Have you tried any of these recipes?

Have you tried any of these recipes? If you have, please leave a comment to let me know how it worked for you and if you suggest any changes!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Harvest Moon Mushroom Pasta

Just in case I have cancer, and in case I haven't had enough umami today, in case I've been exposed to a virus this week, and in case I want to lose some weight I decided to take the opportunity to buy a nice bunch (is it a bunch?  or a colony?) of harvest moon mushrooms (also maitake mushrooms) from my local Green Grocer's supply.  Told that they taste like lobster, I happily planned on sauteing them and dipping them in butter and eating my bunch/colony to my heart's content! 

Always eager though to use other ingredients that are in season to make a more beautiful meal, I have decided that the way I enjoy harvest moon mushrooms is as follows:

  • One bunch of harvest moon mushrooms (approx 2 cups when torn to pieces)
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • olive oil
  • ghee or butter
  • on large tomato
  • two handfuls of pinenuts
  • Parmesan cheese
  • noodles
  • fresh thyme
  • salt
  • pepper
  1. Heat sauteing pan over medium heat 30 seconds.  Add 1 Tbsp of olive oil and heat for another 30 seconds.  Swirl to coat pan.  Add a pat of butter.
  2. Add chopped shallot and saute 1 minute.  Add chopped garlic and saute one minute more.
  3. While this is happening, put on the water for your noodles so you may cook them according to the package directions and they will be ready in time.
  4. Rinse and tear the mushroom to bite size pieces.  (I read that using a knife will only shred the mushroom.  I tried it out and they were fine, but there is something earthier and more harvesty about tearing them, don't you think?)  Add the mushrooms to the garlic and shallots.  Add another pat of butter and saute 2 -3  minutes.
  5. Throw in a couple of springs of fresh thyme as well as the chopped tomato and the pine nuts.  Throw in a pinch or two of salt and grate black pepper over the pan.
  6. Keep turning this mixture over as it cooks, over low heat, until your noodles are done.
  7. Drain the noodles, top with the mushroom mixture and a bit of grated cheese.
Harvest Moon Mushrooms
Can you get more poetic
While fighting cancer? 

Mushrooms are always indescribable to me, but the high levels of the amino acid glutamine, which is found in these mushrooms, and is the characteristic ingredient of anything described as having an umami flavor (Japanese for delicious) take it out of my hands.  This dish is delicious.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Spinach Quesadillas a la Las Palmas

Who needs a recipe for quesadillas?!  Who wants to cook like the Las Palmas chain restaurant?  Hahaha.  Yeah.  Me neither.  However, an emergency meal I had there recently inspired me to make my own delicious and probably healthier version of their spinach quesadillas.

Comida fresca
Que huele fabuloso
Antes d'siesta


  • Corn or flour tortillas
  • a bunch of fresh spinach
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup fresh mushrooms
  • 1/2 small yellow onion
  • canola oil
  • cumin
  • shredded cheese 
  • butter
  1. Crush and mince the garlic.  Chop the onion.  Wash and chop the spinach.  
  2. Heat a sauteing pan.  Add 1 Tbsp oil.  Add the onion and cook 2 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook one minute more.  Add the mushrooms and saute.  Add the cumin (1 tsp to taste) and lastly the spinach.  Cook approximately 30 seconds to a minute tossing the spinach until it gives up much of its liquid, but doesn't wilt completely.
  3. Remove the spinach mixture to a bowl and dump the remaining spinach juice (or reserve to use in a vegetable broth later). 
  4. Add a little butter and oil to the still hot pan and heat.  Put down one tortilla and cover it with shredded cheese.  Top that with the spinach/mushroom mixture and cover that with more cheese.  Place another tortilla on top and press down.  Cook approximately 2 minutes on each side and remove to a cutting board to cut while you continue to cook with the remaining cheese, spinach and tortillas.
I served this dish with a rice that I sauteed with cumin, onion, garlic, green peppers and tomatoes as well as refried black beans and plain yogurt.  My rice had less oil than the rice at Las Palmas.  My beans were black and contained no lard and my yogurt was healthier than their sour cream.  I'm sure I'll make this again.  

Lup de Mer en Papillote (a fancy way for saying sea bass in parchment)

I've read about really fancy versions of this dish (Julia Child used brioche dough instead of parchment paper to steam the fish), and I had it recently at Mexique, whose chef always gives these traditional dishes his own flair (he uses jalapenos on his!).  In its simplest form though, it is so tasty.  With the intent of making a fancy dinner for my sister last night, I took the opportunity to try my own version of this dish.  Pictured below is the sea bass out of the parchment accompanied by fennel citrus quinoa and garlic sauteed spinach.

An impressive dish
Served with a bottle of wine
Makes a fine evening!


  • 2 portions of fresh sea bass
  • olive oil
  • 1 small fennel bulb, chopped
  • 1 medium heirloom tomato, chopped
  • fresh thyme
  • black pepper
  • lemon
  • 2 large garlic cloves, crushed and minced
  1. Lay out two pieces of parchment paper, large enough to envelop one piece of the fish.  Brush with olive oil.  Preheat the oven to 390F.
  2. Lay down a bit of fennel, tomato, and a spring of thyme on each of the parchment pieces.  Wash and lightly oil the fish and lay, skin side down, on each of the parchment pieces.
  3. Top each piece of fish with more fennel, tomato and thyme and add freshly grated black pepper, a clove of crushed and minced garlic, and approximately one teaspoon of fresh lemon juice.
  4. Close up the parchment paper around the fish, and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 25 minutes.

A good side dish to the fish is quinoa cooked in the same ingredients.  Cook the quinoa while lightly sauteing what you have left of the fennel, garlic, and a shallot (if you have one).  Add some vegetable broth, fresh lemon juice and the remaining tomato.  When the quinoa is ready, add this vegetable mixture to the quinoa and heat to reduce the liquid.  It should be ready just in time to accompany the fish!

This meal is delicious served after an appetizer of Butternut Squash Soup and followed by Sweet Dessert  Guacamole.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Crock Pot Risotto a la Rosebud on Rush

I have tended, when going out, to ignore the risotto dish that many restaurants offer.   I have always thought of it as the gloopy alternative that they offer the vegetarians who can't eat the dishes that the chef has put the real love into.  That still may be the case, but there is no reason to think that risotto can't be wonderful.

I tried risotto for the first time recently since it was the easiest gluten-free option on the menu when I wasn't in the mood to have meat and thought it was fabulous (you'll be seeing more gluten-free recipes here now that I'm trying that for my own diet).  Here is my own version of the meal I had.


  • olive oil
  • 2 shallots
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 2 cups arborio rice, uncooked
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 bundle of spinach
  • 2/3 cup sundried tomatoes
  • 1 can of quartered artichoke hearts
  • 2/3 cup pine nuts
  • basil
  • rosemary
  • black pepper
  • brick of good Parmesan cheese
  1. Heat a sauteeing pan over medium heat.  Add a few tablespoons of olive oil and heat for 30 seconds while mincing the shallots.  Add the shallots and cook, while mincing the garlic.  Add the garlic and cook while chopping the onion.  Add the onion and cook 2-3 minutes more until softened and aromatic.
  2. Add the shallot/garlic/onions to the crock pot and cover with the rice and vegetable broth.  Stir, and set to cook on low.  Cook on low until approximately one hour before you are ready to serve.  
  3. At this time, set the pot to cook on high and chop the spinach, sundried tomatoes, and artichoke hearts and add them.  Add the pine nuts.  Grate the cheese.  Add the basil, rosemary and pepper to taste.  Cook until risotto reaches the proper consistency, stir in the grated cheese, and serve with a glass of wine.  (Or, if wine isn't your thing, the sweet potato chili stout from Faith Brewing Co. is perfect.)
I think this might also be good with a dash of balsalmic vinegar upon serving.
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