Friday, September 19, 2008
A Fungus Among Us
Yup, had to be done! For this week's secret ingredient, Rose chose (ha, that rhymes!) mushrooms. You can check out the details of the challenge here. Fun fact: While I knew these gems were high in B vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, they are also high in protein. (although when I looked up the nutrition facts, I think you'd have to eat alot of mushrooms to get a substantial amount of protein) Regardless... I also learned that Shiitakes are actually chinese (not japanese) in origin, and they grow on trees! kinda neat. oh, and did you know that mushrooms double in size every 24 hours?!? wowsa! Oh, you wanted a recipe? Here's what I came up with...
Lemon Pasta w/Asparagus & Mushrooms
1 1/2-2c lemon pasta (or your favorite pasta)
5 crimini mushrooms, sliced
5 shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
1/2 bunch of asparagus, cut into ~1" pieces
~2oz goat cheese
s/p, thyme to taste
(If not using lemon pasta, I'd go with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or some lemon zest)
Ahead of time: Saute mushrooms in about 1/2T butter and 1T EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil, another RR reference, which I love b/c I get to type less, until I try to explain it... oh well; i'm sure you could get away with just EVOO, or use more if you wanted but I'm usually stingy) until brown and umm, cooked. (They looked nice and toasty, I wouldn't say 'soft' since they already are kind of soft...) I also steamed the asparagus pieces until tender, but still had a little crunch (but do them however you like!)
When thinking about dinner: Boil some water and cook pasta al dente. BEFORE draining, steal some pasta water--I just took a measuring cup and took some out. Drain your pasta and put it back into the pot. Add cooked asparagus and mushrooms, add goat cheese and season with salt, pepper, thyme (s/p=salt and pepper). Add enough cooking liquid to make a sauce that will coat the pasta ever so nicely.
Note: The pasta water has some starch from the pasta, so it adds some thickness that regular water or veggie stock wouldn't have, but if you forget as I often do, either of these would work!
I guess by now you have probably figured out that I *heart* goat cheese, and will put it in almost everything. And that I like doing things ahead of time so the right before dinner cooking time is minimal. [I know I'm not supposed to start a sentence with and, but it seemed like a run-on if i kept it together...] If I come home late and am starving, I will eat half my kitchen while cooking and be full by the time dinner's done, so this works for me :)
Oh, the tilapia? I just sprinkled some of this awesome spice blend from Penzey's (If you've never heard of them, I highly recommend checking them out). It's called Sunny Paris, it's got shallots, chives, green peppercorn, french basil, tarragon, chrvil, bay leaf and dill weed. Smells amazing. So I cooked up in a nonstick skillet with a little EVOO. Just when they were about done, I added ~1/4c white wine (I almost spelled that with an h;-)), squeeze of lemon juice, and some capers. That cooked off quickly, leaving the fish nicely flavored. Very quick!!
I'll stop rambling now and hope you all have a great friday!