Rosie’s Shire pie

Adapted from Middle-Earth Recipes. Serving size: “4 – 6 hungry little hobbits”

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound whole mushrooms
  • 1 pound ground sausage
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, diced (we used 1 leek)
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/4 Cup dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 Cups chicken stock
  • 1 Tbsp. thyme
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sage (we subbed with 2 bay leaves)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 pie crust (if not using cornmeal crust)

Directions:

  1. Clean mushrooms and cut into quarters. 
  2. Crumble the sausage & place in a large, deep pan.  Cook over medium heat. 
  3. Add onions, garlic, then celery and carrot, and cook about 5 minutes. 
  4. Add mushrooms and cook 5 minutes more until vegetables are tender. 
  5. Stir in flour and cook a couple of minutes, still stirring. 
  6. Add wine and half of the stock, stirring and working out any lumps.  Add remaining stock and bring to a boil. 
  7. Turn heat to low, add herbs, salt and pepper and cook 10 minutes. 
  8. Pour into deep pie dish or 8×8 baking dish and set aside.
  9. Place pie dough over top of filling in pie dish. Bake pie at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or so, until crust is lightly browned and filling is bubbly.

Cornmeal Crust (makes enough for two pies)
1 3/4 Cups flour, 3/4 C. yellow cornmeal, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 pound cold butter, 1/4 Cup shortening, 1/3 – 1/4 Cup ice water. Mix flour, cornmeal, and salt in a large bowl. Cut in butter. Add shortening and continue to work dough until texture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle water over dough and knead with hands. Refrigerate dough 30 minutes to 24 hours (can also be frozen). Roll dough on a floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness.

I am not a baker, so I usually prefer to buy pre-made pie crust. “Along with a green salad and warm bread, this pie feeds a family of 4 – 6 hungry little hobbits.” We currently have a crop of fresh marjoram, rosemary, thyme — so a sprinkling of those we added to the stew because we didn’t have a bottle of dry white. Substitutions are fun.

~Jessica

LotR mushroom soup

Adapted from Middle-Earth Recipes and The Hungry Hobbit

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of mushrooms, divided in half
  • 4 + 2 + 2 tbsp of butter
  • 1 tbsp of chopped onion
  • 2 cups of finely chopped carrots
  • 2 cups of finely chopped celery (we used leeks)
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 cups of broth / bouillon
  • 1 small can of tomato paste (~6-7 tbsp; we used 1-2 tbsp)
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • pinch of black pepper
  • 1/4 cup of dry sherry (we used a dry red wine)
  • Garnish: sour cream, herbs (optional)

Directions:

  1. Chop 1/2 pound of mushrooms very fine.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon of chopped onion, 2 cups of finely chopped carrots, 2 cups of finely chopped celery, and 1 clove of garlic, minced. If you have wine, you can use it now to deglaze the pot. Stir, scraping the bottom bits.
  4. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet, add the 1/2 pound of finely chopped mushrooms, and sauté for 5 minutes. Add to the soup.
  5. Stir in 2 1/2 cups of broth, 3 1/2 cups of water, 1 small can of tomato paste, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/16 teaspoon of pepper.
  6. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer 1 hour (30 minutes minimum).
  7. Purée the soup with an immersion blender. Season and taste.
  8. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet, add the 1/2 pound of reserved sliced mushrooms, and sauté for 5 minutes. Add to the soup.
  9. Add 1/4 cup of dry sherry. Heat thoroughly and serve.
  10. Garnish with sour cream or herbs.

Titled “Mushroom Soup from the Inn at Bree”, there is only one main inn in Bree, however: the Inn of the Prancing Pony. We didn’t have a bundle of celery, so we subbed with a leek instead. Next time I would use 2 leeks! I would also had herbs like thyme. Instead of beef broth, we used Better Than Bouillon chicken base. Feel free to use more tomato paste if you prefer a more reddish product, but this was grand — I would also like to try a medley of mushrooms in season. Instead of dry sherry, we used a red wine, but I would also try a white wine next time.

~Jessica

Stir-fried nian gao

Adapted from The Woks of Life

Ingredients:

  • some marinated meat (I used leftover chicken dumpling filling)
  • 1 pound rice cakes (I had frozen from my aunt)
  • 8 ounces baby bok choy
  • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 3 scallions, cut diagonally in 2.5 cm pieces
  • shiitake mushrooms (I had fresh! from SkyFoods)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
  • 1/2-3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons oyster sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • salt, to taste

Directions:

  1. Marinate the julienned protein with light soy sauce, sesame oil, white pepper, vegetable oil, and cornstarch for 20-30 minutes.
  2. Rinse the rice cakes and drain. If using fresh or frozen rice cakes, you do not have to soak or thaw them. Only soak (according to package instructions) if using dried rice cakes.
  3. Thoroughly wash the baby bok choy. Drain, shaking off excess water. If using baby bok choy, separate into individual leaves. Also prepare the garlic and scallions.
  4. If using fresh mushrooms, slice them thinly. If using dried shiitake mushrooms, save the soaking liquid.
  5. Place your wok over high heat until it begins to smoke lightly. Add the vegetable oil to coat the wok, and add the pork and garlic. Cook until the pork turns opaque. If using mushrooms, add them now and stir-fry for 1 minute.
  6. Stir in the scallions, bok choy/cabbage, and Shaoxing wine. Stir-fry for 30 seconds, and move everything to the center of the wok to create an even “bed” of vegetables and meat. Distribute the rice cakes on top (this prevents them from sticking to the wok).
  7. Add water (or mushroom soaking water for extra flavor). Depending on how hot your stove gets, you can add 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup. Cover, and cook for 2 minutes to steam the rice cakes and cook the vegetables.
  8. Remove the cover, and add the sesame oil, dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, oyster sauce, white pepper, and sugar. Stir-fry everything together for 1 minute over medium heat. Taste, and season with additional salt if necessary. Continue stir-frying until the rice cakes are coated in sauce, cooked through but still chewy. Plate and serve!

Apparently, stir-fried rice cakes are known in Chinese as “chao niángāo” (炒年糕), which is different from the sweet nian gao “cake” that is also traditional New Year’s fare. We substituted with ground chicken because of dietary preferences in the party, and we had some leftover carrot matchsticks from the summer rolls. This would have been an even more elaborate dish to make, but thankfully there was a real wok! And thankfully there were multiple hands on deck to help with the preparation. No one had ever tried something like this before, so it was a fun experiment! ^_^

~Jessica

Homemade ramen

Adapted from Damn Delicious

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil (peanut oil works too)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger (missing!)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms (also had homegrown oyster mushrooms)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine
  • 3 (5.6-ounce) packages refrigerated Yaki-Soba, seasoning sauce packets discarded*
  • 2 bok choy
  • 8 slices Narutomaki, optional*
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 2 tablespoons chopped scallions

Directions:

  1. Place eggs in a large saucepan and cover with cold water by 1 inch. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute. Cover eggs with a tight-fitting lid and remove from heat; set aside for 8-10 minutes. Drain well and let cool before peeling and halving. (I might revise and post a different soft boiled egg direction because ours came out hard boiled!)
  2. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and scallions whites, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Whisk in chicken broth, mushrooms, soy sauce (and seasonings) and 3 cups water.
  4. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until mushrooms have softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in Yaki-Soba until loosened and cooked through, about 2-3 minutes. (I used different noodles, which got sticky! Flavor still amazing though.)
  5. Stir in bok choy, Narutomaki (wish I had, got Vietnamese hot pot pork balls instead), carrot and scallions until the greens begins to wilt, about 2 minutes.
  6. Serve immediately, garnished with eggs.

This was perfect for a cold winter’s meal. I wanted to use these fresh Chinese noodles I had, but they might have been not the most suitable. I will use real yakisoba noodles next time — Sun Noodles’ Shoyu and Miso flavors are good! Other classic ramen toppings I really love: Chāshū (sliced barbecued or braised pork), Seasoned Soy soft-boiled egg (“Ajitsuke Tamago“), Bean sprouts, Menma (lactate-fermented bamboo shoots), Kakuni (braised pork cubes or squares), Kikurage (wood ear mushroom), Nori (dried seaweed), Kamaboko (formed fish paste, only the pink and white spiral is called narutomaki), Corn, Butter, and Wakame (a different type of seaweed). Wiki I also grew my own oyster mushrooms — a gift from a friend for my classroom (pre-pandemic).

