Tag Archives: mushrooms

Korea…

Friday, August 23 – photo 1

Sooooooooooooooo much good food. This, I’m pretty sure, was one of the best blog dinners ever. My mouth still waters thinking about it, and it happened two weeks ago!

I made Bibim Bap, using the marinade recipe below instead of bottled sauce. I also purchased cabbage kimchi, seaweed salad, and pickled ginger to go on the side. Sir VJ and RubsWithLove made short ribs, pork belly, mushrooms, stuff for lettuce wraps, and a bean sprout salad. They also purchased cucumber kimchi. Sir VJ had a table-top grill that he set up outside on the picnic table and grilled the ribs, pork belly, and mushrooms right in front of us. It was amazing times a million.

I made the marinade and put it into a ziplock bag (I don’t have a juicer, so for the pear I just put it into a food processor and then strained the juice). Then I cut the beef (which was actually a sirloin cut) into thin strips and put them into the marinade. I put that in the fridge while I prepped the veggies and the hot sauce. I cut and sliced and prepped all of the veggies into their own bowls and set them aside. Then I made the hot sauce into a bowl and set that aside. I made the executive decision to use just one pot of boiling water to cook all of the veggies, even though it says not to. How bad could it be? Turns out, it wasn’t bad at all – it worked just fine. I started with the carrots, then the zucchini, then the mushrooms, then the sprouts, and last was the spinach. Once all of the veggies were done, I put the beef and marinade into a hot pan and cooked until *just* done enough. While I was doing that, WingWoman cooked us some fried eggs, leaving the yolk as runny as possible. photo 2

Into the bowl went rice, then some of each of the cooked veggies, then little bits of ripped up seaweed sheets, then sesame seeds, then the meat, then the egg, and then I dumped the cooked sauce over the top of all of the bowls.

We dug into the Bibim Bap (read: devoured) and there was much “mmmmmmmmmmm”ing going on. With the short ribs, pork belly, mushrooms, garlic, and sides, there was so much food I didn’t want to get up from the table. Absolutely epic dinner. Thank you to all of my Korea dinner friends, it was a night I’m going to remember and drool over for a very long time!

Korea
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: http://recipes.wikia.com and http://koreanfood.about.com)

Bibim Bap

Beef

  • 4 slice bulgogi beef – (⅛ lb)
  • 2 tbsp bottled bulgogi marinade
  • 1 tsp oil

Vegetables

  • 4 x fresh shiitake mushrooms sliced
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 tbsp bottled bulgogi marinade
  • 2 x carrots
  • 4 cup spinach
  • 1½ cup soybean sprouts
  • 1 large zucchini

Rice

  • 2 cups short-grain rice

Sauce

  • ¼ cup red pepper paste (kochujang)
  • ½ tsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 garlic clove minced

Assembly

  • ½ cup bottled kimchi cut thin strips
  • 1½ tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • ½ sht nori seaweed – (8″ square) sliced into fine, thin strips
  • 1 fried egg

Directions:

Beef:    Place the beef in a bowl, add the bulgogi marinade, cover and refrigerate, 1 hour.    Remove the beef from the marinade and cut into ½-inch slices.    Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.    Add the beef and stir-fry until cooked through, 1 minute.    Note: cook the beef just before assembling the dish.

Vegetables:    Cook the mushrooms in the oil and the marinade in a skillet over high heat until tender, 3 to 4 minutes.    Set aside.    Cut the carrots into very thin, long strips.    The spinach, carrots and soy bean sprouts need to be blanched in separate pots of boiling water.    Blanch the spinach 30 seconds.    Drain and squeeze dry.    Blanch the carrots, 1 minute; the soybean sprouts, 30 seconds.    Cut the zucchini into very thin slices.    Cook the zucchini in boiling water until tender, about 3 minutes.

Rice:    Wash the rice several times in cold water until the water is clear, rubbing the rice well.    Drain.    Place the rice in a heavy pot; add 3 cups of cold water.    Cover and bring to a boil, reduce the heat and steam, covered, until the rice is tender, about 30 minutes.

