nuts

Classic Vegetarian Nut Roast

 

Serves 6 to 8

1 onion, medium chopped
1 tablespoon butter or oil
2 cups finely-chopped mushrooms (See Recipe Note)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 teaspoon dried sage
Red wine or sherry
2 cups cooked brown rice
2 cups walnuts, finely chopped or pulsed in a food processor
1 cup cashews or almonds, finely chopped or pulsed in a food processor
5 eggs
1 cup cottage cheese
3/4 pound grated cheese: Parmesan, Gruyere, cheddar, fontina, smoked or any combination
1/2 cup mixed fresh chopped herbs such as parsley, oregano, thyme
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Sauté the onion in oil or butter until it begins to soften. Add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt and pepper, and cook until the mushrooms release their juices and become soft. Add the garlic and dried herbs, and continue to cook. When the pan begins to dry out again, add a good splash of red wine or sherry and cook until it is reduced. The contents should be moist but not swimming in liquid. Remove from the heat and let cool a little.

While the mushroom mixture cools, butter or oil a 9-inch loaf pan and line with parchment paper or foil.

In a large bowl, toss the brown rice and nuts together. In a separate bowl beat the eggs with the cottage cheese. Add the egg mixture to the rice/nut mixture, then stir in the cooled mushrooms, grated cheese and fresh herbs. Mix well. Taste for seasoning and adjust. (If you're worried about the raw egg, you can fry up a little patty to taste.)

The mixture can be kept, covered, in the refrigerator at this point for no more than a day.

Fill the loaf pan with the nut mixture, rap a few times on the counter to get rid of any air bubbles and smooth the top with a spatula. Decorate with slices of mushrooms, slices of bell pepper, or whole walnuts if desired. Place loaf pan on a baking tray.

Bake for about an hour or until the loaf is firm (slightly longer if the mixture was refrigerated). Remove from the oven. Rest on a cooling rack for ten minutes, then lift the loaf from the pan using the excess parchment paper or foil. Peel off the parchment or foil and serve on a platter, garnished with fresh herbs.

Serve with a mushroom gravy, accompanied by your favorite autumn vegetables.

Recipe Notes:

• Nut loaf is a very forgiving recipe. You can add more mushrooms or less cheese if you want to lighten it up, for example. You can use ordinary button mushrooms for a wonderful classic nut loaf, or you can substitute some or all of the buttons for fresh shiitake. I've never used the more exotic wild mushrooms because I imagine their flavor would get lost, but if you have the spare cash, they may be worth experimenting with.

 

 

 

Homemade Candied Ginger

Marshall Henderson makes candied ginger

This past Christmas season, I continued my quest to find the perfect ginger cookie recipe. My search stems from fond childhood memories of the wonderful cookies my grandmother and her friends made. As quests go, this one is fun and obviously very important to society in general. And in the process, I stumbled on a neat little side benefit that goes beyond ginger cookies.

I repeated a recipe I had tried before, but this time with the candied ginger I couldn’t locate the first time I made them. Instead of looking for candied ginger in local stores, I decided to make it myself. Turns out, it’s quite easy to make and it produces a couple of bonus byproducts that have uses well beyond cookies.

The candied ginger recipe (printed in full below) calls for just four ingredients: ginger root, sugar, salt and water. After pealing and slicing the ginger, I boiled it on the stove for 30 minutes, and then  drained off half of the liquid. At this point, I had over a cup of ginger-infused water, which normally would have gone down the drain. It dawned on me that this concentrate could be used to make a quick and easy ginger tea. A couple of tablespoons full in a cup of hot water produce a spicy ginger tea. This concentrate can also be used in cooking, pretty much wherever a recipe calls for ginger.

