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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Wild Mushroom Linguini




Readers, This dish started out as "Wild Mushroom Polenta". With inspiration from a class taught by Chef  Alec at The Club at Flying Horse, and help from bonus daughter D, we set out to recreate the wonderful dish prepared in class. The mushroom ragout is absolutely wonderful. The texture and flavor will send you to (food) heaven.
 Our polenta didn't turn out as planned. It sort of seized up. It didn't have the lovely creamy texture I had tasted in class. I was mortified! And horrified! I wanted to cry! But, we ate it anyway after a little first aid. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't the best it could be. The next day, I decided to rescue the mushroom ragout, and paired it with hot cooked linguine. The result?  Pasta perfection on a plate.
Lets make this beautiful pasta dish. Here's what you need:
1 pound linguine, , cooked al dente (firm to the bite), Extra light and extra virgin olive oil, 4 Cups mixed wild mushrooms, 1 shallot finely minced, 2 garlic cloves finely minced, 1/2 cup white wine, 1/4 cup heavy cream, 1/2 cup veal demi-glace, 1 tsp butter, 1 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme, 1 tsp finely chopped fresh parsley, 1/4 cup Parmesano/Reggiano cheese, shredded, Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper, drizzle white truffle oil.
Let's get cooking. 
Prep the mushrooms.  "experts" will tell you to wipe them off with a damp towel, because they'll get waterlogged if you wash them, blah, blah, blah. Sorry, but mushrooms are grown in fertilizer (aka: sh_t), and are full of dirt. Keep the stems in. Give them a  good rinse in cold water, dry them off, then put them on a towel lined sheet tray, and put them, uncovered, in the fridge, until dry. Shitakes have really tough stems. Remove them before you chop up the heads, and AFTER you wash them.
What I have here is a combination of Oyster, Shitake, Chantrelle, Cremini, and some type of Japanese shroom. I found a pre-pack of wild mushrooms at Whole Foods, then grabbed a few Shitakes and Creminis from the bulk bin for the mix. If you can't find, or don't want to shell out the cash, use a combination of Creminis and Shitakes. They'll be delicious.
Chop them up.
Start with a large cast iron skillet. If you don't have one, run right out to Sam's or a hardware store and get one right now. Get one that's pre-seasoned. 
Then, pre-heat it until it's smokin' hot. Really hot. That means there's smoke coming off of the pan, with NOTHING in it. (Turn on the fans and open the windows). Then add a couple drizzles of extra LIGHT (NOT VIRGIN) olive oil around the pan. Gotta have oil with a high smoking point.
Throw the mushrooms into the super hot oil. Add a good pinch of Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Mushrooms are full of water, so don't crowd the pan. They will steam, not caramelize. WE WANT CARMELIZATION! Brown food tastes good! If you have to make 2 batches; do so. NO STEAMING ALLOWED!
Let them hang out in the skillet until they are brown, then give them a good stir. When beautifully brown all over, take the pan off the burner, and let it cool down a bit. Turn the heat down to medium, then put the pan back on the medium burner, and add the shallots. (If the pan is dry, swirl in some more olive oil). Give them a sprinkle of Kosher salt. This will help bring out the natural sugars and help them caramelize. Brown food tastes good. Burnt food tastes bad. Cook for 2 minutes, add the minced garlic, and cook for 1 minute.
Now, deglaze the pan with1/2 cup white wine.
Give it a good stir. With a wooden spoon, scrape off all of the brown bits of goodness stuck to the pan. Reduce by 2/3.
Add the cream. Stir. Reduce by 3/4.
Add the Demi Glace and reduce the heat to low.
Stir it up.
Add about 1 tsp butter. When the butter melts, throw in the chopped herbs.
Stir in the 1/4 cup cheese.
Taste for seasoning. Re-season as necessary.
Now, get your hot drained linguine and put it in a big serving bowl.
Add a good drizzle of Extra Virgin olive oil,season it up with salt and pepper.
Put a serving of linguine on a plate. And top it with your beautiful mushroom ragout. You could eat this right now, and it would be delicious. DON'T!
Let's take it over the top. Garnish it with a sprinkle of Parmesano/Reggiano cheese.
Then add some fresh parsley.
Now, drizzle on some white truffle oil.
It doesn't get much better than this.
Bon Appetit!

