It’s almost summer and thin is in! Thin vegetables, that is. A mandoline slicer can help turn a fennel bulb and common white mushrooms into a graceful salad or side dish. Pretty paper-thin watercress leaves add a bold peppery flavor. Their deep green color contrasts the pale fennel, mushroom, and cheese. Walnuts bring nutty, earthy flavors and a crunchy texture. Dressed with fruity olive oil and balsamic syrup, the final dish has a synergistic elegance beyond its everyday components.
My friends in the 5 Star Makeover Cooking Group have made some major changes to the iconic green bean casserole this year. Major. For our monthly challenge we’ve taken the classic casserole recipe, originally made with green beans, mushroom soup, and fried onions and turned it ON ITS HEAD. There are soups, quiche, gnocchi, pancakes, and catfish ~ some have a Latin twist, another Asian, some are modern, some deconstructed, others retro. It’s a virtual cornucopia of casserole makeover creativity. And you can view all the incarnations of this most loved/hated Thanksgiving dish in the world over at Lazaro Cooks here.
Here I remake the casserole into a bite-sized morsel which conjures up of all the memories of mom’s holiday dish but with a fresh twist and pair it with another one of our holiday traditions ~ fresh oysters.
Original Recipe Ingredients:
cream of mushroom soup
ground black pepper
canned french fried onions
In this makeover, mushrooms are stuffed with earthy mushroom duxelles and a rich olive oil bechamel flavored with tamari. Bright steamed haricots verts are sliced thin and sit atop the mushrooms. Panko crusted fresh Fanny Bay oysters are fried in canola oil until crisp, then seasoned with truffle salt. Finally, frizzled leeks add texture and are an update to those canned fried onions .
The unique woodsy aroma of the matsutake (pine mushroom) is what inspired this preparation en papillote. To tear open the parchment at the table and breathe, is to inhale Autumn in the Pine Forest. Just a few rosemary leaves and a restrained pinch of ground cinnamon enhance the earthy spice aromas of the matsutake. Butter gives the meaty mushroom a rich creamy mouthfeel and slight nutty flavor while sake adds a bit of moisture, balanced acidity and complex umami flavors.
Mushroom, Barley, Kale, Carrot in a Rich Roasted Turkey Stock
The weekend after Thanksgiving is always bittersweet: memories of a magical week spent with family mix with a bit of sadness that we won’t be seeing each other for a while. Over the past few years it has become a ritual to make a comforting soup with the rich turkey stock while I wash piles of sheets and towels, store all the huge pots & platters, and put away the turkey decorations including “Albuquerque the Turkey” and “Plymouth Rock” until next year.
See ya next year Albuquerque!
The stock was made by simmering the turkey carcass in filtered water with rough chopped carrot, onion, celery, and a couple bay leaves. Two and a half hours later, the stock was strained, cooled, and refrigerated over night.
Remove any fat from the stock then add rinsed pearl barley and cook until the barley is al dente, about 45 minutes to one hour. Meanwhile sauté sliced mushrooms in olive oil with thyme until lightly browned, season with salt and pepper. In a separate pan, sauté 2 parts sliced carrot with 1 part each diced onion and celery in olive oil with some minced rosemary until lightly browned, season with salt and pepper. Add vegetables to the barley soup and simmer another 15 minutes. Add torn pieces of Tuscan kale (center ribs removed) and simmer until the kale is tender. Adjust seasoning and serve with red pepper flakes on the side.
Since the kids have already left by the time I boil the carcass, I save this year’s wishbone for next year’s wish. I let it dry out then tuck it into a plastic baggie and store it with the rest of the turkey decorations, to come out at our next Thanksgiving meal.
Heart Healthy Chanterelle Scramble with White Truffle Oil
Cantharellus formosus, the Pacific golden chanterelle, from Oregon
gorgeous golden-orange color
a distinctly fruity aroma
a mild peppery flavor
funnel shaped with ridges instead of gills
Sauté finely chopped onion in olive oil.
Add cleaned sliced chanterelles, sea salt & fresh ground pepper, and sauté until lightly cooked all the way through.
Add minced garlic, cook for about a minute more.
Add a splash of dry white wine.
After the wine has completely evaporated, add egg beaters or beaten fresh egg whites.
When the eggs are barely cooked through, transfer scramble to a plate.
Lightly drizzle with White Truffle Oil and a bit more sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
When we were fourteen years old, my girlfriends and I formed a little song & dance group. We called ourselves The Chanterelles. After school and all summer long we would just practice in Wendy’s basement, for no particular performance.
We were so into Motown.
Knew every word to every Supremes song, my baby love! Went crazy seeing The Temptations in concert at the (long gone) Mill Run Theater-in-the-Round in Niles, Illinois. I was in love with Melvin Franklin, the bass singer with the Temptations. His signature line “and the band played on…” delivered in his deep deep sexy voice sent my fourteen-year-old self into fits.
(that’s Melvin on the far left)
Our Favorite Double Album: Diana Ross & The Supremes Greatest Hits
Our Favorite Song to Sing Along: Ball of Confusion by The Temptations
Our Favorite Dance Routine to: I Want You Back by The Jackson 5
(artist shots borrowed from wikipedia here and here)
It wasn’t until almost a decade later that I found out that we had named our group after a fungus.
Project Food Blog
Voting for the current challenge ends at 6 PM Pacific Time, Thursday October 21st.
If you are a fan of my latest entry, Asian Pizzette, it’s not too late to vote here!