Vegetarian

Wild Mushroom Risotto

by Anne Maxfield on September 24, 2018

Accidental Locavore Wild Mushrooms RisottoDon’t you have some dishes that you love to eat and rarely cook?

Risotto is one of them for me. It’s really easy, just requires a bit of a commitment and you have a delicious dinner.

When I came upon an incredible bunch of chanterelles at the farm recently, I knew immediately what they were destined for.

This is tweaked from Fine Cooking and serves 2:

Wild Mushroom Risotto

  • 3 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade; more if needed
  • 1 handful dried porcini mushrooms, soaked for 30 minutes in 1 cup warm water; mushrooms roughly chopped, soaking liquid strained and reserved
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup arborio rice
  • 2 cups assorted fresh wild mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, and roughly chopped
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a medium saucepan, add the chicken broth and the reserved strained porcini soaking liquid and cook over medium heat. When the broth starts to simmer lower the heat and keep in on a slow simmer.

In a medium, heavy-gauge saucepan over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter.

Stir in the rice, toasting just until it starts to sizzle and pop, about 1 minute. It should not color. Stir the porcini, the wild mushrooms and the wine into the rice.

Accidental Locavore Wild Mushroom RisottoWhen almost all the liquid has disappeared, after about 2 minutes, add just enough hot broth to cover the rice. Lower the heat to maintain a vigorous simmer; stir occasionally. When the broth is almost gone, add enough to cover the rice, along with a pinch of salt. Check on the risotto every 3 or 4 minutes, giving it an occasional stir to make sure it isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pan and adding just enough broth to cover the rice when the liquid has almost disappeared.

Continue this way until the rice is just al dente, about 20 minutes total cooking time. Bite into a grain; you should see a white pin-dot in the center. Take the risotto off the heat. Add the remaining butter and stir vigorously for a few seconds. Add the parsley, cheese and more salt, if needed. The risotto should be moist and creamy, not runny. Stir in more broth to loosen the risotto, if you like. Serve immediately and enjoy!

 My verdict: Great! Need to make risotto more often. I was lucky to have good rice, homemade chicken broth, fresh and dried mushrooms. I like this recipe because the addition of the soaking water for the mushrooms gives it a great depth of flavor. Just make sure to strain it before using it as sometimes dried mushrooms can be gritty.

I was worried that the chanterelles wouldn’t last, so I sautéed them in butter with a little garlic and salt. Because they were pre-cooked, I waited until the rice had been cooking for about 15 minutes before adding them in. They were delicious!

So, pull out some arborio rice, and a chair and make yourself some risotto. 30 minutes later you’ll be happy.

 

 

 

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Eggplant Parmesan My Way

by Anne Maxfield on September 3, 2018

Accidental Locavore Striped EggplantSince I first posted this, it’s become my go-to recipe for eggplant Parmesan. It’s lighter (but still no diet dish) than traditional and I do it in stages when we get a couple of cooler hours in a day. It’s inspired from Mark Bitman’s How to Cook Everything and really good because it’s dredged in flour, not heavily breaded. Serves about 4.

Eggplant Parmesan My Way

  • 3 medium eggplants, peeled and sliced into 1/4″ slices
  • 1 cup of flour (for dredging)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 pound mozzarella grated (about 2/3 of a fresh ball)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • About 30 basil leaves (or a mix of oregano and basil)
  • 2 cups tomato sauce

Pre-heat your oven to 350°. Heat about 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. While the olive oil is heating, pour the flour, salt and pepper into a shallow bowl. Dredge the eggplant slices in the flour and shake off the excess. Saute the slices in the olive oil until golden brown. You’re going to need to do this in batches, and don’t crowd the pan! Let the cooked slices drain on paper towels while you saute the rest. You’ll need to keep adding olive oil to the pan, and it will seem like a lot; it is, but this is not a low-fat dinner.

Accidental Locavore Eggplant Parm My WayWhen you’ve finished sauteing the eggplant, take a gratin pan, or several small ones, and lightly grease with olive oil. Start with a thin layer of tomato sauce, a layer of eggplant slices, a sprinkling of mozzarella, a sprinkling of Parmesan, and a few basil leaves. Keep repeating until you reach the end  of the eggplant. On top of your last layer of eggplant, more tomato sauce, the rest of the mozzarella, a good sprinkle of Parmesan, and your best looking basil leaves (style points). Bake for about 20 minutes until it’s warm all the way through and the cheese is melted. Serve and enjoy!

My verdict: Frank paid this the ultimate compliment last night, when he said I did for eggplant what Bill (the former chef at Rancho la Puerta) did for salmon. In other words, made him love something he’s not generally fond of. This recipe works well because the eggplant is thinly sliced and not heavily breaded. Since sautéing the eggplant, is what takes time, I often do it ahead of time and just pull it out when I’m ready to bake it. We thought, last night, that some Italian sausage might be a nice addition to this, so maybe next time.

