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Friday, January 29, 2010

Eating Well Makes Good Sense

For those who think that going without meat, sugars, and processed foods means a bland, boring diet, think again. Buying local, seasonal, fresh produce and paying attention to what you eat pays off with big dividends.


The truth is, you'll save money and feel better. What's more, you won't be giving up convenience. Most of these dishes can be made in 30 minutes or less.



Salads


Arugula Salad with Avocado


Arugula Salad with Hazelnuts, Carrots, and Avocados


Arugula Salad with Persimmons and Pomegranate Seeds


Black Kale, Kabocha Squash, Cheddar Cheese and Almonds

Bulgar Salad with Celery



Carrot Salad with Lemon-Soaked Raisins


Chopped Parsley Salad



Cole Slaw with Capers


Couscous Salad with Grilled Vegetables


Egg Salad


Farmers' Market Fresh Chopped Vegetable Salad


Grilled Corn Salads


Grilled Vegetable Couscous Salad


Grilled Vegetables


Parsley-Grilled Corn Salad


Potato Salad with Corn


Risotto with Summer Vegetables


Roasted Beet Salad


Salad-e Shirazi: Iranian Cucumbers, Cherry Tomatoes, and Onions


Spinach Salad


Tomato and Avocado Salad


Tomato, Avocado, Corn and Garlic Toast Salad


Wilted Spinach Salad

Soups, Snacks, Sauces, and Side Dishes


The Amazingly Versatile Blackened Pepper


Baked Sweet Potatoes with Sauteed Shallots, Garlic, and Mushrooms


Braised Sprouted Broccoli

Cannelini Beans with Roasted Tomatoes and Spinach



Caramelized Vegetable Pasta

Chermoula Sauce for Salads, Side Dishes, and Entrees




An Easy Saute with Brussels Sprouts and Carrots


Grilled Artichokes


Grilled Corn on the Cob


Grilled Vegetables


Farmers' Market Fresh Vegetable Saute


Homemade Vegetable Soup

Kale Sauteed with Garlic and Farm Fresh Vegetables



Kimchi Ramen Soup


Kosher Pickles



Mushroom Soup


Potatoes, Mashed, for Breakfast


Quesadillas, Open Faced


Ramen Soup with Kimchi and Farmers' Market Fresh Vegetables


Roasted Brussels Sprouts


Roasted Garlic-Tomato Sauce


Roasted Tomatoes


Roasted Tomato Sauce


Salt Crusted Fingerling Potatoes


Salt Steamed Broccoli


Sauteed Beet Greens


Sauteed Kale with Vegetables


Steamed Artichokes


Summer Vegetable Risotto


Sweet Potatoes Grilled


Sweet Potato Inari Sushi


Tapenade the Frugal Cook's Secret Weapon


Tomato-Vegetable Soup


Tomatoes, Roasted, for Easy-to-Make Sauce


Tomatoes, Roasted Whole or Sliced


Vegetable Soup


Vegetable Soup for Cold Weather


Entrees


Brown Sugar Pork Ribs


Chicken Wings with Kimchi Glaze

Curry, Easy-to-Make

Ginger-Soy Sauce Poached Black Cod

Cioppino with Roasted Tomatoes and Garlic Toasts

Ginger-Soy Black Cod

Green Garlic and Clams

Grilled Shrimp

Grilled Shrimp with a Tex-Mex Dry Rub


Kimchi Chicken Wings

Low Cal Breaded Fish Fillets


Israeli Couscous with Vegetables

Italian Sausages and Roasted Tomatoes

Native American-Style Salmon

Pasta Alla Checca

Pasta with Roasted Corn and Garlic

Ribs, Brown Sugar Glaze

Risotto with Farmers' Market Fresh Squash Blossoms and Baby Zucchini

Roasted Cherry Tomato and Shiitake Mushroom Pasta

Salmon with a Garlic-Citrus Glaze

Sauteed Fish with Capers, Corn, and Tomatoes



Skewered Cherry Tomatoes

Tequila Glazed Shrimp

Tofu, Beet Greens, and Brown Rice

Tofu with Crispy Toppings


Desserts



Baked Cherries

Baked Plums

Custard

Fig Tart with Crystalized Ginger Crust and Roasted Almonds

Honey Poached Apples and Pears with Cinnamon, Vanilla, Raisins, and Peppercorns

Thursday, January 28, 2010

How to Store Shiitakes and a Mushroom Soup That's Perfect for Chilly Days

At most supermarkets, shiitakes aren't cheap so they have to be used sparingly. But at Asian markets, they're inexpensive. $3.99/pound at Mitsuwa in Santa Monica and $2.69/pound at SF Supermarket in Little Saigon. At those prices, it's reasonable to buy several pounds.

In general, shiitakes come in two forms: the slender stemmed variety and the ones which are fatter, with thicker stems and caps. Mitsuwa and SF Supermarket sell the fatter variety, which have a meater flavor.

With so many on hand, they can be used liberally in pastas and soups, grilled, and sautéed with garlic and shallots.

But how to store the ones not eaten those first couple of days?

Everyone knows that mushrooms should only be stored in the refrigerator in paper bags because kept in plastic they quickly go bad. Use a brown paper bag--not a white one, which is coated with wax so the moisture stays inside the bag--in combination with paper towels. The moisture that normally accumulates on the outside of the mushroom is absorbed by the layers of paper.

Kept in the refrigerator another week or two, the brown paper bag-paper towel combination acts as a dehydrator pefectly drying the mushrooms. This technique only works successfully with shiitakes.

If by chance any of the dried shiitakes develop mold, discard and keep the good ones. In my experience, more than 95% will dehydrate without harm.

To reconstitute dried shiitakes, put them in a heat proof bowl, pour in enough boiling water to cover, place a smaller bowl on top to keep the mushrooms submerged. Leave for 30 minutes until they soften.

Gently squeeze out the water but reserve the liquid for later use. Cut and discard the stems. At this point the mushroom caps can be cooked as if they were fresh.

Shiitake Mushroom Soup with Garlic

Shiitakes have a meaty, sweet flavor that is deliciously satisfying in this easy-to-make soup, perfect for a drizzly winter day.

Yield: Serves 4

Time: 45 minutes

Ingedients

2 cups shiitake mushrooms, fresh (stems and caps) or reconstituted (stems removed), washed, thin sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled, finely chopped
4 shallots or 1 small yellow onion, peeled, findely chopped
4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 tablespoon olive oil
Sea salt and pepper

Method

In a large sauce pan, sauté the mushrooms, garlic, and shallots with the olive oil until lightly browned. Add the chicken stock and, if using reconstituted mushrooms, 1/2 cup of the soaking water. Simmer 30 minutes.

Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.

Variations

Substitute water for the chicken stock to make a vegetarian version, in which case simmer the mushrooms a bit longer and add 1 tablespoon of butter for flavor

Season with 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

Add to the saute 4 cups spinach leaves, washed, stems removed, roughly chopped

Add to the saute and brown 2 Italian sausages, roughly chopped,

Add to the saute and brown 1 chicken breast, roughly chopped

Add to the saute 1 cup fresh, deveined shrimp, roughly chopped

Add to the soup 1/4 cup cream and 1 tablespoon butter

Add to the soup at the end 2 packages ramen noodles cooked first in boiling water for 10 minutes then divided equally among the 4 servings