Hey there. It’s Ina Garten Friday, which means that the members in this blog group will be making and posting one of her recipes, or making a food item inspired by one of her dishes. Do you know who she is? Ina is host the Barefoot Contessa on Food Network. You may have seen some of her books at the bookstore or at the library.
She goes by the name “the Barefoot Contessa,” after the specialty food shop she bought with that name. She owned it for over 20 years. Throughout her life Ina Garten has proven to be a multi-talented woman who has worn many hats: wife, Washington budget analyst, political activist, pilot, specialty food shopkeeper, magazine article contributor, New York Times bestselling cookbook author, and Food Network television host (Wikipedia).
What I like about much of Ina’s food is the simplicity of flavors and preparation, and the fresh flavors of the food. She’s not big on heavy cream and overdoses of butter, though she does favor cheese. Her overall theme is ease of preparation and her standard is delicious.
I chose to do a variation of her recipe sausage-stuffed mushrooms from her book barefoot contessa how easy is that? She serves these stuffed mushrooms instead of traditional stuffing along with the Thanksgiving turkey. That way, she says, the turkey won’t end up being dry. Good tip Ina! I have adapted the recipe for my healthy eating habits by using non-fat yogurt instead of marscapone cheese, chicken sausage instead of pork, fresh whole wheat bread crumbs instead of panko crumbs, and I’ve used less salt and less Parmesan cheese.
Servings: 6-8 Prep Time: 30 Minutes Bake Time: 50 minutes
The instructions below are Ina’s minus the ingredients that I’m substituting with something that I feel is a healthier choice. My substitutions or changes appear in parenthesis.
16 extra-large mushrooms, caps and stems separated
5 tablespoons good olive oil, divided
2-1/2 tablespoons Marsala win or medium-dry sherry
¾ pound sweet Italian (chicken) sausage, casings removed
¾ cup minced scallions, white and green parts
2 teaspoons minced garlic, 2 cloves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup (fresh whole wheat bread crumbs)
5 ounces (non-fat Greek yogurt)
(1/4) cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2-1/2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1. Pre-heat the oven to 325°
2. Trim the mushroom cap stems and chop them finely. Set aside. Place the mushrooms caps in a shallow bowl and toss with the 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the Marsala. Set aside.
3. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage, crumbling it with a wooden spoon. Cook the sausage for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until it’s completely browned. Add the chopped mushroom stems and cook for 3 more minutes. Stir in the scallions, garlic, salt, and pepper and cook another 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the bread crumbs, stirring to combine with the other ingredients. Finally, (remove from the heat and) swirl in the (Greek yogurt) and continue cooking until the (yogurt) has melted and made the mixture creamy. …stir in the Parmesan and parsley and season to taste. Cool slightly.
4. Fill each mushroom generously with the sausage mixture. Arrange the mushrooms in baking dish large enough to hold them all in a snug single layer. Bake for 50 minutes, until the stuffing is browned and crusty.
Mushroom Ragout with Polenta
Look what my friend Andy found hiking last week.
As I started to research this week about mushrooms for the 38 Power Foods blog group, I was blown away when I read, “Of all the earth’s natural substances, mushrooms are among the most medicinal.” That shouldn’t have been such a surprise. The Chinese have been using mushrooms for culinary and medicinal purposes for thousands of years. They’re low in fat and are a good source of B vitamins, and according to mushroominfo.com, “they’re the only source of vitamin D in the produce aisle”. There are two especially notable disease fighting substances in mushrooms: terpenoids, and polyaccharides. Terpenoids fight inflammation and viruses and they have powerful antibiotic agents. Polyaccharides empower the immune system and seem to aid the body against cancer growths. On a 2010 Dr. Oz show, alternative medicine Dr. Andrew Weil stated that Asian mushrooms like shitake, maitake, oyster, and enoki are the best to increase the body’s immunity to fight against cancer and viruses. He says it’s the number one anti-inflammatory food and mushrooms should be cooked to get the benefit from the nutrients. This is one food I’m going to start eating more of!
Mushrooms are delectable. Why was it such a challenge to come up with a good recipe this week? I suppose it’s because so many mushroom recipes involve the use of sour cream, whipping cream, or butter, and I prefer to go dairy-free with most dishes. I’ve already posted my favorite recipes champiñones al ajillo (garlic mushrooms), and shitaki mushroom bruschetta, so I resorted to looking around at what other people do with mushrooms. My friend Sue made a lovely leek with mushroom and gorgonzola tart, Claudia made a dish of pasta with morels, and Barbara made mushroom ragout with polenta, which reminded me that I used to make a great dairy-free mushroom ragout served over polenta when I was the Chef at Mum’s restaurant in Sacramento, California, a long time ago. Here it’s updated to include greens.