Sauce: Combine the red pepper paste, sesame seeds, honey, oil and garlic in a small bowl.    Set aside.

Assembly:     Place the hot cooked rice in a large serving bowl.    The vegetables can be at room temperature.    Arrange them on top of the rice in separate groups, along with the kimchi.    Sprinkle with the sesame oil and sesame seeds.    Arrange the beef on top and a small pile of nori strips at one side. Place the egg in the center.Pass the sauce in a separate bowl. Add this to taste and stir it into the mixture, preferably with a long-handled Korean spoon.

Korean Meat Marinade (Bulgogi sauce)

  •     3 Tbsp chopped garlic (about 2 cloves)
  •     3 Tbsp soy sauce
  •     2 Tbsp sugar
  •     1 Tbsp honey
  •     2 Tbsp fresh squeezed juice from an Asian pear
  •     1 Tbsp Japanese rice wine (mirin)*
  •     1 Tbsp sesame oil
  •     3 green onions, finely chopped (including white part)
  •     1 tsp pepper

Preparation:    Mix marinade together until sugar and honey are dissolved/distributed.    Can be stored in refrigerator or freezer for use on beef, pork, and chicken.    (Serves 4)   *If you don’t have access to the rice wine, a splash of dry white wine will also work here.


Indonesia…

Wednesday, April 11 –

Did I mention that I am not very good at measuring spices and sauces and stuff? This dinner was a prime example of that, in the best way possible. I took the recipes below and made them me-ified. I will try to photo(9)recreate for you what we did. Thank you to WingWoman and LightsOn for hosting and grilling this amazing dinner!

Chicken – I cut two breasts into thin strips so that they cook evenly and quickly (no one likes raw chicken). The marinade was coconut milk (about a tablespoon), water (about 1/8 of a cup), red curry paste (about two tablespoons), and brown sugar (about 1-1/2 tablespoons).

Shrimp – WingWoman thawed them and put them in the marinade. Fortunately they were already shelled and cleaned. The marinade was tamari, honey, sriracha, garlic, and sweet WingWoman love.

Lamb – I used cubed stewing lamb meat. The marinade was Ketjap Mani (Indonesian sweet soy sauce, about half a cup), garlic (two chopped cloves), ginger (grated root, length of about an inch), brown sugar (about a tablespoon), and lemon juice (half a lemon).

Veggies – I used bell pepper, onion, zucchini, and mushrooms. The marinade was tamari (I just poured and stirred the veggies until it looked right), hot chili paste (about three tablespoons), lemon grass (one fresh stalk, chopped), and garlic (three chopped cloves).

Rice – WingWoman put rice, water, coconut milk, red curry paste, and peas in the rice cooker.

Dessert – Fresh mango!

As you can see, it wasn’t very well measured. But goodness, was it good! LightsOn did all of the barbequing and they turned out fabulously. We ate like blog-kings! I think I need this dinner on the menu once a month. Mmmhmm!

Indonesia
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: www.indochef.com)photo(10)

Indonesian Sate’s

  • 500 gr. of Beef, Pork or Chicken

Marinade:

  • 1 Onion
  • 1 Garlic clove
  • 30 ml Dark Soya sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Grass
  • 1 teaspoon Hot Chilli paste
  • 1 glass red wine (optional)
  • 30 ml water

Preparation:  Dice the meat in to 2 cm square cubes and put onto bamboo skewers (about 4 per stick). Combine all the marinade ingredients into a food processor and make into a smooth paste. Poor this over the prepared sate’s and leave to marinade for at least 2 hours. Cook the sate’s on the barbecue or under the grill for 5 -10 min. until done and serve with hot Peanut Sauce.

Babi Kecap

  • 500 gr Tender Pork
  • 1 large Onion
  • 2 Garlic cloves
  • 3 cm fresh Ginger
  • 30 gr dark sugar
  • ½ cup Ketjap Manis
  • 2 cups Water
  • Lemon juice
  • 1 stock cube
  • Pepper & Salt

Preparation:  Finely dice Onion, Garlic and Ginger. Cut Pork into strips. Add Sugar, Pepper and Salt. Fry in small saucepan until Onion is soft and the pork is dark. Add the Ketjap Manis (sweet Indonesian soya sauce) and water, Lemon juice and stock cube and leave to simmer on a low flame for about 30 min.


