It’s another lovely day in Lacombe. I got up around 8:30 to take the girls out for their morning walk. The temperature is still pretty cool, maybe 78? I’m not sure, but it’s 10:15 now and the temperature is beginning to creep up. I’m not sure what the forecast is for today but from the way it looks, it’s going to be hot.
Here are the recipes for the dishes I made yesterday. Once again, I cooked from the 2010 Cooks Illustrated Light and Healthy Magazine. If you’re not familiar with Cooks Illustrated, it’s published by America’s Test Kitchen. I love their magazine because it takes classice, calorie and fat laden recipes and tweaks them to obtain dishes with the same flavor but lighter and healthier. They also do product testing and give recommendations on the best ones they find.
Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
- 2 slices of white bread, processed into crumbs
- 2 tbs olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 10 portobello mushrooms, stems removed and wiped clean
- 12 oz package of baby spinach
- 2 tbs water
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 1 tsp fresh thyme, minced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup dry sherry
- 3 oz goat cheese
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
Adjust oven racks to middle and middle-low position and heat to 400 degrees F. Mix about 1 tsp olive oil and ¼ tsp salt into the crumbs and bake until lightly browned about 5-10 minutes. Stir to loosen crumbs and set aside.
Take 8 of the mushrooms and brush them lightly on both sides with olive oil. Score the tops lightly (only ¼ in deep) in a grid pattern. (This helps the mushrooms release excess water while they’re roasting.) Roast the mushrooms, gill side up for 8-12 minutes. Carefully flip the mushrooms and continue to roast them until all liquid evaporates and they begin to turn golden brown, 8-12 minutes more. Remove mushrooms from the oven and set aside. Chop the other two mushroom caps and stems and set aside.
Blanch the spinach in boiling water just to wilt. Drain and rinse under cold water until you can handle it. Taking the clump of spinach in your hands, gently squeeze it to drain excess water. Chop the spinach coarsely and set aside to drain a little more.
Heat a large non-stick skillet over med-high heat. Put 2 tsp olive oil into the skillet and swirl around to coat pan. (I probably used a little more olive oil than the recipe called for) Put in the onions and stir to coat with oil. Fry the onions until they become translucent and begin to take on a little color. Add the chopped mushrooms and continue to cook until the mushrooms have sweated their liquid and most of that liquid is gone. Add the garlic, and cook until fragrant, about a minute, then add sherry and cook until almost all of the liquid is evaporated. Add spinach, and the rest of the ingredients, stirring to combine and blend flavors. Add the goat cheese and stir until the cheese is blended into the other ingredients. ( I used a 4 oz log of goatcheese, even though the recipe calls for 3 oz so as not to waste an oz of cheese) Correct seasoning if needed.
Fill mushrooms caps with spinach filling and top with browned crumbs. (Cooks Illustrated says to broil the caps, but I was afraid of burning the already browned crumbs so I chose to bake them on 400 degrees to heat them through and not burn the crumb topping.)
Although the mushroom caps looks blackish on the edges they tasted really good and were gobbled up in no time.
I didn’t copy this recipe exactly as Cooks Illustrated wrote it because I wanted to simplify directions for the reader, so excuse me, CI.
The second dish I brought was a Mixed Vegetable Curry:
Mixed Vegetable Curry with Potatoes, Cauliflower, Chickpeas and English Peas
- 1 (14 ½ oz) can diced tomatoes pureed in a blender or food processor
- 3 tbs canola oil
- 4 tsp sweet or mild curry powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 12 oz red potatoes cut into ½ in cubes
- 3 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tbs fresh ginger, minced
- 1 tbs tomato paste
- 1 serrano chile, stemmed, seeded and minced (you can leave the seeds in for a spicier curry)
- 1 small head of cauliflower cut into bite size pieces (about 4 cups)
- 1 ¼ cups water
- 1 (15 oz) can of chickpeas, drained
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 ½ cups frozen green peas
- ½ cup plain low-fat yogurt
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Heat 2 tbs of oil over med-high heat in a 12 inch non-stick skillet. Add the curry powder and garam masala and cook until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Add onions and cook until onions become translucent and begin to brown. Add potatoes, turn heat to medium, stirring occasionally until potatoes begin to soften. ( I covered the pan for this to speed up the process)
Remove cover and make a space in the center of the vegetables and add the final tbs of oil. Put the ginger, garlic, tomato paste and serrano chile and cook for about 30 sec. Add the cauliflower and stir to coat with the spices and liquid in the bottom of the pan.
Stir in the tomatoes, water, chickpeas and ½ tsp salt, scraping up any brown bits. Bring mixture to a simmer until the vegetable are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in peas and cook for about 2 minutes more. Taste for seasoning and correct if necessary.
Serve with Naan and or steamed Basmati rice
This recipe made a curry large enough to feed 8 generously. I would definitely make both recipes again.