Archive for January, 2010

Pinoy Pork Barbecue

January 31, 2010

I grew up eating this all the time.  If I could, I’d probably eat it every day.  I LOOOOOVE Pork Barbecue, Pinoy style.  I got this recipe off the internet.  The secret ingredients are 7 Up and Banana Sauce. Banana sauce is available in large Asian supermarkets.  If you can’t get it, blending ¾ cup mashed very ripe bananas with ¼ cup tomato ketchup and a few drops of red coloring is a passable substitute.  When I read the recipe it said “1 whole garlic.”  I wasn’t sure if the author meant one whole garlic clove or one whole garlic head.  Since garlic is practically the national vegetable of the Philippines, I opted for the latter, but only used half a head of garlic since the bulbs are much larger in the States.  It’s not as overpowering as you may think since the garlic is smashed and not minced.  Later on it’s strained out of the sauce. I also omitted MSG.  But the results were still,  oh so masarap!  You will need to plan this meal a couple of days in advance as it takes time to soak the skewers and marinate the pork.  Two days is ideal for marinating, overnight is the minimum.

As we say in the Philippines: Pulutan na kayo! Nasaan ang tagay ko?

  • 2 Lbs. of Pork butt (shoulder) or boneless country-style spareribs
  • 1 cup of soy sauce
  • 1 half garlic head peeled and smashed
  • 1 Small onion, peeled and minced
  • Juice of 2 Lemons
  • ½ Cup of 7UP
  • 1 Tsp. Ground black pepper
  • 5 Tbs. Dark brown sugar
  • 1 Cup of Banana sauce

Soak 1 dozen large bamboo skewers in water overnight (this will lower their burn factor).  Trim large sections of fat from the pork.  Slice pork into 1 ½ “ squares ½” thick.   Thread pork slices on bamboo skewers Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl and stir well to dissolve the sugar and blend in the banana sauce.  Pour 1/3 of the sauce in a 9×13 baking dish and spread evenly. Lay 1/2 the pork skewers  over sauce and pour 1/2 of the remaining sauce on top.  Lay the remaining  pork skewers on top and  cover with the remaining sauce.  Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate everything at least overnight and ideally for two days.

If you are not grilling the skewers on your barbecue or stove top grill, line a broiler pan with foil and spray the rack with non-stick cooking spray.   Preheat the broiler.  Lift the skewers out of the marinade and lay them in a single layer on the broiling rack or on a platter to bring to the grill.  Strain the marinade into a sauce pan, discarding the onion and garlic.  Bring the sauce to a boil and reduce it by half until a thick sauce forms.  Turn off the heat.

If using the broiler rack, place the broiler pan with the skewers under the broiler.   Otherwise, place the skewers over hot coals or on a stovetop grill. Broil/grill skewers for about 7 minutes, basting with the warm reduced marinade.  Turn the skewers over and  baste them again, and broil /grill the other side for another 7 minutes or until nicely browned.  Remove from the oven and brush with a little more marinade.

Serve with rice (with some of the marinade on the side to top the rice or skewers) and a side salad.  Makes 6 servings.

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Steak au Poivre

January 29, 2010

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When I see an interesting food item in a store for a good price, I’ll grab it and then ponder later on how to use it.  Such was the fate of a package of rainbow whole peppercorns I saw at Cost Plus World Market.  The logical dish?   Steak au poivre.

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic smashed
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cups sliced sweet onions (Walla Walla, Maui or Texas)
  • 2 tsp brandy
  • 2 tbsps whole mixed peppercorns
  • 1 pound sirloin steak cut into 4 portions
  • 4 red potatoes scrubbed and cut into quarters.
  • Chopped parsley
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Heat up 3 tbsp olive oil, garlic and rosemary over very low heat in a medium skillet.  Cook for about 10 minutes to flavor the olive oil with garlic and rosemary.  Do not let the garlic burn.  Discard garlic and rosemary.  Pour the oil into a small bowl, leaving a film of oil in the skillet.

