’t use them all, which is what I used for this recipe.

I recently saw a picture of roasted veggies on top of polenta somewhere and I wasn’t able to get it out of my mind. It just seemed the perfect combination of creaminess and flavor and textures.

Turns out I was right.

Two things surprised me about this dish –

1) Just how good rosemary is in polenta! It perfumes the dish and is wonderful. You can use other herbs too of course but I loved the rosemary with the parmesan and the veggies.

2) The vinaigrette that I found from Bobby Flay. Who knew a vinaigrette would finish this off perfectly? I even played around and tried straight balsamic on some, and some balsamic cream, but the vinagrette was the best. I also used all olive oil since I didn’t have walnut oil, and I didn’t sauté the morels though I wish I did!  Somehow missed that in my excitement to pile up a bowl of all this deliciousness.

This is a very versatile dish – use whatever veggies and herbs you love. I hope you try this, it is so easy and yet assembled feels very fancy. Here’s to morels and spring and good food in our farmers markets!

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

Rosemary Polenta with Morel Vinaigrette and Roasted Vegetables

 

For the roasted vegetables:

 

1 eggplant, cut into 2 inch pieces

2-3 carrots, cut into 2 inch pieces

1 red onion, cut into wedges

(Optional vegetable: parsnips, potatoes, sweet potatoes)

3 T. Olive oil

1 t. Salt & ½ t. Pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lay on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to combine, then place in hot oven for 20 minutes or until fork tender, turning half way through. (Cooking time will depend on size of vegetables).

 

For the polenta:

4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade

1 cup yellow cornmeal, preferably stone-ground

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 t. fresh rosemary or 2 T. dried rosemary

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

2 tablespoons (¼ stick) unsalted butter

 

Place the chicken stock in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and gradually whisk in the cornmeal until it’s combined and there are no lumps. Add the salt, pepper, and rosemary and simmer, stirring almost constantly, for 10 minutes, until thick. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan thoroughly while you’re stirring. Off the heat, stir in the Parmesan and butter. Taste for seasonings and serve hot with extra Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top.

For the Morel Vinaigrette: ( from Bobby Flay):

¼ cup aged sherry vinegar

1 small shallot, chopped

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon walnut oil

3/4 cup pure olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 pound morel mushrooms, washed thoroughly and dried (can use reconstituted morels).

In a blender, blend the vinegar, shallot, and mustard until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the walnut oil and 1/2 cup of the olive oil until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour into a medium bowl and set aside.

Heat the remaining 1/4 cup of oil in a large saute pan over high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Remove the mushrooms from the heat and coarsely chop them. Fold the mushrooms into the vinaigrette. Spoon the vinaigrette over the grilled polenta.

To serve, spoon each element into a bowl – polenta, then veggies, then vinaigrette plus any herbs you like and grated parm.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Easy Eggplant Parm

October 5, 2018

I know that Eggplant Parm elicits strong feelings in some people. You either like it or you don’t. If you don’t like it, may I suggest checking out my Chicken Parm recipe? It’s similar in construction and my family loves it maybe a bit more than eggplant parm. Still, we try to eat a meatless meal once a week usually on Fridays and this is one I know they’ll eat.

I love eggplant parm – its such comfort food to me.

It is a great meatless meal, and I’m always astounded at how the eggplant takes the place of meat in terms of meatiness, or substance, in a dish.

This is really an assembly dish, and once you get the hang of it you can make it in 15 minutes. The one point of debate I’ve had with others is that they don’t like this dish if the eggplant gets too soggy. A really easy way to avoid this is to salt it before you start breading it. I lay all the slices in a colander with a big handful of kosher salt covering it. Then I put some weight on it to help extract the water.

My weight of choice was a heavy terra cotta planter (#reallife):

Once you’ve rinsed your eggplant from the salt, its time for the standard flour-eggwash-breading assembly line. Be sure to heat up your canola oil in a large fry pan before you start.

It might seem like a lot of work, but it goes very fast and really gives the dish its decadence.

Once you’ve fried all of the eggplant slices, you layer it in your baking dish, with a layer of sauce on the bottom.

And…that’s pretty much it. The hard work is over. Just pour the rest of the sauce on top and layer slices of mozzarella. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and browned.

Hope your family loves this dish as much as mine! (ps even the babies loved it!)

Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

 

Easy Eggplant Parm (printer version here): 

2 eggplants, sliced 1 inch thick

Kosher salt

½ cup flour

3 eggs, beaten

1 cup bread crumbs

1 cup parmesan cheese, grated

¼ canola oil + more for frying

2 jars of good quality marinara sauce (we love Rao’s)

1 large package of sliced fresh mozzarella (enough to have 9 slices)

Directions:

Slice eggplant and lay in a colander in layers, generously salting eat layer to draw out water.

When each layer is sliced place a plastic plate or container on top and lay something heavy such as tin cans or a heavy bowl on top. This will help draw out more water. Wait 15 minutes, then rinse well.

 

While the eggplant is being salted, lay out three trays or plates.  Put the flour on one plate, the eggs on a second, and the breadcrumbs, parmesan, and a pinch of salt mixed together on a third.

Preheat oven to 350.

Warm up ¼ cup of Canola oil in a large frying pan on medium heat.

Working in an assembly line fashion, take a slice of eggplant, press it in the flour plate, then the egg plate, then the breadcrumbs/parm mixture. Then place into the hot oil. When the pan is filled, flip the eggplant rounds starting with the first one you put in the pan. It should look golden brown. If not, let it cook for a little longer. When both sides are golden, remove eggplant slices and sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt while still warm.

Keep working until you’ve breaded and fried all of the eggplant slices.

In a large 9 x 13 inch pan, pour a thin layer of the marinara sauce to prevent the eggplant from sticking to the pan. Then layer in the fried eggplant in slices until dish is full. Then pour the rest of the marinara sauce on top. Lay slices of fresh mozzarella on top.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until mozzarella is melted on top.

Let cool for 5 minutes, then serve over favorite cooked pasta.

 

Lemony Lentil Salad with Roasted Veggies and Fried Halloumi Cheese

May 30, 2018

Let me tell you what led me to the discovery of my new favorite food: lentil salad with roasted veggies and fried cheese. What’s that? A salad with fried cheese on top? Health meets decadence? Virtue meets indulgence?

YES to all of this.

It started when I had exactly 5 minutes to run through the grocery store, with my whole family waiting out in the car, for a quick stop to ‘pick up a few things’ (have you ever been in that situation? My heart pounded thinking about what will happen if they go rogue on my husband). When I walked by the cheese case and saw Halloumi cheese, ‘great for grilling!’ I grabbed it to possibly throw on the grill with our other food without much thought because *rogue children*.

And then I forgot about it.

Days later when I found it in the cheese drawer, I googled recipes to use it up and found one that fried it with honey. I had to try it.

You’ll find out pretty quickly as you assemble this dish that every single ingredient is delicious on its own and you’ll have to stop yourself from eating it. Roasted broccoli and cauliflower? So good.

Lemony garlic lentils cooked with a bay leaf and vegetable stock? Love.

And the final touch that is really more of a religious experience then salad topping: fried Halloumi cheese that is tossed in honey at the end so it becomes caramelized.

If you haven’t cooked with Halloumi before, it is a Greek hard cheese that is sort of like a cross between Manchego and Feta. It is great for grilling, and these recipes by Bobby Flay and the NYTimes both look excellent.

But this recipe, which is adapted from one by Jamie Oliver, opens up a whole new world for me: frying your cheese and finishing it with honey. The sweet-salty bite is one of those tastes that make you want to keep coming back for another taste. 

This dish composes so many elements – salty cheese, sweet honey, crunchy nuts, toothsome lentils, bitter roasted veggies, sour lemon and pungent garlic to make everything else sing. The dressing poured over the hot lentils infuses so much flavor.

Its truly like nothing I’ve ever eaten before.

It’s also a great dish to bring to a party, since you can cook all the different parts ahead of time, and set aside, then assemble all the ingredients before you go. Or just make it for yourself on a Monday night.

Hope you find a way to bring this into your life – you will thank me!

Lemony Lentil Salad with Roasted Veggies and Fried Halloumi Cheese (printer version here):

Ingredients:

4 cups broccoli and cauliflower (I used orange cauliflower)

olive oil

4 cloves of garlic

1 cup lentils

1 litre organic vegetable stock

1 fresh bay leaf

2 lemons

extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup walnuts or sliced almonds

1 large bunch of mixed soft herbs (parsley, mint, chervil)

250 g halloumi cheese (about a cup)

2 tablespoons runny honey

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF.

  2. Cut the broccoli and cauliflower into even-sized florets, then spread out in a single layer in a roasting tray. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt & black pepper.

  3. Toss in the unpeeled cloves of garlic, then spread everything out in the tray and pop in the oven. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the veg is cooked through and charred on the outside.

  4. Pop the lentils in a medium-sized pan, pour over the hot stock and add the bay leaf. Gently bring to the boil over a medium heat, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 25 to 30 minutes, or until they’re cooked but still retain some bite. Drain and set aside.

  5. Make the dressing by squeezing the garlic out of its skin into a bowl. Mash until creamy, then squeeze in the lemon juice and season. Whisk to combine, then add a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.

  6. Toast the walnuts or almonds in a dry frying pan over a medium heat. Pick and chop the herb leaves, then toss with the walnuts and set aside.

  7. Toss the hot lentils through the garlic dressing, followed by the roasted veggies, herbs and nuts.

  8. Pour a lug of olive oil into a medium-sized, non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Chop and fry the halloumi until it’s golden.

  9. Drizzle over the honey and fry for 1 more minute, until sticky and caramelized. Scatter the halloumi over the salad and serve immediately.

 

Creamy Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms

March 8, 2017


CREAMY STUFFED PORTABELLA MUSHROOMS

This poor food blog is so neglected you may be wondering, does she even care about us anymore? Does she even care about food?

The answer is yes, and yes. But if you haven’t heard yet, I’ve been distracted by a certain book release next month and some other news that I will share soon! We also went north for New Hampshire’s February break to go skiing and I forgot my laptop. Turns out the break was really needed – I’ve been glued to it and it was nice to take a real break, and to connect with family and friends in the flesh after we’ve been hibernating all winter.

Since the last time we’ve chatted, Lent snuck up on us, as it always does (except for the Mardi Gras part, which totally gets our attention because hello, party). The one thing I do every Lent that I usually stick with 100% is giving up meat on Friday. Because of this, I thought I would come up with a few recipes that use meatless ingredients but still feel like a meal. Today I am giving you my favorite new recipe: Creamy Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms.

I love portabella mushrooms. In the summer, I soak them in some balsamic, olive oil, s&p and diced garlic clove in a zip lock bag, and then grill them. Inside two hamburger buns, with some blue cheese or lettuce and tomato, you hardly even notice you don’t have meat in your meal.

But this recipe – I’ve made it a few times, and every time I love it more. You know how good stuffed mushrooms are as hors d’oeuvres? Well, imagine sitting down with a knife and fork to a plate of these all your own.

You start by roasting the portabellas with garlic, salt and pepper. Then you start make the filling by sautéing smaller mushrooms with garlic and butter.

You add these dairy beauties:

The ideas is to create a thick creamy sauce, and ricotta does that in a jiffy, along with the melted fontina. You can use milk to thin it out but the cream (I have made it with half and half but this time I had whipping cream) is what gives this dish its decadence, I think.  If you don’t have ricotta, you can easily make a sauce starting with a roux, which is roughly whisking 2 T. butter + 2 T. flour  for a few minutes, then mixing in 2 cups of milk, plus the cheese but it takes longer and I think the flavor is much better with the ricotta. Also this sauce would be amazing mixed with some pasta for another meal idea.

Then, you add the remaining cheese and broil it until the cheese is browned, about 5-7 minutes.

Creamy Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms (printer version here): 
Creamy Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms:

4 Mushroom Caps
2 T. olive oil
s&p
2 cups sliced mushrooms
2 T. butter
½ t. tarragon
2 cloves diced garlic, divided
½ cup ricotta cheese
¼ cream or half and half (or milk)
1 cup grated fontina, gruyere, or monterey jack (good melting cheese), divided
2 sprigs of thyme (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place Portabella caps on cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil, 1 t. salt and ¼ t. pepper and 1 diced garlic clove. Roast in oven for 20 minutes.

While those cook, heat large frying pan on medium high heat. Add butter and melt. Add mushrooms, garlic and ½ t. salt, ¼ t. Pepper, being careful not to crowd pan or they will steam – use two pans if needed. Saute until fragrant and soft, about 10 minutes.

Add ricotta, cream, and ½ cup shredded cheese, and stir until combined and cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.

Take mushroom caps out of oven and let cool for 1 minute.

Add creamy mixture to mushroom caps, then cover with remaining ½ cup cheese and a few thyme leaves. Broil for 3-5 minutes or until cheese is browned to preferrence. (I love the cheese when it is very cooked).

(Serve with pasta or wild rice and peas.)