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Stephanie Izard’s Mixed Mushroom Ragout

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I saw this recipe in the latest issue of Food & Wine, and I have been meaning to make it for the better part of two weeks. Of course, I was far too busy freaking out to do any cooking last week, so we ate out way too much. Now that the pressure is off and I’ve realized I don’t have to study again for quite some time, I was free to cook this evening.

I had leftover organic chicken breasts in the freezer, so that’s what I paired the ragout with, but the serving suggestions include fish, scallops, and pasta, so I think this is one of those recipes that can be reinvented depending on what you serve it with. The real reason I felt drawn to this recipe (other than my love of mushrooms) is how many different flavors it had! Coconut milk, with mushrooms, capers, miso, and raisins? I had to try it. The ragout was easy to make and didn’t require a ton of prep work, which is always nice.

Oh, and made with veg stock like I did, this ragout is vegan too! I kept telling Brent how interesting it tasted while we were eating, which I know does not sound like a ringing endorsement, but I really did like it. I’ve just never quite tasted anything like that with all those flavors. I definitely recommend trying it if you’re a mushroom fan. I halved the recipe and we got 3-4 servings of the ragout, so I’m planning on having some over pasta for lunch tomorrow.

Does anyone else’s dog do this?

Lucy does this several times a day and just stares at me with her goofy upside down face.

The job hunt begins tomorrow!

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Wild Mushroom Risotto

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I had planned to use the wild mushrooms I bought at the farmers’ market in either some sort of pasta dish or risotto. Brent voted for risotto, so 3 days later, there I was sweating over the risotto pot, stirring until my arm about fell off. Or not. Risotto is not difficult at all, and the stirring is always made to sound worse than it is. Once you get the technique, you don’t really need a recipe. I threw this together to have ready when Brent got home from work today.

Wild Mushroom & Leek Risotto

  • 2T olive oil
  • 2T butter
  • 2/3 c. arborio rice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 leek, sliced thinly
  • ~1/3 c. dry white wine
  • ~2.5 c. vegetable broth
  • 2 c. wild mushrooms, chopped
  • 1-2T fresh thyme
  1. Poor broth in small pot and keep on low heat (don’t boil it).
  2. Heat 1T butter in a saute pan over medium heat.
  3. Add mushrooms and 1T thyme to saute pan and saute until browned and softened.
  4. Set aside mushrooms.
  5. In a medium sized pot, heat 2T olive oil over medium heat.
  6. Add garlic and leek to the pot and saute until soft, about 5 minutes.
  7. Add rice to pot and stir until translucent.
  8. Add wine to the pot and stir until liquid is absorbed. (I totally take breaks from stirring here and there, just don’t let the rice get stuck to the bottom of the pot).
  9. Add 1/4-1/2 c. warmed broth to the pot and stir until liquid is absorbed.
  10. Continue adding liquid in small increments and stirring until absorbed. After I’ve added about 1.5-2 c. I start taste testing to monitor the texture of the rice. You don’t want mush, but you don’t want crunch.
  11. Once the rice is the texture you want, break 1T butter into a few pieces and fold in butter and mushrooms into rice mixture. Place a lid of the pot and let stand off the heat for about 5 minutes.
  12. Garnish with more fresh thyme.

I know that totally looks like a lot of directions, but it’s no big deal, especially if you’re listening to Pandora and drinking a glass of the wine too. I made this to serve three, but Brent has a big appetite, so it was enough for just the two of us. I served it with a big arugula and roasted beet salad.

Don’t you think beets are the prettiest vegetable? I said that once to Brent and he talked seriously about having me committed, but it’s very true I think. They’re gorgeous.

Anyway, I took Larry for a long walk today, mostly because he needed it, but also because today was our first day here without sun (which apparently happens an average of 270 days a year), so I figured I should make sure I get used to it. Here is that same park cloaked in grey (or silver if you’re a look on the bright side kind of person).

I didn’t think the grey drizzle was too bad, (but talk to me in 6 months) and it won’t prevent me from doing any of my outdoor activities. I actually think the water looked gorgeous today. Larry did, however, manage to cover himself (and my legs!) in mud, which was less than stellar.

For now I’m off to talk Brent into going out for some gelato. 🙂


On the Mend

I’m starting to get “the new semester has really started” school stress, so I asked Brent to help me out by making one or two dinners a week. Tonight was one of his meal nights, and he decided he wanted to make beef stroganoff. He used this recipe, scaled down, but substituted 8oz ounces of baby bella mushrooms for the canned.

I’ve never had stroganoff before, so I wasn’t sure if I would like it or not, but I was pleasantly surprised. It’s not a dish I would probably pick, but I really liked it. Total comfort food, which went well with the new fall crispness in the air.

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Lucy’s surgery went well yesterday. By well, I just mean they accomplished what they said they would. Brent and I apparently did not get the full picture of what to expect after the surgery though. I didn’t realize how awful it would look. Poor Lucy looked so miserable!

She hates that cone, but it is vital that we keep it on her for at least a week. She’s been running into walls and getting confused about where she is. It’s heart breaking to see her so mopey, but I think it’s just the anesthetic. At least I hope it’s that, and not that she secretly hates us for doing this to her.

Lucy actually went for a full walk around the block this afternoon and gets to resume her normal eating schedule tomorrow, so I hope that means she’s on the mend!

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta

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I like sun-dried tomatoes, but I don’t think Brent does. I do not, however, *love* raw, ripe tomatoes. I just don’t get that obsession. I bought a quart of sun-dried tomatoes at The Fresh Market on a whim last week and wanted to use some of them in a pasta dish, so tonight I threw them in a food processor with extra-virgin olive oil, a clove of garlic, a handful of basil and a handful of Parmesan cheese. I sprinkled it with salt and pepper and blended(and added a bit more oil) until I got what look sauce-ish to me. It smelled pretty amazing too. Basil will do that.

I cooked some whole wheat rotini and sautéed some crimini mushrooms. I deglazed the mushroom pan with a splash of white wine, reduced it, and added a glob (definitely the best word for the amount I used) of the sun-dried tomato pesto. I mixed everything around until it was a well-mingled party and then tossed with the pasta. Then I grated more cheese on top. Because I love cheese.

I really love this. That was to be expected. My love of wine, pasta, and cheese is well-documented. My love of mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes may be less prolific, but it’s a love nonetheless so I was happy to have all my favorites in one bowl. I also drank some of the above mentioned white wine. It was a lovely meal to have on my last night as a 24-year-old.

Speaking of that, since my birthday is tomorrow, I wanted to highlight some of the things I crossed off my list as a 24-year-old:

And probably a lot more, but those are sticking out in my head right now. To get my 25th year started out on the right foot, I’ll post some things I plan on doing in the next year tomorrow morning.

Mushroom Marinara with Gardein “Tuscan Breasts”

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My opinion on tonight’s dinner was split. I love mushroom marinara, made with thick slices of baby bella mushrooms, but I’m not so sure about this Gardein Tuscan Breasts product I picked up.

I actually went to this store this afternoon in search of organic chicken breasts, which I have seen at this store before, but I guess they no longer carry organic meat. 😦 I saw the new Gardein products, and having seen them on a few other blogs, I decided to try them. The Tuscan breasts are made with soy protein and vital wheat gluten. I like the texture of seitan, which is also made from gluten, so I was hoping I would enjoy these as well. Each “breast” has 21 grams of protein.

I sauteed up the mushrooms, then pan fried the breasts (per the package directions) for two minutes on each side and then simmered in some tomato-basil pasta sauce. I threw that mess on some whole wheat spaghetti and was excited to dig in.

At first I told Brent that I really liked the texture of the breasts, but that they tasted “really earthy.” As I continued eating… the flavor continued to not grow on me. I’m not usually one to be negative, but by the end of my bowl I was feeling very unfavorably about the Tuscan Breasts. 😦

Brent agreed. He compared the smell of the breasts to “wet dog.” Not exactly a ringing endorsement. I don’t think I’ll be buying these again. I was hoping I would love them because they have a ton of products. I’m not sure if it’s worth trying some of the other meatless options from Gardein. Perhaps if they went on sale or I had a coupon I might try the “ribs” or something else.

Weeknight Date

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Today was gorgeous in Fort Wayne! Nearly 60 degree and sunny and flowers are starting to bloom! My appetite was still a bit wonky this morning. I couldn’t decide what to eat for breakfast and I didn’t really feel like making anything so I just reheated some channa masala from last night. Along with some coffee it made a delicious, if slightly nontraditional, breakfast.

I spent most of the day studying for my maternity class, making bread, and taking walks.  For lunch I, again, didn’t feel like putting much effort into preparing something. I heated up a Morningstar Riblet (I can’t decide if I like these), and made and salad with spring mix, carrots, cucumbers, red bell pepper, roasted beets, olive oil and white balsamic vinegar. The riblet is certainly not attractive, but it was easy.

While I was eating lunch, I had two loaves of whole wheat bread baking in the oven. One for Brent’s breakfasts and one for the freezer. I just love the smell of baking bread!

After an hour and a half of daydreaming/walking this afternoon, I started making dinner. I made Mushroom Barley Soup, which was quite good. I had a bowl along with the heel of one of the loaves. It makes such good toast!

A little while after dinner Brent and I took a 30 minute walk to 800 Degrees for some drinks. I had a pint of Rogue Dead Guy Ale and we split the bruschetta, which was so delicious! It came with lots of pesto, which is one of my current favorite things. I love midweek date nights! 🙂 After another walk, we’re back home and on the couch watching Lost. Gotta go!