Tag Archives: thyme

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



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!!!!

Thyme Rosemary Scalloped Potatoes

27 Feb

I loooooove potatoes and I love cheese too… But sometimes I want to take a break from cheese. Hey… don’t shoot me for saying this, but as the saying goes, “todos los extremos son malos” or all extremes have a dark side. And for me, eating too much cheese on a consistent basis does a number on me.

After I finish retreats, I try to avoid eating too much cheese. I seek recipes in my arsenal that do not rely on cheese. There are some, but not many. I must confess (*hangs head down in shame)…

I found this recipe by a daily email I receive from Cooking.com. It’s a Food & Wine recipe which they adapted from Daniel Boloud. So by me now adapting it once again, who knows if we’re either come full circle to the original recipe or taking it into a whole different place where chef Boloud never ever intended… either way, this recipe is a real keeper IMHO.

As you’ll read in the directions, I did it in a spring form pan. Some of the liquid seeps out, but the end result is really good still. Next time, I will make them individually in muffin tins and they will look cute and the liquid will stay with the potatoes. I will show you pics of that soon enough. OK??

scalloped potatoes


1 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the pan
1 small onion, minced
1 clove of garlic, smashed
1 tsp chopped thyme
1/2 tsp chopped rosemary
1 cup mushroom broth… left over from rehydrating some morels
½ vegetable bouillon cube
1 large Yukon Gold potato, very thinly sliced with a mandolin
Salt and Freshly ground pepper


  1. In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, garlic clove and vegetable cube and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the thyme and rosemary and cook for 1 minute. Add the mushroom broth and bring to a boil. Cook over moderately high heat until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 10-15 minutes.


3.  Preheat the oven to 400° and oil a round cake pan. I did it on my spring form pan, but make sure you wrap it tightly in foil to prevent leakages. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and oil the paper.

4.  Arrange an overlapping layer of potato slices in the bottom of the pan. Season lightly with salt and pepper and spoon a small amount of the reduced broth on top. Repeat the layering with the remaining potatoes and reduced broth, seasoning each layer lightly. Pour any remaining broth on top. Cover the pan with a sheet of oiled parchment paper and then a sheet of foil and place in a sheet tray to catch any liquid.


5.  Bake the potatoes until they are very tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the foil and paper and bake until the top is dry, about 10 minutes longer.

6.  Turn the broiler on. Remove the potatoes from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Take out of the spring form pan and broil it until the surface is lightly browned, about 2 minutes.

7.  Cut into wedges and serve.



Apple Onion Relish

4 Feb

Before I go on a trip or to a retreat, I like to clean my fridge as much as possible. I hate wasting food and throwing away food jut because it was left unattended on the fridge is just “a sin” to me.

So before I left for my Xmas retreat I was looking for recipes to use up fresh stuff I had in my fridge that I didn’t want to go to waste. When I came across this recipe on TV by Giada Di Laurentiis, I knew it would be perfect to use those apples that had been staring at me for a few weeks now. I do like apples, but I am super lazy when it comes to snacking on an apple. I also had brought some thyme and rosemary from my sister’s during our last trip there… and I knew the herbs could go bad if I waited too long to use them.

This was the perfect recipe then to cook a bunch of apples with thyme all at the same time.



2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 small Gala apples, cored, and thinly sliced
1/4 cup rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
2 tbs apple juice
2 tbs maple syrup
Salt and Pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  1. In a high-sided skillet, heat the butter and oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions, apple slices, salt, and pepper. Cook until the onions begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the vinegar, maple syrup, and thyme. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions and apples are very soft, about 40 minutes.

This recipe is super easy… and you don’t need to tend to it too much. The smells in your kitchen will be divine.

This relish will go wonderful next to some scalloped potatoes, over creamy mashed potatoes, mashed parsnips, grilled Portobello mushrooms or even inside a sandwich.

Morel Mushroom Toasts

25 Jan

I have a bunch of virtual friends and we decided at the end of last year to start sharing amongst each other the things we love to eat from the places we live. These virtual friends are spread all over the US and the world – Colorado, Florida, California, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Texas, Oklahoma, of course me in Puerto Rico and even one in Italy and another one in can’t remember if she’s in Iceland, Vietnam or Australia. That girl has me confused…

On our first round of our Foodie Exchange I got paired up the KATY, the only other vegetarian in our group. Can you believe our luck??? Well, they say there are no coincidences in life. It was up to the Universe that we would get to share what we love about our region. Katy lives in Maryland, close to DC and Baltimore… but she’s a lover of everything in her region including Pennsylvania where most mushrooms in the US are grown.

