Thursday, May 20, 2010

Toasted Mushroom Macaroni

First time cooking a real meal in a long time.  I was really nervous/excited to make something because I planned on cooking dinner.  I found this recipe and I had most of the ingredients on hand.  The concept of toasting the macaroni also seemed interesting.  It turned out good, I'm not really a big pasta eater, but the end result was light and fulfilling.


Toasted Mushroom Macaroni
Adopted from No Tea after 12 
4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
1 Tablespoon butter 
8 oz. fresh mushrooms (approx 2 cups), thinly sliced 
1 large or 2 small cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano 
1/2 cup apple juice
8 oz macaroni
2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup mozzarella
1/4 teaspoon black pepper 
salt to taste 
Heat a large heavy skillet over very high heat, add 2 Tablespoons of the olive oil to the pan. Sautee the mushrooms until browned, but not cooked all the way through, about 2-3 minutes. Reduce the heat and add the parsley, garlic, oregano and cook for another minute or so. Pour in the apple juice and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and remaining sauce to a bowl, and set aside. 
In another large skillet or saucepan, add the remaining 2 Tablespoons olive oil and the butter. Add the macaroni and stir it constantly until it is a deep golden brown, this takes me about 5 minutes. But do watch it carefully, its a bit like toasting nuts, the moment you step away from the stove it goes up in flames. 
Once toasted, pour in the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered until the pasta is almost tender. I usually bring mine to the point just before al dente, it takes approximately 10 minutes.
Stir in the mushroom mixture and cream and cook for a few more minutes to let everything come together in a beautiful creamy but not claggy sauce. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese and pepper. Taste for seasoning, add salt if needed, but the parmesan is usually just salty enough.


Thursday, May 13, 2010


So I woke up at 630 this morning, to the sound of my lovely Heidi leaving for a morning run.  For some reason I thought that the best idea would be to get up and start baking muffins for my roommate to return to.  I started with the simple box mix, cranberry-orange flavored, finding that the ingredients were incredibly simple, and not knowing why I didn't just make these for the hell of it before.  To add a special touch, I added some ghiradelli white chocolate chips to the mix.  
The second muffins came from my desperate need to use my overly browning/blackening bananas.  I always want/need bananas, use/eat one, and then the rest just brown and begin to mold.  These were good, partially because I love anything with streusel topping.  


Crunchy Crumb Banana Muffins
from the Mini Sam Tan Kitchen

Sift together in a large bowl:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Dash of mixed spice/cinnamon

Combine in a separate bowl and then fold into flour mix until just moistened:
3 large very ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup sugar (white or brown both work)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup melted butter/oil
Dash of vanilla extract
Optional: stir in some chopped pecans/walnuts if desired.

Line muffin pan with paper cases and spoon batter in until 2/3 full.

Cinnamon Crumb Topping
Mix together:
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Cut in 1 tbsp butter using a two butter knives or a fork until the mix resembles a coarse, crumbly cornmeal. Sprinkle generously over muffins before baking.

Bake at 350F for 20-30 minutes until golden brown/skewer comes out clean.