Guyana…

Friday, March 1 –

Fish wrapped in bacon – what could be more delicious? I chose to use halibut because I love the flavor and the texture of it, but I’m sure you could wrap any kind of fish in bacon and be happy with the results. I also photo(10)wrapped portobello mushroom slices in bacon just for fun. Then I sprinkled salt and pepper and squeezed lemon juice over the top of everything. Arranged on a foil-lined baking sheet, I put them into the 350* oven for about 15-20 minutes. Just long enough for the fish to flake apart when tested with a fork. I served the fish and mushroom heaven with a green salad and this cilantro habanero rice recipe.

There wasn’t a scrap of fish or mushroom left after BestestFianceEver, Hot Momma, Wingwoman, BabyBear, and I were done with our plates. I could have probably even made more (I made 12 oz of fish, 2 portobellos cut into slices, 1 lemon, and 1 pound of bacon), but fortunately for our waistlines I didn’t. I highly recommend this way of cooking fish! YUM!

Guyana
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: www.islandflave.com)

Bacon Fish Rolls

  • 8 Slices of Bacon
  • 8 small fillets of fish
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lemon juice
  • Parsley
  • Rice to serve

Directions:  Roll 1 slice of bacon around one fish fillet and secure with toothpick. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the fish roll. Squeeze some lemon juice. Repeat steps 1 – 3 for each fish fillet. Bake on a greased pan at 350 degrees for about 20 – 30 minutes. Garnish with parsley.


Ghana…

Wednesday, December 12 –

This dinner, hosted by Hot Momma, was like a family dinner that happened to be a blog post. So much goodness when I can share dinner with the besties in my life. We also had GrandpaBear, BabyBear,  photo(8)SlotMachine, MoneyShot, and of course my BestestFianceEver.

I knew that taking the time to put all the shrimp on skewers to bake them wasn’t going to happen, so I decided to make a curry dish out of it on the stove and serve it over rice. Maybe not true to form for the recipe, but much more appealing on a cold winter night.

So I started with melting butter in a pan, adding onions and cooking until translucent and aromatic. In next went button mushrooms, which I cut in half. Then I liberally sprinkled salt over the veggies and added the curry powder and the white pepper. Once the spices were incorporated I added the lemon juice and the tomato juice. I let the liquid heat up and then I added the shelled, de-veined shrimp. It wasn’t quite right, so I started adding more curry powder, black pepper, and a few drops of hot sauce. It was much better with those added to it. I let that simmer until the shrimp were pink throughout and then I served it over rice that Hot Momma had cooked in a rice cooker.

SlotMachine made a green salad to go with dinner and gari biscuits (more about those later). Dinner was served!

I think that the curry dish left a lot to be desired (more spice, coconut milk, more veggies) but the base of it was pretty decent. Some of the people thought it was too spicy (sorry!) but I thought that it had just the right kick. The gari dish was pretty terrible. It tasted like paste with some sugar on top. Definitely not recommended!

All in all we had lots of wine, a few spicy mouths, and some sass talk. Perfect for a Wednesday night! Next up is Gibraltar – on 12/21/12 – which could be the end of the world! Let me know if you’re interested in joining us.

Ghanaphoto(9)
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: www.ghananation.com)

Shrimp Kebabs

  • 2 pounds fresh large shrimp, cleaned
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • l/2 pound mushrooms (optional)
  • l/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup tomato juice
  • Rice to serve

Directions: Season Shrimp with lemon juice and salt. Let stand for 10 minutes. Clean Mushrooms. Mix remaining ingredients together. Alternate Shrimp and Mushrooms on skewers; coat with mixture of remaining ingredients and arrange in a shallow baking dish. Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F., turning from time to time until Shrimp are done and sauce dries up. Baste constantly. Serve hot. Serves 4 Cooking time: 1 hour


France…

Saturday, October 20 –

I am not even sure where to start with this dinner. It was a potluck and there was so much food that it still hurts to even think about it. A HUGE thank you to Sassy Desserts and ManlyMan for hosting this French food explosion. This might be my favorite dinner so far, and I feel like it’s going to be hard to top in the future (but I will certainly give it a shot!).

DevouringWorld & BestestFianceEver: saffron mussels bisque, au gratin potatoes, mushroom garlic escargot, french bread, 3 types of french cheeses, crackers, wine
ChinUp & MyBuddy: ratatouille, wine
Sassy Desserts & ManlyMan: artichoke tartlets, shrimp cucumber & curry cream cheese canapes, apple clafouti
Kid Kreole: etouffee
Miss Sweets: nutella crepes
Harvey Danger: drinks, garlic bread
RubsWithLove: stuffed pumpkins with everything
Mr. Hero & Hot Momma & BabyBear: wine, french bread
SlotMachine: wine, eclairs
OurCuz: food photographer for the night

I started with the au gratin potatoes, knowing that they had to bake the longest. I sliced up four russet potatoes, which actually filled two 9×12 casserole dishes and needed twice the amount of sauce. I made it exactly as it is written, and it was simple and straight-forward. Butter, then flour, then salt, then milk, then cheese – stirring often. Presto! Cheese sauce! Covered with foil and into the oven for 1.5 hours it went.

Multi-tasking around the sauce thickening I started the escargot. Again, this recipe was followed exactly as it was written and it was simple and easy to make. I soaked the escargot in water and then cut each of the snails in half. In the pan was the butter and garlic, then the mushrooms and snails. Wine, cream, flour, pepper, and tarragon were whisked together and poured on top. Left to simmer for a few moments the sauce thickened and I took it off the heat. Into the baking dish went the mushrooms first, then the escargot into the caps, then the sauce on top. Sprinkle with cheese, then into the oven for about 15 minutes.

As the mushrooms were softening, I was starting the mussels bisque. Lucky number three, this recipe didn’t need much in the way of change either. Mussels cooked in water and wine, drained with liquid reserved. Butter, onion, garlic, leek, and fenugreek cooked until soft. Flour, then saffron mixture, then broth and reserved liquid. Simmer until flavors are all mixed together. Then parsley, salt, pepper, and cream – and finally the shelled mussels.

My thoughts on all of this:

  • saffron mussels bisque and french bread – Flavorful without being heavy. I usually think of bisque as a creamy, heavier base and this was not. With the fresh French bread dipped in it the flavors made a perfect fall-time soup.
  • au gratin potatoes – This dish was all of the best things that I love about cheesy potatoes, especially the crispy cheese on the edges!
  • mushroom garlic escargot – Creamy, garlicy, heavy sauce on top of cheesy, baked mushrooms = heaven. I could have easily left the snails out and been just as happy with the flavor. Yum!
  • 3 types of french cheeses and crackers – There was a creamy white, an herbed, creamy white, and a sharp, nutty orange cheese. This managed to keep the hunger at bay while the oven worked overtime trying to get all of these dishes done.
  • ratatouille – The last time I had ratatouille it was slightly mushy and mostly flavorless. This time, it was heavenly and very, very flavorful. Apparently if you make it like Disney, you get a great dish!
  • artichoke tartlets – Picture it: flaky pastry, gooey cheese, ripe tomatoes, and salty artichoke. Sounds amazing, right? It was. Very, very. Have a party you’re throwing soon? Make these, they won’t disappoint.
  • shrimp cucumber & curry cream cheese canapes – These were indulgent squares of flavorful goodness. It was almost overwhelming how much flavor they had in them, but then you reached for another and realized that you didn’t mind.
  • stuffed pumpkins with everything – Get up. Go to the store. Get the stuff. Go home. Make this recipe RIGHT NOW. Your mouth (and whoever you decide to share it with) will thank you. I could easily see this becoming a base for many recipes in my kitchen.
  • etouffee – This was a homemade recipe, hence no link. It was spicy, slightly creamy, and very flavorful. He even plated it for everyone so that it ended up beautiful when served.
  • nutella crepes – I only managed to eat half of one of these, but it was dangerously good. With banana and nutella inside and whipped cream on top – how could you say no?
  • apple clafouti – Almost like a pie, almost like a tart, and almost like coffee cake – it was amazing. And the very last thing that I could possibly eat.
  • eclairs – I couldn’t even have one of these, I was so full. But they looked amazing and I am sure they were delicious.

