Tag Archives: mushrooms

Smoked Mozzarella and Truffled Mushroom Pizza + Blog Tour!

Blog Tour! I was so flattered when the amazing Bethany from My Fake Food Blog asked if I would participate in a blog tour. We’re all writing about our creative process and I was happy to be considered because I’ve been so MIA lately.

Keep reading for a quick and easy pizza recipe that will blow your mind…

1. What are you working on?

Catching up on my blog archive! I have a number of dishes ready to post – just need to carve out 30 minutes here and there to get the job done. I find I’m most creative on the weekends, when I have more time for “me” and to be inspired by the light and warm air.

2. How does your work differ from others of its genre?

I try to keep it strictly about the food and rarely share personal photos or stories. I’ve had blogs in the past that were more like personal diaries. I learned the hard way that it sucks putting yourself out there and inviting anonymous people to judge you. I think the best blogs offer a little personal touch to keep it unique – readers want to get to know you, personally – but stay “on brand” when it comes to their content and artistic point of view.

3. Why do you write what you do?

Food preparation is one of the last pieces of artistic expression that I regularly practice. Being a grown up is so much more complicated and clouded – creating things with food is very simple and allows your brain to refocus and be peaceful. I’m always a happier, more balanced person when I have time to cook.

4. How does your writing process work?

Trial and error. I work within the normal limits of my life – food that is easy and affordable. The sad truth is that I often repeat recipes throughout the week for my family, so when it comes to blog-recipes, I sometimes have to be extremely creative and force myself to do something different. That challenge is what keeps life interesting.

Next up on the Blog Tour: Please visit the inspirational Teri at A Foodie Stays Fit – arguably one of the most popular blogs in the Triad.

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There’s not much to this post except a few ingredients that work together to create something elegant and robust with favors atypical for a regular weeknight meal.

My plan was simple. Smoked mozzarella was on sale. So were Cremini mushrooms. I try to keep store bought pizza crust on hand for those just-in-case moments. So I went to town …

Smoked Mozzarella and Truffled Mushroom Pizza

Ingredients

  • One ball of pizza dough (store bought or homemade)
  • 1 T unsalted butter
  • 6 oz of Cremini mushrooms (or more/less to taste and use your preference), sliced medium
  • 2 T garlic olive oil
  • 1 ball smoked mozz, sliced thin
  • Truffle oil (optional)
  • Coarse sea salt and black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 and lightly grease pizza sheet or baking sheet.

Heat butter over medium in large pan, then add mushrooms, sautéing until lightly browned around the edges, 5-7 min.

Roll or spread dough on prepared pan and brush with olive oil. Spoon mushrooms over top, then evenly distribute pieces of cheese.

Bake until crust is golden, crisp and cheese is melted, 10-15 min.

Out of the oven, drizzle pizza with truffle oil, salt and pepper. Slice. Serve with a peppery arugula salad.

Enjoy, friends! Xoxo

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Chicken with Morels and Creme Fraiche

Seasoned to Taste - Chicken with Morels

I think I will always see morels as tiny brains. But instead of grossing me out like they did as a child, they now represent for me something with a deep, earthy flavor and folds that hold all the creamy sauce you toss them in.

I also associate morels with the French movie “Amelie.” One of the characters mentions “hare and morels” … I’ve always wondered what exactly that meant.

This dish is one I look forward to making at a dinner party. Simple and elegant for the lowly chicken breast. Morels and creme fraiche are expensive, so this deserves a special occasion.

From Ina Garten.

Chicken with Morels and Creme Fraiche

Ingredients:

  • 1 package dried morels, soaked for 30 minutes in 3 cups very hot water
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • All-purpose flour, for dredging
  • 1⁄4 cup melted butter
  • 1⁄4 cup chopped shallots (1 large)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) creme fraiche
  • 1 cup heavy cream (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Lift the morels carefully from the hot water in order to leave any grit behind in the liquid. Rinse a few times to be sure all the grittiness is gone. Discard the liquid and dry the morels lightly with paper towels. Set aside.

Seasoned to Taste - Chicken with Morels

Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Dredge them in flour and shake off the excess. Heat half the butter in a large saute pan and cook the chicken in 2 batches over medium-low heat until browned on both sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove to an ovenproof casserole dish.

Add the rest of the butter to the pan along with the shallots, drained morels, and garlic. Saute over medium heat for 2 minutes, tossing and stirring constantly. Pour the wine into the pan and reduce the liquid by half over high heat, 2 to 4 minutes. Add the creme fraiche, cream (if using), lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt, and 3⁄4 teaspoon pepper. Boil until the mixture starts to thicken, 5 to 10 minutes. Pour the sauce over the chicken and bake for 12 minutes, or until the chicken is heated through. To make ahead, refrigerate the chicken and sauce in the casserole and reheat slowly on top of the stove.

Served with rosemary Parmesan polenta.

Seasoned to Taste - Chicken with Morels

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

 

Truffled Israeli Couscous with Bacon

Seasoned to Taste - Truffled Israeli Couscous with Bacon and Mushrooms

Israeli couscous is like a better orzo – pearls of chewy starch that mix deliciously with both rich and light flavors – from citrus and herbs to bacon, mushrooms and leeks.

I have to admit that the only recipe I used was the liquid-to-couscous measurements on the back of the package, adding in my cooked mushrooms, bacon and onion at the end. What I’ve written below is my best recollection – please adjust to your pleasing.

And of course, truffle oil is optional. I received some as a birthday gift, so I’ve been drizzling it on everything. A simple olive oil or infused oil would be tasty, too. Just a little drizzle to make the couscous sparkle when serving.

Truffled Israeli Couscous with Bacon

Ingredients:

  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 package or about 2 c. Israeli couscous
  • 4 c. chicken stock
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • 2 c. sliced mushrooms (I usually use cremini or shiitake)
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Truffle oil, to taste, or olive oil

In medium sauce pan, heat 2 T olive oil over medium, then add shallot. When it starts to brown, add couscous and stir to coat in oil. When couscous begins to toast, 2-3 min, add chicken stock and pinch salt and pepper. Stir, bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer for 10-12 min, until water is absorbed and couscous is tender but not mushy.

Meanwhile, heat medium skillet over medium-high and saute bacon until crispy. Remove bacon to paper towels to drain and add sliced mushrooms to bacon fat in skillet. Saute until nicely browned (they will release a lot of moisture), 7-8 min.

When couscous is done, fluff it with a fork, then add mushrooms, bacon, scallions and salt/pepper to taste. Transfer to serving platter and drizzle with truffle oil.

Seasoned to Taste - Truffled Israeli Couscous with Bacon and Mushrooms

Yum! It’s almost hearty enough for it’s own meal and the leftovers were my lunch the following day.

To actually make this a meal, I would serve the couscous over a bed of your favorite greens and place a soft-cooked egg on top, so you can break the yolk and let it spill over, creating a creamy sauce. Oh man, that sounds good!

When I made this, it was a side dish for some grilled sausages on toasted baguette with a chimichurri sauce:

Seasoned to Taste - Truffled Israeli Couscous with Bacon and Mushrooms

What a delightful way to spend a weekend day – just cooking and eating with friends who live within walking distance. I can’t tell you how important it is to live in a close-knit neighborhood, for these kind of spontaneous lunch or dinner parties.

Enjoy, friends, xoxo

Chicken Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Mushrooms

Ah, the warm earthiness of mushrooms. Wild, woodsy and organic – they hold within their soft flesh the pungent energy of the soil they pushed through. I am beginning to see mushrooms – really high-quality mushrooms – as a necessity during the fall. Witness my transformation!

The natural muskiness of mushrooms mixes well with anything creamy. Like this dish, which combines tart, creamy goat cheese with mushrooms for a lovely stuffing in pounded chicken breasts. I tweaked the recipes to include red wine and a few other tidbits that make it even yummier.

In keeping with the mood, I cooked it up while staying in the mountains, where the hickory leaves have already laid a bed of mulch that crunches under heavy boots.

Adapted from The Food Network Magazine.

