Whenever my best friend visits – which isn’t often enough if you ask me – we spend weeks before the visit brainstorming and debating what we should cook together. We both love to be in the kitchen and there is really nothing that we’d rather do when we’re together than cook. Oh, it’s not just cooking – we talk, laugh, bump into each other, make a gigantic mess and have the time of our lives while we’re cooking. And one of my favorite things about cooking with R is that we can do all of that stuff while we cook. You see, R actually knows how to cook. (In fact, she taught me.) So she doesn’t need to be supervised while she creates a delicious dish in my kitchen. She doesn’t need assignments and detailed instructions. Aside from questions like “Where do you keep the silicone spatulas?” R is blessedly self-directed in my kitchen (and I’m the same way in hers). It makes it easy to cook side-by-side. For instance, I’d love to claim credit for making this gorgeous flatbread, but I didn’t make it – R did. She made it at my kitchen island while I stood next to her, mixing up a pear and blackberry crisp with pecan topping. (My dessert went un-photographed, and hence un-blogged, but don’t worry – there will be other crisps this summer.) This flatbread was a last-minute menu item; we had been planning to make a gratin until R had one for dinner the previous night. So, instead, we went to Whole Foods and wandered around until the spirit moved us to make something resembling pizza. It just goes to prove that sometimes the last-minute items are the best. It was crispy and chewy, creamy from the mascarpone, and savory from the mushrooms and onions. Perfection, a la R.
Mushroom and Mascarpone Flatbread
1 ball store-bought pizza dough (or homemade, if you’re an overachiever)
extra-virgin olive oil
1 container gourmet mix or shiitake mushrooms
1 onion (or leek!), thinly sliced
pinch kosher salt
pinch minced fresh thyme
1 container mascarpone cheese
- Place a pizza stone in oven. Preheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit (or other temperature as called for by your pizza dough). Allow pizza stone to preheat for 20 minutes after the oven reaches 500 degrees.
- When stone is preheated, scatter a small handful of semolina flour over a pizza peel. Stretch pizza dough into a rough circle approximately the size of the pizza peel. Brush dough circle with olive oil. Using peel, transfer dough to oven and allow to cook approximately 20-30 minutes, until golden brown. (The precise time will depend on your oven and on how cold your dough was and how thinly you stretched it out – so just watch it. It may take less time; it may take more.) When dough is golden, remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
- While pizza dough is cooking, heat a splash of olive oil in a nonstick pan. Add mushrooms, season with kosher salt and saute until beginning to brown. Add onions and continue cooking until soft. When mushrooms and onions are completely cooked, remove from heat and stir in fresh thyme.
- When pizza dough has cooled slightly, spread mascarpone cheese over dough in a thin layer. Pour mushroom and onion mixture in a thin layer over cheese. Slice, garnish with additional thyme sprigs, and serve.
Source: Covered In Flour (and R!)
Ohhhhh, yes please. This is one of those dishes that you can make all year round, but it’s particularly satisfying in fall. The creamy white bean and the caramelized onions and savory mushrooms come together to create an earthy, heavenly, mish-mosh of flavors and textures. Paired with some whole-grain bread (or Ezekiel English muffins, as I did here ’cause I’m lazy), it’s a perfect dish to throw together and make you feel like life is worth living even on a rainy Monday. I promise. And you know I don’t make promises I can’t keep.
Rustic White Beans and Mushrooms
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large leek, sliced thin
1 package gourmet mix mushrooms (or shiitakes)
kosher salt to taste
freshly ground pepper to taste
- Warm the olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped leeks and saute gently until soft. Remove from pan and reserve.
- In the same pan, saute the mushrooms until they are golden and caramelized, 10-12 minutes. Keep them moving and add more olive oil if necessary (but only if necessary).
- When the mushrooms are caramelized, add the leeks back and pour in the beans. Mix well, season with the salt, pepper, and dried herbs, and warm the beans through. Serve over whole grain bread or pasta.
Source: Adapted from Veganomicon, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero
So, the other day, hubby and I were in Whole Foods, and something unprecedented happened.
Messy: Hey, what do you call it when you have beef in gravy over noodles? What is that?
Hubby: Ummmmm… Beef Stroganoff?
Messy: Yes! That’s it!
Hubby: Why do you want to know?
Messy: I want to make it, but with tempeh.
Hubby: How weird is this? Usually, I’m the one who asks you what a dish is called.
He’s right. Usually the conversation is reversed. But I’ve never cooked Beef Stroganoff before. I just had this thought… tempeh… mushroom gravy… egg noodles… mmmmmm. And mmmmmm it was. Hearty and savory, with the earthy flavors of tempeh and mushrooms perfectly complemented by the mild noodles. I’ll be making this one again, for sure.
extra virgin olive oil
1 package shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 package tempeh, crumbled
2 cups vegetable broth
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
egg noodles, cooked
chopped chives (optional), for garnish.
- Heat olive oil (about a tablespoon, give or take) in a non-stick pan until shimmering. Add mushrooms and salt and saute until golden. Add tempeh and saute another 5 minutes or so, until tempeh is warmed through and just beginning to crisp up. Yum.
- Pour veggie broth into pan, add flour, and stir with a wooden spoon until mixture thickens, 3-5 minutes. Season to taste with black pepper and additional salt, if necessary.
- Serve over egg noodles, garnishing with chopped chives if desired.
Source: Covered In Flour
This is one of the easiest weeknight dinners I have ever made, and one of the tastiest. I try to put seafood on the table about once or twice a week, because hubby and I love it and it’s generally very good for you. But it can be hard to think of creative ways to cook fish without breading it, and it’s tricky to get it to cook through without drying out. One thing that I love to do is to bake fish with veggies on top of it. The veggies keep the fish moist and impart a little of their flavor, and for all the health and flavor benefits they bring, these recipes couldn’t be easier.
Baked Halibut and Mushrooms
2 halibut fillets (or any firm white fish)
extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper (or truffle pepper, optional)
1 package mushrooms, sliced (cremini are nice, but button will work too)
fresh thyme leaves (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a small baking dish, drizzle olive oil over the fish and season with salt and pepper (or truffle pepper – mmmmm). Cover with mushrooms and drizzle a bit more olive oil over the mushrooms.
- Bake 25-30 minutes, until fish is firm and mushrooms are done.
- Serve with mushrooms still atop fillets. If desired, sprinkle fresh thyme over cooked fillets.
Yield: Serves 2.
Source: Covered In Flour.