Sunday, October 25, 2015

Pad Kee Mao with Prawns

How this spicy prawn and noodle dish with its enticing flavors of basil, soy sauce and onions made it way into my consciousness is completely lost to me, but what I do recall is how utterly delicious it is!

I had forgotten how delicious is the taste of fresh basil in soy sauce! if you haven't had that before, try it now! There was a dish that I always got at the only Chinese restaurant in the dismal Indiana town where I went to graduate school - three flavor prawns - and it was sliced ginger, garlic and basil stir fried with prawns. That's it! It was pure ecstasy in your mouth and it was always what was on my plate at The Great Wall. If you're ever in that area, make sure you ask for the Chinese menu! That's where all the good stuff is!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Creamed Chanterelle Mushrooms with Polenta

When it comes to wild mushrooms you cannot get them except in season, end of story. So when chanterelles show their gorgeous orange yellow trumpets on the mushroom aisle, they get scooped up fast! You can also find them at farmers' markets if you have a mushroom forager stall. Grab some and make this dish - you'll be smitten too!

Of course chanterelles are great over pasta as well, but if you're looking for a break from wheat or gluten, polenta is almost as quick and easy to make. Try not to over cook the polenta because then it becomes kind of rubbery, which is not bad if you want to then slice it and place it under the broiler with more butter and cheese. However a more creamy, pour-able version is what you are looking for in this recipe.

This post jumped ahead of lots of others because chanterelle season doesn't last long! Thankfully it is not as short as Morels (3-5 weeks at best!) but they will be gone faster than you think, so go get some now!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Classic Scalloped Potatoes

Scalloped potatoes are so 1950s, so white, colorless side dish...yet so freaking delicious! Yes! it is potatoes done right, simple, slightly cheesy but lots of tender potato goodness. And so much easier than you would think!

I have wonderful small (5"x7") glass baking pans (that are the perfect size to make two meals' worth of paneer from a gallon of milk) but they are also the perfect for making two servings of scalloped potatoes.

This recipe is the basic starting point, you can add whatever you'd like to dress it up: diced ham, proscuitto, cooked greens, roasted veggies, whatever you think would go well with potatoes and cheese. It also all comes together faster than you would think, especially if you have a mandoline (which you need, order one now online, I'll're welcome!)

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Buckwheat Crepes with Artichokes, Tomato Jam and Chevre

Before moving to Arcata crepes were not high on my must eat or make list. A trip to Renata's Creperie changed all that! While it's lovely to eat out and be served, it is equally fun to try and replicate the goodness as home. This recipe worked beautifully!

Crispy edges, moist and spongy crepes, and any fillings my heart desired! It's a new meal for the weekend brunch menu and so many new ideas to try out! In this version, the tomato jam, chevre and artichoke hearts was the favorite. But the swiss chard, mushroom and chevre was a close second. Serve them with a dollop of sour cream, creme fraiche or yogurt if you like.

What I really loved about this batter was how easily it fried up; there was no broken, messy first one. They were beautiful from the get go! Make sure you're using large eggs; smaller ones may require an extra egg or half. Also, I did use spelt flour here, so if you are using regular wheat flour, you may need a tablespoon or two more of the milk.

Also, if possible, make the batter the night before and allow it to sit in the refrigerator covered with plastic wrap overnight. This step allows it to thicken and makes for a smooth batter that cooks up beautifully.