Update: This is my go-to way of making eggplant Parm. I generally do add some Italian sausage, crumbled, into the layers. Frank loves this and now looks forward to having eggplants from our CSA share. I ususally find a cool morning to fry up the eggplant and try to do a big batch, as it freezes and reheats well. If it’s going to be hot out, I’ll just carefully bag the cooked eggplant, and wait for a cooler day to assemble and bake.

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Corn Ketchup

by Anne Maxfield on August 27, 2018

Accidental Locavore Corn KetchupIt being peak corn season, when this recipe popped up on Food 52, I thought it was weird enough to either be great, or a disaster. It finally got cool enough to want to stand by the stove, so time to give it a shot.

Corn Ketchup

  • 4 ears corn
  • 1 large shallot, minced (about 6 tablespoons)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice

Using a grater, grate the corn into a large bowl, getting as much corn and juice as possible (about 2 1/4 cups). Save the leftover corn cobs for your next batch of corn chowder.

Heat the peanut oil in a tall-sided, medium sauce pan over medium-low heat and gently cook shallots and garlic with a pinch of salt, the coriander, and the allspice until just beginning to brown. Stir in ginger and cook for another minute. Add corn, coconut milk, and water and scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook another two minutes.

Pour mixture into a blender and let it cool briefly while you wipe out the pot. Blend until very smooth, strain through a fine mesh strainer, and return to pot. Discard solids.

Turn heat to medium-high and add vinegar and brown sugar to corn mixture. Cook, stirring often to keep the bottom from sticking and burning, until mixture is thick—like ketchup (mixture will thicken up when it cools). Turn off heat, stir in lime juice, and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve as you would with ketchup and enjoy!

My verdict: Much like the lobster roll potato chips, blindfolded you wouldn’t guess that corn was the basis for the ketchup.

Which brought up the question, what is ketchup? According to Wikipedia “Ketchup is a sweet and tangy sauce typically made from tomatoes, sugar, and vinegar, with assorted seasonings and spices. The latter vary by recipe, but commonly include onions, allspice, coriander, cloves, cumin, garlic, mustard and sometimes celery, cinnamon or ginger.”

The other question we had, was what to do with it? After a couple of days in the fridge, it was much thicker than traditional ketchup and the flavors of the ginger and spices were slightly more pronounced. It wasn’t enough to make a difference in the burger I tried it on.

The good news is that unlike the tomato stuff from a bottle, I know what went into it, the bad news is that I think there’s a lot of better things to make with a few ears of corn. What do you think?

 

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Spaghetti with Crab and Zucchini

by Anne Maxfield on August 20, 2018

Accidental Locavore Spaghetti with CrabIf you raided my freezer you’d find a stash of crabmeat I’ve brought back from Maine, waiting to be made into crab cakes, a crab roll, or in this case, dinner. Fed 2 happily.

Spaghetti with Crab and Zucchini

  • 8 ounces picked crab
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced (more or less to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed mint leaves
  • 1 medium summer squash (yellow or zucchini)
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed basil leaves, cut in slivers
  • 6 ounces thick spaghetti or bucatini
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon

Accidental Locavore Crab MixCook your pasta al dente. We like to use the FastaPasta gadget in the microwave, but feel free to do it the traditional way. Save 2 tablespoons of the cooking water.

While you’re waiting for the pasta to cook, combine the crab and jalapeño in a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of oil. Chop half the mint and add that to the crab. Mix well and set aside.

Sliver the remaining mint and put that in a second, larger bowl. Cut the ends off the squash, then julienne or grate it, stopping when you reach the seedy core (save for another use). Add the squash to the bowl with the slivered mint. Add the remaining oil, vinegar, and garlic and season with salt and pepper.

Accidental Locavore Squash for Crab SpaghettiHeat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the marinated crab and zucchini and the basil. Add 2 tablespoons of pasta cooking water and the pasta. Heat everything together, tossing to mix well. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Crab and Spaghetti CookingMy verdict: Super easy and delicious! A good use for all the zucchini and summer squash you may be bringing home from your CSA or farm share.

The difference in textures, especially with the squash and spaghetti made this a winner. The summer squash stayed a little bit crunchy which was a nice contrast with the pasta and crab. If you wanted to add even more texture, you might try adding some fresh breadcrumbs to the crab and jalapeño mixture and sautéing them together. Since our jalapeño wasn’t terribly spicy, I used the whole thing and could have added a bit more.

The original recipe was to serve 4-6. We ended up with a generous amount of sauce for 2 greedy people. If you wanted to stretch it out, just cook more pasta and julienne another squash.

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