Tag Archives: mushrooms

Mushroom Bolognese

18 Jun

A few months ago I was issued a challenge… as a Facebook group, the Serious Eats Water Cooler, we love to challenge ourselves and someone suggested Sunday Sauce. Sunday Sauce is what my Italian-American friends call the rich, tomato sauce made by a nonna slaving over a stove during a whole day for her whole family to enjoy around her dinner table on Sunday evening.

I am not a nonna, I am not Italian and I am not slaving over a stove to cook anything for a Facebook group challenge… but I am fascinated with mushrooms and I have been trying to find a recipe to use dehydrated mushrooms since that lasagna I made for my nephew’s birthday. I bought dried porcini mushrooms to add to the recipe and I completely forgot.

It occurred to me I could make a version of the traditional meat sauce, bolognese, but using mushrooms instead. A vegetarian Bolognese!!!! I am sure there must be at least 1 vegetarian in Bologna that would approve of this recipe!!!

In a completely unrelated Facebook group story… I learned that Sclafani Tomatoes are some of the best, if not THE BEST, canned tomatoes available. I am not too fond of eating anything canned, but these tomatoes were supposed to be brought in from Italy, in cans lined so the metals are not absorbed by the tomatoes. And there they were!!!! At my sister’s farmer’s market…    Sclafani tomatoes on sale!!!! I thought it was a notice from The Universe that I was meant to make this mushroom Bolognese, or else!! And I do not like to go against the flow of The Universe…

 

Sclafani Tomatoes @ The Boys

Mushroom Bolognese Collage

I wish I had better pictures, but I just could not keep this recipe for myself any longer…

 

Mushroom Bolognese 2

 

MUSHROOM BOLOGNESE

1 small carrot, peeled and chopped finely
2 celery ribs, chopped finely
½ large onion, diced
Salt and Pepper
2 tbs olive oil
3 garlic cloves, grated or minced
¾ cup white wine vinegar
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 lb white button mushrooms, chopped
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1 Knorr vegetable stock gel
1 can of Scalfani whole tomatoes, crushed by hand
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons of brown sugar
2 tsps dried oregano
3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  1. Soak the dried porcini mushrooms in 1 cup of very warm water and let sit for 20 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve or a coffee filter. In a pinch, I have also used a paper towel to separate the liquid from the solids left behind.
  2. Reserve the liquid. Measure the reserved porcini mushroom stock and add some water to complete 1½ cups of liquid all together. Set aside, we’ll use it in the recipe later on. Chop the reconstituted porcini mushrooms and set aside.
  3. In a large pot over medium high heat, add the olive oil, onion, carrot and celery and season liberally with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Sauté for about 5 minutes and lower the heat to medium. Add the garlic and cook for about one minute.
  4. While the large pot is cooking the vegetables… In a separate pan, add a drizzle of olive oil and the white mushrooms. Let them cook without touching them to allow them to brown a bit. After they’ve acquired some color to them, add the reconstituted porcini mushrooms. Deglaze the pan using the white wine vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Add the cooked mushrooms to the large pot. Add the rest of the ingredients, including the reserved porcini mushroom liquid. Simmer, uncovered, for about an hour and a half, until the sauce has reduced down and a lot of the liquid has cooked off – cook until you like the thickness of the sauce. Taste for salt and adjust seasoning.
  6. Take out the stems of thyme before serving. Serve with your favorite pasta…

 

??????????

This recipe makes A LOT of sauce… more than I would normally make just for myself. There were 4 of us adults and we were eating pasta for a few days!!!!! So feel free to halve this recipe if you want to or just use as much sauce as you’d need for one meal and refrigerate or freeze the rest for later on.

The flavor is intense!!!! Very rich and very satisfying. One of the best tomato sauces I’ve ever made… by far. I am guessing it’s all the umami from the mushrooms… this is a recipe to keep!!!!

Kick-butt Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna

29 Oct

I think the Internet is a wonderful thing… I was planning the menu for my nephew’s 2nd birthday and we had decided to make a vegetarian lasagna and a meat lasagna. I wish my sister would have been satisfied with just the vegetarian lasagna, but she insisted to have something for the non-vegetarians – as if they could not eat my vegetarian one. I was not thrilled about the idea, but someone else was in charge of that dish.

