Category Archives: mushrooms

Wild Mushroom Farro Risotto

When my good friend Frances had her baby, I wanted to bring her tasty meals that she could heat and eat but still feel like she wasn’t missing anything. Farro risotto holds up much better to reheating than does regular rice risotto.

Wild Mushroom Farro Risotto:
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
17.6oz package farro
¼ cup white wine
¼ cup dried morrell mushrooms
1 cup water
6 oz mixed wild mushrooms
8 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced
32 oz carton chicken broth
1 teaspoon thyme
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pot on medium high heat. Add the onions and garlic and stir until the onions turns translucent. Add the farro grain and stir to coat in the oil and cook. Add the white wine and stir till its absorbed.

In a separate pot, heat the dried mushrooms and water until the mushrooms are soft. Add the mushrooms and water to the pot with the farro and stir till the liquid is absorbed. Add the rest of the olive oil to the separate pot and cook the rest of the mushroom and the thryme until browned. Stirring on occasion to make sure they are browned on all sides. Take the mushrooms off of the heat and set aside.

Add a small portion of the chicken broth, about 1/2 cup, to the farro. Keep stirring until liquid is absorbed. Add more broth and stir to absorb until all of the broth is gone. If the farro is still not done enough, repeat this process with addition water until the farro is cooked through but not too mushy. Add the mushrooms, parsley, parmesan and salt and pepper to the main pot. Stir to combine all of the ingredients and taste for seasoning. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Serve immediately.



A hearty French Cassolette is the best food to get you through the winter. It requires a bit of work, but you can leave it in the over to finish on its own. This version has a bit extra vegetables with the addition of the baby squash. If you don’t want to use sausage you can use duck legs, chicken legs or thighs or any other meat that will hold up to a braze in the over.

4 slices bacon, chopped
1 ½ lb pork sausage, cut into chunks
1 large sweet onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic
2 10oz packages of mushrooms
2-3 cups chicken broth
½ cup white wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 lb baby squash, cut into bite size pieces
10 sprigs of thyme
2 – 15 oz cans of white beans
Salt and pepper

In a large cast iron Dutch oven, over medium high heat, cook the bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon and set aside. Add the sausage and let it brown on one side. Stir and let it brown on the other side. Remove the sausage and set aside with the bacon. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Add the onions and garlic to the oil in the pot. Sautee in the oil until clear and translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook until browned. Add the chicken broth, wine and tomato paste. Stir to combine. Add the squash, thyme and beans and stir. Add back in the sausage and bacon. Mix to combine. Season with salt and pepper and taste the broth to make sure it is salty enough. Put the lid on the pot and cook in the over for 1 hour.

Beef Tenderloin With Tarragon Sauce, Cauliflower Puree and Haricot Verts and Mushrooms

I invited Victor, Ryan and Kappy over for dinner on Tuesday after the elections. I wanted to create an all American meal, steak and apple pie. Unfortunately Kappy could not make it. But we had a nice time and it was simple enough to make after work but very impressive none the less.

Beef Tenderloin With Tarragon Sauce, Cauliflower Puree and Haricot Verts and Mushrooms

Beef Tenderloin:
1 3lb beef tenderloin roast
sea salt
garlic powder
black pepper
Cajun seasoning
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously season the tenderloin with the salt and other seasonings. Heat the olive oil in a cast iron skillet on medium high heat. Sear the tenderloin for 2 minutes on all 6 sides. Then place an electric thermometer into the tenderloin and place the pan in the oven. Cook the tenderloin until the internal temperature reads 140 degrees, for rare. Let the tenderloin rest outside of the oven and off of the heat for 15 minutes before slicing.

Tarragon Sauce:
1 shallot, minced
½ cup white wine
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons fresh tarragon leaves
1 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper

Sautee the shallots in the same pan that the tenderloin was cooked in, on medium high heat. Deglaze the plan with the wine and cook down for about 5 minutes. Add the tarragon and mustard and stir in. Add the cream and reduce for 5-10 minutes until desired thickness. Taste and season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.

Cauliflower Puree:
1 12oz package of cauliflower florets
3 small Yukon gold potatoes, pealed and cubed
4 cloves of garlic
3 tablespoons butter

Place the cauliflower, potatoes, garlic and 1 teaspoon of salt in a medium pan. Cover the vegetables with water. Place a lid on the pot and boil for at least 30 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Drain all of the liquid out of the vegetables and transfer them to a food processor. Add the butter to the food processor and place the lid on. Let the vegetables sit for a few minutes until the butter starts to melt. Pulse the food processor until the vegetables form a smooth puree. Transfer the puree back into the pot and check for seasoning. Add salt if necessary. Keep the puree warm on low heat until ready to serve.