Sauteed onions

While garlic/rosemary are infusing the olive oil, heat up butter and 1 tbsp olive oil in a separate large skillet over medium low heat.  Add onions and sauté them slowly for about ½ hour, stirring occasionally, make sure the heat stays low.  Slow cooking will let the onions go meltingly soft and incredibly sweet.  When onions are very soft, turn the heat up to medium and add brandy.  Stir frequently as brandy evaporates and then watch onions carefully.  Let them brown to a nice caramel color, then turn heat off and set them aside but keep them warm.

Steamed red potatoes

While onions are cooking, put the potatoes in a steamer basket over a pot of boiling water.  Cover and steam them for 15 minutes or until they can be pierced with a fork.  When they are done.  Turn heat off but leave the cover on to keep potatoes warm.

Steak au poivre

While potatoes are steaming, put peppercorns in a small flat-bottomed bowl.  With a heavy flat-bottom shot glass, press the down on the peppercorns to coarsely crush them.  Pour them into a pie pan and spread them evenly.

Past steaks dry.  Use a pastry brush to lightly brush some olive oil/garlic/rosemary mixture on both sides of the steaks.  Lightly dip each steak in the peppercorns on each side.  Grill steaks to your liking. 

Toss warm cooked potatoes in the film of oil remaining in the small skillet, just to lightly flavor them.  Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Portion potatoes onto dinner plates and sprinkle them with parsley.

Lightly season cooked steaks with salt (salting meat before cooking tends to pull out the juices).  Top them with the sautéed onions or serve onions on the side.  Serve with a side salad.  Serves 4.

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Baked Shrimp with Feta Cheese

January 25, 2010

Baked Shrimp with Feta Cheese

We are thinking of going to Greece this year, so I’ve been in a Greek culinary mood.  This dish come from the seaside town of Piraeus and goes by the local name of Garithes Yiouvetsi. 

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 1 tbsp minced rosemary
  • 2 tbsp minced basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined (save and freeze shells for seafood stock)
  • 3 oz crumbled feta cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley

Heat up oil over medium heat in a non-stick sauté pan.  When oil is hot, add onion, garlic, celery and pepper.  Stir occasionally and cook for about two minutes.  Add tomatoes and wine.  Cook for approximately 10 minutes or until sauce is thick and chunky and has very little liquid.  While sauce is cooking, peel and devein shrimp and chop parsley.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

When sauce is thick, remove the pan from the heat and stir in herbs (except parsley) and whole shrimp.  Spoon the entire mixture into a 1 ½ quart casserole dish.  Sprinkle feta cheese on top.  Bake dish for 15 minutes, or until sauce is bubbly and feta is beginning to soften.  When dish is done, remove it from the oven and spoon portions of shrimp over your choice of starch (rice, pasta or couscous).  Sprinkle with parsley.  Serve with a Greek salad.  Serves 4.

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Sunday Brunch

January 24, 2010

Sunday brunch.

This was nice after a long bike ride.  I’ve tried to lighten up the recipes a little to cut back on fat.

Potatoes O’Brien

  • 1 pound red potatoes cut into ½” dice
  • 1 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp McCormick’s Montreal steak seasoning

Put potatoes in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave them for 5 minutes.  Prepare the remaining vegetables, crack eggs and dice ham (see below) for omelets in the meanwhile.  Also heat up a medium-sized non-stick skillet over medium high heat.  Add canola oil.  When oil is hot add potatoes and spread them into a single layer.  Cook for three minutes then stir them to turn the potatoes and allow other surfaces to brown.  After three more minutes,  sprinkle potatoes with seasoning and stir in onion, garlic and green pepper.  Stir occasionally until potatoes are nicely brown and vegetables soft.  Turn off the heat.

