Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Mushroom Bourguignon

Last week as I browsed through some cooking blogs, I came across this recipe for Mushroom Bourguinon from Smitten Kitchen. Boy did it look good! The photos are tantalizing and as I read through the ingredients and it sounded even better. How can you go wrong with mushrooms, onions, carrots, fresh herbs and red wine? (Even if you are not a mushroom lover I encourage you to keep reading for a beef suggestion!) I am always looking for new vegetarian recipes to make for our vegetarian friend, I can't make him pasta every time. And this looked perfect.

The ingredients sounded similar to a pot roast but not knowing what a "bourguignon" was exactly, I had to look it up. Wikipedia says "beef bourguignon is a well-known, traditional French recipe. It is essentially a stew prepared with beef braised in red wine and beef broth, generally flavoured with garlic, onions, carrots, and a bouquet garni, and garnished with pearl onions and mushrooms." There's your culinary definition for the week.
My Adaptation: So over the weekend I had the chance to try it out. See my photo above. It turned out fabulously, the recipe is great just the way it is. Although I did add some extra baby carrots to add a little more variety to it. I used 12 oz. of portabello mushrooms and 4 oz. of crimini mushrooms. (2 packages and 1/2 package from Trader Joe's, respectively.) Trader Joe's didn't have any pearl onions so I used small cippolini onions. They also didn't have any egg noodles, so I used egg pappardelle noodles which I think might be even better. For the wine, I used a $6 bottle of Prosperity Red a cabernet merlot (just look for a dry, full-bodied wine). I highly suggest using fresh herbs, the fresh parsley added a nice fresh bite mixed in. I did add the suggested spoon of sour cream to my plate which was good as well, it added a creaminess that reminded me of a stroganoff.

Meat lovers: You could easily add some braised stew beef to the recipe and cut down on the amount of mushrooms. Or just see this very similar receipe for a Beef Bourguignon at Epicurious.

Mushroom Bourguignon
Serves 4
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 pounds portobello mushrooms, in 1/4-inch slices (save the stems for another use) (you can use cremini instead, as well)
  • 1/2 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup full-bodied red wine
  • 2 cups beef or vegetable broth (beef broth is traditional but vegetable to make it vegetarian; it works with either)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup pearl onions, peeled (thawed if frozen)
  • Egg noodles, for serving
  • Sour cream and chopped chives or parsley, for garnish (optional)

Heat the one tablespoon of the olive oil and one tablespoon of butter in a medium Dutch oven or heavy sauce pan over high heat. Sear the mushrooms until they begin to darken, but not yet release any liquid — about three or four minutes. Remove them from pan.

Lower the flame to medium and add the second tablespoon of olive oil. Toss the carrots, onions, thyme, a few good pinches of salt and a several grinds of black pepper into the pan and cook for 10, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for just one more minute.

Add the wine to the pot, scraping any stuck bits off the bottom, then turn the heat all the way up and reduce it by half. Stir in the tomato paste and the broth. Add back the mushrooms with any juices that have collected and once the liquid has boiled, reduce the temperature so it simmers for 20 minutes, or until mushrooms are very tender. Add the pearl onions and simmer for five minutes more.

Combine remaining butter and the flour with a fork until combined; stir it into the stew. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 more minutes. If the sauce is too thin, boil it down to reduce to the right consistency. Season to taste.

To serve, spoon the stew over a bowl of egg noodles, dollop with sour cream (optional) and sprinkle with chives or parsley.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Fishs Eddy

Well I don't claim to understand the name, but I found this website awhile ago and just discovered it again as I was cleaning out my favorites. Fishs Eddy is an online Dishware store that carries all kinds of fun patterns like some of the ones pictured above: New York Skyline, Polka Dots, and Carnival. I love the variety and random designs that they carry, even some old fashioned American pieces like a Jadeite Pitcher.

The prices are reasonable: $10-15 for a dinner plate, $6 for a glass. You can find some real steals in the sale section, like a $5 pink oval platter, a $12 teapot or a $3 milk glass. I'm going to hang on to this one, I'm sure I'll find a reason to buy something eventually. :)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Quote of the Day

"Today I will be happier than a bird with a french fry." --Unknown

Espress Yourself

I've been wanting a set of espresso cups for a while now. I was convinced that I was going to find the perfect set in Italy last spring, even passing over a lovely set in a shop in Colmar, France...because Italy had to have better choices right? Of course I did not find a set I liked in Italy (except for one that was $40 per cup/saucer which was out of the question). So I came back to the states wishing I had bought the set in France.

Then while Christmas shopping, I randomly found these at Macy's. $10 for 2 sets, perfect! (Not quite the same as bringing a set home from your once-in-a-lifetime European vacation but hey!) My husband bought me 6 sets for Christmas, such a sweetheart. Espresso anyone? I think I may have to make a coffee run this afternoon...

Friday, January 9, 2009

English Crown Scramble

It doesn't exactly sound like an entree does it? My girlfriend "K" made these English Crown Scrambles for a girl's breakfast she hosted on Saturday. They were so yummy! And I have to say Pepperidge Farm's photo (above) doesn't really do them justice visually. I can't wait for a reason to make them. I wouldn't have thought puff pastry and scrambled eggs were such a good combo...and the light cheese sauce was perfect, not too heavy. The presentation was really pretty as well, a perfect single serving. They would be great for any brunch occasion.

"K" you made such an amazing meal and your table setting was so pretty, I wish I had taken a pic of your table to post up! See Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry website for other great recipes including fun little desserts and appetizers.
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