three mushroom pappardelle

When you throw three different kinds of mushroom into a dish, the only question that comes to my mind afterwards is why didn’t I use four?

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three mushroom pappardelle

2 cups chicken stock

dried porcini mushroom pack

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 pound hot Italian sausage, diced

4 shallots, minced

1 sweet onion, chopped

1 Tbsp brown sugar

12 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced

6 oz shitake mushrooms, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

pinch nutmeg, rosemary, thyme, crushed red pepper, cayenne, garlic powder, salt & pepper

1/2 cup dry sherry

1 lemon, juiced

1/4 cup pickled jalapenos, chopped

1 Tbsp pickled jalapeno liquid

1 spinach bag

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 pound pappardelle pasta

parmesan reggiano, grated

in a pot, warm the chicken stock, add the dried porcini & soak for 20 minutes, strain & chop porcini, reserve the stock

in a stainless steel pan warm 1 Tbsp olive oil over high heat, add the sausage & brown, use a slotted spoon to remove the sausage, set aside

stir in shallots & onion, saute until softened, then add brown sugar & caramelize onions over low heat

increase heat to medium, add the baby bella, shitake, garlic, and the spices to your taste and cook until they begin to stick to the pan, then add dry sherry, scrape pan and reduce until all brown bits are absorbed and most moisture is gone

add reserved chicken stock and reduce until all liquid is gone

add lemon juice, jalapenos, and jalapeno liquid, cook for a few minutes, then stir in the spinach and wilt it

add chopped porcini and heavy cream and simmer until a thick sauce is created, return sausage

separately cook pasta, in a large serving bowl add pasta, then add sauce, mix until combined but don’t aggressively stir

serve in bowls with grated parmesan reggiano

 

Let’s begin!

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Soak the dried porcini mushrooms in the chicken broth, then strain and chop them after about 20 minutes of hanging out.  Keep the chicken broth, we’ll use it’s mushroom infused tastiness later.

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Sausage improves any dish.  I shall duel anybody who claims otherwise.  But honestly, this is just extra credit.  The dish will do just fine without the sausage if you want to go the meatless route.

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Whoever discovered the concept of slowly caramelizing onions should have been appointed Emperor of All Humanity for at least one day.

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After you’ve added the other mushrooms, garlic, and the spices, you really want them to get a nice golden brown look throughout.  As they start to stick to the pan, this will help give it a nice deeper flavor.

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Then we use the dry sherry to deglaze the pan and start the sauce.  You can use white wine instead of sherry if you want, but really you should go with sherry if you can get it.  It gives the dish a unique flavor.  And if you take the trouble to buy it, try and get the better sherry that is like $20 a bottle.  It’s remarkably better than the $10 bottle.

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While you’re cooking the pasta, slowly reduce the cream until you’ve got a nice, deep sauce.  The recipe calls for pappardelle, but any long pasta of your choice will work great.

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You can eat this by itself or serve with a side salad.  Either way works, but most people would like to have the salad with it too, as the dish can be a bit heavy for some folks.

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Most of my recipes come straight from my silly brain.  But where I am inspired to steal the ideas of others, I shall always try and give credit where credit is due.

In it’s original form, years ago, it was based on this decent Giada De Laurentiis recipe.

But it evolved after I had the Pappardelle con Funghi e Capesante at Vigiluccis in Coronado.  Work made me go there with the bosses, the food made up for the otherwise weird evening.  It was one of those moments where you eat something, and you’re like, “I wonder if I could do that?”  So I did.  But theirs is much, much better than mine.

spiced crab cakes with lime cream

We break several cultural rules by melding a variety of the planet’s tastiest spices into your usual crab cake.  The crab thus becomes happy.  Which will make you happy.  Which will make everybody happy.

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spiced crab cakes with lime cream

crab cakes

1 pound crab

1/4 cup roasted red pepper, small diced

1 celery rib, small diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 cup panko bread crumbs

2 Tbsp harissa

1/2 lime, juiced

salt & pepper

1 Tbsp Old Bay

1 Tsp cumin

1 Tsp cardamom

1 egg

lime cream

1/2 cup sour cream

zest of 1 lime

1/2 lime, juiced

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp Old Bay

cooking

1 Tbsp olive oil

bread or buns

1 tomato, sliced

greens

Combine all the crab cake ingredients in a large bowl. Form eight patties, place on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

Combine all the lime cream ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator with the crab cakes.

Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the patties for about four to five minutes on each side or until golden brown.

Or, grease a baking pan, and bake the crab cakes in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until light brown.

Serve on toasted bread or buns, with tomato, greens, and the lime cream.

dsc00627Let’s begin!

dsc00629Throw all the crab cake ingredients into the bowl and mix with a spoon.  Don’t stir too hard or too much.  You want the mixture to stay a little loose.  Too much moisture is not your friend here.  It using canned crab like I do, make sure you drain out the excess liquid.

We use the necessary awesome Old Bay, but also add harissa, cumin, and cardamom for an extra special taste.  Harissa is a Moroccan chili paste that you can make yourself very easily.  But more and more I see it in the grocery store which is a win for all humanity.  Crab cake enthusiasts or Moroccan traditionalists probably might not agree with this combination of spice.  But to me, breaking the rules is fun.

