Posts tagged mushrooms
Wednesday, October 20, 2010

brown rice with chanterelles and caramelized onions

rice with caramelized onions and chanterelles

My mother is a clever and resourceful woman, and that’s not a compliment – it’s a fact. Years of living in Russia trains you to be wired that way, and she is. I’m not sure how she does it, but no matter the season, mom is always prepared for the onslaught of visitors. Should anyone drop in unexpectedly, there is a slew of picked snacks (hello, Russian household), salads, Russian salamis and cheeses, not to mention various cookies, and chocolates, and fruit. Should you choose to show up at 2 o’clock at night, save for the some nasty glares, you’ll be sitting down to a full table in less than ten minutes. It’s that kind of Russian preparedness I have always admired.

rice with caramelized onions and chanterelles

rice with caramelized onions and chanterelles rice with caramelized onions and chanterelles

When I was visiting last month, I volunteered to cook our dinner. I wanted to play with the light in my mother’s beautifully lit kitchen as my own kitchen, lovely as it may be, lacks natural light. I quite liked the soft, diffused daylight from the cloudy day – busying myself with apple sauce, chicken with mustard, and this dish. Earlier that afternoon, I had found a bag of frozen chanterelles in my mother’s freezer and I was curious. I have a soft spot for the yellow mushroom – growing up it was my favorite, and we ate it with abandon. It’s been more difficult, and costly, to find chanterelles in the US, but according to my mother, many Russian stores now carry bags of frozen chanterelles, which is a wonderful, and affordable compromise.

rice with caramelized onions and chanterelles

I decided to throw our old mushroom-chanterelle favorite combination together with some brown rice. We were under time constraints to eat before Yom Kippur started and I needed a quick and low-maintenance side dish. While the components were cooking, I prepared the chicken for roasting, and made a simple salad on the side. And then I curled up with a book in the living room, while our family cat decided to fall asleep at my feet, but not before kneading my soles with his. Sharp claws, is all I have to say on the matter. But the cuteness and the purring totally made up for it.

rice with caramelized onions and chanterelles

Continue reading brown rice with chanterelles and caramelized onions.

Friday, August 13, 2010

couscous, corn, and mushroom salad

couscous salad with corn and mushrooms

Last week was a bit of a whirlwind, and I’m still recovering. Darting between work and blog events and friends’ birthdays can sure be exhausting. I’m dreaming of a beach chair with an umbrella drink and hours upon hours of reading. Alas, a vacation is but a few months away, so I must comfort myself with periodic lazy weekends in Brooklyn! Brooklyn, you complete me!

salad mise

Well, dear readers, last week I got to check out the BlogHer conference in New York, and it was mere minutes away from my office – bonus! The impetus was seeing good friends in town, particularly the lovely Alice Currah, of Savory Sweet Life, who crashed at my place for the weekend and ate some of my homemade mango sorbet! I finally met Kamran, an old twitter friend (amazing what the interwebs has done for us, isn’t it?), in person. And I also got to met Ree, of the incredible Pioneer Woman, and Elise of the encyclopedic Simple Recipes, at the amazing party that Ree, Elise, and Jaden (of the spicy Steamy Kitchen) threw on the roof of the Peninsula Hotel. It was good to see some old friends there: Lisa, Deb, Marc, and Jennie. And meet some new ones whose blogs I’ve been reading for so long. Sadly, I missed saying hi to a few folks as well. Sometimes, it seems, we forget about face time, given how much time we spend online: working, playing, maintaining our lives. In person, face-to-face is so much nicer, I think. While Twitter and Facebook and blogs have been instrumental in building beautiful communities and bringing people together, there’s nothing like saying hello to them and shaking their hand, or hugging them because you feel like you’ve been reading them for so long, you’ve known them forever.

israeli whole wheat couscous button mushrooms!

Martha's Circle Blogger Soiree

On the heels of the conference, the lovely folks at Martha Stewart Circle (see the turquoise circle on the side of this site? That’s them!) threw the most beautiful party for bloggers, with a private tour of the building for their charter members. I was elated to finally meet Mark Ganem, who looks after MC members, after we exchanged a flurry of emails, as well as other folks who work for MSLO (thanks, Amie, for sheparding me through). I finally got to meet Aran, the voice behind one of my favorite blogs,, and Matt Armendariz and Adam Pearson of Matt Bites.

sauteeing mushrooms & onions

We were sent home with a gift bag full of Martha’s publications: Living, Everyday Food, Bride, and Whole Living, and I spent a good portion of the past Sunday curled up in a chair leafing through the complete stack. I remember getting a subscription to Martha Stewart Living at fourteen (along with Gourmet (sob!) and Bon Appetit! I devoured each new issue immediately upon its arrival. I think my parents were relieved I wasn’t reading magazines like YM or Seventeen, but by and large they were puzzled by my addiction. I clipped a whole bunch of recipes, but this one here – really caught my eye. I was contemplating cooking a Sunday supper, when I saw: Israeli couscous, fresh corn, sauteed mushrooms – sold! It sounded simple and fresh – summer embodied.