Servings: 6 Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes
Most of the ingredients
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ medium onion, chopped
3 to 3-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup chicken stock
3 tomatoes; or, use just ½ cup chicken stock with 1-1/2 cups tomato sauce
2 large leaves Swiss chard, roughly chopped
1 pound mixed mushrooms, chopped ( I used oyster, portabello and field mushrooms)
1 – 4 oz. tempeh (1/2 of an 8 ounce package)
1-1/2 cups corn meal ( I use Alber’s)
¾ cup cashews (optional)
*Note – the cashews are for extra protein
1. Get out a stock pot and fill it with 6 cups water and begin to heat the water. Also get out a large pan and set it on the stove, but don’t turn on the heat yet.
2. Wash the vegetables and then chop them and set them in individual piles: the onions should be finely chopped, the mushrooms roughly chopped, the garlic minced, the chard roughly chopped and the stems should be reserved for another occasion, and if you are using fresh tomatoes they should be finely chopped. Chop the tempeh into ½-inch cubes.
3. When the water comes to a boil, add 1 teaspoon salt and slowly whisk in the cornmeal so it doesn’t clump up. Stir often for the next 15 to 20 minutes, or until it is smooth and no longer feels hard like sand. Cover the pot until you are ready to eat.
4. While the polenta is cooking you can start the ragout. Sauté the onion and garlic in 2 tablespoons olive oil. When they turn translucent add the chopped mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes, adding more oil if necessary.
5. Add the chopped tomatoes, or the tomato sauce along with the chicken stock, salt, and the thyme. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes and then add the chopped Swiss chard, cover and continue cooking over a medium-low flame. Cook until the mushrooms and chard are tender.
6. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small pan and then add the cubed tempeh and cook until it is lightly browned. Add it to the ragout and check the seasonings. Add more salt if necessary.
Dr. Oz Fans
Power Foods: 150 delicious recipes with the 38 healthiest ingredients
If you are a blogger and would like to take part in our group blogging about Power Foods: 150 Recipes with the 38 Healthiest Ingredients, (from the editors at Martha Stewart’s Living Magazine) we’d love to have your company. Contact: Mireya(at)myhealthyeatinghabits.com for details.
Check out what these other bloggers have cooked up!
Alyce – More Time at the Table, Ansh – Spice Roots, Bambi – Adobo Down Under, Casey – Bookcase Foodie Jeanette – Jeanette’s Healthy Living, Jill – Saucy Cooks Martha – Simple-Nourished-Living, Mireya – My Healthy Eating Habits, Sarah – Everything in the Kitchen Sink,
This recipe is also posted at Pennywise Platter, Full Plate Thursday, and Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays
Shitaki Mushroom Bruschetta with Arugula
Hello, hello. Glad to see you back again for week #43 as we learn about the “50 Women Game Changers” highlighted on Gourmet Online. This week we’ll take a look at April Bloomfield and her blooming successful restaurants.
April wanted to be on the police force but she was too late turning her application. Not knowing what else to do she followed in her older sisters’ footsteps to be a Chef. She immediately fell in love with the whole experience. She studied at the Birmingham College of Food, Tourism and Creative Studies, then worked at various upscale restaurants: Kensington Place, Bibendum, River Café in London, and Alice Water’s restaurant Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif.
When Ken Friedman, an ex-music executive, and Mario Batalli, an early investor, were looking for a chef and business partner, they tried to hire Jamie Oliver, but he wasn’t interested. Jamie told them about April Bloomfield, this young English woman whom he worked with at River Café, in London. Ken and Mario brought her over to New York and wined and dined her and hired her without even tasting her food. When Ken asked Mario how he knew that she was good, he said, “I could tell as soon as I saw all the burns on her arms. She has no fear. That’s crucial.”
Ken and April’s first restaurant was The Spotted Pig, it immediately became a spot for well-known musicians to hang out, due to Ken’s music connections. It’s referred to as a “gastropub,” which means it’s a bar atmosphere and the food is high-end pub-fare. The spotted pig earned them a Michelin star, and their second restaurant, The Bresslin has also earned them that coveted star. You probably won’t find too many vegans lining up to eat at these restaurants. April’s specialty is meat, especially pork, as you may gather from the first restaurant’s name. Her recently published book is A Girl and Her Pig: Recipes and Stories.