Ingredients:
1 pound linguine , cooked al dente (firm to the bite)
Extra light olive oil, for sauteing ( a few swirls around the pan).
Extra virgin olive oil, for finishing pasta
4 Cups fresh mixed wild mushrooms 
*If you only have dried wild mushrooms, rehydrate with some boiling pasta water. After rehydrated, strain through a coffee filter lined fine colander. Save the broth. Filter again through a coffee filter, paper towel, or cheese cloth. Pour the mushroom broth into the pasta, after adding the veal demi glace.*
1 shallot finely minced 
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup veal demi-glace (This is available in the freezer section at Whole Foods.  If you can't find it, ask the butcher/deli/fish guy where to find it. If you can't obtain it, add some homemade beef stock. Or, add some beef broth in a box. Or, make up some broth with "Better than broth" paste and water. Taste before adding to make sure it's not too salty).
 1 tsp butter
1 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp finely chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup Parmesano/Reggiano cheese, shredded, 
Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
drizzle white truffle oil.

Method:
  1. Prep the mushrooms. Keep the stems in. Give them a  good rinse in cold water, dry them off, then put them on a towel lined sheet tray, and put them, uncovered, in the fridge, until dry. Chop when dry. Do not use Shitake stems.
  2. Pre-heat the cast iron skillet until it's smokin' hot.
  3. Throw the mushrooms into the super hot oil. Add a good pinch of Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. 
  4. When beautifully brown all over, take the pan off the burner, and let it cool down a bit. Turn the heat down to medium, then put the pan back on the medium burner, and add the shallots. (If the pan is dry, swirl in some more olive oil). Give them a sprinkle of Kosher salt. 
  5. Cook for 2 minutes, add the minced garlic, and cook for 1 minute.
  6. Deglaze the pan with1/2 cup white wine.
  7. With a wooden spoon, scrape off all of the brown bits of goodness stuck to the pan. Reduce by 2/3.
  8. Add the cream. Stir. Reduce by 3/4.
  9. Add the Demi Glace and reduce the heat to low. Stir it up.
  10. Add about 1 tsp butter. When the butter melts, throw in the chopped herbs.

  11. Stir in the 1/4 cup cheese.
  12. Taste for seasoning. Re-season as necessary.
  13. Put hot, drained linguine in a big serving bowl.
  14. Add a good drizzle of Extra Virgin olive oil, season it up with salt and pepper.
  15. Put a serving of linguine on a plate. Top it with mushroom ragout.
  16. Garnish it with a sprinkle of Parmesano/Reggiano cheese.Add some fresh parsley.
  17. Drizzle on some white truffle oil.


















Thursday, January 28, 2010

Out flying



Hey, Readers,
Gone out to fly for a few days, unexpectedly. Will post a wonderful wild mushroom truffle linguine as soon as I can. Check back Sunday. Or Monday. Maybe Tuesday. (I never really know. I just love my job!).




Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Clams by Rhoda



This dish was shared with me by my good friend Rhoda at a family dinner. Super easy, just a few ingredients, cooks in a flash, is absolutely delicious, and can be set in the middle of the table for everyone to share. Just make sure to provide lots of napkins and a bowl for the empty shells.
Here's what you need:

1 Beer (I used a  Dos Equi Amber)
1/2 stick Butter
3 garlic cloves
1 cup Louisiana Hot Sauce
1 pound Manila Clams (Any type clam will do. I got these in a 3 pound bag at Costco for about $3.00 / pound. They're small, sweet, and clean).
Sriracha Sauce, if you really like it hot.




Step 1: As soon as you get home with your bivalve treasures, put them in ice water, enough to cover. As with mussels, this does two things: Any that are partly open will close. This will let you know if any are dead. Any that remain open need to be tossed. Secondly, it helps clean them.


Step 2: Put your serving bowl in the oven and get it warm.












Smash and peel 3 cloves garlic.

Put 1/2 stick of butter in a sauce pan over medium heat.

Add some hot sauce, about a cup.




Toss in the garlic cloves.
Heat it until the butter melts and sauce is warm.
Sauce done.
If you like it extra hot, add some Sriracha sauce.


Now for the clams:
Pour 1 beer into a deep skillet. Heat it up over medium high heat.


Pour the clams in, and put a glass lid on top. You need to be able to see when they begin to open.


After about 4 minutes, the clams will begin to pop open. Have your heated bowl at the ready. As soon as these cuties pop open, pluck them out and put them in your bowl.


When all of the clams are in the bowl, ladle in a scoop of hot beer. Sounds gross. You'll have to trust me on this.


Pour the sauce over the top, then give it a big stir.


These are GORGEOUS!!!



You can be polite by using a fork, as hub H did here. (No, that is not my big, hairy hand). Or, you can go a little wild, and just pick them up and put them right in your mouth, which is what I chose to do. That way, you can suck out the delicious sauce. That photo was just to creepy to post.
Thank you, Rhoda!



Ingredients:



1 Beer (I used a  Dos Equi Amber)
1/2 stick Butter
3 garlic cloves
1 cup Louisiana Hot Sauce
1 pound Manila Clams


Method:
Put clams in ice water as soon as you get them home.
Rinse well before cooking.
Sauce:
Smash and peel 3 cloves garlic.
Put 1/2 stick butter in a saucepan.
Add about 1 cup hot sauce.
Add garlic cloves.
Heat until butter is melted and sauce is warm.
Clams:
Heat 1 beer in a deep skillet.
Add clams.
Cover with a transparent lid.
When liquid is boiling, clams will begin to open, about 4 minutes.
Take clams out as soon as they open. Put in warm bowl.
Add 1 ladle of hot liquid to clams.
Pour sauce over top, and stir.

Serves 2-4. Triple recipe for 10-12.









































































































































Monday, January 25, 2010

Spicy Red Beans and Rice

Dear Readers, 
I have been a very bad Blogger this week. I apologize profusely and ask your forgiveness. So, today I'll post two delicious recipes: Spicy red beans and rice, per request from DIL B; and a wonderful clam appetizer, shared by my good friend Rhoda.


Let's talk about beans and rice. This is a dish that must have loads of flavor added to it, as both beans and rice really don't have any flavor, leading to some pretty bland dishes. We're going to pump up the flavor by using chicken broth, rather than water, in both the rice and the beans. We're using lots of garlic, onions, and herbs, and kicking up the spice with some red pepper flakes. And then, there's the pork. Lots of pork. All you vegetarians out there are not going to ever make this, so you might want to go find some tofu or something. Or Ding Dongs. Yep, go with the Ding Dongs. They're delicious.

Here's what we need:

4 ribs celery, 1 large onion, 3 green onions, 6 cloves garlic, 1 red (or green, or yellow, or orange) bell pepper, 6 sprigs fresh thyme, 4 bay leaves, Cajun seasoning, 3 cans red Kidney beans, 1 can Chili beans in sauce, 2 cups white rice, 1 box chicken broth, crushed red pepper flakes, salt and black pepper.
Now for the pork:



4 slices bacon, 3 links Andouille sausage, and 1 ham hock.
Start by  cutting the bacon into small pieces. (Called "lardons").

Put it in a heavy Dutch oven on medium heat, and fry until crisp. I added a touch of olive oil to the pot to keep the bacon from sticking.

Remove it from the pot and drain on a paper towel.

Now, cut the sausage links into small pieces. Cut them in half lengthwise, then cut those pieces in half lengthwise, the slice horizontally. Put them in the pot with the bacon grease, and saute' for 5 minutes. The sausage is already cooked. We just want to render some of the fat off for flavor.

Take them out of the pot and drain on paper towels.


Now, there's a lot of fat in the pot. We don't need, or want all of it, so get a big spoon and scoop out half of the fat. Throw it out.

Now, we're ready to work with the veg. I used the inner stalks of the celery because (1) they don't need to be peeled, (2) they have all those leaves on them that are just chock full of flavor.

Dice up the onion, celery, and pepper (known as "The Trinity" down New Orleans way), and put it in the pot.

Season it up with Kosher salt, fresh cracked pepper, and some Cajun seasoning.

About a half a palm full.

Stir in some smoked Paprika. About a half a palm full.