Next time for the eggs, I will 1) leave the eggs in the fridge until the water is boiling and 2) Prepare an ice water bath and 3) marinate them in soy sauce-sugar-mirin-sake for 2 days.

~Jessie

Spaghetti ai funghi

Adapted from Memorie di Angelina

Ingredients:

  • 500g (1 lb) penne
  • 100g (3-1/2 oz) pancetta, cubed
  • 1 or 2 garlic clove, slightly crushed and peeled
  • 250g (8 oz) mushrooms, roughly chopped (see Notes)
  • A fresh sage leaf and a sprig of parsley, finely chopped
  • 250ml (1 cup) passata di pomodoro or crushed canned tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil

Directions:

  1. Start with a soffritto, this one consisting of some cubed pancetta and a crushed garlic clove sauteed in olive oil over moderate heat. (As always, make sure that the garlic hardly browns.)
  2. Once you scent the garlic’s aroma, add some roughly chopped mushrooms (125g or 4 oz. for 2 people), raise the heat to high, give the mushroom a good flip (or a stir if you’re feeling timid) to coat them with the soffritto-infused oil and continue sauteing. Very soon thereafter, add a pinch of salt to encourage the mushrooms to give off their liquid. Continue until the mushroom liquid as evaporated completely. You will begin to hear the mushrooms sizzle.
  3. add a few sage leaves and a sprig of parsley, both nicely chopped, a good grinding of black pepper, and mix well with the mushrooms.
  4. When the mushrooms are quite tender and just begin to brown around the edges, add a good dollop of passata di pomodoro or crushed canned tomatoes. Lower the heat and allow the sauce to simmer gently until the tomatoes have reduced and separately from the oil, having turned a nice darkish color, somewhere between red and mahogany.
  5. Meanwhile, you will have cooked your penne in well salted boiling water until very al dente. Add the penne to the pan, mix well and allow it to simmer gently for a few moments with the sauce.
  6. Serve immediately.

We cooked this last weekend, and it was fabulous. Great big saucepan courtesy of Jesse.

~Jessica

Eggs with mushrooms and spinach

Adapted from Damn Delicious and Food & Wine

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced (I had white button)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • a handful of chopped parsley
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes, optional
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry, but I used some rice wine

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons of butter until shimmering. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper flakes. Cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring a few times, until softened, 4 minutes.
  2. Add the onion then garlic, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and the mushrooms are browned, 3 minutes longer. Add the sherry and spinach, and cook until almost evaporated, 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat, cover and set aside.
  3. In a large, nonstick skillet, melt the butter over moderate heat. Crack the eggs one at a time into a ramekin and then slip into the skillet. Cook the eggs, sunny-side up, until the whites are firm and the yolks runny, about 5 minutes.
  4. Spoon the mushroom mixture onto the toasts and top with the fried eggs. Garnish with the parsley and serve.

I was craving a change of pace for dinner, and what could be better than breakfast dinner? If you like breads, Four 1/2-inch-thick slices of rustic white bread are another way to go.

~Jessica

Risi e bisi

IMG_20180804_180040.jpgAdapted from NYTimes and Simply Recipes

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced fine (or 3 shallots, if you have them)
  • 1/2 carrot, minced
  • 2 cups arborio (or carnaroli) rice
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1.5 boxes of hot chicken broth
  • some pancetta, diced (we used cooked pulled pork)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
  • shucked English peas, about 1-2 cups
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 2-3 brown mushrooms (porcini preferable)
  • pea tendrils or shoots (or use baby spinach) — didn’t use but sounds fab
  • chopped parsley
  • grated Parmesan

Directions:

  1. Melt butter in a heavy, wide saucepan over medium high heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Or cook at lower heat for longer time.
  2. Stir in rice and season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking for 2 minutes, until translucent. Add the minced carrot and sliced garlic.
  3. Add the white wine, stirring, until it evaporates.
  4. Add 2 ladles of hot chicken broth (simmering in a separate pot, you can also dilute by rinsing the container with water) and bring to a brisk simmer. Cook 6 minutes, stirring regularly as broth is absorbed. Add 2 more ladles of broth and cook for another 6 minutes, until rice is cooked through, but firm. Every time all of the liquid is absorbed, add more stock — do not let dry out!
  5. Add pancetta (or prosciutto or pork of your choice) and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add minced bell pepper, stir to coat and cook 1 minute. When you get to this last cup of water, add the peas and chopped mushrooms. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add 1/2 cup broth and simmer until peas are done, about 2 minutes. Add pea tendrils and cook until just wilted, about 1 minute.
  6. if the rice is still crunchy, don’t stop – you want the rice to be a little al dente, but not so much you’re gnawing on raw grain.
  7. Mix pea mixture with rice mixture and gently stir together. Add enough broth to keep rice a bit soupy. Check seasoning. Stir in parsley, lemon zest and Parmesan.
  8. Serve immediately.