Goat Cheese and Mushroom Stuffed Chicken

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 10 ounces cremini or shiitake mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • 3 ounces goat cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoon cold unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper

Prepare the chicken: Lay the chicken breasts on a piece of plastic wrap; place another piece on top and pound with a mallet or rolling pin until each breast is about 1/2 inch thick. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a medium-size saute pan over medium-high heat and add half the mushrooms. Saute until the mushrooms have released their liquid and the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Coat each chicken breast with 2 tablespoons goat cheese and top with 1/4 cup mushroom mixture. Roll up each breast burrito-style: Begin from the bottom, roll into the middle and tuck in the sides as you finish. Tie each roll with 3 pieces of kitchen twine, securing the ends and then wrapping in the middle. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Sear the chicken roll-ups on all sides until they are cooked through and golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Allow the rolls to sit 5 minutes before removing the twine and slicing each one into 4 to 5 pieces.

While the chicken breasts are resting, make a quick sauce: add 2 T butter to the chicken pan until foaming. Add remaining mushrooms and stir until cooked. Add wine and stir, 3 min.

Slice chicken and top with mushroom sauce and garnish with the parsley.

It will smell so warm and inviting in your house.

The goat cheese is all smooth and melting, which is wonderful with the mushrooms and red wine sauce thickened with butter. Parsley adds a nice pop of color and freshness.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Korean-style Beef with Toasted Rice and Fried Egg

Toasted rice is usually what happens when I lose track of time and remove my rice from the burner too late. But here, the rice is intentionally toasted, giving it a nutty flavor and crunch that sticks to your teeth. It’s a good sensation, along with the thin strips of beef, wild mushrooms and wilted spinach.

And oh, let’s not forget the fried egg on top. We all know I have a soft spot for any recipe that incorporates this beauty (I have breakfast pizza in mind for the weekend).

This dish is lovely in preparation and presentation. It’s quite a show – quickly frying, then transferring to bowls warming in the oven, then back to fry something new. All the while you’re building layers in your rice bowl. Layers that the egg yolk will soon soak in to. And you’ll top it all off with a crunchy little pickled salad that adds an acidity and freshness you need to balance the other flavors. Genius!

I adapted mine from the Cook’s Illustrated “Cooking For Two” magazine.

Korean-Style Beef with Toasted Rice and Fried Egg (adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)

Ingredients (serves 2)

Pickled vegetables:

  • 1/2 c. mung bean sprouts
  • 1 carrot, peeled and then peeled into ribbons or grated
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/2 c. seasoned rice vinegar

Combine the above ingredients, pressing veggies down so submerged in vinegar. Cover and refrigerate for 30 min. Drain vinegar before serving.

For beef bowls:

  • 1 c. rice (I used long-grain), rinsed
  • 1 c. water
  • 4 oz. flank steak, or any other steak good for a stir-fry, sliced against the grain into 1/8 inch strips
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 4 tsp vegetable oil
  • 4 oz. shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 oz. (one box) baby spinach
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1.5 tsp toasted sesame oil

Place two oven-safe serving bowls on baking sheet in oven and heat to 200 degrees.

Bring rice and water to boil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer until rice is tender, 15-18 min. Uncover lid and crank heat to medium-high and cook until rice is golden brown in spots and emits a toasty smell, about 7-9 min. Divide rice between two warming bowls and return bowls to oven.

Wipe out pan and heat 2 tsp oil until just smoking. Meanwhile, toss beef with soy sauce, then add to hot skillet. Add mushrooms immediately and cook until beef is cooked through, 3 min. Divide into bowls; return bowls to oven

Add 1 tsp oil to skillet over medium heat and add garlic, cooking until fragrant, 30 seconds. Stir in spinach until wilted, about 1 min. Season with S&P to taste, then divide into the bowls.

Wipe out skillet again and add last 1 tsp oil. Return to medium-high heat until hot, then crack in two eggs on opposite sides of the pan. Sprinkle with S&P. Cover and cook until the whites are set, 2 min.

Remove bowls from oven and slide one egg on top of each. Drizzle each with sesame oil and top with pickled vegetables.

When you pierce the yolk, it runs down through all the layers of goodness and is just lovely.

While I spent time reading a book, drinking wine and making this, Grant slaved away outside making the giant trellis pictured below, which will soon be covered with hummingbird vines, wisteria, jasmine and honeysuckle. Handyman. And gardenman.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo