Mushroom Stout Pie.

a comfort-food extravaganza from the amazing post punk kitchen, this recipe wasn’t too insane to make, and it made me wanting to keep re-filling my bowl. you can find the original right here.

For the stew:
1 oz dried porcini mushrooms
3 cups vegetable broth

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced medium
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 ribs celery, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 lb carrots, peeled, sliced into thin half moons
1 1/4 cups stout beer
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Fresh black pepper (a lot!)
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups cooked kidney beans – 2 15 oz cans rinsed & drained [see note for tofu version]

For the biscuits:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup leftover mashed potatoes [see note on leftover mashed potatoes]
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup cold water

You’ll want to cover the dried mushrooms in boiling broth to start, and let them get all good and hydrated.

In the dutch oven, you then saute the onions, then add in the garlic.

Follow by adding the chopped cremini mushrooms, the celery, and the thyme and rosemary. This is the part where it starts to smell pretty great.

Then, add the tomato paste, the beer, the carrots, and salt and pepper. Depending on the stock, you might want to be generous on the salt here. Let the stout bubble and reduce some.

Finally, add the porcinis and the broth. Again, let it boil to really cook the mushrooms.

Mix the flour with some cold water well, then slowly add it the pot. Let it cook and thicken, then add the kidney beans and cover to keep warm.

The potato biscuits, which had a dumpling-like quality when I made them tonight, will get placed on top of this stew, and put into the oven at 425 for about 20-25 minutes.

To make the biscuits, mix your mashed potatoes with the oil and water, then add them to the sifted combination of flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar. My mixture needed a bit more flour than the recipe above calls for.

Turned out to be very enjoyable, will certainly make it again.

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Ancho Lentil Soup.

so…we’re back from the gluttony-filled holidays and vacations, and trying to settle back into eating habits that are a bit more moderate. and to me, nothing says moderation like lentils.

Ancho lentil soup, from theppk

Ingredients
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
2 dried ancho chilies, seeds removed and ripped into bite sized pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced small
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Seranno pepper, seeded and chopped (we omitted this, but I would add it next time)
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt

2 cups green lentils, washed
7 to 8 cups broth

3 tablespoons of lime juice (we used juice from one half a lime)
6 to 8 pineapple rings

slices of lime to serve
hot sauce to serve

Directions

Preheat a small frying pan over low-medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and ancho chili pieces and toast, stirring often, until fragrant and toasted, 3 to 5 minutes.

Transfer to a spice grinder (I use a clean coffee grinder) or small food processor and grind to a coarse powder. Some bigger pieces of chili are okay. Add the coriander seeds to the cumin and anchos and pulse a few times to crush them.

Preheat a big stock pot over medium heat. Saute the onions in the olive oil until transparent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the serrano and garlic and cook for another minute. Add the spices and stir. Add the bay leaves, salt, lentils and 7 cups of broth. Mix well. Bring up the heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling lower heat to low-medium and let simmer for 1/2 an hour, stirring every now and again.

Meanwhile, preheat a broiler. Cook on one side for 3 minutes and the other for about 2, until pineapple begins to brown and slightly carmelize.

Once the lentils are tender, add an extra cup of water/stock if you think it needs thinning. Add the lime juice and stir.

Remove the bay leaf. Use an immersion blender to puree about half the soup. If you don’t have an immersion blender, use a potato masher to mash it up a bit, until desired thickness is achieved. Taste for salt.

To serve: ladle into bowls and top with a pineapple ring, a slice of lime and dot with hot sauce.

This turned out pretty nicely for us. I did a couple things askew of the recipe – I didn’t mash the lentils up much, leaving the soup brothy. Also, the pineapple garnish, while fine, didn’t really blow me away. Still, a rather simple soup that was pretty enjoyable.

Sour Cream, Cheddar, and Jalapeno Biscuits.

it’s smitten kitchen, as always. these were FANTASTIC on the side of whatever we ate them with.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
1/4 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
Drained and chopped pickled jalapeños, to taste (I used about 2 tablespoons)
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 425°F. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Either cut the butter pieces into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or rub them in with your fingertips until well-combined. Stir in the cheddar, jalapeños and sour cream until the mixture forms a sticky dough. Pat it out to a 1/2-inch thickness on a very well-floured counter and use a 3 1/2-inch biscuit cutter to cut six rounds. Bake on an ungreased (or parchment-lined, if your baking sheets are as “weathered” as mine are) for 15 to 17 minutes, until golden on top.

Mexican Quinoa Salad.

this one was a quick lunch that was found on the nourishing gourmet. it turned out really nice and easy, but next time we make it, it needs black beans.

1/2 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon cumin
2-3 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon sea salt
half a bunch of cilantro
5 cups of cooked quinoa (about 2-2.5 cups dry)
2 corn on the cobs (2 small cans)
1 bunch of spinach

Mix the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, cumin, garlic and salt together in a small jar. Toss most of it with the quinoa and corn in a bowl. Serve with spinach; you can leave some dressing behind to add as you eat if you eat some later, as we did.

The recipe calls for cooked (wilted) spinach, but we tossed it in raw as we ate it during the week. No big thing. The recipe also says to lightly cook the corn in some oil on the stove – I don’t recall if we did this either. Nothing fancy going on here, but it was a pleasant lunch.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

About a month ago we made these rolls – and by we, I mean David. They were delicious. I want to make them again during the week of Thanksgiving. About half way through the recipe, there is a place to stop and start again the next day. These are really good, but they take a lot of time…

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Yield: 16 to 18 buns

Dough
6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, to be divided
1/2 cup (120 ml) whole milk, warmed (but not over 116 degrees)
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (from 1 .25-ounce or 7 gram envelope yeast)
3 1/2 cups (440 grams) all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out
1/4 cup (packed) (50 grams) light or dark brown sugar
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon (6 grams) table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2/3 cups (160 grams) pumpkin puree, canned or homemade
1 large egg
Oil for coating rising bowl

Filling
3/4 cup (packed, 145 grams) light or dark brown sugar
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons (5 grams) ground cinnamon

Glaze
4 ounces (115 grams) cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons (30 ml) milk or buttermilk
2 cups (240 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
Few drops vanilla extract (optional)

Make your dough: Melt your butter, and hey, if you’re melting it in a little saucepan, you might as well brown it for extra flavor. Once the butter has melted, keep cooking it over medium heat for a few additional minutes. It will become hissy and sizzle a lot, then take on a nutty flavor as golden bits form at the bottom of the pot. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.

Combine your warmed milk and yeast in a small bowl and set aside. After five to seven minutes, it should be a bit foamy. If it’s not, you might have some bad yeast and should start again with a newer packet.

In the bottom of the bowl of an electric mixer combine flour, sugars, salt and spices. Add just 1/4 cup (or two-thirds of; leave the rest for assembly) of your melted/browned butter and stir to combine. Add yeast-milk mixture, pumpkin and egg and mix combined. Switch mixer to a dough hook and run it for 5 minutes on low.

Scrape mixture into a large oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside for 1 hour in a draft-free place; it should just about double.

While it is rising, line the bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans (8-inch round should work too, as does an 8-inch square) with parchment paper and butter the sides of the pan and the paper.

Assemble buns: Scoop dough onto a very well floured surface and flour the top of it well. With a rolling pin, roll the dough to an approximately 16×11-inch rectangle. Brush reserved melted/browned butter over dough. Stir together remaining filling ingredients and sprinkle mixture evenly over dough. Starting on a longer side, roll the dough into a tight spiral. It’s going to make a mess because the dough is crazy soft and some stuff spills off the ends; don’t sweat it. It will all be delicious in the end.

Here’s how to cut cinnamon rolls without squishing their pretty spirals: With a sharp serrated knife, using absolutely no pressure whatsoever (only the weight of the blade should land on the dough) gently saw your log with a back-forth motion into approximately 1-inch sections. When a soft dough like this is rolled, it tends to grow longer, which means that you’ll have the option to either make more buns (say, 18 instead of 16) or just cut them a little larger (in generous inches).

Divide buns between two prepared pans. You can sprinkle any sugar that fell off onto the counter over them. Cover each pan with plastic wrap and let rise for another 45 minutes.

If you’re doing this ahead of time, you can now put them in the fridge overnight. In the morning, leave them out for an hour to warm up and finish rising.

15 minutes before you’re ready to bake them, heat the oven to 350°F. Meanwhile, you can make the glaze. Beat your cream cheese until it is light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Drizzle in milk until you get the consistency you’re looking for, either thick enough to ice or thin enough to drizzle.

Finish your buns: Remove the plastic and bake buns for 25 minutes, until puffed and golden and the aroma brings all the boys to your yard is like a snickerdoodle. Transfer pans to wire cooling racks and drizzle/schmear with cream cheese glaze, then have at them.

Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars.

the first day of school requires a new dessert. when in doubt, i go with rick bayless, who posted this recipe here on his excellent website.

these turned out really well. a couple notes – i used 1 cup of corn syrup and 1/2 cup molasses, as i didn’t have dark corn syrup in our cupboard. also, i will say that was nervous in step 2, because the filling was rather thin and watery – but it turned out just fine in the end, which made me glad. finally, there is no alcohol in these, but for me pecan pie is pretty closely linked with booze. in the future, i feel like i might try to add bourbon or dark rum or something. but all in all – a complete success. yum!

Makes 32  2-inch bars

Recipe from Season 6 of Mexico – One Plate at a Time

9 ounces (about 2 cups) pecan halves
One 9-ounce bag pretzel rods
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter (divided use), plus extra for buttering the pan
1/2 cup sugar
8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped into pieces not larger than 1/4-inch
3/4 cup (about 4 1/2 ounces) finely chopped Mexican chocolate (like the widely available Ibarra brand)
3 tablespoons flour
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups corn syrup, preferably dark (or use a mixture of corn syrup and molasses, sorghum, Steens cane syrup or most any of the other rich-flavored syrups that are on the market)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract, preferably Mexican vanilla
Powdered sugar, for garnish

Directions

1.  Toast the pecans and prepare the crumb crust.  In a 325 degree oven, toast the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet until noticeably darker and toasty smelling, about 10 minutes. Let the pecans cool to lukewarm (but keep the oven heated), then coarsely chop them by hand—1/4 to 1/2-inch pieces makes luxurious-looking bars. Scrape into a large bowl.

Use a food processor to chop the pretzels into fairly fine crumbs. (You should have 2 cups of crumbs.)  In a small saucepan over medium heat or in a microwave at 50% power, melt 2 sticks of the butter. Scrape into the processor, along with the 1/2 cup sugar. Pulse until everything is combined.  Butter the bottom and sides of two 8 x 8-inch baking pans. Cut a piece of parchment to fit the bottom of each pan, then press them firmly in place. Butter the parchment paper.  Divide the crumb mixture between the two pans and pat into an even layer covering the bottom completely.

2.  Make the filling.  To the pecans, add the 2 chocolates and the flour. Stir to combine, then divide evenly between the 2 pans. In your small saucepan or microwave, melt the remaining 2 sticks of the butter. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the eggs, brown sugar, corn syrup and vanilla, and beat at medium-low speed (if your mixer has a choice, use the flat beater). Slowly add the melted butter, mixing until the batter looks smooth. Divide the batter between the two pans, pouring it slowly and evenly over the surface to ensure even distribution of the chocolate and pecans through the batter.

3.  Bake, cool and serve the bars.  Slide into the oven and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until the center has just set. Let cool to room temperature.Cover and refrigerate until firm for easy cutting. Cut into 2-inch squares. Keep them stored in the refrigerator until just before serving. Transfer to a serving platter, dust with powdered sugar, carry to your guests and await the ooo’s and aah’s.

Wild Mushroom-Barley Risotto

Serves 4

14 oz. wild mushrooms (such as cepes or porcini, trompettes de la mort, and chantrelles) (We used portobellos – so, maybe not that wild…)
3 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 1/2 Tbs. butter
3 Tbs. olive oil
1 onion, minced
1 c pearl barley
slash of dry white wine
1/4 c freshly grated Parmesan
2 tbs. mascarpone
handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves minced

Clean the mushrooms and thickly slice the large ones. Set aside while you start the risotto.

Brink the stock to a gentle simmer in a medium saucepan. Meanwhile, heat the butter and a tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan or sauté pan and add the onion and a little seasoning. Gently fry the onion, stirring occasionally, until it begins to soften 4-6 minutes. Tip in the barley and stir well to coat. Toast the barley for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the splash of wine and let it bubble until reduced by half. Stir in two-thirds of the hot stock and simmer, stirring every once in a while, until the barley has absorbed almost all the liquid. Add more stock, a ladleful at a time, and simmer until the barley is just tender (you may not need all the stock). Stir in the Parmesan and mascarpone and season well to taste. Remove the pan from the heat and cover with a lid to keep warm.

Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan. Fry the mushrooms with some seasoning until they are lightly browned and any moisture released has evaporated, 3-4 minutes. Add the mushrooms to the risotto and stir well to mix.

Divide the risotto among warm plates and sprinkle with the minced parsley. Serve immediately.

David: I thought it was great! It came together pretty easily and I feel like it could go on the side with a lot of different things. A.

Carla: I also really enjoyed this risotto. It went together nicely. And who doesn’t love cheese? A.