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Mushroom Ragu

5 Nov

mushroom ragu

First, for those of you who follow this blog, let me apologize for not posting on Friday – I’ve been recovering from a cold and subsisting mainly on tea (with ginger and honey, yum), and I haven’t had a chance to re-build my backlog of posts for such times yet. But I’m back in the swing of things now and have been cooking up some great new recipes for this week. Let’s start with this mushroom ragu. I was craving a bowl of pasta with meat sauce, but wanted to eat something a little healthier instead. While I usually try not to create “imitations” of other foods (though I’ve been known to do so before), I figured what I was really craving was something with a lot of umami (as meat sauce typically has) and something nice and filling (as pasta is). So I cooked up this sauce, with the meatiness of cremini mushrooms standing in for the usual ground beef, while the liquid they release serves as the base for the sauce. It’s thickened up with tomato paste and minced black olives, then given a flavor boost from red wine, for a savory sauce that would be great on pasta in place of your usual sauce. I wanted an extra nutritional boost, so I actually served this on top of white beans which worked quite well. I think it would also be a great sauce on top of chicken or roasted vegetables.

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Mushroom and Black Garlic Pasta

8 Oct

mushroom and black garlic pasta

While there are some ingredients I’ve had difficulty finding here in Buenos Aires (like canned beans), there are others that I’ve been surprised to see in abundance. Black garlic, which I’ve never once seen on a grocery store shelf back in DC, is mysteriously present in multiple stores here. The vendor at the vegetable stall I bought it from warned me that it was not intended for cooking but rather meant to be eaten medicinally, but I’d heard of black garlic before and knew better. If you taste a clove plain, it’s hard to believe this is garlic at all – the fermented ebony-colored cloves are sticky-sweet, with flavor reminiscent of a balsamic reduction or tamarind paste, but there’s still a hint of mellow garlic flavor in the background. Definitely worth grabbing if you happen to see some around. I wanted to cook something simple but special with this, so I picked up some fresh pasta from the grocery store (another ingredient that can be easily found here in abundance – and is often cheaper than the dried stuff too!) – spinach pasta, hence the green hue in the photos – and combined the two with the earthy flavor of mushrooms and thyme (and some fresh garlic too, of course). The unique taste of black garlic permeates the dish, well-complemented by the other ingredients.

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Korean Cold Noodles and Vegetables

18 Jul

korean cold noodles and vegetables

I haven’t even finished posting recipes for food I cooked during the last heatwave, and DC is already in the grip of a new one. Yesterday, it reached 100 degrees for the sixth time this year, and we may very well have the seventh time today. This, after only having five 100-degree days in 2011 and four in 2010 – and 17 total in the entirety of 1993 to 2009. Weather, like food, is something I feel passionately nerdy about. And they go all so well together. Even in this time of air conditioning, I find myself gravitating towards weather-appropriate recipes. Although this recipe does involve using (a single burner on) the stove for the noodles, these refreshing cold noodles and vegetables, tossed in an amazingly flavorful sauce is another perfect dish for hot days. And in addition to being delicious, this plate packs a powerful visual punch. The vegetables are easily adaptable to whatever you happen to have around, and you can even omit the noodles, if you want – I had a simple meal of broccoli in this sauce one night, and it was still delicious. The original recipe calls for the Korean herb perilla, but I wasn’t able to find any (and admittedly, in this heat, I didn’t feel like exerting myself much in searching), and it was just fine without it. If you can find it, feel free to add it in. Hopefully, this recipe can help you stay nice and cool, however you decide to adapt it.

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Parmesan Mushroom Pasta with Truffle Oil

28 Sep

Parmesan Mushroom Pasta with Truffle Oil

I’ll admit: simple pasta dishes are my go-to when I’m feeling a bit lazy and uninspired for dinner (for another quick pasta dish, see my Roasted Veggie Pasta with Pomegranate Balsamic Reduction). But there’s no reason why a lazy dinner can’t end up feeling inspired after all, and with a deliciously rich parmesan cream sauce and a dash of truffle oil, this pasta manages to do just that.

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Roasted Veggie Pasta with Pomegranate Balsamic Reduction

17 Aug

Roasted Veggie Pasta with Pomegranate Balsamic Reduction

Although I often enjoy spending multiple hours preparing elaborate meals, there’s a certain joy in creating a delicious simple meal in just half an hour.  This pasta is perfect for that as the three main components can easily be prepared in parallel, and all of them are fairly straightforward.  I always admire versatility in recipes, and this one is most certainly versatile; use almost any pasta or veggies to customize your meal.

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