Sunday, August 22, 2010

Summer Salivations - Part II

Hello all!

So, it's been quite a while since Part I, but that is mostly because I've been very busy! This will, sadly, be my last post of something I cooked in Minneapolis, at least for quite a while, as I have officially made my move to Tacoma! I have spent much of my time lately in orientations and traveling and moving, so not so much with the posting.

However, I do hope to be creating/discovering and twisting some new recipes while I'm here (sadly without my access to the Seward Coop or the Midtown Farmers' Market, which will take some getting used to), and so I shall continue posting!

Pasta with Slow Cooked Peppers and Onions

This is a dish originally inspired by a Jamie Oliver recipe we found in a cook book from the library. That dish had a cool name, but I completely forget what it was, and this recipe is significantly different from it anyway, aside from the core method of preparation. If you prepare no other pasta recipe I have offered you, try this one! It is exquisitely delicious (if I do say so myself!).

2 bell peppers (I used one green and one purple; yellow and red are quite excellent)
10 crimini mushrooms
1 onion
four cloves garlic
salt and pepper
1 lb pasta (penne or rigatoni)
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
Parmesan cheese


You may have noticed that the ingredients list here is not terribly different from a typical pasta recipe - the difference here is all in the preparation!

Step 1: The Mushrooms. Wash and slice your mushrooms and dice your garlic. Heat some olive oil in a skillet (cast iron if possible!) and saute the mushrooms with about half the garlic, plus a little salt and pepper. Set aside. This keeps them from getting soggy later on.

Step 2: The Peppers. Cut your peppers into longish strips. Get a few tablespoons of oil heating in the skillet over low heat. Add the peppers, some salt and pepper and cover. Cook the peppers over low heat for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more oil if it seems to be in danger of getting dry, Do not rush this process! This is where all the flavor comes from!

Step 3: The Rest. Slice up your onions (also in strips) and add them to the peppers. Cook these together for 10-15 minutes. This is a good time to put up some water to boil and begin cooking the pasta. After those 10-15 minutes, add a good couple slugs of balsamic vinegar, the rest of the garlic, and a hearty pinch of salt and pepper. Keep it cooking for another couple minutes, then turn off the heat and stir in the mushrooms, as well as a couple tablespoons of the pasta water. Combine with the pasta and serve with Parmesan. If the flavor feels off, add a little more vinegar or salt and pepper.

Tada! That's really all there is to it - I figure I must have riffed off this a little bit, but not terribly much. It's not terribly complicated, it just takes a little more patience than your average pasta dish. Again, I hope you enjoy this - it truly is worth the wait!

Portabella Burgers

So what is super fun to grill, easier to cook than a hamburger, twice as juicy, and doesn't involve the death of several cows to prepare? This dish! You know, this recipe is so simple that it doesn't even really bear my usual recipe format, but it is delicious, so try to squeeze it in before grilling season is over!

Basically, before you go outside to start your fire, get a big Ziploc bag. Take your portabellas, trim the stems and wash them (if you want to preserve the flavor as much as possible, you can wash them by wiping them with a damp paper towel) and place them in the bag. Pour a few glugs of olive oil and a glug or two of balsamic vinegar, plus a good bit of salt and pepper, and coat the mushrooms with these things (shake to distribute). Push out as much extra air as possible and seal the bag, leaving the mushrooms to marinate for an hour or so as you ready your fire and wait for the perfect coals.

Once the coals are ready, grill face down for a few minutes, then flip them right side up, adding cheese if desired.

After another few minutes, serve on a lightly toasted bun.

And that's it! I hope you enjoyed all the recipes from Minneapolis this past year, and I hope you enjoy the recipes from Tacoma this new year! Let's also hope Emily sends some recipes from Heqing, eh?



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