Food and wine and people everywhere – holy cow. Thank you to everyone who came to this dinner and made such wonderful food. All of it collectively knocked my socks off and I’m so happy it turned out the way it did. Three cheers to our France potluck!

France
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: www.allrecipes.com)

Saffron Mussels Bisque

  • 2 pounds mussels, cleaned and de-bearded
  • 1 1/4 cups white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons margarine
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 leek, bulb only, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds, finely crushed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 6 saffron threads
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons whipping cream

Directions:  Place saffron threads in a small bowl, and cover with 1 tablespoon boiling water. Set aside.

Scrub mussels clean in several changes of fresh water and pull off beards. Discard any mussels that are cracked or do not close tightly when tapped. Put mussels into a saucepan with wine and water. Cover and cook over high heat, shaking pan frequently, 6-7 minutes or until shells open. Remove mussels, discarding any which remain closed. Strain liquid through a fine sieve and reserve.

Heat butter and oil in a saucepan. Add onion, garlic, leek and fenugreek and cook gently 5 minutes. Stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Add saffron mixture, 2-1/2 cups of reserved cooking liquid and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, keep 8 mussels in shells and remove remaining mussels from shells. Add all mussels to soup and stir in chopped parsley, salt, pepper and cream. Heat through 2-3 minutes. Garnish with parsley sprigs, if desired, and serve hot.

Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes

  • 4 russet potatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 onion, sliced into rings
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

Directions:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Butter a 1 quart casserole dish. Layer 1/2 of the potatoes into bottom of the prepared casserole dish. Top with the onion slices, and add the remaining potatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. In a medium-size saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Mix in the flour and salt, and stir constantly with a whisk for one minute. Stir in milk. Cook until mixture has thickened. Stir in cheese all at once, and continue stirring until melted, about 30 to 60 seconds. Pour cheese over the potatoes, and cover the dish with aluminum foil. Bake 1 1/2 hours in the preheated oven.

Easy Garlic Escargots

  • 1 (7 ounce) can escargots, drained
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 20 mushrooms, stems removed
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1/3 cup cream
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:     Place escargots in a small bowl, and cover with cold water; set aside for 5 minutes. This will help to remove the canned flavor they may have.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease an 8×8 inch baking dish.

Drain the water from the escargots and pat dry with a paper towel. Melt butter with the garlic in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the escargots and mushroom caps; cook and stir until the mushroom caps begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

Whisk together wine, cream, flour, pepper, and tarragon in a small bowl until the flour is no longer lumpy. Pour this into the skillet, and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the heat, and use a spoon to place the mushrooms upside down into the prepared baking dish. Spoon an escargot into each mushroom cap. Pour the remaining sauce over the mushroom caps and into the baking dish. Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese over the top. Bake in preheated oven until the Parmesan cheese has turned golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes.


Finland…

Saturday, October 13 –

Usually I would start one of these posts with, “I made it exactly like the recipe…” but not this time. This dinner was out to test my cooking skills from the very beginning to the very end. Thank goodness I had ChocolateThunder and TroubleWalking in the kitchen helping me to rescue these three dishes: baked mushrooms (that strangely weren’t baked), cream of carrot soup, and caramelized swedes. We also had Bestie Extraordinaire and Mistress Whiskey over, and they brought herb-seasoned fish fillets with potatoes and mushrooms, recipe also below.

Let’s start with the cream of carrot soup recipe. Take the broth and brandy and simmer your carrots in it (I used veggie broth instead of beef broth). Drain the broth mix but save it. Mash the carrots. Set aside. Melt the butter, add the flour, add the milk, presto you have a roux and then a gravy-sauce. Add the carrots, broth, sugar, and pepper. What does that leave you with? A mushy, bland pot of carrot flavored soup-stuff. I took it one step further and had BestestFianceEver use our immersion blender on it. Then I added some salt  and some more brandy and let it simmer for a bit, hoping the flavors would all come together. They did, sort of, but it was still bland. Definitely a better texture, but the flavor was pretty pasty. I asked ChocolateThunder to help me figure out what it was missing and I’m pretty sure what he said was he added the parsley and the nutmeg (supposed to be garnishes, but we put them in anyway) and also some onion powder, garlic powder, and some more nutmeg. Then together we decided that the thing it really needed was… bacon. Yes, yes we did. So BestestFianceEver got to cooking bacon chopped into bits and I moved on to the next recipe. In the end it turned out smoky, smooth, and filling. I am planning on making this again very, very soon.

Next up we have the caramelized swedes (aka rutabagas – also aka something I’ve never cooked before, ever). This recipe I did make as it was written, but stay with me until we get to the funny part. The recipe says to use precooked rutabaga but it doesn’t say how to precook them. So I chopped two peeled rutabagas up into little bite-sized pieces and I boiled them until they were fork-tender. I drained the water then added the butter, two chopped shallots, and one chopped, small onion. I let the butter melt and the sound of frying to begin. Then I added the sugar and let the whole thing cook until the rutabagas were yellow/almost gold. In next was the rosemary and the vinegar – then to put the lid on and simmer. After that was gingerbread crumbs (um, ok?) and blue cheese crumbles (um, really?) and let it heat up and blend the flavors. Once the dish was complete I looked around the room and said, “Ok, rock/paper/scissors for who has to taste this first.” ChocolateThunder, TroubleWalking, and I actually ended up tasting it at about the same time. And even though that’s a really weird combination of flavors to me, it was actually really, really good. Surprised? Yeah, me too. But I would definitely make it again.

Last, but not least, is the baked mushrooms. If this sounds like it would taste like condensed cream of mushroom soup, heated, then you are probably right. Also, right about now my eyes just stopped sending the right messages to my brain. I started off on the wrong foot with this recipe at the very beginning. Butter and breadcrumbs? Check. Mushrooms, onion, lemon juice, butter, salt, and pepper? Check. Keeping them in separate pans? Not so much. I didn’t read to the end first to see that you put the breadcrumbs on top. Oops. So breadcrumbs went in with the mushrooms and other ingredients. Then add the cream and boil, right? Nope – I was supposed to have that in yet another pan, heated to boiling. Instead I put the cream in with the breadcrumbs and mushrooms and heated it till boiling. Then the flour. Then the egg (which I tempered with the heated cream). What do all of these mistakes make? A broken roux. It looked like lumpy, mushroomy vomit with butter floating on top. Yuuuuuummm… *wince* We try everything to fix it – we drain the butter, we mix it vigorously, we have it on low heat, then high heat, and then we almost gave up. What saved the day? Google. Apparently if you want to fix a broke roux you take a cup of cream and you simmer it down to half the volume, and you mix this into the poor, lumpy, mistreated dish. It worked PERFECTLY. All of a sudden it was a creamy, beautiful dish again. Hallelujah! (But nope, you don’t bake it. Weird, huh?)

I also made homemade cheddar garlic biscuits to serve on the side to try to make it not so much like a bunch of side dishes thrown together. (It almost worked.) And Bestie Extraordinaire and Mistress Whiskey brought the fish and potato dish – making the only “main dish” we served.

The fish was tender and the flavor soaked into the potatoes perfectly. The biscuits were ok, but by the time we got to eat them they were cold, which isn’t my favorite. The “baked” mushrooms were pretty much heated cream of mushroom soup, but ok I suppose. The caramelized swedes were so good I went back for seconds. And the soup was so good that when I went back for seconds the pot had already been scraped clean!

So there you have it – new foods, rescue operations, gallons of wine, and good friends. All the things that make a Saturday freaking awesome.

Next week is France and is a potluck. Stay tuned!

