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Posts Tagged ‘mushrooms’

Before making this dish, I had never cooked or eaten polenta. Honestly, I had no desire – I thought it was a boring vegetarian food, high in calories in carbs. It is vegetarian, and it is high in carbs… but it’s not as high in calories as I previously thought, and it doesn’t have to be boring! It’s one of those wonderful foods with endless possibilities – it can take on multiple flavors, and even textures! Immediately after cooking, it has a mashed potato-like consistency. But place it in a baking dish in your refrigerator for a few hours and you’ll get something resembling yellow brownies.

If you’ve never tried polenta – you need to! I loved this dish and polenta has become a new pantry staple for me.

And for those of you wondering, “WTF is polenta?”… it’s just cornmeal!

(You’ll need to plan ahead and prepare the polenta either in the morning or the day before)

Polenta Wedges with Asparagus and Mushrooms
adapted from Everyday Food, January/February 2010

1 cup instant polenta
4 cups water
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 pound white mushrooms, sliced
coarse salt and ground black pepper
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons whole milk
1 pound asparagus, trimmed

To make the polenta:

Bring 4 cups of salted water to a boil. Gradually pour in 1 cup instant polenta, stirring continuously for about 3 minutes. Pour into an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours, or overnight – you can even do it days in advance. (To boost the flavor of your polenta, you may use milk or chicken broth – or both – instead of salted water. The original recipe used a combination – try 1 cup skim milk + 3 cups chicken broth)

prepared polenta

Once the polenta is ready:

1. Heat broiler and position the rack 5 inches from the heat. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add broth and cook until reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Stir in milk and cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

starting to cook the mushrooms

2. Place a rimmed baking sheet in oven to heat. Slice polenta into wedges; pat dry with a paper towel and spray with cooking spray. Spray asparagus with cooking spray.

preparing the polenta and asparagus

3. Carefully remove hot baking sheet from oven. Place asparagus on one half and place polenta on the other. Season  both with salt and pepper.

before going into the oven

4. Broil until polenta is golden brown and asparagus is crisp-tender, about 6 minutes, rotating sheet and tossing asparagus about halfway through.

5. Serve polenta wedges with asparagus and mushrooms.

finished dish

Serves 4

1 serving = 4 Weight Watchers points

calories:224
fat: 4.5g (0.9g sat)
carbs: 39.1g
fiber: 4.5g
sugar: 4.8g
protein: 9.5g

That was way too vegetarian and low-calorie for Stas, so I didn’t make him eat it. Instead, I took a portion of the prepared polenta and pan-fried it in vegetable oil. I served it with sliced flank steak:

fried polenta

They look like Twinkies, don’t they?!

fried polenta and steak

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Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a safe and happy New Years Eve.  When I returned home from work yesterday, Stas surprised me with a gorgeous bouquet of orchids. We’ve had quite the exciting year together – getting married, honeymooning in New Zealand. It’s exciting to think about what 2010 has in store for us 🙂

My New Years orchids from Stas

We celebrated our evening with friends – eating, drinking, laughing, and reflecting a bit on where we were at the turn of the last decade (I was only a junior in high school!).

The table was well-stocked with Russian zakuski (Russian snacks):

the full table

There was cow tongue with horseradish:

cow tongue

two types of mushrooms:

mushrooms

Three variations of Olivier (my version, Oleg’s version, and a vegetarian version)… Recipe to come:

Olivier

And of course, there was champagne at midnight:

Happy New Year!

I hope you all had a safe and happy New Years Eve 🙂

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I had high hopes for this recipe – it sounded and looked so good in the magazine, and it received great reviews online.

But both Stas and I hated this meat loaf! It was spicy, but not in a yummy kind of way – I think it lacked seasoning. And the ketchup topping was such a bad match with that spiciness – it was too sweet and… well.. nasty. (In all fairness, I did use reduced carb ketchup instead of regular. Maybe regular would have been better).

