• Mushroom Ragout With Fried Duck Eggs

    Mushroom Ragout with Fried Duck Eggs.

    Mushroom Ragout with Fried Duck Eggs.

    Happy Halloween! Go Sox! And way to go Koji! My kids have a new favorite (non-Giant) player. What a Series…now back to business.

    Most of the time when we blog about a dish it was a success. We make plenty of good, average or just “meh” dishes that don’t merit sharing, or at least need some serious tuning before we unleash them on the blogosphere. Over time, we’ve become a very self-critical bunch (the kids can’t help it, if they don’t like something it is very clear). This is a good thing, a little truthful feedback goes a long way, and we continue to improve as cooks. However, this means the bar for a dish to be “blogworthy” grows ever higher.

    shroom4shroom5So while we are sharing this dish, we will say up front that it may or may not be worth the work (it depends on how much you like mushrooms). But we will share the recipe because one of the major components of the dish really did sing, and we will use it again. That part is porcini mushroom stock. With Thanksgiving coming up, we will use this stock for a number of dishes- and they will rock. Someone is bound to say that “this gravy goes to eleven”….;-)

    shroom6shroom7shroom8And the porcini stock did help with this adaptation of a Yotam Ottolenghi recipe. Basically a deconstructed / modernized Stroganoff, this dish combines browned mushrooms, garlicky croutons and a sauce of porcini stock and sour cream. Topped with a poached or fried duck egg (we like to fry the eggs, your choice), you get a rich, flavorful dish with a range of textures. Good, but a bit of a fuss for what ends up in the bowl.

    shroom9shroom10The fuss here is that you have to soak dried porcini for the stock, then make your own croutons (good but 15 minutes), brown the mushrooms in batches (better browning, but a pain in the a**), make and reduce the porcini stock, fry the eggs, finish the sauce and serve. A simple dish made not so simple- Ottolenghi does this to you sometimes. And sometimes it’s worth it and sometimes…..not so much. Such is life.

    shroom12shroom13shroom14But we did get the Porcini stock, and that made everything worthwhile. All you do is soak 1/2 ounce of dried porcini in a cup of hot water for 30 minutes, strain the liquid (discard the porcini), add some water, mirepoix, thyme and a bit of seasoning. Simmer for about 20 minutes and then adjust seasoning. What you get is a balanced, sweet and flavorful stock with clear umami notes. This stuff beats any veggie stock and is better than most chicken or beef stock. And it takes a lot less time to make than most homemade stock.

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  • Warm Mushroom And Arugula Salad

    Warm Mushroom and Arugula Salad.

    Warm Mushroom and Arugula Salad.

    We love to cook here at the farm (in case you couldn’t tell), but life still gets in the way sometimes. We have kids, jobs, community, family, the garden and just every day stuff that needs to get done (and baseball starts soon). And we are certainly not complaining (life is good), it just means we have less time than we would like to cook. That is why we make a point to always have (and look for) quick, easy one-plate dinners that use common ingredients. And this salad is one of those dishes. You can get the ingredients at almost any market, it takes maybe 20-30 minutes to make, it tastes great and sneaks in some veggies.

    shroom5shroom6And it shouldn’t be a surprise that this recipe is adapted from Ina Garten’s “Barefoot in Paris” cookbook. Ina’s recipes tend to use common, fresh ingredients and subs simple preparations over complex technique. And while purists may howl at times (don’t purists howl about everything?), her recipes do work. And as an ex-caterer, Garten’s recipes tend to require less extra time and prep than most. With that in mind, if we want to adapt a basic dish, Garten’s recipes are often where we start. And with this dish of warm sautéed cremini mushrooms and dressing over a bed of arugula and prosciutto, garnished with parmesan, sun-dried tomatoes and parsley, we didn’t have to change all that much. The whole dish is one big “umami-bomb”, what’s not to like? (Unless you are a vegetarian, then just sub caramelized shallots or onion for the prosciutto).

    shroom7shroom8But we do make a few significant changes to the recipe that, we think, improve the dish. Firstly, Ina tells you not to wash the mushrooms, but brush them clean instead, so they don’t absorb water. While many “old-school” chefs will tell you to brush, many current food-science oriented cooks like Alton Bron and Harold McGee have run many experiments showing that you can, and should, wash mushrooms. They just don’t soak up that much water and what they soak up will cook out. Save yourself 20 minutes of mind-numbing, ineffective brushing and wash those mushrooms. Secondly, Ina has you cook the mushrooms for just a few minutes, but to really get the golden brown, meaty flavor and texture out of the mushrooms you need to sauté them longer, more like 10-15 minutes. Take your time with the mushrooms and you will be rewarded, besides you have the 20 extra minutes you saved by washing the mushrooms. 😉

    shroom9shroom11As for assembling the dish, this is as easy as it gets. Rinse and dry some arugula (you could sub baby spinach), place it on the plates and drape over a few slices of prosciutto. Cut some slivers of parmesan cheese and dice a few tablespoons of sun-dried tomatoes. Rinse and dry a few leaves of Italian parsley. Meanwhile, as you finish sautéing the mushrooms, add some sherry or cider vinegar to make a warm dressing. Taste the dressing and adjust vinegar and seasoning and then spoon the mushrooms and dressing over the greens. Garnish with the parm, sun-dried tomatoes and parsley. Season one last time, if you like, and serve. It really is that easy. And this dish really is that good.

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