Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mushroom Tart

I went to a mushroom festival (maybe you heard) and they were selling their prize winning mushrooms and entries, I couldn't resist buying a bunch.  With luck, I secured five varieties and I only got a small container of shitakes because they were out. The positive side of being out of shitakes is that I tried other mushrooms I might not have if I had been able to buy more shitakes.  Criminis, shitakes, portebellos, yellow oysters, gray oysters and maitakes were what I left with.
Clockwise from top left:  Maitakes, Shitakes, Yellow oyster, Gray oyster

I was kinda sure I was going to make a tart with these mushrooms.  I have been enamored with tarts this year, especially savory ones.  Next step was to think of the flavors that mushrooms go well with, especially the ones that make the mushrooms really stand out.  These were fresh mushrooms so they deserved the top spot.  Right?!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What is for dinner tonight?

This is what we had for dinner the other night.  My daughter and I were the only ones home and something simple, tasty and vegetarian would do.  If the guys had been home, they would  have thought we were trying to starve them, especially my son.  He is all about protein.
We were hungry, so we foraged.  There is just no better way to say it.  We foraged through the frig, the pantry, and the tomato garden.  I had some nice looking beets that I bought from the grocery store.  I had great success with beets that I had roasted previously that I had gotten from the farmers market.  That night we were having wine, cheese, olive oil and a light salad.  My daughter was out that evening and didn't get to participate but had some left over beets the next day and proclaimed love for them.  So for her, I will try to recreate that salad we had that night minus the blood orange infused olive oil which sadly went home with the owner.  Who knew olive oils were infused with blood orange.  I must be living in a bubble.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mushrooms, Mushrooms, and a Mushrooms Festival

Did you know that
Kennett Square, Pennsylvania is the 
mushrooms capital of the world?
(Counter clockwise from top left: pink oyster, gray oyster, maitake or hen of the woods, yellow oyster)

Kennett Square area of Chester county produces 65% of the mushrooms sold in the US.  When you buy mushrooms at the store, check the container to see where they came from and you will most likely see Kennett Square, PA or an area close by like Avondale.

They used to have a mushroom museum but now a mushroom boutique called  The Mushroom Cap displays some of the mushroom museums exhibits at their store.  The store is dedicated to all things mushroom.

Kennett Square has a mushroom festival every year in September.  They have lots of mushrooms for sale, mushroom farm tours, mushroom soup contests, mushroom culinary events, nutritional presentations, a mushroom growing display and a mushroom judging contest.  There were also some local crafters and area restaurant's  selling their wares, a kiddie carnival and some local bands.  It was a bit of dreary, drizzly day but fun.  A little rain is not going to stop me.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Fresh Peach Bread

What can you really say about peaches?  They are delicious.  They are going to be gone soon. :(

For breakfast, I eat peaches with plain yogurt and homemade granola.  Such a fabulous breakfast to start the day.  I will miss them in October, but I will probably be onto other fruits like maybe, apples.

I have not made many peach desserts or really any desserts this year, the family is working on being healthier so I have avoided most sweets including peach crisps. I am not sure how, but I did.  I am trying to do my part.  It is hard because baking is just good, plain fun.  I did make peach ice cream.  It was - and is good.  I made some thirst quenching agua frescas con el melocotón (translation:  fruit water with peaches) to quench thirst during the hottest summer on record.  I haven't grilled any peaches yet, but I plan to - to go with that peach ice cream.  My peach man (he is also my apple man) says he will have peaches through September.  Yeah!  He sells me his seconds. You know, the ones that look funny or have a blemish.   I really like his seconds because they become jam, smoothies, cobblers/crisps, ice cream and peach bread.  I have several types of peach jams and some frozen peaches for whatever comes to mind this winter.  Nice.  I am not usually this prepared for hibernation.
 I decided to work on a peach bread recipe because I don't really like peach bread with cinnamon. To me they taste like other spiced breads such as apple or pumpkin.  My mission, a quick bread that taste like peaches.  This year, I am into combining vanilla and peaches.  Here is what I came up with and we loved it.  Sadly, the second loaf didn't make it to the freezer.  We ate it all.  The good news is I have more peaches.
These are a couple of peaches that are seconds.  They taste absolutely perfect, they just look kinda funny and one of them has a boo boo.  They look like Cabbage Patch peaches or something like that. Or something else that I will leave it to your imagination. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Breakfast Sandwich

So that time of the year is here.  The start of the school year.  The kids are excited.  Summer seems to have ended even though September weather is usually quite promising.  Still warm, sunny and cooler nights (at least on the Eastern seaboard) and fall doesn't truly start until the Autumnal Equinox which is September 22 at 11:09 pm.  I have always enjoyed beach trips in September.  More nature, bluer waters, fewer people and really nice weather . . . lower prices.  I am starting to get lost in a fantasy and missing my point which is starting the day off with breakfast.  It is important to "break fast" which simply refers to eating after "fasting" overnight since your last meal and for many would be roughly 12 hours.  Many studies indicate that having breakfast helps control weight and effects metabolism.  It is also believed that it increases the ability to concentrate.  And I do believe that, but for me has to be with a cup of morning joe.  In fact, coffee should come before breakfast especially if I am having anything to do with preparing it.  Lord knows what the Mom-before-she's-had-a-cup-of-coffee would actually make.
 It seems everyone is always in a hurry and if you can carry breakfast on the morning commute to school or even work, why not a breakfast sandwich.  Fold it up in a napkin or wax paper and take it with you.  I had a hankering for eggs one morning and I was on the run.  I love scrambled eggs with buttered toast because they just belong together.  I had some bacon, some end of season sun golds, left over goat cheese, basil and if I had some baby spinach that would have gone in there, too.  I really just used what I had on hand and lets face it, in the real world a toast and scrambled egg sandwich would work fine.  Oh, and don't forget to butter the toast like I did.  Silly me.  I think this is a great "to go" breakfast sandwich, especially if it was in a pita or in a tortilla as a wrap.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Farm Stand Lasagna

I am a farm stand junkie.  I have said it before and I am sure I will say it again. Once I get there I buy produce that looks perfectly fresh and potentially delicious. I know that I am not alone.  I don't necessarily have plans for all that I buy so I have to get creative or compost.  This time, I have some fresh zucchini and Japanese eggplant that I haven't used up. I also have some tomatoes from my garden that are just past seeing their best days and I want to use them before they need to be composted.  So tomato sauce is in the works for dinner tonight which goes really well with lasagna.

Even though lasagna seems to be a winter dish, I think a summer version is in order.  The zucchini and eggplant can replace the pasta with a meatless sauce and voila!, I have a farm stand version of lasagna.  I have never tried substituting vegetables for pasta before and was I ever happy with the results.  In fact, I think it is the best lasagna I have ever made.  I love it when I come up with something that is indulgent but airs on the side of healthy. I did not miss the pasta or meat at all and it was garlicy and spicy.  Adding Italian sausage to the sauce would probably be quite good if you are one that prefers meat in their lasagna.  In the summer, I tend to skip meat altogether, because that is just me and I don't miss it.  I call this Farm Stand Lasagna because almost all ingredients can be purchased at the farmers market.  There are cheeses at my farmers market but they were out of ricotta and they don't have Parmesan.  The fresh mozzarella was made locally and am sure it is sold at some farmers market somewhere.
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