It was painful finishing these leftovers, but we did it. And I will *not* be making this agian. Instead, I’m sticking with my tried-and-true meatloaf recipe.

… which reminds me: I haven’t blogged about my favorite meat loaf recipe yet!

Spicy Turkey Meat Loaf with Ketchup Topping
from Cooking Light, October 2009

1 tablespoon butter
2 cups chopped onion
1 (8-ounce) package presliced mushrooms
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon Sriracha (hot chile sauce, such as Huy Fong)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey breast
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Cooking spray
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion, mushrooms, and garlic to pan; cook 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; cool 5 minutes.

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cooking the mushrooms and onion

Combine mushroom mixture, panko, and next 8 ingredients (through egg) in a large bowl; stir well to combine.

spicy-turkey-meatloaf-3

meat mixture

Shape turkey mixture into a 9 x 5–inch rectangle on a pan coated with cooking spray. Combine ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, and nutmeg in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Spread ketchup mixture evenly over top of meat loaf.

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after shaping the loaf and spreading the sauce on

Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until a thermometer registers 160°. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

spicy-turkey-meatloaf-6

cooked & ready to serve

Serves 8

(note: the information below is based on using regular ketchup. When I made it, I used low-carb ketchup)

1 serving = 4 Weight Watchers points

Calories: 184
Fat: 3.7g
Protein: 23.2g
Carbohydrate: 15g
Fiber: 1.2g

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porcini-dusted-chicken

I’ve had this recipe bookmarked for awhile, and I’m not sure why I hadn’t made it previously – but I’m glad I finally did! It was so good – definitely a keeper!

And the best test of how good it was? Stas liked it – even with the mushroom sauce. Actually, that was his favorite part!

This recipe uses dried mushrooms. Dried mushrooms are readily available in most supermarkets. You’ll find them in the produce department. If you don’t see them, ask an employee.

Porcini-Dusted Chicken Scaloppine
from Cooking Light, October 2007

  • 1/2  cup  dried porcini mushrooms (about 1/2 ounce)
  • 4  (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt, divided
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1  tablespoon  olive oil, divided
  • 2  tablespoons  minced shallots (about 1)
  • 1  garlic clove, minced
  • 3  cups  sliced wild or cultivated mushrooms (about 1/2 pound…  I used baby bella mushrooms)
  • 1/2  cup  dry white wine
  • 1/2  cup  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 3  tablespoons  reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1  tablespoon  minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

1. Place porcini mushrooms in a spice or coffee grinder; process until finely ground. Transfer to a large plate and set aside.

2. Place a layer of plastic wrap over the chicken breasts and pound them to even thickness using a meat mallet. Sprinkle chicken pieces with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Then dredge them in the porcini powder, shaking off the excess.

covering the chicken breasts in porcini powder

covering the chicken breasts in porcini powder

3. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken pieces to pan; cook 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until chicken is lightly browned and done. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm.

cover with foil to keep warm

cover with foil to keep warm

4. Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently.

cooking the shallots and garlic

cooking the shallots and garlic

5. Add 3 cups mushrooms; cook 5 minutes or until liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally.

after adding the mushrooms to the pan

after adding the mushrooms to the pan

6. Stir in wine, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Increase heat to medium-high; cook 2 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Add broth to pan; simmer until liquid is reduced to 1/4 cup (about 5 minutes).

reduce the liquids

reduce the liquids

7. Stir in sour cream; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and parsley.

after adding final ingredients

after adding final ingredients

Serves 4

(Each serving is 6 Weight Watchers points.)

I served it with boiled potatoes garnished with chives and fresh tomatoes. For wine, I used the same wine I used in cooking… my current favorite, Nobilo 2008 Sauvignon Blanc:

plated and served

plated and served

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What a beautiful day in Boston!!! It’s only April and it was in the 80’s… I love the heat 🙂

Today, Stas and I woke up early (9am). After breakfast, he headed off to Orange for a day of skydiving and I went to the gym for some lifting (back & biceps) and cardio (3 miles on the treadmill). It was so nice to drive with all of the windows down and the radio turned up loud – I’ve missed that!