Then, my competitive nature kicked in… I am the aunt of this kid. I have a vegetarian blog. I want to ensure that most people on this party prefer the vegetarian lasagna to the non-veggie one. I want my vegetarian lasagna to BLOW THE HEAD OUT OF THE WATER of that meaty lasagna. This is not about converting anyone to becoming vegetarian. This has nothing to do with the person making the other lasagna. This is a statement… a statement that a delicious lasagna does not need to have meat in it. And not only I wanted to make delicious lasagna… but preferred over a meaty one.

So I decided to throw the challenge to my friends on the internet. I posted my challenge on Serious Eats Talk section. I wanted to see if I could get some inspiration from the folks out there… many of them non-vegetarian who might have some pretty awesome ideas on what to serve. My initial idea was my Spinach and Almond Lasagna in a White Sauce, but I was game to making something more complex.

Kenji, one of the editors of Serious Eats rose to the challenge… not only giving me ideas for this mega-lasagna- throw down I had going on in my head, but actually coming up with a recipe and making it in the middle of the night. Literally… he was cooking at 2AM in the morning. He mixed spinach and mushrooms and gave me some pointers on the technique to use no-boil lasagna noodles. I was so excited by all the recommendations… but I was most impressed and baffled by the fact that Kenji thanked me personally for inspiring him to make this lasagna he had never planned on making.

So of course, this is the lasagna I made for my nephew’s birthday. I cooked all the components and assembled the lasagna the night before. We baked it the night of the party. The people were enticed and almost hypnotized by the smells coming out of the kitchen that night. My sister was impressed by the mushroom mixture. The lasagna already had a following even before we hit the oven.

We baked the meaty lasagnas first… because I just did not want my vegetarian lasagna to be “contaminated” by the smells or potential platter of the meaty ones. So my lasagna had little time to rest before we actually served it. This is how it went:

  • Someone who’s not vegetarian decided to wait until our lasagna was baked off because they were waiting to try ours. She was hoping everyone would fill up on the meaty one so there would be more of the vegetarian one for her to eat.
  • A vegetarian guest was so appreciative that we had something she could eat blindly.
  • I was serving my lasagna, mostly to avoid serving utensil cross-contamination… and when people got to my lasagna they were mostly regretting they had served themselves such a large piece of meaty lasagna. Some people divided their meaty lasagna piece with someone else so they could serve themselves also a large piece of our veggie lasagna.
  • My intention is not to convert anyone into vegetarianism, but someone told me they would become vegetarian if I would cook for them every day. And they invited me to make this lasagna again at their home… because they could not believe I had tried that recipe for the first time on a house full of guests. I was that confident on Kenji’s recipe and my skills…

Here is a picture of my version of the lasagna… but I rather share with you Kenji’s pictures, as well as his recipe. I made some modifications as he used an egg and my mom and I do not eat eggs. So here is the link to the original recipe and my adapted version.

Photo courtesy of J. Kenji López-Alt and Serious Eats

KENJI’s KICK-BUTT SPINACH AND MUSHROOM LASAGNA

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing baking dish, divided
3 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
2 pounds washed fresh spinach leaves, roughly chopped
1 pint (2 cups) heavy cream, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound cottage cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves, divided
1 package (15 sheets) no-boil whole-wheat lasagna noodles
24 ounces button or cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
2 medium shallots, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons fresh juice from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons spelt or whole-wheat flour
2 cups whole milk
1 bag of shredded Italian blend cheeses
12 ounces whole milk mozzarella, grated, divided
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until foaming subsides. Add garlic and 1 shallot and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add spinach in batches, allowing previous batch to wilt before adding next. I saved a handful of fresh spinach on the side. I thought I had read it as part of the recipe, but now I can’t see it anywhere…
  3. Once the spinach is in the skillet and wilted, add 1 cup heavy cream. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a strong simmer. Cook, stirring frequently, until thick and reduced, about 15 minutes. Add nutmeg and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. While spinach is cooking, combine cottage cheese and 6 tablespoons parsley in the bowl of a food processor. I was suppoed to mix this in a food processor, but I totally skipped this step… and just mixed the cottage cheese with chopped parsley by hand in a bowl. I was just not into dirtying something else…
  5. Combine the cooked spinach and cottage cheese mixture in a large bowl. Also, now add the handful of uncooked chopped spinach. Mix well.
  6. Meanwhile, place lasagna noodles in a 8- by 13-inch baking dish and cover with warm water. Allow to soak, agitating occasionally to prevent sticking, until lightly softened, about 15 minutes. Transfer in a single layer to a clean kitchen towel to dry.
  7. While noodles soak, wipe out spinach pot and return to medium-high heat. Add 3 more tablespoons butter and heat until melted. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid evaporates and mushrooms start to sizzle, about 10 minutes. Add the other shallot and thyme and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and softened, about 2 minutes. Add soy sauce and lemon juice and stir to combine. Add remaining heavy cream. Bring to a simmer, and cook until lightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer mixture to another bowl. It’s amazing how quickly the cream in the mushrooms thicken in comparison to the spinach…
  8. Wipe out pot and return to medium-high heat. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter and heat until melted. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly with a whisk, until light golden blond. Slowly pour in milk, whisking constantly. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat. Stir in 2/3rds of the bag of shredded Italian cheese blend and parmesan, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
  9. To assemble lasagna, dry the 8- by 13-inch baking dish and grease with butter. Add 1 cup cheese sauce to bottom of dish. Lay three noodles on top of it, spacing them evenly across the bottom of the dish (there will be some gaps between each noodle and the edge of the pan. This is fine). Top noodles with a bit more sauce and add an even layer of half the mushroom mixture, add some of the shredded cheese and parmesan, then top with another three noodles. Add a bit of sauce again, top with half of spinach/cottage cheese mixture, add some of the shredded cheese and parmesan, then top with another three noodles. Repeat layers with remaining mushroom mixture, spinach mixture, and noodles, ending with a layer of noodles. Pour remaining cheese sauce over top and spread evenly. Sprinkle any remaining shredded cheese and parmesan and place slices of fresh mozzarella evenly over top.
  10. Bake until lasagna is bubbling around the edges, about 20 minutes. If you made the lasagna the night before like I did, allow 30 minutes in the oven to make sure the inside is cooked. Switch broiler on and broil until top is lightly browned, and stay close. It’s no fun going thru all this trouble just to scorch the top of your lasagna…
  11. Let cool for 10 minutes, then slice and serve.

Photo courtesy of J. Kenji López-Alt and Serious Eats

We rounded up the menu with a green mesclun salad they sell at The Boys with Avocado and Tomato and a Citrus Ceasar Dressing.  We also served Baked Plantains and Garlic/Parsley Bread.

Thanks Kenji for going above and beyond the call of duty on this one… I was expecting just a combination of ingredients/flavors and maybe a link to a past recipe. Instead, you developed something utterly delicious for me and our guests to enjoy. In my eyes… the VEGETARIAN LASAGNA WON!!!! And that’s all thanks to you…

Millionaire Rice

27 Jul

Once in a while I come up with these clean-your –fridge recipes, especially when I am about to go on a trip. I have an obsession to leave the fridge as clean as possible from all the fresh ingredients that most likely will spoil by the time I return. This is how most of my stuffed peppers and stuffed mushrooms recipes come about…

So lately, I’ve been trying to eat less cheese… I go in phases trying to do this because I know that I can abuse cheese if I am not careful. And cooking rice for me is a way to come up with dishes that do not rely on cheese as a garnish or flavoring agent. Although this dish can very well be enhanced by some cheese too… ;)

The “millionaire” term was coined by Carmen at the Yoga Center because in her version, she needs to buy lots of ingredients to make a very luscious rice. But in my case, I work with what I have in my fridge and/or pantry of what’s left-over from other recipes.