Haricot Verts and Mushrooms:
1 8oz package of haricot verts
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 8oz package of sliced baby bella mushrooms
salt and pepper
¼ cup white wine
½ teaspoon dried thyme

In a medium saucepan, place the beans and 1 teaspoon of salt and cover with water. Blanch for 5-10 minutes until the color turns a deep green and the beans are still crunchy. Rinse the beans with cold water and let drain.

In a sauté pan, heat the olive oil and sauté the garlic until soft but not brown. Add the mushrooms and sauté until they are brown. Add salt and pepper, the wine and the thyme. Cook the mushrooms until almost all of the liquid is evaporated. Add the beans to the mushrooms and sauté to heat through. Taste the vegetables and add more salt and pepper as needed.

Three Canapés: Tuna Nicoise, Balsamic Steak and Mushroom Goat Cheese

Canapés are always easy to make and look super impressive. I wanted to have a main course that was easy to eat and still had great flavors. These three canapés really invoke the best flavors of France.

Tuna Nicoise Canapés:
2 7oz cans of tuna, drained
½ small onion, minced
1 tablespoon capers, minced
handful of black olives, chopped
handful of haricots verts, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
juice and zest of ½ lemon
salt and pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon anchovy paste
½ teaspoon dijon mustard
bread rounds
grape tomatoes, halved

Using a form, mix the tuna, onion, capers, olives, beans, olive oil, lemon, and seasonings in a mixing bowl. Taste the tuna mixture and adjust the seasoning as needed.

Cover the bread rounds with a piece of lettuce. Put a hefty tablespoon of the tuna mixture over the lettuce. Top the tuna with a half of a cherry tomato and serve.

Balsamic Steak Canapés:
1 lb beef tenderloin
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
2 tablespoons olive oil
bread rounds
Parmigiano-Reggiano slices or chunks
Aged balsamic vinegar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrease. Season the beef with the salt, pepper, garlic and Cajun seasoning. Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet with a metal handle on medium high heat. Sear the beef on all sides, about 3 minutes per side. Insert an electric probe thermometer inter the center of the beef and set the alarm for medium rare. Place the skillet of beef into the oven and cook until the alarm sounds.

Let the cooked beef rest for at least 15 minutes so that the juices redistribute. Slice the beef, against the grain, into thin bite sized piece.

To assemble, cover a piece of bread with a piece of lettuce. Place a piece of beef and Parmigiano on top of the lettuce and drizzle with the balsamic.

Mushroom Goat Cheese Canapés:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
½ medium onion, chopped
1 4oz package of mixed “wild” mushrooms, chopped
1 8oz package of sliced baby bella mushrooms, chopped
½ tablespoon dried thyme
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon bourbon or other brown liquor like cognac
melba toasts
1 8oz log of goat cheese
fresh thyme leaves

Heat the olive oil and garlic in a skillet on medium heat. Before the garlic browns add the minced onion and cook until it turns clear. Add the mushrooms and thyme and cook until browned and soft. Once all of the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are soft and browned add the salt and pepper and liquor. Keep stirring the mushrooms until the liquor is almost evaporated. Taste the mixture and adjust the salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon a hefty tablespoon of mushroom onto the toasts. Add a slice of goat cheese and fresh thyme leaves to the top of the mushrooms and serve.

Thanksgiving Morrells and Haricot Vert

I hate green bean casserole for Thanksgiving. It is too mushy and the flavors are never bold enough. I took the same main ingredients and made this great gourmet alternative. Thanks to my dad for the never ending stash of morrells.

Morrells and Haricot Vert

1 cup dried morrells
½ rose wine
1 cup diced pancetta
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 oz sliced baby bella or button mushrooms
1 teaspoon thyme
2 cloves garlic, minced
haricort vert or green beans
salt and pepper
truffle oil

Cook the morrells and a pinch of salt in the wine and enough water to cover on medium heat until the liquid is basically evaporated.

In a large pan, cool the pancetta in the olive oil on medium high heat until the pancetta is golden brown. Add the sliced mushrooms, thyme, garlic and salt and pepper. Sautee until the mushrooms caramelize and there is no liquid in the pan. Add the morrells and stir to combine.

Boil a large pot of salted water and blanch the beans for about 5 minutes until they turn a bright green but don’t get soft. Add the drained beans to the mushrooms, drizzle with the truffle oil and more salt and pepper. Sautee the vegetables for just a few minutes on medium heat. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper as necessary.