I loved the recipe, but made a few tweaks: upping the corn to three ears from two (because there’s no such thing as too much corn, don’t you agree?); and sauteing the mushrooms with the onions (because caramelized onions make everything, and I mean, everything better!); and throwing in some cilantro (because when you ask me to complete a sentence: “Corn, black beans, lime, jalapeno, and…”, I want to shout out “Cilantro!”) I realize all too well that to many folks cilantro tastes like soap, so if you’re one of those people, by all means do leave it out, but I think it works rather nicely here. Also, the recipe didn’t call for whole wheat couscous, but I wanted to try it and loved its hearty bite.

cooking the corn and the scallion whites

Perhaps the weekend following this one, I will whisk Andrew (my plus one has a name!) and myself to Prospect Park, armed with some Arnold Palmers, ripe tomatoes, olives and this salad. We might sit under a tree and read, and snack, and read some more. We might even nap. Summer is passing us by, and I don’t want to waste single moment soaking it in. It’s not quite a beach vacation, but I think it’ll do just fine.

mixing with the corn

couscous salad with corn and mushrooms

Oh Wait, there’s more!! Bonus! Lookie here, I made a wee bit video with the folks at Yahoo! Shine while at the BlogHer conference. I was egged on by Alice – she thinks I do well on camera, but I can’t quite bring myself to watch it. You be the judge!

Continue reading couscous, corn, and mushroom salad.

Monday, April 23, 2007

quinoa with pine nuts and porcini

teeny grains

I’ve been so remiss about posting, you would think me a slacker. And while I haven’t been adequately applying myself to blogging, it’s not for lack of desire or effort.

I’ve been detained so to speak. And not by socializing or work or lack of initiative. I think my age is beginning to show and with it, a slew of health issues – in this case a torn lower back muscle (How? Why?) – and boy does it hurt!! Last week, I couldn’t even carry my trusty, beloved Le Creuset across the kitchen!! And I’ve all but taped the heating pad to my lower backside. That and some strained peas make me a perfect candidate for assisted living!

roasted pine nuts and porcini mushrooms

A week away from the ripe age of 29 (gah!), I realize I don’t have much to show in the ways of worldly accomplishments. And I’ve been humbled, really humbled last week, upon learning that a former school mate of mine, a grade below me and two years my junior who works for the Wall Street Journal – won the Pulitzer prize for excellence in Journalism. Or rather his group did – a group of four journalists. But still – to be 26 or 27 and have that excellence bestowed upon you – well, that’s an accomplishment.

awaiting its fate

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not feeling inadequate. I think that I’m doing okay and I’m blissfully content with my life being blessed with a job I love, a fantastic, beautiful relationship, a supportive family, and wonderful friends. But I am humbled, and if anything, last week’s events yet again reminded me to strive higher, reach further and never be complacent. While I doubt the Pulitzer is in my future, I think that the credo of continuous self-improvement is a worthy one.

verdant green

And self-improvement can be found in so many places – for me, normally, it’s finding inspiration around me. And with spring finally, finally, upon us, my mind is brimming with ideas thoughts. Just last week, while perusing my favorite food blogs and contemplating dinner – and all things vegetarian, as I was suffering from a meatover, Heidi of 101Cookbooks provided some of that inspiration.

addictive after the first bite

I’ve long wanted to try and cook quinoa. I’ve heard so many things about it and have been meaning to give it a go, for so long, I’m surprised that with my love for grains I haven’t yet given it a whirl. But when I saw her quinoa bowl recipe, I knew that I found my dinner dish. I made a few changes, modified a few things, but I have to credit her with inspiration – her photography, writing, recipes, and her commitment to cooking with whole, unprocessed ingredients, often stressing organic/local produce, are a constant source of inspiration. Her is not just a love of cooking, but a thoughtful lifestyle approach as well.

Self-improvement, inspiration, reaching higher. Spring is in the air!

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Thursday, December 1, 2005

porcini barley soup


Porcini Barley Soup

As soon as colder weather hits, my thoughts turn to comfort foods. Foods that are warm and liquid that make me feel all cozy inside. And what can be more comforting on a cold winter day than a bowl of soup? Mushroom soup to be precise.

I’ve made this soup every Thanksgiving for the last three years. I also tend to make in in the colder fall and winter months. It’s intensely flavored, fragrant and filling soup. People have been known to get seconds and some – thirds. When I was a little girl, it was one of the few things I would always have the appetite to eat. My mother served it to me with a thick slice of black, Russian bread with butter.

This is an old family recipe. I’ve elaborated on it by substituting some shallots for some of the onions. I think it deepens and complements the flavor of the mushrooms and gives the soup a deeper, more complex flavor. My mother, ever so reluctant to have the family recipe altered, agreed with me after tasting my version.

I insist on using only porcini mushrooms for this soup, otherwise the flavor is just not the same. You can find dried porcini mushrooms in specialty stores, or order them online – their dry state does not weaken their flavor. I’ve not encountered fresh ones in the United States, however, back in Russia where I grew up, we feasted on the fresh ones in the summer and fall.

Porcini mushrooms are distinctly flavored with a deep earthy, nutty, almost meaty flavor. It is my absolute favorite mushroom (other than a chanterelle, which gets second place in my book) and can be used to create an absolutely incredible sauce to mashed potatoes. Barley and potatoes add texture to the soup, so don’t skip them. You want stuff in your soup – stuff is very important, and fewer things make a meal more comforting than potatoes.

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