I modified the original recipe to eliminate the butter, and crème fraiche, and I used Shitaki mushrooms. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, shitaki Mushrooms have antiviral and anticancer effects, and they encourage the body to absorb cholesterol. Shitaki mushroom bruschetta is an easy recipe, it’s a dairy-free appetizer, and it’s good for my healthy eating habits.
Total Time: 25 minutes
Serving: 2 – 4
Yield: 2 cups
5 – 7 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound mushrooms shitake mushrooms, sliced into ½-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
3 tablespoons roughly chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons finely sliced chives
4 (¾-inch) slices rye, or whole wheat bread
2 teaspoons lemon juice
4 cups arugula leaves
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (optional)
1. Set a large, heavy pan over medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons oil. Once very hot, add mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Sauté them, stirring from time to time, until browned and tender, about 6 minutes. Once mushrooms cook down, traces of their juices should streak the pan. If too dry, deglaze with splashes of water.
2. Stir in garlic, and parsley and a bit more oil. Cook until garlic is golden, 3-4 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Remove pan from heat.
3. Set another pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add a slick of oil and lay in bread. Toast both sides until crisp and golden, 1-2 minutes per side. Another option is to toast the bread in the oven if you want to avoid using more oil.
4. Whisk together 2 tablespoons oil and lemon juice. Place arugula in large bowl and toss to lightly coat with dressing. Season with salt.
5. Spoon mushroom topping over toasts. Top with a dollop of yogurt and serve the bruschetta with the salad.
Check out what these other great cooks have come up with:
Val – More Than Burnt Toast, Joanne – Eats Well With Others, Taryn – Have Kitchen Will Feed, Susan – The Spice Garden, Heather – Girlichef, Miranda – Mangoes and Chutney, Jeanette – Healthy Living, Mary – One Perfect Bite, Kathleen –Bake Away with Me Sue – The View from Great Island, Barbara – Movable Feasts, Kathleen – Gonna Want Seconds, Linda A – There and Back Again Nancy – Picadillo, Mireya – My Healthy Eating Habits, Veronica – My Catholic Kitchen, Annie– Most Lovely Things , Claudia –Journey of an Italian Cook, Amrit Beetles Kitchen Escapades, Alyce – More Time at the Table, Martha – Simple-Nourished-Living, Jill – Saucy Cooks, Sarah – Everything in the Kitchen Sink
One defining point of cultural interest about Spain is the fact that many towns and cities serve tapas, which are small appetizers served in café bars in the afternoon before lunch from 1:00 to 3:00, and later on in the evening from 7:30 to 9:30 (approximate times). When you order a small glass of wine or beer it comes accompanied with a tapa. The word comes from the verb tapar, which means to cover. Story has it that the tapa, a piece of bread with ham, or chorizo, covered the wine glass to keep the flies out. Now days, how they serve the tapa depends on the type of food. It may be something speared to a toothpick, mounded on a plate and served with a spoon or fork, or even served in a cup–as with soup. Garlic Mushrooms, called champiñones al ajillo in Spanish, are a national favorite. After you try them, you’ll understand why. The following is my version:
1-1/2 lbs. button mushrooms, brushed clean and stem tips cut off
1/3-1/2 cup olive oil
1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1/3 cup white wine, or white vermouth
1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt & pepper
1-1/2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
1.) Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large frying pan. When the oil is hot add the mushrooms and brown them on the top side. When the mushroom tops are brown turn them over and cook the bottoms for a bit. If the oil is all absorbed you may need to add a touch more. Next, remove the mushrooms from the pan and place them on a plate while you cook the garlic.
2.) Use to same pan and heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil with the minced garlic and allow the garlic to cook about five seconds, and then add the diced red bell pepper. Cook approximately 1-½ minutes. Do not let it brown or burn. When the garlic appears cooked, but is not brown, add the red pepper flakes. Stir for 10-15 seconds and then add the white wine and cook 30 seconds.
3.) Return the mushrooms to the pan, add the salt and pepper to taste. Cover the pan and cook on low heat to steam for approximately 12-15 minutes. When you think the mushrooms are ready pierce one with a sharp knife to check for tenderness. The mushrooms should be well cooked. Check seasonings. Keep the pan covered until you are ready to serve.
Serving Suggestions: Place the mushrooms in a bowl or on a plate, and garnish with the minced parsley. Serve with sliced Fresh Bread.