Finland

(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: www.foodfromfinland.com and www.food.com)

Finnish Baked Mushrooms

  • 1 lb mushroom, sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons onions, finely minced
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper (or to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs, fine, dry
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Directions:

1  Mix the breadcrumbs with 1 tbsp butter and toast until golden brown, stirring often to prevent burning.

2  To the sliced mushrooms add the lemon juice, onion, butter, salt, and pepper. Saute until onions tender.

3  Heat the cream to just short of the boiling point.

4  Stir the flour into the mushrooms, stirring rapidly to prevent lumping.

5  Stir in a bit of the cream.

6  Stir in each egg yolk separately.

7  Stir in the remaining cream.

8  Cook, covered, until the sauce is just short of boiling.

9  Sprinkle with the toasted bread crumbs and let sit 5 minutes before serving.

10  Note: The thicker the cream the better the dish tastes. Half and half is better than milk and whipping cream is best of all.

Cream of Carrot Soup (Porkkanasosekeitto)

  • 1 lb carrot
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 dash pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • rolls to serve

Directions:

1  Peel carrots. Cook carrots in beef broth and brandy until tender, adding additional brandy if necessary. Drain, reserving the stock, and strain or mash the carrots to make a smooth puree.

2  Heat the butter in a saucepan, add the flour, and stir until blended.

3  Add the milk gradually, stirring constantly.

4  Heat to the boiling point and simmer for 10 minutes.

5  Add reserved stock, carrot puree, sugar, and pepper.

6  Garnish each serving with parsley and a dash of nutmeg.

Caramelized Swedes

  • 1 swede (rutabaga), app. 500 g when peeled
  • 4 shallots or 2 small onions
  • App. 25 g butter
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp rosemary
  • 1 tbsp apple vinegar
  • 50-100 ml gingerbread crumbs
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • (Blue cheese)

Peel the swede (rutabaga) and cut it into cubes of about 2 x 2 cm’s (0.8 x 0.8 inches). Slice the onions. Pre-cook the swede wedges. Drain well. Fry the swedes on low heat in butter. Add the onion wedges and sugar. Cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves and gets a bit golden. Add the chopped rosemary and vinegar. Reduce the heat, place a lid over it and let it simmer until tender. Season with gingerbread crumbs, salt and pepper. Sprinkle over it with blue cheese crumbs.

Herb seasoned Fish fillets with Potatoes and Mushrooms

  • 4 skinless fillets of pike perch, whitefish or perch (app. 600 g)
  • Salt, pepper
  • 150 ml fresh herbs, chopped (basil, chervil/parsley, thyme)
  • 800 g peeled potatoes
  • 2 tbsp ripe-seed oil
  • 2 Garlic cloves
  • 100–200 g shiitake mushroom
  • 1 tbsp butter or margarine
  • 50 ml lemon juice

Cut a diagonal slit on the deepest parts of the fish fillets, up to half way of the fillet. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and spread the chopped herbs, pressing into the slits as well. Slice the potatoes as half-centimeter slices and toss a chopped garlic clove in a small amount of oil, into a baking dish. Season lightly with salt. Even the surface. Cook the potatoes in 225°C (440F) for about 25 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the mushrooms and saute in a pat of butter or margarine in a pan. Season with chopped garlic and lightly with salt and pepper. Combine the mushrooms with the nearly ready potato slices. Add some lemon juice evenly for freshness. Place the fish fillets onto a bed of potatoes and mushrooms and continue to cook for 10-15 minutes, until the fish is done. Serve with fresh salad and lemon wedges.


Denmark…

Wednesday, July 11 –

“More, please and thank you.” Is what I have to say about the dishes from this dinner. I would be happy to eat like this all the time (but my diet probably wouldn’t!).

And also, HOORAY! I MADE IT A WHOLE YEAR! This blog is officially on its 52nd country. That’s amazing and awesome and I’m super, extra proud of myself and my die-hard participants that join us all the time.

On to the recipes and the notes…

I was SO EXCITED about these recipes that I made three of them. And we had lots of amazing friends and food to share: SassyDesserts made an apple crumb cake and vodka raspberry lemonades, Besti Extraordinaire made a veggie salad, Sir VJ and RubsWithLove made pork crackling and quick pickles, and of course my Wonderful Boyfriend did all the dishes and cleanup.