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Make eight balls with your hands.  Don’t pack them too tight, you want to leave some of the air inside the cake.  If the balls are too wet, you can add more bread crumbs.  If they won’t stay together you could add a second egg and remix it.  Put them into the fridge for at least an hour so they can set.  You can use plastic wrap to cover or (blasphemy) since it’s only an hour you can just leave the plate as is like I do.

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The lime cream ingredients are just put into a bowl and stirred using a fork until it’s all combined.  It’ll be loose at first, but after an hour in the fridge it’ll make a nice and easy spread.

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A little olive oil and a nonstick skillet is all you need for less than ten minutes of cooking.  Use a spoon and spatula when turning over the cakes to keep them together as they should be a little loose.

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A slightly healthier and easier way is to just bake them for a half hour.  You’ll get a lighter brown color, but it’s less work and the cake will stay together easier.  I use both methods, but usually prefer the skillet.  Try both, and see what works best for you.

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You can eat the cakes with the cream on their own.  But I usually toast some bread and add tomato and some greens.

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Enjoy life!

red risotto with chard

This degenerate blog is just a little over three years old and slowly approaching 400 posts laced by the ramblings of an insane man.  But we’ve never done a recipe before despite the role food plays as one of the delightful pillars of my life.  Don’t know why it took this long, probably cowardice, but now it’s done.  There are others.  They’ll eventually make it up here too.  Good times.

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Recipe:

 

red risotto with chard

4 cups chicken stock

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 pound sausage, sliced

1 red onion, roughly chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp sugar

1 cup arborio rice

1 cup red wine

2 tbsp tomato paste

salt & pepper

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp crushed red pepper

1 15 oz can diced tomato

1 bunch chard

1/2 cup parmesan, grated

in a pot, bring the chicken stock to a boil and then let simmer

in a separate medium pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat, add the sausage and cook until brown, remove the sausage and set aside

reduce the heat to medium, add the red onion and garlic, and cook until the onion begins to wilt, add the sugar and continue to cook the onion until it’s very brown

add the rice and stir so that all the grains are coated, cook for one minute

add the red wine and stir, scraping the bits off the bottom of the pot, add the tomato paste, salt & pepper to your taste, and all the spices

when most of the liquid has absorbed, add 1/2 cup of the chicken stock and stir frequently until the rice is just starting to stick to the pot again, repeat 1/2 cup at a time with the remaining stock

while the rice is cooking, roughly chop the chard leaves and dice the stems

when all the stock has been used, add the chard leaves, chard stems, and diced tomato, cook for about five minutes until the dish has a creamy texture

return the sausage, remove from the heat, add the parmesan, stir, and serve immediately

 

Lunatic Breakdown:

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Let’s begin!

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The recipe works best with any kind of Italian sausage.  Pick your favorite and run with it.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer the sausage to a plate after it’s browned.  You can skim off some of the remaining fat before you add the onion if you want, you know, if you’re crazy.

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We’re using the onion, garlic, and sugar to get a nice brown and rich mixture.  You can turn the heat down and really let this process play out if you want for as long as a half hour.  Until the onion has a brown sheen that blinds you with it’s deliciousness.  But that’s not required, you can get it done in ten minutes, just keep cooking the onion until you get the browning you like.  If it starts to stick to the bottom of the pot, run with it, we’ll get that stuff off later.

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When you add the rice it always strikes me how little all that looks.  But then that rice will grow into tasty fun.  Make sure you coat every grain with oil, let it cook there for just one short minute.

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Get the red wine in there and start scraping the awesome stuck bits off the bottom of the pot.  Stir once every few minutes to make sure the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot anymore.  Use whatever red wine you like.  Whatever you do, don’t drink the rest of the box or bottle with your friends and family.

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My little cooking buddy.  She likes to wrap herself around my feet while I’m at it.  She enjoys being close, and it’s prime real estate for mistakes that result in food falling on the floor.

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Ladle 1/2 cup of the stock in at a time, keep stirring so nothing sticks, and just slowly let the rice do it’s thing.  Risotto is actually really easy to make, it’s just that you can’t leave it alone for more than a few minutes.  You can’t stir it and walk away for twenty minutes to chase the dogs or kiddies, do your taxes, contemplate the concept of dark matter, or binge watch the latest drama where everybody dies.

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I love chard because of it’s bitter notes and the color.  If you don’t like the bitter, you can just dump in a bag of spinach from the store, it’s all good.  Just get something green in there.  I dice up the chard stems and then add them too.  This gives the risotto a little crunch, and also is of the mindset to never throw out any part of the ingredient you can use somehow.  But, if you don’t want to go down this road, it’s perfectly okay to just use the chard leaves and cut off / around the stems.

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Toss in all those leaves, stems, and the tomato can contents.  Stir quickly and thoroughly until it’s all combined.  Be careful, at this stage the rice can really stick fast if you don’t get that chard’s liquid sweated out, so keep on stirring as required.

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Cook for about five to ten minutes or until the rice is starting to stick no matter how much you stir.  Get the tasty sausage back in and remove it from the heat.  Add the parmesan and stir it all up.  I used bagged parmesan here.  The best is probably to grate it off the block if you can but the bag works just fine.

Serve the risotto immediately while it’s nice and hot and before it starts to seize up.  For leftovers, you might need to add a little water back into the risotto before you reheat or microwave it.

You can eat this as a main dish, or as a side dish alongside other Italian type cuisine.

Enjoy life.