And some red pepper flakes. I used about 3/4 of a palm full, because my fam likes it spicy. If you don't like things hot, go easy on the flakes, taste, and re-season to your liking.

Give it a good stir, and cook over medium heat until the veg is slightly tender.
Smash the garlic cloves.

Mince them finely.

And add them to the pot. Cook about1 minute, until they become fragrant.

Add enough chicken broth to completely cover the veg.

Put the sausage back in the pot, and add the ham hock.

Tie the thyme up in some string.

and throw it in the pot, along with the Bay leaves. As you see here, I added some beans into the pot. I should not have done that. They are to go in later, so they don't fall apart. They actually didn't fall apart, so maybe my bean assumption was wrong.

Bring this to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. When the veg is tender, it's almost done.
Drain and rinse the kidney beans. I don't like the slimy liquid they're packed in. Personal preference.

I started out using 2 cans of kidney beans. Then decided I needed 3. Add 2 cans rinsed beans to the pot, then add 1 can rinsed beans to the blender. See how it looks like soup? We don't want that.

Scoop out about 1 cup of the hot bean mixture, and put it in the blender with the beans.

Buzz it up so it makes a really thick mixture.

Add  this back into the pot. Stir. It was at this point when I tasted it that I decided it needed just a bit more flavor. So, I found a can of Chili beans in chili sauce in the pantry.

And dumped the whole thing in. At this point, you can let it simmer for a while, or go ahead and dig in.
Mine simmered for over 2 hours because hub H wasn't hungry for dinner yet. It may have had something to do with the pound of clams we devoured while watching football.
Taste the bean mixture and re-season to your liking.

All right, beans are done. Let's make rice.
Start with 2 Tbls butter. Melt it in a sauce pot.

Add  2 cups white rice and stir. You coat the rice in butter to keep it from sticking together.


Season it up with a few shakes of garlic salt and some pepper.

Now, add 2 cups chicken broth and 2 cups water to the rice.

Stir it up and bring to a boil. At this point, put a lid on the sauce pot and turn down to a simmer. Simmer with lid on until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 20 minutes.
Put a big scoop in a bowl.

And ladle some bean mixture over the top.

Sprinkle with chopped green onions and reserved crumbled bacon, and eat up. Serve with corn muffins and butter.


This meal can easily be made in a Crock pot. Saute as directed, then put everything except the beans into a crock pot and let it simmer all day. Add the beans and make the rice just prior to eating.




Ingredients


4 ribs celery
1 large onion, any color 
3 green onions
6 cloves garlic 
1 red (or green, or yellow, or orange) bell pepper 
6 sprigs fresh thyme
4 bay leaves
Cajun seasoning 
Smoked Paprika
3 cans red Kidney beans
1 can Chili beans in chili sauce 
4 slices bacon
3 links Andouille sausage
1 ham hock
crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and black pepper



2 Tbls butter


2 cups white rice 
1 box chicken broth
garlic salt 




Method:

  1. Cut bacon into 1/4 inch pieces.
  2. Fry in a Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp.
  3. Remove bacon onto a paper towel.
  4. Cut the Sausage links into small pieces.
  5. Saute' 5 minutes.
  6. Remove sausage to a paper towel.
  7. With a large spoon, remove half of the fat in the pot. Discard.
  8. Chop, onion, celery and peppers, and add them to the pot.
  9. Season with salt, pepper, paprika, Cajun seasoning, and red pepper flakes.
  10. Saute for about 5 minutes, then add minced garlic and saute' another minute.
  11. Add enough chicken broth to cover the veg.
  12. Add sausage back to the pot along with the ham hock, thyme bundle, and bay leaves.
  13. Simmer until veg is tender.
  14. Add 2 cans rinsed kidney beans and 1 can chili beans to pot.
  15. Put 1 can kidney beans and 1 cup hot bean mixture in a blender and buzz up until thick and creamy.
  16. Stir into pot.
Rice:
  1. Saute rice in butter until coated.
  2. Add chicken broth and water.
  3. Season with garlic salt and pepper.
  4. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.
Place a big scoop of rice in a bowl and top with bean mixture.
Garnish with green onions and bacon.















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About Me

Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States
I'm a home cook that can put some good tasting food on the table, most of the time. My family knows dinner is ready when the fire alarm goes off.