Category: mushrooms


Tonight I entertained friends with a dinner predominantly based on vegetables from the farmers’ market and herbs from my deck garden. Yesterday the market was brimming with a wide selection of fresh offerings which provided inspiration for the meal.

The parfaits I made for the family 4th celebration earlier in the week were such a hit, I decided to experiment further with the idea. Tonight’s rendition involved gelled pureed peaches along with the vanilla panna cotta. Again, another well-received dessert offering. Technically speaking, the plain gelatin I used was derived from animal sources, so that keeps the meal from being 100% vegetarian. The vegetarian alternative (agar agar flakes), is not available in my area but if you can find it you will achieve similar results.

Appetizer:
Roasted mushrooms stuffed with Mississippi caviar

Main Course:
Roasted red bell pepper halves stuffed with orzo, chopped tomato, artichoke hearts, and basil and garlic infused ricotta topped with fresh mozzarella
Roasted baby summer squash
Romano beans with extra virgin olive oil
Yeast dill rolls Chez Edouard

Dessert:
Peaches-and-cream parfait garnished with fresh blueberries and served with pecan sandies

Advertisements

As is often the case in the summer, I abandon planning menus ahead preferring to be inspired by the availability and bounty of the local harvest. In fact, tonight’s dinner started with taking out all of the vegetables on hand and laying them on the counter. As I peruse each offering, associations begin to take place and I become inspired by what strikes me at the moment, embracing certain ingredients and editing out others for a later meal. What was left on the worktop tonight was broccoli, mushrooms, onions, summer squash, and red peppers. A rummage through the pantry produced a box of dried garden rotini. There was some sharp cheddar in the fridge. The result: a vegetable-packed macaroni and cheese (or perhaps I’ll call it a vegetable and pasta gratin), that was more than satisfying as a one-dish meal.

Similarly, I had no plans for any particular dessert. That is, until I passed by the next door neighbor’s farm stand this afternoon. Late season strawberries! Thus, one of the simplest sweet endings to an impromptu meal was achieved with very little effort.

Garden vegetable and pasta gratin
Cornbread muffins

Strawberries with sour cream/ground pecan/brown sugar dip

The menu for this evening includes a fairly standard beef brochette with some unusual accompaniments. And it’s simple as well. Grilling cubes of steak on a skewer with onions and peppers simply seasoned with salt and pepper is straightforward enough. Steaming couscous with some herbs and garlic is fast and easy because it cooks so quickly (in fact it’s the last thing you should do before being ready to eat). And roasting green beans and mushrooms in a hot oven with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper brings new life to both vegetables.

Grilled brochette of New York strip cubes with onions and red peppers served over herbed couscous
Oven-roasted green beans and mushrooms

Chocolate-peanut butter-oatmeal cookies

I am an advocate of finding new ways to use leftovers and tonight’s dinner includes components of dishes that were made earlier in the week and transforms them into something new. Orange bell pepper halves are stuffed with a mixture of leftover brown rice, slivered green beans, and caramelized onions. Mushroom caps are stuffed with leftover black-eyed pea salad that has been mashed into a puree. Baby summer squash are hollowed out, blanched briefly in boiling water, drained, and stuffed with grated pepperjack cheese. The watery flesh is scooped out of tomato halves and replaced with a mixture of herbed breadcrumbs, garlic, and parmesan. Once all of the vegetables are stuffed, they roast together on a parchment-lined baking sheet in a 375 degree oven for 25-30 minutes, and dinner is served.

A further note about the squash. I first devised this utterly simple treatment to serve as an hors d’oeuvre at a birthday party I catered many years ago, and they were such a hit I was offered several other future catering jobs before the evening was over.

Orange bell pepper half stuffed with brown rice and green beans
Mushrooms stuffed with pureed black-eyed pea salad
Baby summer squash stuffed with pepperjack cheese
Tomato halves stuffed with herbed breadcrumbs, garlic, and parmesan

Peach ice cream

I suppose if I were to subtitle this menu, it would be “Swedish Meatballs meet Stroganoff meets Chez Edouard” because the resulting main dish has elements of the first two but everything is transformed based on my own whims. The meatballs are made of ground turkey and the sauce is not typical of that for either the Swedish dish nor the stroganoff.

As a reminder, meatballs will be far more succulent and tender if you refrain from packing the meat during the rolling process and bake them in the oven as opposed to the stovetop method. Never overcook meatballs which inevitably leads to tough, unpalatable results.

Tonight I enriched the turkey with finely diced roasted red pepper along with minced shallots, garlic, and herbs. After removing the meatballs from the oven I tossed them in a pan with a sour cream-Dijon-rosemary sauce. Adding a small amount of cornstarch to the sour cream helps keep it from curdling, but even then it’s very important not to bring the sauce to a boil: simply heat it through.

Turkey meatballs and sautéed cremini mushrooms in a sour cream-Dijon-rosemary sauce served over housemade tagliatelle pasta
Steamed sugar snap peas and asparagus from the farmers’ market
Yeast roll Chez Edouard

Housemade peanut butter sandwich cookies

%d bloggers like this: