KITCHEN ADVENTURES: FEAST!
: This is what I've been eating to celebrate Easter. Ridiculously, it includes none
of the food I gave up for Lent (meat and artichoke hearts); but it is much fancier and pricier than my usual fare, and definitely more so than the very simple food I ate during Lent. And yes, I know that actually you're supposed to give the money you save during Lent as alms, rather than using it to buy Camembert. I will do that too. Anyway--onward to the adventures!Warm Camembert with Wild Mushroom Fricassee
: This, like most of the following recipes, was based on a recipe from Food and Wine
's 2007 cookbook. I made changes to the ingredients (they want you to use walnuts and walnut oil, and different herbs) and the preparation (they omit the aluminum foil, which I just don't understand). Still, I never would have thought to do this without F&W
, so they receive much of the credit for this really delicious dish.what
: one 8-oz wheel of ripe Camembert in its wooden box; most of a package, or however much looks good to you, of mixed wild mushrooms, chopped into big pieces; s&p; olive oil, chopped garlic, fresh rosemary, fresh Thai basil, aluminum foil
: Heat oven to 300. Take Camembert out of its wrapping, and then put it back all naked in the bottom half of its box. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and put the box on the sheet, then bake for ten minutes, or until soft. Unless you time it better than I did, the cheese will melt out of its box a bit, hence the foil.
Meanwhile, saute the mushrooms, garlic, s&p, and fresh herbs in the olive oil.
When the cheese is ready, dump it out (or as F&W
says, "invert" it) onto a platter and spoon/pour the mushrooms over it. Serve with sourdough toasts. (I used a toasted French roll, because I stupidly forgot that I'd bought sourdough bread for exactly this purpose; the roll was fine, but I think sourdough would have been better.)why
: This was so
good! Equal parts messy and classy. The herbs really worked: I used a fork to scrape cheese from a big rosemary sprig, then spread the cheese and some 'shrooms on toast, and was shocked
at how delicious it was. No kidding, this is some great food. It's supposed to serve four as an appetizer, but... I just had it for dinner. Mmmmm
: 1/2-lb. cleaned squid, bodies cut into rings, tentacles left whole; two thin chili peppers (I'm not sure what they were--they were red and green respectively, and long and thin, but only about as hot as a jalapeno), diced; chopped ripe tomato (I used two baby Roma tomatoes because that's what I happened to have on hand); a lemon; sliced red onion; half a diced avocado (you could totally use more--I saved the other half for the queso fundido, see below); chopped fresh cilantro.how
: Bring a pot or large pan of salted water to a boil. Fill a bowl with ice water. Cook the squid for 30 seconds in the boiling water, then drain the squid and put it in the ice water. Note
: I screwed this up kind of a lot, due to failures of equipment (my freezer doesn't work, so no ice water for me) and imagination (didn't figure out how to manage the pan properly). So I ended up cooking the squid for maybe 45 seconds in water that was coming back to the boil, rather than actually at a rolling boil, and then once the water was starting to boil again rinsing the squid under cold water in the colander. This seemed to work okay.
In a dish, combine the squid, a bit of salt, and the diced peppers, and refrigerate for 30 mins. Then add the juice of the lemon, cilantro, and red onion to the ceviche, mix well, and refrigerate for two hours, stirring twice. Add the avocado and tomato, and serve.why
: This was good! I'd never made ceviche before. It's very
easy, or at least this version is. I will say that I underestimated how much of a very powerful-tasting dish this would make: I was eating ceviche for breakfast the next day, and for snacks, etc. I ate the first round of ceviche with...Queso Fundido a la Leftovers
: olive oil, chopped tomato, two of those mystery chilis diced, chopped red onion, leftover chipotle corn bisque from a box, leftover "Mexican blend" cheese (actually quite bland--Monterey Jack, colby, and something else--I would have preferred my favorite, Sargento's Mexican blend), chopped fresh cilantro, 1/2 (or more) a diced avocado, toasted French roll.how
: Saute the tomato, chilis, and onion until they're about how you want 'em. Add everything else, stir, cookity, decant, serve with toasts.why
: Simple, filling, delicious, and uses up leftovers. It shouldn't be hard to find ingredients to substitute for the bisque: a splash of tequila, various sauces or marinades, etc. I'm guessing that the Trader Joe's mojito simmer sauce
I praised in this space would work very well.Panko-Crusted Mushrooms
: Okay, for this one I followed the F&W
recipe more or less to the letter, so here it is
. I acknowledge that my kitchen sk1llz are limited, so the fact that I did not love these should not reflect poorly on F&W
. For whatever reason, I thought the panko coating was kind of bland (maybe next time I will mix it with peppers and/or spices?) and it was hard to get the larger mushrooms to cook through. I ended up dumping the leftover egg mix into the pan and having a kind of bizarre mushroom omelet, which was actually not a bad idea. Other people could probably make these better than I did.Savory Banana Split!
: I'm so proud of this idea, even though the recipe is still a work in progress. This started out as a plan to make F&W
's recipe for goat cheese-stuffed roasted figs, but it... evolved.what
: a big ripe plantain, spreadable goat cheese, fresh Thai basil, sliced red onion, a toaster oven.how
: Peel the plantain and slice it in half crosswise, then lengthwise. Spread the cut sides with goat cheese. Cover your toaster-oven tray with aluminum foil and make sandwiches, like so: plantain, cheese, basil, onion, cheese, plantain. Toast the sandwiches until you think they're done. (I think I did about ten minutes at 375, but I could be misremembering--I was judging by smell, mostly.) Eat with a knife and fork.why
: OK, this was not as savory as I'd like: Plantains are sweeter than I'd thought. More goat cheese next time, to cut the sweetness, I think; and maybe black pepper, cayenne, and/or some other herbs and spices. Nonetheless, this was very tasty. The creamy textures of the cheese and toasted plantain worked really well with the tart crunch of the red onion. And seriously: It's a banana split! If I can think of ways to incorporate other banana-split items, I will be even happier with this fun, wiggy snack--sliced baby Roma tomatoes instead of sliced strawberries, for example. Mole sauce??
Now I go back to eating leftovers and pinching pennies. But I had a lot of fun making and eating this stuff, and I hope some of you will also enjoy them!