I started with the salmon log because I wanted it to have time to chill before everyone showed up. I cut the recipe in half, so I used two cans of salmon and put that in the food processor with the rest of the ingredients except the parsley and pecans. I got it all whipped together and then I dumped it into a serving bowl. Then I chopped the pecans in the food processor as well and then just mixed it altogether. I left out the parsley because it’s not my favorite flavor to work with and I would rather taste the salmon. Into the fridge that went until people showed up.

Next came the stuffed celery. I cleaned and cut the stalks and lined them up on a platter. I cut this recipe in half as well, so I put all of the ingredients together in a ziplock and smooshed it altogether. Then I snipped the corner of it and used it like a pastry bag to fill the celery. It didn’t really work as well as frosting, so I ended up smoothing them out with my fingers. Then I topped them with finely chopped green bell pepper and put those out for people to snack on.

Last was the chicken fricassee. I used a roasting pan on two burners, just like it says, which was a little weird at first but worked really, really well. It was much better to get everything cooked evenly without having to do it in batches. I used four pounds of chicken breasts and kept the rest of the recipe as it’s written. I had the temperature a little hot so I had to stir in the eggs really, really quickly, but it ended up working out ok anyway.

As you can see by the photos it was colorful and a great variety of flavors and textures. The chicken was moist and tender. The sauce for it was very, very buttery but still good. The salmon dip was perfect and I would happily make it again. The celery sticks were just like any stuffed celery you’ve had, and maybe even a little too bland for our group. Next time I would choose to use a stronger blue cheese to get more kick. The pork crackling was sinful and moist with a vinegar sauce that was perfect on it. The salad was a sharp cut to the fatty flavors and a perfect addition to the plate. The quick pickles were addictive and perfectly crunchy.

And the dessert was so good I almost can’t write a review on it. Imagine the perfect version of a moist apple cake with a little crunch from the walnuts. Now make it better than that. Now finish the sad feeling of staring at your empty plate and using all of your willpower to not lick it. It was THAT good.

On to the next year of great food and wonderful friends. Cheers!

Denmark
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: www.mindspring.com)

Chicken Fricassee – Hønsefrikassé

  • 8 pounds chicken — cut in serving piece
  • ½ pound butter
  • 12 pearl onions
  • ½ stalk celery — chopped
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 1 pound mushrooms — sliced
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 4 egg yolks — beaten
  • ½ cup light cream
  • Parsley — minced
  • Chives

Directions: Place chicken pieces in roasting pan with ¼ pound of the butter, onions, celery and seasonings. Simmer over low heat on top of stove for 25 minutes. (If necessary, light two adjecent burners and place pan across both.) Add wine and mushrooms. Cover and let cook for 20 minutes more, or until chicken is tender.

Melt the remaining ¼ pount butter in another pan and stir in the flour, a little at a time. Blend until smooth, but do not allow to brown.

Place the chicken with onions, celery and mushrooms on a warm serving platter.

Add the broth to butter and flour a little at a time, mixing thoroughly. Stir constantly until it begins to boil, reduce heat to simmering poinnt and add the beaten egg yolks mixed with the cream. Allow sauce to cook for a moment or two, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and add parsley and chives.

Salmon Log

  • 1 pound red salmon
  • 8 ounces cream cheese — softened
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons onion — grated
  • 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon liquid smoke flavoring
  • Pecans — crushed
  • Chopped parsley
  • Crackers to serve

Directions:  Drain salmon and remove all skin and bones. Mix all ingredients, except pecans and parsley. Roll into a log or ball. Roll in crushed pecans and parsley. Chill overnight. Serve with crackers.

Stuffed Celery

  • 2 bunches celery
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • ½ cup roquefort cheese or blue cheese
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream or french dressing
  • 1 green pepper or
  • 1 pimiento or
  • paprika

Directions:  Separate hearts into individual stalks. Mash cheese, mix smoothly together, adding a little sour cream or french dressing. Fill stalks, garnish with thin strip pepper or pimiento, or sprinkle with paprika.