After a shower and lunch, I took a walk by the beach and then went grocery shopping.

It was a great day!

At the store, I picked up a package of chicken breasts. I had some mushrooms in the fridge that were about to go bad, so this recipe came to mind. It’s an old favorite of mine, because it’s quick and easy and doesn’t require a lot of ingredients. Most of the time, I have everything on hand.

The finished dish is good, but each time I make it, I remember how bland it is; it needs a little something extra. Next time, I’m going to deglaze the pot with some red wine after sauteeing the mushrooms.

Chicken with Tomatoes and Mushrooms
from the Martha Stewart  website

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (14.5 ounces) stewed tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1. Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a large saucepan (with a lid), heat oil over medium-high heat; swirl to coat bottom of pan. Cook chicken, turning when it easily releases from the pan, until golden, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

sasoned chicken

sasoned chicken

browning the chicken

browning the chicken

2. Add mushrooms; cover, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. (this is where you could deglaze with some red wine!) Add garlic, tomatoes, and oregano. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, until tomatoes have broken down, 10 to 15 minutes.

softening the mushrooms

softening the mushrooms

after adding tomatoes, garlic, oregano

after adding tomatoes, garlic, oregano

3. Return chicken and any accumulated juices to pan; cover, and cook until chicken is opaque throughout, 5-10 minutes (this will depend on the thickness of your chicken). At the very end, I uncovered the pot, brought it to a low boil, and let some of the liquid evaporate.

Serves 4

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plated_chicken_042509

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I loooooooove mushrooms!

Growing up, I actually hated them… I think the turning point came around the time I went vegetarian back in college (I was vegetarian for about 4 or 5 years, but not anymore). Once I learned that mushrooms were a good source of protein, and super-low in fat and calories, I just started making a lot of grilled portobello ‘burgers’ and stuffed mushrooms.

So that was when I started liking mushrooms. I started loving mushrooms in 2007, when I went to Ukraine for the first time. This was when I experienced the magic that is marinated mushrooms! Oh, I went crazy for them… I literally ate every last marinated mushroom in Stas’ parents’ house. When I came home, I bought a whole bunch of marinated mushrooms from the Russian stores in the neighborhood, but nothing compares to the ones I had in Ukraine 😦

Besides marinated mushrooms (yum!), I also love mushroom soups. I typically make mine with only dried porcini mushrooms – no fresh mushrooms. In Ukraine (and probably most of the former Soviet Union, although I can’t say for sure), porcini mushrooms are readily available, both fresh and dried. They’re called “white mushrooms” and are very affordable. Here in the States, I don’t think I’ve ever seen them fresh; they’re available dried, but are a little pricey. What we call “white mushrooms” here are really button mushrooms.

For this soup, I used dried porcini mushrooms and fresh “white” (button) mushrooms. It was gooooood – a mushroom lover’s dream!

One of these days, I’d love to try it with fresh porcinis…

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Porcini Mushroom Soup
from Gourmet, December 2008

3/4 oz dried porcini mushrooms (1 cup)
6 cups warm water plus 2 cups hot water, divided
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1/2 lb fresh white (button) mushrooms, sliced or quartered
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 (15-oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped dill


1. Soak dried porcinis in 2 cups of hot water for 15 minutes.
2. Heat a heavy medium-sized pot over medium heat. Add onions, butter, and salt; cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion is golden brown. Add celery, carrots, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer porcinis to the pot. Strain the porcini soaking liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a  separate bowl. Add the fresh white mushrooms to the pot, along with with 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are tender, 6 to 8 minutes.
4. Stir in tomatoes, remaining 6 cups water, and porcini-soaking liquid. Simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes.
5. Purée 1 cup of the vegetables and 1 cup of the liquid in a blender (use caution when blending hot liquids), then return to the pot. Stir in parsley, dill, and salt to taste.
serves 8
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what a beautiful pot of mushrooms!

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