November 4, 2013

Fall Fungi and Mushrooms



My ordinary weekend stroll trough Stanley Park here in Vancouver, ended up with some new discoveries of unusually great treats from the mother nature, I usually tend to overlook. This time it was one big artistic and decorative tree fungus that looked completely unreal. I got home and looked for it on the Internet and found that incredible plant that grows on sides of large trees in big forests are actually edible fungai-mushroom, that taste like a chicken, therefore it's called "chicken of the woods". Since it's fall and I really love mushrooms, it inspired me to look and try some new and unusual mushrooms and recipes:




Polenta Pasticciata



Polenta:
2 cups of polenta
2 tbsp salt
1.8 l of boiling water

Sauce:
1/2 cup of dried porcini mushrooms (soaked in 1 dl boiling water)
1/2 cup fresh wild mushrooms
1 small chopped dry choriso sausage
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion chopped
1 small carrot chopped
1/2 celery stick chopped
400 g of ground beef
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup wine
1/2 cup peeled tomato with paste, chopped


Cook polenta and pour it on wet surface or trays to be 2.5 cm tick.Leave to cool
In a 12 to 14-inch saucepan over medium heat, heat the olive oil until hot but not smoking. Add the chopped vegetables and sauté for few minutes. Add meats browned on all sides, about 10 to 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes and the wine and break up the tomatoes with the back of a spoon. Adjust the seasoning. Lower the heat to let the mixture simmer gently until the wine evaporates, about 1/2 hour. In the meantime, roughly chop the mushrooms. Once the ragu has simmered for 10 minutes, add the chopped mushrooms and its juices and allow the mixture to continue simmering for another 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.Slice the cooled polenta 1/2-inch squares. Lightly butter a 9-inch by 9-inch by 3-inch glass or ceramic baking pan. Use 1/3 of the polenta to cover the bottom of the pan with a layer of squares lain side-by-side. Cover with 1/2 of the ragu, then top with a layer of 1/4 of the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Begin again with another layer of polenta squares, topped with 1/2 of the chicken liver mixture, topped with 1/4 of the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Repeat from the first layer of polenta, ending with Parmigiano-Reggiano atop the ragu. Grate some more Parmigiano-Reggiano over the top, if desired.Place the prepared casserole in the oven and bake until the dish is heated through and the Parmigiano on top is brown and bubbly, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately.




Pumpkin gnocchi in mushroom sauce




1/2 cup ricotta cheese 

11/2 cup pumpkin purée
2 large egg yolks 
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 
 Freshly ground white pepper 
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme 
100 g sliced pancheta
1/2 cup yogurt + crème fraîche 
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed 
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme 

100 g sliced pancheta
1/2 cup yogurt + crème fraîche 
Freshly ground black pepper 
1 chen of garlic 
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese 
1 chen of garlic 
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan chees


Place the ricotta in a large bowl. Add the pumpkin, egg yolks, measured salt, brown sugar, and nutmeg, seaso
n with a few pinches of white pepper, and stir to combine. Add the measured flour and mix until the dough just comes together. (It will be very soft and slightly sticky.)


Generously flour a work surface and turn out the dough. Pat it into a rough rectangle and cut it into 4 equal pieces. Gently roll 1 piece into an even rope about 3/4 inch in diameter, flouring the surface as needed.  Cut the rope into 3/4-inch pieces. Place the gnocchi on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat rolling and cutting the remaining 3 dough pieces.
Add a third of the gnocchi to the boiling water and cook until they float, about 2 to 3 minutes, then let them cook about 30 seconds to 1 minute more so they’re just cooked through (test by cutting 1 in half).  Repeat cooking the remaining gnocchi in 2 more batches if needed. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water and set it aside. Set aside a large bowl. Prepare sauce  by shortly cooking chopped panceta in a large pan, add rest of ingredients and cook for a minute more, turn off stove and add gnocchi  in. Mix well. Serve hot.

Easy Mushroom Pie



1 lb mushroom (any kind-preferably wild)
1 onion chopped
10 tbsp flour  (unbleached or mix of glutten free:corn cheekpeas and beans)
4 eggs
1 cup yogurt
2 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp oil
1/2 cup of grated cheese of your choice (I added katchkaval and feta mixed)

Saute onion and mushroom for almost 15 minutes.
Mix flour with eggs, yogurt and add baking powder.
Mix in mushrooms, pour into a small baking pan and bake in 180c for 25 minutes.



Mushroom Ketchup
(Gourmet relish that goes well with meats and meat sandwiches)

2 lb mushrooms (crimini or of your choice), drained
One 1/4-inch slice fresh ginger peeled, minced
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup white vinegar
Small can of peeled tomato with paste
¼ tsp thyme
¼ tsp basil
1-1/2 teaspoons salt or more
Puree the mushrooms, ginger, and garlic in small amounts in a blender or food processor until the mixture becomes paste-like. Place it in a heavy pot. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer uncovered for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Pack into hot sterilized jars and use cold.


Mushrooms Trifolati
(Serve on hot toast)

2 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 lb wild mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp butter
3 anchovy fillets, chopped
Pepper to taste
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp chopped fresh parsley

Freshly toasted bread slices.
In a sauté pan or skillet, heat the oil and cook the garlic until translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes or until all the liquid has evaporated. Add the butter, anchovies, pepper, and lemon juice and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve on squares of toast, sprinkled with the parsley.

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