Ham and cheese omelets

  • 4 oz finely diced ham
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup egg substitute (e.g. Egg Beaters)
  • 4 tsp butter
  • 4 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • Freshly grated pepper

Dice ham.  Crack eggs into a bowl.  Add egg substitute and beat them with a wire whip to blend.  Heat a non-stick omelet pan over medium heat.  Add 1 tsp butter and swirl it to evenly coat the bottom of the pan.  Add ¼ of the egg mixture.  Shake the pan vigorously back and forth over the burner (think of Julia Child at the Cordon Bleu in Julie and Julia) to avoid any air bubbles.  Use a heat-proof rubber or silicone spatula to lift the edges of the omelet and allow uncooked egg underneath.  When eggs are partially set (after about 1 minute), spoon 1 oz ham and sprinkle 1 tbsp cheese evenly over the omelet and cover it.  Turn heat to low.  After about two minutes, lift the lid and see if the omelet is moist but not runny. If not cover for a minute or two more.  When the omelet is ready, slide the spatula underneath it to loosen it from the pan.  Slide the omelet onto a plate flipping the pan when the omelet is halfway on the plate to fold the omelet over itself.  Repeat to make 3 more omelets.  Serve with potatoes O’Brien and Orange Juice (or Mimosas – OJ and Champagne, if you are in a festive mood.  Makes 4 servings.

 *Note a real French omelet is not browned.  This is hard to achieve and requires very low heat and constant shaking of the pan.  This is even more difficult to achieve when you use egg substitute because the whites need slightly higher heat.  Don’t sweat it if you see some light brown spots, as I have in the picture.

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Greek Dinner

January 23, 2010

Greek Dinner

This can go on the table fast if you are organized.  Think lemons, lemons, and more lemons!  This menu consists of Avgolemono (egg-lemon) soup, hummous with pita bread, and greek salad with grilled chicken.

  • 4 lemons, 3 1/2 of them juiced, one half cut into thin slices
  • 3 cloves garlic, two of them minced
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 can low sodium^ chick peas, drained liquid reserved
  • 1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste)
  • ¼ cup parsley
  • ½ tsp ground cayenne
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 oz salad mix
  • ½ cucumber, cubed
  • 1 roma tomato, cubed
  • 1/2 cup calamata olives
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard.
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup orzo or other small pasta
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 oz crumbled feta cheese
  • 4 pita breads (I used whole wheat)

To juice lemons, roll them on the counter using pressure with your palm.  Then microwave them for 45 minutes.  Cut in half and squeeze them with your hands or use a citrus reamer over a small bowl.  If the lemons have a lot of seeds squeeze them with your hand underneath them or over a strainer to catch the seeds. 

Put thighs in a zip-loc bag.  Mix juice of one lemon, 2 minced cloves of garlic, cinnamon, and ¼ cup olive oil, oregano, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper.  Pour the marinade over the thighs, press out the air and zip up the bag. Massage the bag to distribute the marinade and set the chicken aside.

In a food processor, process drained chick peas, tahini, juice of one lemon, 1 tbsp olive oil, remaining garlic clove. parsley, cayenne until smooth.  Add some of the chick pea liquid if the mixture is too thick.  Mixture should have the consistency of a thick dip.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Scrape into a serving bowl and set aside.

Combine salad mix, cucumber, tomato and olives. Portion them into four large salad bowls. In a separate small bowl, blend juice of one half lemon, the remaining olive oil, Dijon mustard and salt and pepper to taste.  Set salad dressing aside.

 Preheat broiler.  Line pan with foil and top with the rack.  Spray rack with nonstick spray.  Remove chicken from the bag and arrange on the rack.  Discard marinade.  Set rack under the broiler for 7 minutes.

While chicken is broiling, bring chicken broth to a boil in a pot.  Add orzo and cook orzo for five minutes.  Remember to turn the chicken over after 7 minutes, and broil another 7 minutes.  Beat eggs and remaining lemon juice in a large bowl.  When orzo has cooked for five minutes, turn off the heat under the soup.  Ladle one ladleful of soup into the egg mixture and whisk to incorporate soup.  Add another ladleful of hot soup to the mixture and mix again.  Add a third ladleful and mix.  Stir hot egg mixture into the soup and stir.  Mixture will thicken slightly.  Ladle soup into four small soup bowls.