Wine Tasting Party

My friends Josh and Jamie are having a cool wine tasting party tonight. I missed their last party because I was sick. I gave them a giant bottle of wine, after the fact, which they still have. So I’ve been forbidden from bringing another bottle of wine. With that said, I can’t show up to a party empty handed. So I decided to make a great dish that will pair well with the wine. In addition I had some left over bread in my freezer, and cream and eggs that I had to use up. So it was an easy and cheap solution.

Savory Mushroom and Goat Cheese Bread Pudding

1 tablespoon butter
2 slices bacon, chopped
¼ large onion, chopped
1 10 oz package of sliced baby Portobello mushrooms, chopped
1 ½ teaspoons dried thyme
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cognac
3 eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
6 cups of cubed brioche or other egg bread (1/2 loaf)
4 ounces crumbled goat cheese
grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the butter and bacon in a skillet on medium heat. Stir occasionally until the bacon is crisp and brown. Add the onions. Keep cooking and occasionally stirring till the onions brown and caramelize. Add the mushrooms, thyme and pepper. Turn the heat up to medium high. Keep cooking until the mushroom brown and the water is evaporated. Add the parsley and salt. Cook for another few minutes to wilt the parsley. Turn the heat back down to medium. Add the cognac. Keep stirring until the cognac is evaporated and turn the heat off. Spread the mushrooms in an even layer in the pan and let it sit aside while you make the rest of the dish.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degreases.

Beat the eggs in a large metal bowl with a balloon whisk. Add the cream and keep beating. Add the spices and sugar and beat to combine. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the cubed bread. Make sure that all bits of bread are saturate with the egg mixture but there is not a pool of egg at the bottom of the bowl. The pudding some come together in a very dense ball in the bowl. You can add a tiny bit more cream, milk or even water if the mixture seems too dry. Fold in the goat cheese and mushrooms, scrapping all the flavor out of the pan.

Spoon the mixture into mini muffin tins lined with mini muffin cups. You will have enough for 3 tins. Sprinkle a tiny bit of Parmesan cheese over the top of each muffin and bake for 30-45 minutes or until golden brown and fluffy. Cool in the tins for 10 minutes before removing them to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Savory Pastry Comfort

Watching Jamie Oliver’s new TV show inspired this dish. Strangely, the recipe for his beef, cheese and Guinness pie was never posted on the Food Network, so I have to improvise. This is the perfect food for a cold winter night.

Beef Pot Pie

2 sweet onions, sliced in thin rounds
4 large cloves of garlic, minced
3 carrots, finely diced
3 ribs of celery, finely diced
3 packages of sliced baby Portobello mushrooms
3-5 sprigs of thyme
3 bay leaves
2 lbs brisket, cut into bit size pieces
1 carbon beef stock
1-2 cups old red wine
olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper
1 lb grated cheddar cheese
1 sheet puff pastry
Frozen organic sweet peas

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil on medium high in a heavy bottom large stockpot or Dutch oven. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until they turn soft and start to brown. Add the carrots and celery and sauté them for about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and spices and continue to cook. Season the veggies with salt and pepper. Add the beef, wine and stock and cover the pot with the lid. Cook on medium, stirring occasionally for several hours until most of the liquid is evaporated. Cool over night in the oven so that the flavors bloom.

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat the pot of beef back on the stove to a low boil. Mix in a small hang full of cheese, reserving the majority of the cheese. Fill a glass-baking dish with the beef mixture, covering the top with the majority of the cheese. Cover the dish with the puff pastry and back in the oven till the pastry is golden brown and puffy.

Cool the pie on the stovetop while you heat the peas in a small saucepan with a sprinkle of salt. Serve a chunk of the beef and pastry with a good hearty serving of peas.

Easy and Lower Calorie Chicken Marsala

Normally I take the time to make Chicken Marsala. I slice the chicken breasts thin, dredge them in seasoned flower and pan-fry them to a golden brown. I then remove the chicken from the pan and sauté onions, garlic and mounds of mushrooms. After covering the veggies with chicken broth and some Marsala wine, I ad back in the chicken and cook it all down to a yummy think sauced and moist chicken masterpiece. However today is October 1st and I’m on a diet. That is right, no more high fatty meats, elaborate deserts and limited alcohol. Ugh. In addition school has started up again. So I have countless hours of reading to do. Couple that with 2-hour workouts at the gym and there is just no time. So today I tried a new way of making Chicken Marsala. In a large baking dish I placed chopped onions, garlic and sliced mushrooms. Toss that with salt, pepper and a tiny bit of Italian seasoning. Sprinkle 9 chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Nestle the breasts in the veggie mixture and fill the container up with chicken broth and some Marsala wine. Cover it all with foil, poke some holes for the steam, and throw it in a 350-degree oven. Hopefully it will emerge rich and moist!