This is more a method than a recipe per sé… I will show you what I have added to my most recent version of “millionaire rice” but feel free to create your very own combination the next time you feel the need to clean-out-your-fridge, for a trip or just before a big trip to the market…

 

MILLIONAIRE RICE

2 cups of cooked brown rice
Broccoli, cut into small pieces
Carrots, chopped finely
Onions, diced
Red or Yellow Bell Peppers, diced
Mushrooms, diced
Almonds , sliced almonds work best
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

I do not include amounts of ingredients, because this is about what you have available in your fridge…

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, drizzle a small amount of olive oil and the diced onions, peppers and carrots. Cook them for a few minutes until they begin to soften.
  2. Add the mushrooms and broccoli pieces … Mix well so the flavors mix. Season with salt and pepper, or the garlic salt if you prefer. If you have a lid, cover the skillet and let the mushrooms and broccoli cook for a few minutes.
  3. Add the cooked rice to the skillet. Mix well and cover again. The steam in the skillet will soften the rice again if it’s hardened from being in the fridge. Allow cooking for a couple of minutes and add the almonds last. Tturn the stove off and leave it there for the residual heat to finish heating the rice, making it fluffy again.

This rice is a great side dish or even makes a great filling for stuffed peppers or stuffed tomatoes.

Let’s Celebrate Mushrooms…

30 Sep

Today is the last day in September… and I just found out yesterday September is National Mushroom Month. Can’t believe I learned about this just when the month is about to end. I say, let’s celebrate with a recap of my favorite Mushroom Recipes.

I did not grow up liking mushrooms… but now, I LOVE THEM. As you can see from the list below:

I do LOVE to stuff mushrooms…

Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms

Goat Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

SunDried Tomatoes Stuffed Mushrooms

Mushroom-Stuffed Mushrooms

 

Wild Mushroom Lasagna

Arroz Kristina

Oyster Mushrooms Chips

White Truffle Mac and Cheese

Mushroom and Goat Cheese Pastelillo

Provencal Sandwich

provencal sand 3

Mushroom and Goat Cheese Spread

mushroom-and-goat-cheese-spread2

Smoked Gouda and Spinach Risotto

smoked-gouda-risotto-2

 

 Which one if your favorite???

Goat Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

12 Aug

My sister came for a quickie visit to Puerto Rico… And to make things easier on her and my BIL, we decided to cook up some appetizer-type food and tell everyone if they wanted to see baby Ale, all they needed to do was to stop by my mom’s house.

I didn’t want to cook something and have it re-heated… I though stuffed mushrooms would be perfect because I could stuff them at home and cook them in batches as people would visit and decided they wanted something to nibble on.

The idea worked out perfectly because I did way too many… and we ended up dividing the leftovers between my mom and I for lunch the next day. Great make ahead idea…

 

 

GOAT CHEESE STUFFED MUSHROOMS

1 large package of white stuffing mushrooms
1/2 medium onion, chopped finely
2 garlic cloves, minced or grated on a microplane
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
5 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped in small pieces – make sure they’re made without sulfites as a preservative
1/4 cup of vegetable broth
½ cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
1 cup of shredded parmesan cheese, organic preferably- divided
½ cup crumbled goat cheese
1/2 cup of loosely-packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped finely
Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil
  1. Clean the mushrooms well using a damp paper towel. Remove the stems and chop them into small pieces and set aside. Reserve the caps for later use.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the vegetable broth to a simmer and add the sundried tomatoes. Turn off the stove and let the tomatoes just sit in the hot broth for a few minutes to help them reconstitute a bit.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, pour a little olive oil and sauté the onions, garlic and the mushrooms stems you already chopped. Cook until the mushrooms are browned. Season with the thyme, stripping the leaves from the stems, salt and pepper. Allow the mixture to cook some more to evaporate a bit, about 5 more minutes. Remove from pan into a bowl and allow cooling a bit.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together the cooled mushroom stem/onion mixture with the sun-dried tomatoes, breadcrumbs, goat cheese, ½ the parmesan cheese, and chopped fresh parsley. Drizzle some olive oil if you see the mix a bit dry… but chances are it’s not.
  5. Preheat oven to 425F.
  6. In a large baking dish drizzled with a bit of olive oil, place all the mushrooms stuffed with the mixture we just made. Don’t push the stuffing too much into the mushrooms cavity, but do heap any additional stuffing generously on top of mushrooms. No need to discard or leave any stuffing for future use.
  7. Take the extra parmesan we saved and add a small mound on top of each mushrooms. I usually drizzle a bit of olive oil and sprinkle some additional salt and pepper to season the mushrooms themselves.
  8. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the mushrooms looked cooked and cheese on top is golden brown.

Serve immediately…

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