Microwave pita breads for one minute and cut them into wedges.  Arrange them on a plate.

When chicken is done, remove it from the oven.  Pour salad dressing over salads and sprinkle them with feta cheese.  Top each salad with one or more pieces of grilled chicken. 

Float a thin lemon slice over each bowl of soup.

Serve soup and salad together, with pita and hummous on the side.  Makes 4 servings

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Oyster-sauce beef over pan-fried noodles

January 22, 2010

Growing up, “chow mein” in my home was never the soft greasy mix of noodles, meat and vegetables commonly found in American “Chinese” restaurants. Rather, it was what is referred to here as “Hong Kong style Chow Mein”  – stir fried meat and vegetables served over a mound of crispy noodles.  The noodles are typically boiled and then pan fried on one side, flipped over to the other side so that they are crispy on both sides.  Broiling the noodles is quicker because you can make separate servings all at the same time; it’s also less messy and uses less fat.

  •  1 green pepper – stemmed, seeded and cut into thin slivers
  • 1 cup sliced fresh shitake mushrooms
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 3 green onions, bulbs removed and chopped
  • 1 pound beef sirloin steak cut into thin shreds
  • 8 oz dried thin Chinese egg noodles
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce

marinade

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • ¼ cup sherry
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 4 tsp sesame oil

Prepare pepper, mushrooms, ginger, garlic and onions.  Set them aside.  Slice the beef.  Mix marinade and add ONE HALF of the marinade to the sliced beef, stir well, and set aside to marinate.  The remaining marinade will be part of the sauce for the stir fry.

Boil noodles in a generous amount of water according to package instructions.  Stir them frequently to separate the strands and ensure even cooking.  Cook till just al dente.  While noodles are cooking, preheat the broiler and spray a large baking sheet with noncook spray.

Drain the noodles and mix them well with 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil.  Mound the noodles on the baking sheet into 4 even rounds.  For even browning, try to avoid “stragglers”.  Spray tops of the noodle mounds with non-stick cooking spray.  Broil the noodles under the broiler at the closest setting until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.  Using a large pancake turner, flip them over, spray with nonstick spray and broil until the other side is lightly browned, another 5 minutes.  Turn off the broiler but keep the noodle rounds in the oven so they stay warm.

Heat a non-stick wok or large skillet over medium high heat.  Add one tbsp of canola oil.  Add peppers, mushrooms ginger, garlic and green onions and stir fry for about 2 minutes.  Transfer the vegetables into a bowl.  Heat up the remaining canola oil over the highest heat setting.  When it is hot, add the beef mixture and stir 2 minutes or until the beef just begins to firm slightly.  Return vegetables to the pan and mix well.  Stir in oyster sauce into the remaining marinade and add to the pan.  When mixture comes to a boil, remove from heat. 

Divide noodle rounds among four plates.  Top each noodle round with one-fourth of the stir-fry mixture.  Serves 4.

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Chicken Quesadillas

January 21, 2010

Very easy to make and kid friendly. 

  • 1 pound boneless and skinless chicken tenderloins
  • 2 tsp mesquite, Southwestern or Mexican seasoning
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 8 oz grated cheese (cheddar, Monterey jack, Asadero – I used jalapeno Muenster)
  • 2 avocados
  • ¼ cup prepared salsa
  • Juice of one lime
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • Mexican crema or sour cream

Spray a non-stick skillet with non-stick spray and heat over medium high heat.  Place the tenderloins in the pan, leaving space between them.  Sprinkle them with half the seasoning.  Cover the pan for 5 minutes. Uncover and turn them over and sprinkle with the other half of the seasoning.  After five minutes, add ¼ cup water to the skillet and cover the pan and let the tenderloins cook till no longer pink but still juicy.