The other byproduct comes from that next stage in making candied ginger. The remaining liquid is combined with ginger and sugar and once again boiled on the stove. This second stage takes about 40 minutes and you end up with the candied ginger and a very sweet ginger syrup. This syrup can be used to make a sweet ginger tea, added to deserts, or used in cocktails that would benefit from an infusion of sweet ginger. Both of the concentrates should last a long time in the refrigerator. Needless to say, I have a lot of ginger in my life these days. And the search for the perfect ginger cookie continues. Recipes welcomed!!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound peeled and sliced ginger, preferably young/smaller roots, sliced about ⅛ inch thick (by hand or use a mandolin)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 cups white granulated sugar
  • Extra sugar for coating

Instructions

·      Place the sliced ginger in a medium pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Reserve ½ of the ginger water and then drain the ginger slices.

·      Place the sliced ginger back in the pot with the reserved ginger water and sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer uncovered for 35-40 minutes or until the temperature on a candy thermometer reads 225 degrees F.

·      Drain the ginger in a colander over a bowl to catch the syrup (see Note).

·      Lay out the ginger slices on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet, separating the slices the best you can. Let cool for 2 hours (you want them sticky but not wet so that the sugar will adhere without dissolving).

·      Toss the ginger slices in a bowl of sugar so they are coated all over.

·      Place the ginger slices back on the cooling rack to sit overnight.

·      Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Will keep for several months.

Recipe from Kimberly Killebrew, www.daringgourmet.com


Mushroom Spinach Lasagna

Marshall makes mushroom spinach lasagna

I have tried different recipes for Mushroom Spinach Lasagna and this one really seems to stand out.  I think it’s the Pecorino Romano cheese that makes the difference. The original recipe, by Giada De Laurentiis on the Food Network, calls for homemade pasta, which I admit I like but am too lazy to make. So a box of dried lasagna noodles works just fine. I also almost double the amount of spinach, because I make this for my vegetarian family and the more spinach the merrier. And one last change. Years ago I read a quote from one of Oregon’s best, James Beard. “If a recipe calls for garlic, double it!” Words to live by.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature, for greasing the baking dish
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting

Vegetables:

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 ounces cremini mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Sauce:

  • 2 cups heavy cream, at room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups grated Pecorino Romano
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • Two 5-ounce bags baby spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 packed cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 recipe Fresh Pasta, recipe follows, or nine 8- by 5-inch fresh lasagna noodles
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Directions

Sauce:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9- by 13- by 1-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Set aside.

For the vegetables: In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over high heat. Add the mushrooms, onions, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and any liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated, about 20 minutes.

For the sauce: In a heavy-bottomed 5-quart saucepan, bring the cream, milk and flour to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly for 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low. Add the Pecorino and the mozzarella. Whisk until the cheeses have melted and the sauce is smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the spinach, basil, garlic, salt and pepper.

Add the mushroom mixture to the sauce and stir to combine. Set aside to cool slightly.

Cut the Fresh Pasta dough in quarters and press flat. Run each piece of pasta dough several times through a pasta-rolling machine adjusting the setting each time until the pasta is about 1/16-inch thick. Cut the pasta into six 12- by 4-inch rectangles (reserve any pasta trimmings for another use). The pasta dough can also be rolled out by hand. Cut the chilled dough into quarters and using a rolling pin, roll out the dough until 1/8 to 1/16-inch thick.

Spread 1 cup of the sauce over the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Arrange 2 sheets of pasta on top in a single layer. Spread 2 cups of the sauce over the pasta sheets. Repeat the layers with the remaining pasta sheets and sauce, ending with the sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella. Drizzle with olive oil and bake until the filling is bubbling and the top is golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool for 20 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.

 

SUN DRIED TOMATO DIP

 

·  1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped

·  8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

 

·  1/2 cup sour cream

·  1/4 cup mayonnaise

·  2 cloves garlic, minced

·  hot pepper sauce to taste

·  3/4 teaspoon salt

·  3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

·  1/4 cup fresh basil

 

In a food processor, mix the sun-dried tomatoes, cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, garlic, hot pepper sauce, salt, and pepper. Process until  well-blended. Add basil, and continue processing until smooth. Chill at least 1 hour in the refrigerator before serving.