Wild Mushrooms and Cream Pasta

December 9, 2010 § Leave a comment

There is something about the cold winter nights that makes me want to warm up with something creamy and woodsy.  Mushrooms and cream pasta are perfect for a cozy dinner in without too much prep time.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of chopped wild mushrooms (pick any combination of your favorites – chanterelles, portobellos, shiitake, crimini… I used crimini here)
  • 2 chopped shallots (or if you want a little extra punch, 1 shallot and 1 small onion, your choice)
  • 4 cloves of chopped garlic
  • papardelle egg pasta (the one I used is straight from Trader Joe’s and is AH-Mazing!)
  • 1/2 cup of chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream (don’t freak out, 1/2 a cup for the ENTIRE batch)

Directions:

  • In a medium sauce pan, and using two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, saute shallots (and onion if you use it) until they become transparent.
  • Add mushrooms.  At first glance, it will seem like a ridiculous amount of mushrooms, but don’t worry because they will cook down.  Fold them in with the shallots gently and season to taste.
  • Once the mushrooms have started to release some of their water, add in the garlic.  (WARNING: your kitchen will smell incredible!).  Let this mixture sautee on a medium heat until the mushrooms have cooked down and have become soft.
  • When the mushrooms have cooked down, add the fresh parsley and let the mixture get happy for about a minute.  The goal is to allow the parsley to release some flavor, but not get overcooked.
  • Add in the heavy cream and stir for 2 minutes.  We want to the mushroom flavors to get acquainted with the cream and make one flavorful sauce.  Reseason if necessary.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Cook pasta last so that it doesn’t have a chance to sit around and stick together.  If you have to let one thing sit around longer than the other, let it be the mushrooms and sauce.
  • Combine pasta and mushrooms and serve.

Once combined, the final dish will look like this:

It was so good that it deserved a close up! 🙂

Bon apetit!

Tofu Mushroom Burger

August 7, 2010 § 2 Comments

My husband and I love going to this restaurant in Laguna Beach called Taco Loco.  We went to Taco Loco before we dated, while we dated, and now as a married couple for only one reason….Tofu Mushroom Burgers.  We would drive for miles and miles to get one of these vegan burgers of goodness.  Be careful….once you have one, you are going to need to make them at least once a week.

Ingredients:

  • Extra firm tofu
  • Whole wheat hamburger buns
  • Olive oil
  • Mushrooms
  • Avocado
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Hot sauce
  • Ketchup
  • mustard

Directions:

1.  Cut tofu into 1/2 inch wide pieces.  Coat the tofu with a combination of chili powder, paprika, and freshly ground black pepper.  Put about 1 tbsp. olive oil into a non-stick pan.

2.  When the oil is hot, put tofu into the pan (2 pieces per burger) to cook.  As tofu is cooking, cut the mushrooms (about 3 per burger) and put them into the pan to cook with the tofu.

3.  While the tofu and mushrooms are cooking, clean the lettuce (a few pieces for each burger) and prepare the secret topping.  Mix chunks of avocado and tomatoes with some hot sauce.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

4.  When the tofu and mushrooms are done cooking, toast the hamburger bun.  Put some ketchup and mustard on the top bun (yes, you have to eat the burger with these condiments) and then cover it with the lettuce.  Put the tofu on the bottom bun, then pile on the mushrooms, and then the avocado topping.  Last, but not least, join the top and bottom bun together.

This vegan burger is wonderful with Trader Joe’s sweet potato fries.

Veggie Shush Kabobs

July 28, 2010 § 2 Comments

Since I eat vegetables all of the time, I try to spruce them up by putting a variety of fresh vegetables in a soup, or in baked pasta, or in enchiladas, the list can go one forever.  The point is, I forgot just how good fresh veggies can be on their own.  These veggie kabobs make a great dinner and only needed some rice (I made coconut pineapple rice) to make a full meal.  So if you want to enjoy summer, use your grill,  and have a light dinner (one that doesn’t leave you comatose on the couch afterward) these kabobs are perfect!

Ingredients:

  • Various vegetables (I used peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, tomatoes, and sweet onion.)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. Ancho chili powder
  • 1 tsp. chili sesame oil (you can use regular sesame oil, if your don’t like spicy foods)
  • 1/4 cup Trader Joe’s Soyaki
  • 2 tsp. dried red pepper flakes (less or more depending on your spice level)
  • Zest of 2 limes
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Toasted sesame seeds to sprinkle

Directions:

1.  Whisk all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl.  Then add in the wet ingredients and whisk to combine.  Let all of the flavors in your homemade marinade mix together while you chop up your fresh vegetables and start your grill.

2.  Cut your vegetables into chunks.  You want all of the veggies to be roughly the same size, so they finish cooking at the same time.  Make     sure to cut your onions and peppers into large chunks because they will be the veggies that finish cooking first.

3.  Once you have cut all of the vegetables, arrange them on the skewers in whatever order you want.  I usually use a pattern because it looks great on the plate.

    4.  Put all of the vegetable skewers in a baking dish.  Brush each skewer with the homemade marinade.  If you have leftover marinade, pour it onto the skewers.  Let the skewers soak in the marinade for about 15 minutes.

    5.  Put the skewers on the grill.  Rotate and baste the kabobs every 5-10 minutes until the vegetables are cooked all the way through.  The timing on the vegetables depend on which veggies you used, so just check up on them and make sure they don’t burn to a crisp.  When the veggies are done, use a basting brush to brush the kabobs with the marinade again.  To finish them off, sprinkle them with toasted sesame seeds.  Serve immediately.

      Mushroom Barley Monday

      February 8, 2010 § 1 Comment

      Today, I made mushroom barley soup.  It takes about 1.5 hours to make, but is ridiculously simple.  Also, you will notice how healthy this soup is just by looking at the ingredients.  There is nothing fattening or carb-heavy in here.

      Ingredients:

      • 8 cups of drinking water (please for the love of dogs do not use bottled water!!!)
      • 1 large portobello mushroom (cut into large slices)
      • 1-2 lbs shiitake mushrooms (cut into medium pieces)
      • Two small yellow onions (or one large one)
      • 1/4 cup of barley
      • 2 cloves of garlic (chopped)
      • 1 large leek (chopped)
      • 2 Tbsp, sesame oil (you could substitute with olive oil)
      • 1 packet of Trader Joe’s mixed wild mushroom medley
      • Sea salt (to taste)

      Cooking directions:

      1. Place the contents of the wild mushroom mix into a small bowl and cover with hot water.  Let it stand until the rest of the ingredients are put into the soup.
      2. Place the sesame oil in a heated large pot (I use a cast iron one, but you could use any large pot) and add the barley.  Make sure the heat is on HIGH.  Mix the barley so that it wont burn, but let it stay in the oil for a few minutes so that it heats up a bit.  (Be careful not to let it burn!).  Add the 8 cups of water.
      3. Salt to taste.
      4. Place the wild mushroom medley mix (including the hot water it was in), portobellos, shiitakes, leeks, onions, and garlic into the mixture.  Note that the heat is still on HIGH.  Bring the entire mixture to a rapid boil, then cover and simmer for 1 hour or until the barley is nice and soft.  Resalt to taste.

      Can you believe that is all?!! 🙂

      Serving suggestions: you may serve the soup plain, with a dollop of sour cream, or sprinkle some parmesan on top (it will melt into a nice cheesy topping).  Also, you may garnish with chives, parsley, or dill.

      TIP: When I make this soup, I make a large pot to ensure that I have leftovers — for some reason, the soup tastes better the second and third day!

      The final product!  Enjoy!

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