Visiting family, wanted to use up the arborio rice I found in the back of their cupboard. They also had bought chicken stock in bulk so…

~Jessica

Bison strip loin steaks

IMG_20180422_183840.jpgAdapted from Sayers Brook Bison Farm and The Bison Council and North Fork Bison

Ingredients:
vegetable oil
sea salt
black freshly ground peppercorns
butter
4 large shallots
2 garlic cloves, chopped
thyme leaves crushed from 2 sprigs
button mushrooms (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. In a large skillet, heat 2 teaspoon of oil on medium-high. Add steaks and season with salt and pepper or your favorite herb.
  3. Sear on high heat for 1½ – 2.5 minutes per side (top and bottom only!). Set aside meat for a moment.
  4. Add mushrooms to the pan is smoking. Cook, about 10 minutes or until a pleasing golden colour. Add thyme and garlic, salt and pepper. Add butter, shallots, and peppercorns to cast iron skillet, and sauté until browned and caramelized. Stir often to prevent burning.
  5. Transfer meat to an oven-safe pan and roast 3-4 minutes.
  6. Rest for 5-10 minutes under tin foil. Serve with carbohydrates of your choice (I used Giovanni Rana spinach & ricotta ravioli).

~Jessica

P.S. I overcooked mine so it wa tough and barely edible, although flavorful. Next time I would only sear 1.5 minutes per side, and only top and bottom, not the sides, then I would only roast at 375 deg F for four minutes total, not four minutes per side and flip. Revised above to save you the trouble!

Budget Meals: Day 6

Ingredients
GOYA black bean soup $1.50
Dried rosemary $6.29
1 carrot $0.23
1 zucchini $0.94
4 tomatoes on the vine $1.33
10 oz white button mushrooms $1.79
Total: $12.08

Directions
Chop fine 1 red onion, 3 cloves of garlic. Saute in olive oil in a medium pot. Season with salt, cracked black pepper, red pepper flakes, crushed rosemary. Chop 1/2 carrot, 1/3 zucchini, 1 tomato, 5-6 mushrooms. Saute vegetables over medium heat. Add the can of black bean soup, plus another cup of water rinsing the can. Season with turmeric, thyme, oregano, paprika, and cumin. Raise heat and cook until boiling. Reduce heat to a simmer. Here I added 1/4 box of penne rigate and enough water to cover it, cooking it al dente for 5 minutes. Serves 3-4.

I recently acquired some cheese from Trader Joe’s, so feel free to slice / grate some on top for a Tex-Mex feel. It’s rather hard to shop plastic-free at TJ’s I realize now — not great for #plasticfreeJuly then.

~Jessica

Budget Meals: Day 4

Ingredients:
32 oz. tomato sauce $1.50
Paprika $2.19
Ronzoni penne rigate $1.89
1 carrot $0.25
1 green zucchini $0.82
4 brown portobello mushrooms $0.77
4 red onions $0.98
1 yellow squash $0.40
Total: $8.80

Directions
Chop 1 red onion, 1/2 yellow squash, 1/2 zucchini, the mushrooms, 1/2 carrot. Mince 3 cloves of garlic. Saute the onion, garlic until fragrant. Add the carrot, then the two squash. Add the mushrooms. Cook together a few minutes, stirring. Add the can of tomato sauce. Season with paprika, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper.
Boil salted water. Add half the box of penne. Cook 5 minutes until al dente. Add pasta to sauce. Serves 3-4.

Just to make it fancy (and I didn’t have Parmigiano because it’s wrapped in plastic and expensive unless I buy it at Trader Joe’s), I added a drop of my truffle olive oil, which I brought back from France, before serving. Just for the aroma, which I really really like.

~Jessica