Friday, August 29, 2014

Green is the New Black

I was probably thinking
about veggies in this picture... 

When I browsing the internet for this post I came across a great article from NY magazine saying the vegetables are new meat.  Also, recently there was a new article talking about the "it" vegetable   Who knew there were trends in the veggie market. When I was child I had to be bribed to eat my vegetables  hiding brussel sprouts under the table and faking bites so I could play with my game boy.  Now a days I welcome the meatless Monday, vegetables are now the hero of plate and I ask where did this transition come from and what is my it vegetable?    

My vegetable has definitely become the mushroom.  These little bits of fungus are flavor sponges that add their earthy undertone to a variety of sauces.  I want to feature a recipe I found in the New York times that can frequently be found on my table (Jason requests this almost weekly).  I typically serve it with either soft polenta (go to recipe here) or a nice charred steak (great way too indoors here)

Polenta With Mushrooms and Soy
Photo courtesy
of NY Times 

Soy Butter Mushrooms
from the NY Times 

8 ounces fresh mushrooms, your choice sliced thin
1/4 cup water
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pats
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon soy sauce 
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
pepper to taste

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large saute pan set over high heat until melted.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, be mindful that it doesn't burn.  
Add fresh mushrooms and thyme to butter garlic mixture in pan.  Saute until soft, 3 to 4 minutes  Add 1/4 cup of water to pan and allow to reduce by half
Reduce heat to medium/low.  Add the remaining butter, soy sauce, heavy cream, and olive oil, whisking to combine.  
Remove from heat and adjust seasonings to preference. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Another Twist on the Fruit Tart!

Ethel, the swimmer
I am giving myself this Sunday off from cooking and I think you should too.  That is unless you are having a BBQ because that is fun cooking.  This upcoming weekend, Jason and I have a very fun weekend ahead of us, including a day trip up to Ogunquit, swimming with Ethel in Hingham, and a great dinner at Oleana.  So instead of a large meal this Sunday I want to provide you with a great recipe to bring to your upcoming BBQ, the crowd pleasing fruit tart!
I have discussed a grown up fruit tart before using a pretzel crust with mascarpone cheese and fresh berries, but this has been my go-to dessert for bringing to BBQ's.  I was in need a revamp.  I wanted to keep the same idea, savoring the fresh summer berries when I can.   So when I was browsing around twitter last week I found a new spin which using yogurts and pecans, which means it can be doubled as breakfast!  Check out this recipe via Food 52, enjoy while fresh berries are still available!

Photo courtesy of Food 52
Fresh Berry Tart with Pecan Crush
recipe taken from Food 52
1 1/2 cup raw pecans
1 to 2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons of cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 cup of Greek yogurt (I use Fage, full fat or 2% are ideal)
2 pints of fresh berries such as raspberries, strawberries, or blueberries (my usual mix)

Preheat oven to 400°F.   Place pecans into a food processor and pulse until it takes on a crumbly meal consistency.

Transfer pecans to a bowl and blend in honey either using a rubber spatula or with hands.  Add chunks of butter to mixture and blend together with fingers.  Chunks are okay!

Press the mixture into a 9-inch round tart pan, or a pie dish if you don't have one.  Place into oven for about 12 minutes.  Fully cool crust.

Once crust is completely cooled, spread in 1 cup of greek yogurt.  Add berries on top, in a fancy pattern if you like!  Enjoy!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Baby Bites- Mango

Joanne and I in Avalon
 this past weekend
I just got back from spending a wonderful week with Joanne, who is finally showing!  She has officially entered her 19th week.  This week is extremely exciting for many reasons, first its the size of a mango, which is a part of one of my favorite desserts ever, and two, we finally get to see what sex the little guy is going to be.   Even though the doctor will know if I am expecting a little niece or nephew, I have to patiently wait until next weekend when Joanne is having her gender reveal.  Now for the featured recipe this week I am quite excited.  I love mangoes, Joanne does not share my love claiming they make her tongue itch.... 

Chinatown Bangkok 
Mangoes are a wonderful fruit with such a bright flavor that it makes you think you are sitting on the beach in the tropics, as opposed to a cold apartment in Boston.  I first had this dessert on my honeymoon in Thailand from a street cart on the side of the road of Chinatown Bangkok.  It was such a different combination, a sweet sticky rice paired with fresh sliced mangoes served in banana leaf (or a plastic bag...).  I've attempted many times to replicate and I think I've come really close.  Of course there is no way to duplicate the hot humid climate, bustling streets, and odd serving dish, but you can at least enjoy the flavor!  

Hope you enjoy!! 

Mango Sticky Rice
recipe from Millberg Kitchen

1 1/2 cups of uncooked sticky rice
1 large can of coconut cream 
1/2 cup of sugar
2 ripe mangoes, peeled and sliced in strips

Bring 1 1/2 cups of uncooked sticky rice and 2 1/2 cups of water to a boil, cover with lid.  After about 15 minutes of boiling add half the can of coconut cream, reduce to medium low heat.  Allow to absorb this amount, then add second half.  Add  1/2 cup of sugar to rice, coconut mixture, it will resemble a rice pudding like consistency.  Allow coconut cream to further absorb into the rice.  When you have a desired consistency, not much liquid, in more of a thick pudding state.  Remove from heat.  Transfer to a bowl and place mango on top.  

I prefer it served warm, you can also chill the rice then add the mango.  

Monday, August 18, 2014

Jen's Savory Summary- Oven Roasted Pulled Pork (Window of Deliciousness)

BBQ flavored pulled pork,
 quite a disappointment
I want to start this review off with a quote from the documentary "Jiro Dreams of Sushi":  "Every ingredient has a window of deliciousness".  I start with this because pork was well outside of it's window.  So far outside that my dutch oven has a tar like substance on the bottom that I will be using my best elbow grease to get rid of.  The recipe does not highlight the pork.  I should of known, seen this from the steps.  The fact the last part of the recipe is to boil the pork in BBQ sauce for an additional half hour should of been a red flag.  The pork doesn't taste like pork, it tastes like BBQ sauce.  If that's what you are going for then this is the recipe for you.

Beautiful product to start out with.
 Dear pork I apologize for drying you out 
My pork, in its ideal window of deliciousness would of had that depth of flavor that comes from the piece of meat I started out with.  The pork was from our usual meat gal at the SOWA farmers market.  We emailed her days in advance to secure our pork butt with bone and great marbling, which I thought would of resulted in a moist flavorful pork goodness.  It did not since it was roasted too long, at too high of a temperature.  Lesson learned, lower the oven temp to 225, roast still for 7 hours.  Hopefully next time this will result in a better pulled pork, until then I need to accept that this recipe is not of Jiro standards.  

If you want to know the real highlight of my Sunday Supper, we should talk about the cornbread I made, recipe here.  Also, if you haven't thought about watching Jiro Dreams of Sushi, here's another reminder, watch it you won't regret it.     
The real star of the show

Jen Dreams of Home

I am traveling this week to lovely Juarez, Mexico.  I just touched down in El Paso and I am already missing home.  El Paso isn't a city with much ambiance outside of the giant fence separating it from Juarez.  It does have the allure of delicious steak houses that I will partake in during my long week spent here.  

On another note, besides dreaming of home, my husband, comfy bed, and cuddly dog (not necessarily in that order), I am also dreaming of sushi.  Something that is not advisable in this land-locked area of the US.  This sushi dream is fueled by a documentary Jason and I watching this past weekend, Jiro Dreams of Sushi.  I wanted to fly over the Tokyo and eat at this restaurant for the cool price of 30,000 yen per person (close to $300).  If you haven't seen it I suggest watching it, it's on Netflix to stream. Take a break from binge watching old WB dramas and dream of sushi with me and Jiro.