This is what I received from Katy…



dried morels

But for the purposes of this post, we’ll concentrate on the baggie of dried morel mushrooms right there. Katy told me these are her favorites and that she preferred to send them fresh but was unable to locate them. So in its place she sent me these with instructions on her favorite way to eat them – sautéed with onions and thyme over toast. This is Katy’s favorite snack and she urged me to try it.

Katy is part of our Foodie Group for a reason… these toasts are amazing!!! I loved the earthiness of the morel mushrooms and how easy they are to put together. A great vegetarian snack or light lunch suitable for any foodie out there.

 Morel Toast


½ bag of dried morel mushrooms
½ medium onion, sliced thinly
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 small garlic clove, smashed
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Cream Cheese
A whole wheat ciabatta roll, sliced in half


  1. Bring a small saucepot with water to a boil. As soon as the water boils, add the dried morel mushrooms to the water, cover and turn off the stove. Allow the mushrooms to reconstitute in that hot water for about 30 minutes.
  2. After the mushrooms are softened again, strain the mushrooms over a fine sieve reserving the liquid for another recipe.
  3. Take the drained mushrooms and pat the dry a bit. I cut the larger ones in half, but you don’t have to if you don’t want to.
  4. In a small skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil, the onions and the smashed garlic clove. Sautee them lightly for a few minutes. Add the softened morels and the thyme leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Cook everything together until the mushrooms have dried out a bit and looked cooked and “kinda alive”. Discard the pieces of garlic and set aside.

morels Sautee

5.  While the mushroom cook, drizzle some olive oil over the bread halves and toast in toaster oven. Slather some cream cheese or other spreadable cheese of your choice and place the morels and onions over the toasts with cheese.

 Morel Toast - Closeup

This is a great snack or even a light lunch served with a simple salad on the side. Thanks Katy for introducing me to morel mushrooms… I had eaten them in restaurants, but never made them at home. And now, this has also become one of MY favorites, thanks to you.


Mushroom Parmesan Pinwheels

21 Dec

I asked around my foodie friends on the internet on various ideas for appetizers… and my friend Suzanne (I wish I could tag you like on FaceBook)  suggested to make puff pastry pinwheels filled with mushrooms and parmesan cheese.

Having just come from making an amazing mushroom filling for the lasagna at my nephew’s birthday party and knowing how impressed my sister was at the flavors of such filling, I decided to venture myself to making these as one of my savory appetizers. My spinach pinwheels were the HIT of the last baby shower I hosted. Kids love anything savory rolled in puff pastry and these mushroom ones were not the exception.

I have requests for the recipe already… so here it is for all of you interested.

mushroom parm pinwheels  KFC


2 sheets of puffed pastry, defrosted in the refrigerator overnight – I just buy it and place it in the fridge…
24 ounces button mushrooms, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons fresh juice from 1 lemon
2 oz goat cheese
2 tbs sour cream
½ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
Salt and Pepper
Olive oil
  1. Add a generous drizzle of olive oil to a large pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms and continue cooking stirring occasionally, until liquid evaporates and mushrooms start to sizzle, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the thyme, soy sauce and lemon juice and stir to combine. Add the goat cheese and sour cream and stir once more. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool off a bit.
  3. Open the puffed pastry (which comes folded in three). Place some flour onto a clean surface and flour the rolling pin too. Roll out the pastry so that it loses the creases where the folds were.
  4. Sprinkle some parmesan cheese and spread an even layer of mushrooms leaving a border on one edge.
  5. mushroom parm in progress  KFC
  6. Start rolling from the farthest edge from the border you left without mushrooms. Roll the pastry onto itself until you create a log.
  7. Repeat with the second sheet of pastry in the package. Place logs in the fridge covered with a moist paper towel for about 10-15 minutes or until you’re ready to bake them. This is important for the pastry to harden a bit again. It’ll be easier to cut if the pastry is cold than if it is at room temp.
  8. Slice the logs into ¼ inch pieces. Place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in a 425F oven for about 10-12 minutes, until the cheeses smell great and the pastry is puffed and golden delicious.
  9. Transfer them to a cool plate and serve them immediately. But they will keep very well at room temperature as long as there’s not a lot of humidity… lots of humidity makes puff pastry soggy.

I prepare these the day before the party. Just cover them and place them in the fridge until you’re ready to bake.

%d bloggers like this: