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Posts Tagged ‘button mushroom’

Uichiro, Yuki’s dad, makes a mean oyster gratin. Once a year one of Tamiko’s (Yuki’s mom) friends from her hometown of Miyagi in Japan (unfortunately not far from the recent earthquake, but fortunately everyone is alright, will be quite some time before the oyster population recovers though) sends her the famous oysters that she grew up on. A big container filled with the juiciest, most flavorful oysters you could imagine sinking your teeth into. Just so happens that I have timed a couple of my trips to Japan around oyster season. So, I’ve enjoyed Uichiro’s oyster gratin twice.

On to last night. While trying to decide what to have for dinner I remembered the oysters that I got at Whole Foods a while back that were freshly packaged. Nice big and juicy with great flavor. I asked Uichiro if he’d make his oyster gratin. He was happy to oblige but didn’t want to make the bechamel sauce. No worries, I happen to make a tasty bechamel.

At Whole Foods I noticed that they didn’t have the oysters I remembered in stock. All they had were oysters in the shell. It would’ve been a bit costly to buy the necessary amount to make gratin for 4. Improvisation is the key to cooking (life too), so we decided to get some of the beautiful shrimp behind the counter instead. Along with some chicken thigh we had the necessary fixens to make a classic gratin.

For the bechamel sauce I melted 5 tablespoons of butter over medium heat and then added 4 tablespoons of butter. I whisked it constantly for about  minutes until it became a dark golden color. Then I poured in 4 cups of hot milk and whisked that for 10 minutes giving it a nice thick consistency. Then I seasoned it with 2 teaspoons of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg. I set that aside.

Once I was done with the range Uichiro went to town on the rest of the ingredients. In some butter he lightly sautéed together about 1/2 pound of shrimp that he shelled and halved, 3 chopped skinless chicken thighs, 1/2 half large onion diced, 6-8 (not exactly sure how many) button mushrooms quartered, and some al dente macaroni (again, not exactly sure how much, but I think about 1/2 a package). He seasoned it all with salt and pepper and then mixed it in the bechamel sauce.

That all got poured into my ceramic baking dish. He topped it with some mozzarella and matzo meal. We didn’t have any panko, so again, we improvised. 35 minutes in a 400 degree oven, some parsley garnish, and it was ready to go.

Two things with this gratin. First, my bechamel, while extremely tasty, could’ve used another 3-5 minutes on the burner before letting it rest. A little bit thicker consistency would’ve been nice. Second, with oysters not used scallops would’ve been a little better than shrimp. Scallops are a lot more expensive though, so shrimp do a pretty good job, but scallops would be outstanding!

To balance out the heavy, creamy gratin Uichiro made this smoked salmon and onion dish. He thinly sliced a Vidalia onion and soaked it in cold water. He changed out the water 3 times squeezing the onions dry with each change. They were scattered all over a plate and then topped with thinly sliced smoked salmon. On to of the salmon went some thinly sliced lemon, including the rind with lends a nice bitterness to the overall flavor, not to mention a lot of nutrients the people usually waste by not eating the whole fruit. Then he scattered some chopped parsley all over the whole thing. I made a simple dressing to drizzle over the top. I whisked together 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, 4 tablespoons of olive oil, a pinch of salt, and some black pepper until it emulsified.

Some sliced baguette and a cold beer completed the dinner. But, I still crave his oyster gratin!

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Finally, I got Meatless Monday back into my life. No Bears game (thank goodness, I don’t think I can stand to watch that O-line pretend to block anymore) or anything that calls for carcus so I cleaned out some of the vegetables I had in my fridge. With the weather getting a little chilly I thought a nice hot bowl of Minestrone would hit the spot, especially since Yuki loves soup. To go with it I made some mushrooms in soy milk on toast.

For the minestrone I used 1 can of brown beans, 4 quarts of vegetable stock, 1 28oz can of skinned tomatoes, 6oz of farfale pasta, 2 ribs of celery chopped, 1 carrot chopped, 1 zucchini chopped, 1/2 an onion chopped, 1/2 green bell pepper chopped, 1 yukon gold potato skinned and chopped (2 in the pic but I only used 1), 3 garlic cloves chopped, some basil thinly sliced, and Parmigiano Reggiano grated.

In a heated stock pot I poured in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and then sweated down the onion, carrot, and celery for about 3 minutes. Then I added the green pepper and garlic and let that go for another 3 minutes. I dumped the juice from the tomato can in and crushed the tomatoes with my hands. Once the tomato juice started to boil, about 1 minute or so, I poured in the stock and seasoned with salt and pepper and 1 bay leaf. Once the stock started to boil, about 2 or 3 minutes, I added the potato and zucchini. The potato and zucchini obviously lowered the temperature of the soup, so a few minutes later when it came back to a boil I added the pasta then covered the pot and turned the heat down from medium-high to medium. I let it simmer for about 15 minutes to let the pasta cook properly.

While the pasta was cooking I heated up my saute pan and got the mushrooms ready. I thickly sliced (about 1/4-1/3 inch) 4 button mushrooms and a container of cremini mushrooms and sliced up 3 green onions. I melted 1 tablespoon of butter and poured in another tablespoon of olive oil then dumped all of the mushrooms and green onions in. I let them cook down for about 10 minutes until the mushrooms started to release their moisture. Then I poured in about 1/4 cup of soy milk and let that thicken up for about 2 minutes. I added some thinly sliced basil and turned off the heat. I toasted some sliced of challah during the cooking.

To serve, I ladled some soup into my bowls and topped it with sliced basil. I put the toasted challah on a plate and spooned some of the mushrooms on top. Then I topped everything with fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

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Last night I made another Japanese flavored spaghetti dish using sake hogushi and aonori. Sake hogushi is simply cooked salmon that’s been flaked into small “crumbs” and jarred. Aonori is a type of nori, Japanese algae, that’s been ground into a powder. The two ingredients can be used in a variety of ways like being sprinkled on white rice, mixed into cream sauces or dressings, or used like I did last night to name a few. Great ingredients to have on hand and available at any Asian grocer.

First thing I did was get my side vegetables ready. I had three beefsteak tomatoes and 1 large Japanese eggplant. I sliced the top off the tomatoes, sliced the eggplant in half length-wise, and then cut the eggplant into 2-3 inch pieces. I coated the tops of the vegetables with panko, then drizzled some olive oil on top, then sprinkled some aonori on top of that. I roasted them in a 350 degree oven for about 35-40 minutes, just enough time for me to get the rest of dinner ready.

To make the spaghetti I used butter, the sake hogushi, half on onion sliced, 7 button mushrooms sliced, and 4 garlic cloves. In a large hot skillet I poured about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and then melted 1 tablespoon of butter in that. I added the onion and let it sweat for about 4 minutes. Then, I added the garlic and mushrooms. At the same time I cooked my noodles in boiling water until al dente. The garlic and mushrooms needed about 5 minutes which was about the same amount of time the noodles took. After draining the noodles (I reserved about 1/3 cup of the water) I added about 1/4 cup of soy sauce along with 1/2 cup of the sake hogushi to the onions, garlic, and mushrooms. I let the soy come to boil for about 2 minutes and then added the noodles and reserved water with some black pepper. I let the noodles coat with the sauce and most of the liquid boil off then turned off the heat and covered the skillet.

Then, I took two baby bok choy that I had seperated the leaves of and put them in my steamer for about 4 minutes. That’s just enough time to cook the stems without having the leaves wilt too much.

To serve, I put the baby bok choy on the plate then the spaghetti on top of that. I sprinkled it with some aonori and then put a tomato and some eggplant on the side.

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I made a quiche for Meatless Monday this week. I’ve never made one before, and while I really wanted to use some bacon, it turned out surprisingly delicious. Probably the best quiche I’ve ever eaten. Yuki, who is a big fan of quiche, thought so too.

For my vegetables I slices up 5 button mushrooms and 5 cremini, I chopped half of a Vidalia onion, I cut one head of broccoli into small florets, and minced on clove of garlic.

I melted one tablespoon of butter in my saute pan and started with the garlic for about 30 seconds and then the onion for about 4 minutes. I threw the mushrooms in and let them cook down for about 4 minutes. Then I tossed in the broccoli and let that go for another 4 minutes. I let them cool on a plate.

While the vegetables were cooling I whipped up the egg batter. I used 4 eggs, 1/2 cup of soy milk, 1/2 cup of fresh grated Gruyère, some salt, pepper, and a teaspoon of nutmeg.

I rolled out a puff pastry so that it would fit nicely in my 9″er (a man can dream). I lightly buttered the pan then laid the pastry in and trimmed the edges. I laid the vegetables on the bottom so that they were evenly dispersed. Then I poured the egg batter on top. I rolled the sides of the crust dow till they were just slightly higher than the batter. I topped it all with some more grated Gruyère and threw it into a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until the top is slightly browned.

I let it sit for about 10 minutes after taking it out of the oven. The quiche needs to rest a little and it will lose some height as it settles.

I served it with some white rice and a mixed green salad. The salad had some tomatoes and a shiitake vinaigrette.

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For Meatless Monday last night I made some quesadillas with sautéed mushrooms and poblanos. I served them with some mashed black beans, simple salad, and some white rice.

The first thing I did was make the mushroom and poblano filling. I heated a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and threw a sliced red onion in to saute for about 5 minutes. Then I added a couple of minced garlic cloves for about two more minutes. After that I added two sliced poblano chilis. I let that all cook down for another 5 minutes. I had sliced a bunch of shiitake, cremini, and button mushrooms (not sure how many of each, but a lot since they cook down) and threw them in to cook down. That took about 7 minutes or so. I seasoned with some salt, pepper, chili powder, and cumin. Once all the flavors were mixed in I took it off the heat and let it all rest.

To make the quesadillas I had to do them one at a time since I don’t have a big griddle. So, I melted a little butter in my big saute pan and laid down a 10 inch flour tortilla. I topped half of it with some of the mushroom-poblano mix and then topped that with a little shredded jalapeno-jack cheese.

Then I carefully folded it over and let the tortilla crisp up for a couple of minutes on each side. To keep them warm I put a baking pan in the oven on warm and let them sit in the heat while I made up the rest. It’s that simple.

To make the mashed black beans I heated a tablespoon of vegetable oil and sautéed 5 minced garlic cloves for about 3 minutes. Then I dumped two cans, partially drained, of black beans. I let them heat through for a few minutes and then mashed them with a potato masher. I added some salt and pepper to taste and that was about it. If it got too thick I’d simply add a tablespoon of water at a time until the texture was right.

I dressed the salad with a shiitake vinaigrette. I garnished it with sliced tomato and avocado. I garnished the entire plate with some cilantro.

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