Lunch in a Crunch: 16-Minute Kale & Mushroom Spaghetti

Kale & Mushroom Spaghetti

Kale & Mushroom Spaghetti

Today was one of those crazy busy Mondays where I had so many things I wanted to accomplish that I wasted half the morning trying to decide where to begin. And then, just as I’d finally hatched a plan it was thrown to pieces by a phone call asking me to sub for a kids’ cooking class this afternoon.

The next thing I knew I was working on a lesson plan with five – yes, five – loads of laundry in the washers downstairs all while trying to hurry myself out the door to buy ingredients for the class.

And did I mention I was famished? Sure, I could have noshed on some dry cereal or quickly defrosted something from the freezer, but I really felt like I needed a hot, fresh and filling lunch to carry me through the rest of the day. The problem was I had exactly 16 minutes to prepare lunch before I needed to take my clothes out of the dryer.

So I quickly rummaged through the refrigerator and grabbed the first things I found: half an onion, kale, mushrooms and lemon juice. Perfect, I’d make whole wheat spaghetti with kale and mushrooms.

To speed the process along, I immediately set a pot of water on the stove so it could come to a boil and also heated a bit of oil in a saute pan, the idea being to let the stove do most of the work. I chopped the onion and dropped it into the pan while moving on to cut the kale and mushrooms. In the end the vegetables and spaghetti finished cooking at the same time, which happened to be just moments before my 16 minutes were up. I ran downstairs, grabbed the laundry, and multi-tasked by folding and eating at the same time.

I couldn’t have planned it better if I’d actually tried.

Here’s the recipe:

Read more of this >>

Share

Kabocha Squash Stuffed with Caramelized Onions, Spinach & Mushrooms

Stuffed Kabocha

Stuffed Kabocha

I’m kicking myself. Yes, you read that right. I am sitting here on the couch kicking myself for being dumb.

Well, I would be if I hadn’t quit yoga a few months ago and could actually move my leg that way. But rest assured, mentally I’m kicking myself.

Kabocha03 Kabocha05 Kabocha06

Why you ask? It’s because more than a year ago¬† – precisely 1 years and 28 days – one of my favorite food writers posted a recipe on her blog that I’ve been unable to get out of my mind. This entire time I’ve thought about the recipe but never actually got around to making it until this weekend. And it was incredible!

Last fall Dorie Greenspan wrote what she called a “recipe in progress” for pumpkin packed with bread and cheese. It looked great, all gooey and oozy and warm and hearty. But she called it a recipe in progress because it was really about applying the concept of stuffing a hallowed pumpkin or gourd with countless combinations of ingredients.

Kabocha04 Kabocha08 Kabocha09

While Dorie’s recipe used cheese and cream, my lactose intolerant self decided to limit the dairy to just a small amount of cheese. In its place I added a bunch of sauteed vegetables to the filling for a well-rounded main course or all-in-one side dish.

Instead of a pumpkin I used kabocha, also known as Japanese pumpkin. It has a flavor similar to pumpkin but the flesh is a bit drier, which works well in this preparation, and has a green skin that is beautiful in contrast with the vivid orange interior.

Oh, and did I mention this stuffed squash is incredibly healthy? Kabocha is rich in beta carotene, iron, Vitamin C and potassium, and vegetables like spinach and mushrooms add calcium and other nutrients.

Kabocha

Here’s my take on a recipe in progress: Read more of this >>

Share

Mushroom Risotto: 7-step method plus recipev

Mushroom Risotto l

Creamy. Rustic. Classic.

Oh, how I love a good risotto. Especially mushroom risotto with the glorious earthiness of the mushrooms showcased so cleanly against a perfect canvas of starchy arborio rice.

I use mushrooms two ways in risotto to take full advantage of both flavor and texture. First, grind most of the mushrooms in a food processor so the fantastic flavor can be deeply infused within the rice. The remaining mushrooms are sliced and sauteed in butter and used as a garnish to provide even more mushroom flavor and a contrast in texture.

Mushroom Risotto0002 Mushroom Risotto0003 Mushroom Risotto0004

Mushroom Risotto0010 Mushroom Risotto0012 Mushroom Risotto0019

Risotto has a reputation for being difficult, I think because people are intimidated by recipes that call for “constant stirring for 45 minutes.” In a word, that instruction is crap.

Read more of this >>

Share

Creamy Mushroom Polenta

Creamy Mushroom Polenta

Creamy Mushroom Polenta

It’s odd how certain foods can elude me for years. Not that I’d been avoiding them, simply that they just didn’t come up. Like old colleagues you always meant to keep in touch with but sort of forgot about as you got on with your life. (If any of those colleagues are reading this, know that I don’t mean you!)

Polenta: pour cornmeal into boiling water Polenta: whisk

Polenta: simmer Polenta: stir in butter

I’ve always enjoyed polenta but have never gotten to know it all that well. I rarely order it in restaurants – it’s not often on the menu in these parts – and don’t often prepare it for myself. But suddenly this week I found myself craving polenta, and not the kind that has been fried, although that’s good, too, but the rich and creamy version.

Mushrooms: render bacon Mushrooms: drain bacon

Mushrooms: saute garlic and mushrooms Mushrooms: deglaze with vermouth

And I wanted it with mushrooms! And bacon! And parsley and wine! Oh, was it good. Polenta, my friend, welcome back!

Here’s the recipe:

Read more of this >>

Share

Breakfast for Dinner: Balsamic Fried Egg

Balsamic Fried Egg

Balsamic Fried Egg

Hmmm… the egg. I’ve never been much of an egg person; my interest has been mostly philosophical in the context of “what came first.”

While essential for baking, I don’t often eat eggs on their own as an omelet, scrambled, poached, sunny-side up, etc. That is until recently when I discovered the balsamic fried egg.

Balsamic Fried Egg: saute mushrooms Balsamic Fried Egg: egg

Surprisingly, I’ve actually begun to crave this creation: it’s simple, quick, savory and a little sweet, and goes well with whatever vegetable I’ve got in the fridge (so far I like mushrooms best). Plus it’s an inexpensive protein. I should point out that this is always made for dinner, never breakfast. Not really sure why though.

Balsamic Fried Egg: add balsamic vinegar Balsamic Fried Egg: stir in cooked mushrooms

Also, a good quality balsamic vinegar is a must! Look for one that has been aged 18 years.

The egg (er, end).

Here’s the recipe:

Read more of this >>

Share

Blog Widget by LinkWithin