While chicken is cooking, make guacamole.  Slice avocados in half.  Remove and discard pits.  Scoop flesh out and dump it into a bowl.  Mash avocado flesh with slasa, lime and cilantro.  Set aside.

Slice chicken into slices and set it aside.  Wipe skillet clean.  Put on the stove and another skillet on the stove so you can make two quesadillas at a time.  Turn heat to medium high. Put one tortilla in each skillet and top with 1 oz shredded cheese, spreading cheese evenly.  Add 1/8 of the chicken to each pan, covering only ½ of the round.  Cover and heat until cheese is just melted or about 2-3 minutes.

Slide quesadillas onto plates and repeat 3 more times.  While next quesadilla is cooking, spread guacamole over the chicken half of each quesadilla, top with crema and fold.

Serve 2 quesadillas per serving.  Heated canned beans and a salad make a nice, quick accompaniment.  Makes 4 servings

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Lion’s Head Meatballs

January 19, 2010

“Lion’s Head” Meatballs

Of course there’s no lion in it.  Supposedly it was given this name by Chinese cooks because the meatballs resemble the head of a lion and the cooked cabbage represents the mane.  This dish is traditionally cooked in a clay pot, but a deep sauté pan works just fine.  I find that traditional recipes cook the cabbage way too long, so I add the cabbage later in the cooking process.  The chili sauce is not traditional, and therefore optional.  I simply like to kick it up a notch.

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 4 green onions (scallions), roots removed and chopped fine
  • 1 egg white or 2 tbsp egg substitute
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp Asian chili sauce (optional)
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 2 cups hot chicken broth (heat it up in the microwave)
  • 2 cups rice
  • One small head Napa cabbage

Mix pork, green onions, egg, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil and chili sauce together very well with your hands (I use disposable vinyl gloves as the mixture can get quite sticky).  Form the mixture into 4 baseball-sized meatballs.  Mixture will be pretty soft.   Heat up the oil over medium high heat in a deep sauté pan.  Spread the cornstarch in an even layer on a baking pan.  Roll the meatballs in the cornstarch to lightly coat them. When oil is hot, add the meatballs to the pan.  Do not crowd them.  Using a slotted spoon carefully turn them when they are brown on the bottom to evenly brown them all over.  When meatballs are evenly brown, add half the chicken broth and bring it to a boil.  Turn the heat down to low and cover the pan with the lid slightly ajar for 30 minutes.

While meatballs are cooking make rice.  Put rice in a pot and cover with about half an inch of water above the top level of the rice.  Turn the heat to high.  When the water boils, turn the heat down to low.  Cover the rice and let it steam-cook until the meatballs are completely done.

Cut the stem end off the Napa cabbage and separate the leaves.  Rinse them well.

When the meatballs have cooked for half an hour, carefully remove them from the pan with the slotted spoon and put them on a plate.  Layer the cabbage leaves on the bottom of the pan (the cabbage will shrink a lot, so don’t work that this looks like a huge amount of cabbage).  Replace the meatballs on top of the cabbage and pour the remaining broth (reheated in the microwave) over the meatballs and cabbage.  Raise the heat to high and bring everything again to a boil.  Turn heat down to medium low, partially cover the pan and cook for another 30 minutes or until meatballs are fully cooked and cabbage is tender.

Apportion meatballs and cabbage over rice in soup bowls. Makes 4 servings.

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Spicy Scalloped Ham ‘n Cheese Potatoes

January 18, 2010

Scalloped potato dishes are usually quite heavy.  I lightened this up a bit by using non fat half and half and low-fat cheese. Precooking everything helps to speed up the final cooking process.   You can make this in advance and refrigerate it but you will need to increase the baking time to at least 1/2 hour, possibly up to 40 minutes.

  • 1 ½ pounds red potatoes thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely minced
  • 1 pound ham steak, cut into small cubes
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups non-fat half and half
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 ½ cups grated cheese (I used a Mexican blend, you can use a sharp cheddar)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil

Rinse the sliced potatoes to remove surface starch drain well (a salad spinner helps).  Dump the potato slices onto a clean kitchen towel and blot them dry.  Pour them into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 8 minutes.  Stir them every 2 minutes or so to ensure even cooking.

While potatoes are microwaving, heat up oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat Add onions, jalapeno and ham.  Sautee until onions are soft and liquid evaporated.  Turn off heat and set aside. Remove cooked potatoes from the microwave. 

Make the Mornay (cheese sauce).  Put the half and half in a large micro-wave proof measuring bowl and microwave half and half for 2 minutes until warm.  While half and half is microwaving, heat butter in a saucepan over medium high heat. Whisk in flour and stir until the roux is lightly browned.  Slowly whisk in warm half and half.  Add salt, pepper and nutmeg.  When sauce comes to a boil, whisk for one more minute and then stir in 1 cup of the grated cheese.  Remove from heat but keep sauce warm.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a 1 ½ quart oven-proof casserole dish with nonstick spray.  Pour ½ cup sauce into the bottom of the dish and spread it evenly over the bottom.  Put one third of the potatoes in a layer on top of the sauce.  Top with half the ham mixture.  Spread ¾ cup sauce evenly over the potatoes/and ham.  Layer ½  of the remaining potatoes on top, top with the rest of the ham mixture.  Spread with another ¾ cup of sauce.  Layer the remaining potatoes on top and spread the remaining sauce on top.  Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup cheese evenly on top.  Put the casserole in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until bubbly.  Switch oven setting to broil and transfer the casserole dish to the shelf directly under the broiler. Broil 2-3 minutes or until the top is nicely browned.  Remove the casserole from the oven and let it rest for ten minutes.  Scoop out scalloped potatoes onto warm plates.  Sprinkle parsley/basil mix over each serving.  Accompany with a green salad.  Makes 4 servings.

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Mushroom Ragout

January 17, 2010

Yesterday, while in San Gabriel on business, I visited the local Asian superstore my Grandma used to shop at (she lived just a few blocks away).  I was in heaven.  I saw many familiar foods from my childhood (including tropical fruits) and other foods I had never seen and had no idea how to prepare.  I had to laugh at the “Vegetarian” aisle that had row upon row of deep-fried pork rinds, with only a small section devoted to “soy-meat” products.  One joy of ethnic markets, however, is finding foods considered “gourmet” and pricey in conventional or upscale markets at ridiculously cheap prices.  This was the case with mushrooms.  I found many varieties of fresh mushrooms, which would often sell for in excess of $8 a pound elsewhere, for less than $2 a pound.  Considering how light they are, you can buy an awful lot of mushrooms for less than $5 and prepare a spectacular meal.  When I saw these mushrooms, I put aside my original menu for tonight and decided to make Mushroom Ragout.  Easy-peasy.

  • 1 ½ pounds mixed fresh mushrooms (I used trumpet, oyster, shitake and beech mushrooms) swished in water, shaken dry; root and tough stems removed; large mushrooms slice into thick slices – keep large and small mushrooms separate.
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large shallot peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp brandy
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • ¾ cup light sour cream blended with 1 tsp cornstarch (the cornstarch stabilizes the sour cream so that it will not curdle over the heat)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp parsley minced.

Heat butter and olive oil in a very large skillet over medium high heat.  Add large mushrooms, being careful not to crowd them in the pan.  Turn them occasionally to brown them.  When they are lightly browned, add the smaller mushrooms and brown them.  Add shallots and cook until shallots are soft.  Add brandy and shake pan until brandy evaporates.  Add beef stock and stir, bringing to a boil.  Turn off the heat; then add sour cream.  The residual heat of the sauce will heat the sour cream.  Add salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with parsley.  Serve over polenta or couscous.  Makes 4 servings.

Couscous

 

  •  1 cup couscous
  • 1 ½ cup water
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Put couscous and water into a medium microwave-proof bowl.  Microwave over high setting for three minutes.  Add butter and fluff with a fork.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Makes 4 servings.

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